My boyfriend of nearly two years broke up with me two weeks ago. Tomorrow, he is running of to Panama city for some spring break fun with a new girl. This is totally unlike him, so I am assuming it’s his way of coping with the pain – though he is flat out denying there is pain. In my logic, I thought, if he’s moving on, should I? We’ve both decided that we will stay friends. Though I am trying to get him to do friend activities, he is seemingly distant and cold. Again, very un like him. I’m wondering, in your personal and professional opinion, can we be friends with our exs? how much time in between should it take to attempt a friendship?
Hey, L. I don’t have any professional advice to offer, but I can speak from my personal experiences with break ups.
Ending a relationship is in many ways losing someone, especially when you’ve been together for a few years as you had. The grief of break-ups, for me, feels not quite as strong as death, but more then falling out with a friend. As such, there are lots of emotions flowing, and that sometimes translates into strange or irrational behavior.
I think your assumption about him coping is probably right, even if he is denying it. In past break ups, I found myself feeling unwanted & missing their presence in my life. Amongst the slew of my sadness, there was peace in feeling like I’d be able to find the same happiness with someone else. Call it “rebounding”. Running off on this trip to Panama may be your ex’s way of doing that. I wouldn’t worry about his coldness for now, he’s probably just upset and needs some time.
It probably would benefit you to start moving on too. Take some time away from him to heal & let him heal. If you keep holding on while he’s working on the process of feeling whole without you, you will be the one with the short end of the stick. :/ Sometimes preventing pain is about knowing when to let go.
How to Stay Friends with an Ex
Some people say you can’t be friends with exes. I think that if you want to, you can! Former partners are people that we have a connection with. Just because the romantic & sexual connection ends, does not mean everything else has to.
That said, it’s perfectly ok to not want to stay in touch with an ex. I have a mixture in my life. Some exes I never spoke to again, some I still hear from. The difference depends on what our relationship was like and why we broke up. Some exes are not worth staying friends with. Especially if your ex was disrespectful or hurtful to you…they’re probably better gone for good. No relationship is better than a toxic relationship.
The friendships I did build with my exes didn’t develop immediately. We stopped talking, texting, calling, and hanging out for quite awhile. The length of time usually ended up being as long as the relationship itself. The amount of time you need will vary, but you will know when enough time has passed: it won’t hurt anymore. Eventually, my ex & I could reconvene and not feel pain or longing when we were hanging out together. We had to let the wounds heal. If you try to develop a friendship with your ex right out of a romantic relationship, chances are, you’re just going to keep reopening the wounds of your romance — not build a new relationship that is non-romantic. Being around your ex when you’re heartbroken just causes more pain and misery, and that’s just not a viable platform to build a friendship on (or to move on, either!). I think this tends to be the strategy of people who have declared that friendships with exes just don’t work – they don’t let themselves completely turn the relationship off for awhile.
There are no short cuts through time. Given enough of it, I’ve been able to come together and enjoy hanging out and having conversations with them again. I was eventually able to talk about my new relationships. I was able to have them in my life and enjoy a friendship with them that didn’t make either of us feel hurt.
This is my experience, anyway. Have any of you maintained friendships with your exes? Or did you cut them out?
Sending you positive vibes through your breakup, L. I hope you manage to find peace & friendship with your ex when the time comes.
Related Video: How To Get Over a Break-Up
I made that one amidst my last breakup. :[