I have struggled with this topic for as long as I have been dating. Can you be friends with your ex? Is it possible to put the past and your romantic feelings aside and cultivate a relationship that is devoid of resentment and yearning. In rare cases, two people can decide they are better off as friends and it works out. That, I can not wrap my brain around. I have attempted to be friends with exes, but there are always lingering questions. What if it worked out again? Could we make it work? Does he still have feelings for me too? Who tf is this bitch on his Instagram? For an emotionally-inclined person like myself, it has proven to be nearly impossible to befriend someone you have dated in the past. Unless you two dated in middle school.
When you are in a relationship with someone, there is an undeniable force between the two of you. You spend months or maybe years cultivating this precious, indestructible aura between the both of you. It doesn’t matter what happens between you, this forcefield that once brought you together will continue to linger. It is completely different than a friendship, which is what makes everything so confusing. There are memories that you made and memories that you had planned to make. At one point, your past, present, and future all included this connection with this person. But when the person is still there and the love is not, the incongruence can be confusing. However, middle school relationships have little to no seriousness to them, even though at the time it feels like slow dancing to Hero by Enrique Iglesias is the most romantic thing you will ever experience. There is very little from your awkward middle school years that you wish you could bring back, except for no homework and the best TV shows ever created, so spending time with your middle school ex won’t dredge up any feelings of bitter nostalgia.
Besides the nagging good memories, the worst part of being friends with your ex is living with the bad memories. When someone you used to be so close with and so confident in suddenly turns on you, it can be emotionally scarring. Getting over a breakup is hard enough without the person there, but having them around makes it even more difficult to repair yourself and rid yourself of any issues the relationship may have brought about. That is, of course, not including relationships that ended over AIM. At that point, you can step back and realize that if the way that you express your emotions was through a cryptic away message, then maybe the whole thing wasn’t as weighty as you thought.
So, not to brag, but I’ve finally solved the debate about being friends with your ex. As long as you wedge at least a decade between the last time your parents dropped you off at the movies and whenever you want to grab a drink and catch up, everything will be just fine. Besides, if he stuck with you through braces, side bangs, and your brief punk emo phase, you should probably keep him around..
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