Can You Ever Be Friends with your Ex? (Kind of.)

Ross and Rachel. Ted and Robin. What do these couples have in common? They tried to be friends after dating and straight chaos ensued. Sure Ross and Rachel eventually got together, but are we supposed to believe THAT worked out? Prettttty sure Rachel never got over Ross's hookup while they were "on a break." Typical.

Anyway. Moving on. Does this mean you can never be friends with an ex or does the conflict just make for good T.V.?  It's a slippery slope. Some argue adamantly against a friendship between former flames. Others say these friendships can definitely work and everyone else should shut. up. But let's forget about the “some” — can YOU do it?

It’s doable, but hard. You have to let time pass and fall in love with your life away from your ex before even attempting to establish a friendship. Once you’ve successfully attained this, make sure to maintain clear boundaries. Let us explain.

It may be cliché, but time heals everything. Do not rush into a friendship with an ex. You need to be alone and become your own person first. Yes, this means that you shouldn’t be f*ck buddies. You can rationalize this all you want, but you’re asking for disaster. Get out and date other people before even considering a friendship.

Analogy time. Remember the Razr phone? Okay, so back in yesterday — like 2006 — it was the hottest thing around. You loved it. It was so thin, shiny and beautiful. Obviously it doesn’t hold a candle to the iPhone, but way back when we were mere common folk with no notions of a smartphone. So we worshipped our Razrs. When it came time to ditch your Razr, it was for an upgrade (helllllo first iPhone). After falling in love with your fancy upgrade and texting away in bliss, you don’t miss your old phone. Sure, your Razr crossed your mind but you knew your new phone was better   so there’s no temptation to revert.

Exes are similar. You have to be sure that your “upgrade”   be that a better relationship, a new love for being alone, or just your new life in general   is fulfilling/exciting/badass enough to make you never go back. But happily, like your Razr, you can use this connection in an emergency or if you want a good laugh over a memory. 

Lastly, you have to maintain specific boundaries. Earlier we spoke out against f*ck buddyship (sorry, we know it’s fun), but there’s more to it than that. Clinical psychologist George Sachs, Psy. D., explains:

Setting boundaries with your ex is about changing the dynamics that existed while you were [together].

So, this isn’t just about sex: it’s also about emotional intimacy. You can’t run to your ex with your problems any more. You can’t cuddle during a movie. The rules have to change. Though he advises mostly on divorcees, the same logic applies to former flames of all types. When you become involved with someone it’s not just about the two of you   you become part of his/her family and friend circle too. It’s hard to give up all of that sometimes.

So, can YOU do it? Take friendship and hit it with your best shot, but be prepared for it not to work. Good luck missy!


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