In one of the relationships I had during my 20s, I faced a dilemma I didn’t know how to approach. This relationship lasted three years, and the breakup was extremely difficult. We both loved each other but felt that something wasn’t right, that our relationship had run its course. So, when we broke up, he suggested something I had never considered before – staying friends. As I said, this option never entered my mind, never have I even considered staying friends with an ex. But, something about him was different, which made me think – is it possible to stay friends with your ex?
After all, we did love each other, and the love that we had didn’t disappear overnight. We cared about each other. But, at the same time, something about it felt off. It was too soon, and the feelings were all still there – the love and the hurt. While I did genuinely loved and cared for him, I wanted to move on with my life, to have a fresh start. I felt like I needed some time to gather myself and re-center. I needed time and space to grieve the relationship. Even after the most amicable breakup, one should take time to process the split and all the feelings involved in it.
Thankfully, we took our time to be single for some time. After about a year, in which we both found comfort in our separate ways, re-entering the world separately, we were able to meet up and be friendly and cordial around each other, and while we aren’t best friends, we have remained on friendly terms ever since. However, I completely understand that this is not something that fits all exes, as I experienced with other exes of mine.
If you do intend to stay friends with your ex, make sure that you both are willing to admit that you don’t work together as a couple, that you are still dealing with unsolved emotions, that you have both moved on from the relationship. Letting go of someone you still love is one of life’s most painful experiences. While there’s no definitive right or wrong way to handle a breakup, clinging to the past is probably not the smartest move. Whatever you do, remember your heart is fragile, so proceed with caution.