You broke up with your boyfriend – or your husband – and now it’s time to be adults and make friends. Why? Because you work for the same company, have friends in common, or are prepared to co-parent your children to the best of your ability. Perhaps you still like each other and the romance fizzled, but your shared love for Game of Thrones remains strong. Whether your breakup was amicable or you have to suck it up and manage to co-exist in the same room once in a while for the sake of your sanity, follow these 5 steps to get your new friendship started on the right track and leave your heart open to finding a good man.
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Step 1: Break Up For Real
Reset your expectations of your ex by taking a break from them entirely. Even if your breakup was mutual take some time to apart. He is no longer the first person you turn to when you are feeling down or have a hilarious story to tell, and you both need to adjust. Block him on Facebook, don’t text him about that last scene on Arrow, don’t meet up for coffee, don’t ask your mutual friends if they’ve seen him. Despite the mockery, that whole “conscious uncoupling” thing that Gwyneth and Chris made famous has merit. Remove him from your life, and remove yourself from his. Get closure and clarity to decide whether befriending your ex is a healthy choice.
You need to know who you are and how you’ll get on with life without him by your side because, no matter what happens with you and your ex, this is a new phase of life and you are now single. Even an amicable breakup comes with intense emotions that deserve to be reckoned with.
Step 2: R-E-S-P-E-C-T – Find out what it means to you
Examine your motives for connecting as friends and only move forward if you’re confident that it’s for the right reasons.
The Right Reasons to Be Friends with Your Ex: • The love is gone but the fun lives on. • You provide great support to each other. • You respect each other. • You don’t want him back.
The Wrong Reasons to be Friends with Your Ex: • You want him back. • He wants you back. • You want to spy on him. • You feel lost without him. • You can’t stop thinking about him.
If he gets all up in your life as if he has a right to, break it off and make it snappy. And the same goes if you feel like you have the right to dole out unsolicited advice to him. That’s not friendship, that’s control. Yuck.
Friendship can’t work if you want him back. This will suck you into a poisoned relationship and you will throw away your chances of real love but stand by watching while he opens his heart anew. Do not be friends with benefits. This relationship is too close to the heart and will mess up your chance to find true love.
Step 3: Don’t Pity That Fool
It doesn’t matter if your ex is a really nice guy, doesn’t have a lot of friends, or wasn’t the reason for your breakup. If you feel bad for him in any way, don’t be friends. That’s insulting to him (even if he doesn’t think so), and you’ll continue to be tangled up in a relationship that needs to end. Make sure he’s not trying to get you back. Don’t lead him on, and don’t waste your time.
Step 4: Define the Friendship
You’ve examined your conscience and friendship has prevailed. Yay! Now set boundaries. Make sure you’re comfortable with everything he can see on social media, and what you see of him. It’s ok to remove him from your newsfeed and block him from seeing your updates, you can always change your settings later. Compare this new friendship to established friendships and act accordingly. Let him know you don’t want to hear about his next date if you aren’t ready for that, and don’t expect him to approve of your new boyfriend right away. It’s going to take time to find your new rhythm.
And don’t forget WHY you broke up. Just because the friendship thing is working doesn’t mean the romance deserves another shot, so be careful not to get sucked back into old habits.
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Step 5: Prepare for battle
You’ve examined your conscience, your heart, and your ex’s mindset, and friendship has prevailed. Yay! Now prepare yourself to be questioned, doubted, and stink-eyed by pretty much everyone else. Your parents are going to think it’s weird. Your other friends are going to think you’re hung up on him, and everyone is going to ask you how you’ll feel when you see him with someone new. While it’s none of their business, these people are part of your tribe, they love you, and they’re going to ask you anyway because they’re worried you’ll get your heart re-broken. Be prepared to explain that you’re just friends, and to stand your ground. It doesn’t hurt to have a few talking points on hand to change the topic such as, “read any good books lately?” and “So how’s your love life going these days?” You also have some ‘splaining to do to your new boyfriend. It’s ok if he’s uncomfortable with your ex friendship because it’s uncommon and your boyfriend is genetically built to be weary of the competition. If your new man has serious concerns about this friendship, be respectful of his feelings and have a serious talk about it. If he’s inherently jealous though, he can exit stage left. Your boyfriend does not have to like all of your friends, and vice versa. But that’s another blog post.
Take into consideration the expectations of your ex friend’s new girlfriend; she might hate your guts. Don’t let her treat you like crap, but the truth is you aren’t his MVP anymore, she is. Don’t try to force your friendship on her. Make sure your actions are those of friends and not of lovers and demonstrate that grown-ups of the opposite sex really can just be friends. Awesome ones, too!
Why be friends with your ex? You had fun hanging out, but you couldn’t make a life together work. That’s ok. How many of your non-ex friends could you live with? Probably not many. The best part of being just friends with your ex is that it is a surefire sign that your heart is ready for new love.
Here’s what you can do going forward:
If he’s NOT ready to commit and you’re tired of this scenario, or just want to make sure your next kiss is with someone who’s ready, get a copy of No More Assholes and find someone seriously amazing and ready to commit. He’s out there, I promise.
This is the book that helps you avoid turning little things into big fights, and you’ll love how the advice inside helps you create the Magical relationship you’re looking for. Peaceful, cohesive, passionate, and intimate.
Need help figuring the whole thing out? Let’s work together one on one so you can gain the clarity and peace of mind you need right now. My specialty is your peace of mind, and I’m adept at giving the perspective you need along with the tools you’ll use to start feeling happier, clearer, and on your way to the Love you want ASAP.
Look, nothing sucks more than giving your heart to someone who isn’t giving theirs back.
If this is something you’ve done too often it’s time to break that pattern, and lucky for you, you’ve met the pattern breaker. You’ll use different behaviors so you get a different outcome, and I know how to trigger a man’s brain in all the right spots.
Your happiness depends on your decisions first and foremost, not his, and I’m the Sherpa who carries the burden of knowledge and shows you the way.
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Chantal Heide is an Author and Motivational Speaker, focusing on dating and relationship building. Her books Dating 101, Comeback Queen, Fake Love Need Not Apply, No More Assholes, After The First Kiss, Fix That Shit, Say Yes To Goodness, and Custom Made (available on this website, Amazon, and your favorite online book retailer) help her readers attract the love they’re looking for, regardless of their starting point . View her BOOKS page for more information. Be sure to check out more free advice on Facebook, YouTube, and Itunes, as well as fun tidbits about her life on Instagram and Twitter.