Should you remain friends with your ex, and how do you do so?
It’s common knowledge that a breakup may be quite challenging, and that figuring out how you feel during this time can feel like an impossible endeavour.
Relationships are complicated, and many individuals wonder, “Should I keep friends with my ex?” while still dealing with heartbreak or being alone.
Lenny Henry, an actor and comedian, recently spoke about his relationship with ex-wife Dawn French in an interview, treating her with such adoration 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 comedy as weapon and shield,” can be found in The Sunday Times. “For the first time in my life, my intellect was there, alert, and able to contribute to a partnership on an equal footing. Put another way, I could say that I was “in love.”
French remarked in 2017 that he was “amazed by us” since the couple, who have a kid, “seemed to have switched with reasonable ease from a 25-year marriage to an enduring relationship.”
Separation and never speaking again aren’t inevitable outcomes of every breakup. After ending a love relationship, many people are able to go on and become good friends with their exes.
The question is, how do you make it happen? And when is it appropriate to maintain cordial ties with an ex?
Amicable’s divorce coach Bec Jones weighs the benefits and drawbacks of maintaining cordial relations with an ex-spouse.
Please explain the advantages.
When a couple breaks up, there are often a lot more things just a bed and an apartment that need to be sorted up. This includes the children, friends, and even pets that the couple shared.
However, if you can maintain cordial contact with your ex, it will be much simpler to deal with everyone involved. Jones argues that maintaining cordial connections is essential for establishing “healthy, co-parenting relationships with each other” in the event of a divorce with children.
She tells The Independent that showing the kids that you and their other parent can still have a nice connection despite your breakup can help them cope with the emotional fallout of the divorce.
Without kids in the picture, it’s possible that you and your ex share a social circle. Jones suggests that “both of your lives don’t have to shift entirely now that you’re no longer together” by staying friends after the breakup.
You’re not completely ending things; rather, you’re transitioning from a romantic partnership to a platonic friendship.
What potential hazards exist?
However, Jones cautions that trying to remain friends may not be the best option if the breakup was not mutual.
“If you were the one left sad, any prospect of a friendship could lead to you and your ex rekindling your romance, which could leave you more wounded in the road,” she advises.
On the other side, if you were the one who decided to stop things, maintaining contact with your ex as a friend may make it difficult for them to let go of the past.
You should also consider how you’d feel if your ex started dating someone new and you had to interact with both of them in the future.
For example, “if you’re in a co-parenting relationship, it could be hard to watch your children around a new ‘parent’ role in their lives,” adds Jones.
In such a situation, it may be simpler to remain on cordial terms than to become best friends with your ex and their new partner.
Can you tell me if it’s a bad idea to keep in touch with my ex?
If the relationship was “abusive, manipulative, or poisonous in any way,” continuing to be friendly with the ex isn’t an option.
You might not feel ready to be friends with your ex and might need some time alone to work through your feelings over the relationship’s breakup. You shouldn’t feel compelled to do anything you aren’t emotionally or mentally prepared to undertake because of this; it’s perfectly normal and understandable.
Jones suggests that after a breakup, “each spouse takes the time to recover and rebuild alone.”
Is there any way for me to salvage my friendship with my ex?
If maintaining your friendship is important to you, it’s important to establish ground rules so you don’t revert to past behaviors.
Jones says, “I’d advocate taking some time apart before rushing into a friendship.” Allowing time for both parties to heal from the relationship collapse is important for maintaining a strong and genuine friendship after a divorce, separation, or breakup.
She also suggests that exes stay away from “romantic settings or places that remind you of your relationship together.” That means no late-night meals or visits to special places.
Keep an eye on the frequency and nature of your communication, she advises. “Late-night texts that conclude with a kiss, for instance, can convey the wrong impression. Maintain a professional, sociable tone in all of your correspondence.