Befriending Your Ex: 3 Questions You Need To Ask Yourself
Remaining in contact with an ex after a breakup or divorce is a delicate dilemma: on the one hand, how do you completely sever from your life a person who was once so dear to you?
On the other hand, befriending your ex can seriously impede your ability to move forward in your love life. The choice is yours, ultimately, but there are several elements to consider in helping you take the actions that are right for you.
Consider the following four questions when deciding whether or not you should remain friends with an ex:
What is keeping you in contact?
We generally advise our clients to stay far (far) away from their exes, unless there is something they share for the sake of which they must remain on good terms. The most obvious answer would be children, but a shared home or car would also be a valid excuse to communicate with a former partner. If you’re truly committed to learning to live without this person, be sure to keep the conversation related to the actual issues at hand (such as the child or car) and don’t allow it escalate to the “what ifs” or “should’ve, could’ve” of the former relationship.
Was/is the relationship or breakup painful?
Staying in touch with an ex whom you still lament is like opening a wound even deeper. Why keep the connection if it causes you pain? If you mutually agreed to walk away from each other with no hard feelings, then the story is different: you may check in with that person without getting your feelings hurt all over again. But if you’re not yet healed and speaking with them brings tears to your eyes, it’s better to withdraw completely from their life and revert to your inner work.
Are you doing it out of duty?
Many of us are dutiful to the point that we sacrifice our own well-being just to do the “right thing” for someone else. I, Alexandra, kept in touch with my ex after our official break up out of pure pity for him: he felt lost for a while, which was normal and understandable. So habit and responsibility made me become his crying shoulder. Only after months of carrying this on did I realize that I actually had no pleasure in speaking with the man and swiftly terminated all form of contact. Human nature keeps us bound to what we know best. Even after we break out of a relationship, we habitually think, worry, and wonder about the person who used to be our beloved. Distinguish when this is done out of your own will versus when you feel a nagging sense of responsibility. Chances are that you sacrificed enough during your relationship; there’s no need to continue showing duty to a person who doesn’t show it to you.
Does it stultify your potential? If remaining friends with an ex can interfere in any way with you finding a new partner, nurturing a budding romance, or improving a part of your life, we urge you to cut the cord outright. You owe it to your own joy and personal evolution to move on, which you won’t be able to do if your ex keeps dragging you back in or sabotaging your potential relationships. Not all exes do this–some are quite supportive of you finding a person who can fulfill you in ways they could not. But most old flames, unfortunately, are not this evolved (which is why they became exes in the first place). As a rule of thumb, looking back at your past will keep you there.
Keeping in touch with an ex is a choice each of us must make based on our individual intentions and circumstances. Imperative to remember is that you must do what feels right in your heart without anyone’s influence.