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So, you want to be friends with your ex?

Today, you no longer exist as a couple and you definitely do not consider your ex as a lover anymore, but you are really missing the friendship part. So how can you get this new ex friendship on track?

Being friends with your ex
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Love was perhaps the most meaningful part of your last relationship but you feel that friendship was the secret of its long duration, and what everyone around you envied. Doctissimo helps you in your quest to win back a good friend.

Ready to move your ex to the friendship level?

Staying friends with exes is an iffy subject. The majority of people will tell you that it’s impossible to stay friends with your ex because of the ongoing “sexual tension” between the two of you (unless one of you broke up because you couldn’t tolerate the other one in bed!).

People may also tell you that jealousy will be an ongoing problem and that no matter what you say, you are not mature enough to stand seeing him with a girlfriend around.

What you will find here is not excuses to legitimize your burning need to stay in your ex’s vicinity to keep an eye on him or charm him again, but authentic advice to work out a true friendship with this guy who knows you so well and who you really like. Because there really is a possibility that friendship can work with an ex.

For a friendship with your ex to really work, you need to make sure of two things: first that the two of have actually turned the page of your shared time of love and then, of your break-up. Secondly, you need to be sure that you consider your ex a very special person who you know and like for who they are, with no other feelings hanging about.

Sure you want to be just friends? Ask yourself these three questions…

To make sure about the fundamentals, you need to ask yourself the following questions and answer them honestly:

  • Am I completely over him as a boyfriend and have I dealt with my feelings for him? If not, then stop here and forget about the friendship option with this guy.

  • Am I trying to keep this relationship going with him just to ease my own loneliness? If you are, it is probably because you are not used to being single and need to meet new guys rather than hang around with the old ones. (read our Getting over a break-up article).

  • Can I stand hearing about his new life, friends and parties that he’s having without me? This shouldn’t be too hard to test. Imagine yourself listening to him telling you about Lloyd’s housewarming party in London featuring 50-odd people – including the girls they met on the beach during over summer… you shouldn’t be expecting to know who he tried to get into bed that evening but you should comfortable hearing that he has well and truly moved on from you!

  • Do I really like him just as a friend, for who he is, or is it just the habit of having him to talk to that I miss? Compare with what you feel for your other friends: they are all unique and special. With Cleo you talk fashion, design and love while with Rachel you share passionate debates about how to protect the planet and save endangered animals. As a friend, your ex should also represent someone apart, with his own personality and subjects that you like and can share.

3 Steps to a solid friendship with your ex

1.  New contacts. Once you are sure you and your ex feel the same for each other and both want to get in touch again, you can begin. To get off to a good start, see him alone, not for long (an-hour lunch for example) and make it clear between you both… You are not interesting in any kind of love relationship with each other. On the contrary, tell him that today you deeply feel you are done with your couple relationship and want to start a real friendship, because he means a lot to you.

2.  Clearing the air. This friendship can be an occasion for the two of you to express yourselves about feelings or unclear situations you’d experienced while still together but never took the chance to resolve. This will help you build a friendship based on confidence, respect and honesty. However, you must not take it as an opening for you or him to gratuitously criticize the other one to get back at each other for past mistakes.

3.  Evolving in a different way. Finally, remember that even if at the beginning you can’t imagine yourself asking about his love life, you will soon wish him the best and pray for his happiness – which will also include his next love. As strong as this friendship can be, you are advised against taking each other as your confident, nor as your relationship counsellor. An ex can remain a sensitive relationship and he might have to fight with a little jealousy and protective feelings towards you. It doesn’t mean love is still here but that the intimacy you used to share must evolve into a different kind of behaviour, manners and words between you. To make it work, friendship requires self-commitment and respect for each other, especially in transforming a couple into a couple of good friends.

Posted 11.01.2011

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