Staying friends with your ex... is it a good idea?
For many people, the idea of remaining friends with a partner after the romantic relationship has ended is simply unthinkable. This may be because the relationship ended on bad terms for one reason or another or the sexual attraction may be a threat to any future relationships.
The chances are that you have at least one friend in your friend group who hates their ex and still complains about them on a regular basis, maybe you do too? So the idea of continuing any sort of relationship with an ex doesn't seem like the best idea.
So, how can people remain friends with an ex partner? Here are some possible reasons.
Well, you may have been good friends before the relationship and you don't want to lose that friendship. This may be realistic if all that happened in the relationship is that the lust/romantic love faded away and left only the original friendship that was there in the first place.
With all personal & professional relationships, communication is key, so if you both had excellent communication skills during your relationship, chances are that there were no surprises when it came to the romantic relationship winding down. With the help of good communication, you can both prepare for a change and adapt to the new scenario ahead and honestly decide together when you can remain friends and if it would be a good idea.
Maturity & Understanding
Maturity kind of goes hand in hand with communication, as to communicate properly, you have to be pretty mature and with maturity comes an understanding that not all things are meant to be and not all good things are supposed to last. Just because a relationship ended doesn't mean that it was bad. Ultimately, it's just one of those things, it's something that you can learn from and move on from by discussing with your ex the positive and negative aspects of the relationship.
Discipline & Self-Respect
There will always be some kind of underlying romantic feeling or memory engrained in your relationship, which is why it's important to engage your self-discipline and not act on any irrational impulses which may cause harm to relationships with others or cause confusion in your new dynamic.
Process Your Thoughts & Trust Your Instincts
Instead of just saying 'we can be friends' and diving straight into a friendship with your ex, give yourself and your ex time to process and discuss the relationship and your feelings going forward. If you need a break from them completely then do it, don't rush ahead with a new responsibility of maintaining a friendship. Reflect on your thoughts and feelings and decide if remaining friends truly is the best idea. If you decide it's not, there's nothing wrong with that. You can still be all the things above and still decide it's not the best thing to do.
Here are some reasons why remaining friends with your ex may not be the best idea.
Remaining Sexual Attraction
The obvious one is remaining sexual attraction, as this is something that may not go away at all, which may create an awkward sexual tension whenever you're around each other. If the sexual attraction is too strong, it may lead to complications that may cause a risk to any other future relationships that you may have. If this is the case, then it may be best to cut it off completely (if you can't control yourself that is).
Strong Emotional Attachments
Similar to any remaining sexual attraction, strong emotional attachments can be even harder to ignore, so if you feel like you still rely on your ex for emotional support that goes beyond friendship or become jealous about their new partners, then this could be a sign to distance yourself from them and call it a day.
This very broad term can cover any number of different things, from manipulation to physical or emotional abuse. Obviously any behaviour like this is unacceptable and should signal the end of any relationship with no contact at the end but unfortunately, we understand how difficult it can be to escape a toxic relationship. If the romantic relationship has ended and your ex has displayed toxic behaviour then it may be best to severe the relationship completely for your own well being.
Obviously cheating is considered by many to be the ultimate breach of trust and often unforgivable, for good reason. If they can't be trusted in a romantic relationship then the chances are that they can't be trusted in any relationship. Enough said?
We hope you found these points interesting and helpful and if you would like to add your own thoughts, please comment below and we will be happy to update the article or maybe make a part 2!
If you're struggling in a toxic/abusive relationship in the UK, call the 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline 0808 2000 247. If you're outside of the UK, use a search engine to find the number of your local helpline.