Should you remain friends with your ex, and how do you do so?
It goes without saying that a breakup can be difficult, and that processing your feelings during this time can feel like an insurmountable obstacle.
In the midst of heartbreak and newfound singleness, many people wonder, “Should I stay friends with my ex?”
Funny man and actor Lenny Henry recently spoke about his first love, ex-wife Dawn French, in an interview. He spoke so highly of her that it comes as no surprise that the two remain close despite their 2010 divorce.
Quoted from his forthcoming book, “Even at the worst of times we used humour as sword and shield,” can be found in The Sunday Times. “At long last, my brain was engaged, centred, and contributing as an equal in a partnership.” Basically, I was head over heels in love.
After 25 years of marriage and raising a daughter together, French and her ex-husband seem to get along great. In 2017, French remarked, “I am amazed by us.”
It’s true that not every breakup has to end with the exes never speaking again. After ending a romantic relationship, many people are able to move on and become good friends with their exes.
How, then, do you put it into practise? Moreover, how does one determine whether or not to maintain cordial ties with an ex-lover?
Bec Jones, a divorce coach at the online divorce service Amicable, discusses the benefits and drawbacks of maintaining cordial relations with your ex.
In what ways would this be useful?
When a couple breaks up, there are often a lot more things besides the bed and the apartment that need to be sorted out. This includes the kids, the friends, and even the pets.
However, if you can maintain cordial relations with your ex, it will be much simpler to deal with everyone involved. Jones argues that maintaining cordial relations is essential for establishing “healthy, co-parenting relationships with each other” in the event of a divorce involving children.
She tells The Independent that showing the kids that you and their other parent can still have a good relationship despite your breakup will help alleviate any anxiety or sadness they may be experiencing as a result of the split.
You and your ex may share mutual friends if neither of you has any children. Jones suggests that “both of your lives don’t have to change completely now that you’re no longer together” by keeping in touch as friends after a breakup.
If you can frame the breakup as a transition from a romantic partnership to a platonic friendship, it may be less painful for both of you.
The risks, please.
If the breakup was not amicable, however, Jones cautions that maintaining friendships may be untenable.
She warns that if you were the one left heartbroken, rekindling your romance with your ex through the medium of a friendship could cause you further pain in the long run.
However, if the breakup was your idea and you continue to be friendly with your ex, they may never be able to fully let go of what you had.
Consider how you would feel if your ex started a new relationship and you had to interact with both of them in the future.
Jones explains, “For instance, if you are in a co-parenting relationship, it could be difficult to see your children around a new ‘parent’ figure in their lives.”
Maintaining cordial relations with your exes’ new partners may be simpler than developing genuine friendships with them both.
Is it possible for me to tell if it’s a bad idea to keep in touch with my exes?
If your relationship with your ex was “abusive, manipulative, or toxic in any way,” then remaining friendly isn’t an option.
You might not feel ready to be friends with your ex and might need time alone to process the end of the relationship. Feeling this way is perfectly natural and understandable; no one should force you to act contrary to your values.
After the breakup of a long-term relationship, Jones says, “it’s vital each partner takes their time to recover and rebuild independently.”
Can you give me advice on how to maintain a cordial relationship with my exes?
If you intend to continue being friends, it’s important to establish ground rules so you don’t revert to old behaviours.
Before rushing into a friendship, “I’d recommend having some time apart,” says Jones. Allowing time for both people to heal from the relationship breakdown is important for maintaining a strong and genuine friendship after a divorce, separation, or breakup.
A romantic setting or places that remind you of your relationship together are also things she recommends ex-partners stay away from. We can’t have romantic candlelit dinners or spend the night at the park.
Keep an eye on the frequency and mode of your communication, she advises. Examples include late-night texts that end with a kiss but aren’t meant to be romantic. Always maintain a professional demeanour while interacting with others.