Ask Erin: Can I Rekindle My Friendship With My Ex’s Sister?

"I miss my friend. Would it be wrong to reach out?"

She’s made all the mistakes, so you don’t have to… Ask Erin is a weekly advice column, in which Erin answers your burning questions about anything at all.


Q.

Hi Erin,

I am missing a friend.

I became friendly with my now ex's sister when we were dating. We stopped chatting when we split up.

I know she's his biggest support. However, I miss my friend (even if I'm glad to be rid of her brother!).

Would it be wrong to reach out?

 

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A.

I can relate to this question. I am one of those people who (with a few exceptions) not only want to remain friends with family members of exes, but also with my exes. 

I know this doesn't sit well with everyone. But, my feeling has always been — unless there was some sort of traumatic, horrific reason for the breakup or it was an extremely toxic relationship — that the friendship(s) don’t have to be thrown away just because the relationship didn’t work. And, I have managed to achieve keeping these friendships, both with exes and their siblings, to varying degrees of success. 

So, in answering your question, there are a few factors to consider.

Why did the relationship end? 

Who broke up with who? Any major contention, i.e., cheating, bickering, abuse? Is he heartbroken? Were things messy? If so, it could make this a bit more challenging. 

If it just didn’t work out, even if there are some hurt feelings there on his part, you can probably get past that with a little time. Which leads to… 

How much time has passed? 

Time does (usually) heal all wounds. If it was a messy breakup that happened last week, you might need to give it some breathing room before you reach out to the sister.

If wounds are fresh, an appropriate plan would be to send her a quick email, let her know that you are sorry it didn’t work out with her brother, but in time you hope to continue your friendship. 

Reach out to your ex first. 

I always think it’s best to give others the same consideration we would want. If things are so contentious that you cannot reach out, then refer to what I said earlier: send an email saying that you hope, with time, it will be okay to resume your friendship. 

By reaching out, you are respecting his boundaries, which you would (should) also want in return. 

So, I know it’s not a simple answer. But it is possible to keep your friend, despite the fact that you’re no longer dating her brother. 


If you have a question for me about relationships, addiction, recovery, friendship, NICU Awareness Month, Howlite, or anything at all, use the contact form below or email me at rarelywrongerin@gmail.com. As always, your anonymity is golden. xoxo

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