They say it is possible to be friends with your ex only if you two hadn’t love each other or if you still love each other. But, that love doesn’t have to be romantic- it is possible for you two to still care about each other, but not in that way. There are also times when your love relationship ended, but your ex wants to be friends and you simply don’t know what to do, because you are not sure whether the two of you could really be friends and what will that friendship look like. So if your ex wants to be friends and you are not sure how to behave, here are things to do and steps you should take.
Think whether you want this and why
When your ex wants to be friends, the first thing you have to do is think everything through. You need to remember why this person had left your life in the first place and whether this is someone you want in your life again. Has he hurt you so bad that you feel resentment for him and can’t even stand to look at his face? If this is the case and you still haven’t forgiven each other for the things that happened during the relationship, it is hardly possible you two could be friends. Another thing you need to reconsider is whether the two of you have unresolved issues and whether you still have romantic feelings for this guy. If you are not sure whether you are over him or not, this friendship could wake up your feelings and you don’t need that. If you miss him as a boyfriend, you shouldn’t even try being friends, because having him around and not having him as your love partner will be even more painful for you than not having him in your life at all. If seeing him will bring you back some negative memories and feelings and will prevent you from moving on with your life, you shouldn’t let him in. But, if you think that the two of you could end up having a mature friendship and you don’t miss him as a boyfriend, but as a person, being friends is not such a bad idea. Just remember that it is always ok to refuse your ex’s proposal if you think that you won’t feel comfortable around him. You don’t owe him anything and you should put your best interest first. Therefore, be friends with him only if you want to- don’t do anything out of courtesy.
Make things clear with him
Once you’ve come to terms with yourself, it’s time to do the same with him as well. Before starting anything, you need to know why your ex wants to be friends and whether the two of you are on the same page. There are many reasons why he might want to be friends, but the fact is that he still cares about you. What you both need to be clear about is whether he cares about you as a girl or as a person he doesn’t want to lose. Therefore, when your ex wants to be friends, it is perfectly reasonable for you to ask him about his true intentions and expectations about this friendship. Does your ex wants to be friends so he could have an opportunity to go back together or is he really being sincere? Is he just trying to keep you around so he could prevent you from really moving on but doesn’t want to get back together? It is also possible that he is feeling guilty of the way he treated you or of how things ended and wants to see you’ve truly forgiven him so he can be at peace with himself. Or is friendship really the only thing on his mind? If this is so, does he plan on the two of you being best friends or just wants to be on good terms when you occasionally run on each other? It is important for you to be honest towards him and tell him the reasons that brought you to your decision, no matter what you decide. If you are sure you don’t plan on reviving old flames, you should make this clear. Don’t allow him to get his hopes up and don’t give him space to manipulate you into presenting this a friendship while he tries to win you back.
Respect each other’s boundaries
If your ex wants to be friends, it is crucial that the two of you don’t get carried away and forget you are not in a relationship anymore. Therefore, if you think one, or both of you, won’t be able to respect each other’s boundaries, being friends is the worst possible idea. First of all, there are subjects that shouldn’t be brought up in the conversation between the two of you. It is ok if you want to make things straight about your former relationship in the beginning, but you need to leave the past where it belongs. You can’t expect to be real friends with your ex if you two will constantly spend time reminiscing old memories, whether they are good or bad. It is also reasonable to tell each other if you are in a new relationship, but don’t think you could advice one another about those relationships. No matter how friendly the relationship with your ex is at this point, you could never expect him to give you sincere relationship advice. So, instead of talking about these topics, talk about work, family or common friends. Another thing you both need to understand is that there you can’t control each other or tell one another what to do. None of you is required or expected to do anything and you should both have your life outside of this friendship. So, remember it is not ok to i.e. be mad at your ex just because he didn’t return your call right away or because he couldn’t spend time with you when you wanted to. Respect each other’s time, space and boundaries and don’t push things too hard.
Think about your current relationships
If your ex wants to stay friends, this idea can seem tempting to you while you are both single. But, this friendship could cause you problems once you start seeing someone else, no matter how cool and open-minded this new person is. It is natural if your new boyfriend, or your ex’s new girlfriend, is not ok with the two of you being friends. So, if you are in a relationship and you know your ex wants to be friends, it is a subject you need to discuss with your current partner. Your partner should know about any contact you have with your ex. Also, it is important for you to be honest with your ex about having someone new in your life. If you decide you want to be friends with your ex, make sure that this friendship doesn’t affect your or his current relationship in any way. Remember that the two of you are friends now and that there is no place for jealousy anymore. The moment you start feeling uncomfortable by the fact that your ex has a new girlfriend or you feel jealousy coming from him, end this friendship because it is apparent that one or both of you are not clear with your emotions and the only thing you can do is jeopardise your current relationship.