Not all break-ups end in pain and gnashing of teeth. Sometimes, people have realised that dating doesn’t work for them, so they move on to a different kind of relationship: a friendship. Here’s what to expect when you want to become friends with your ex.
You may cry a lot
A lot of their current actions or inactions may cause you pain, especially if you still have strong romantic feelings towards them. You’d have memories of who they are and what they’re going to be. You’ll see their growth in real time and you’ll remember you no longer play the same part like you once did and you have to support them in a different way, going forward. It may bring tears to your eyes, but crying isn’t a bad thing.
Separate the person you once knew from the person you now know
The person that was dating you and the person you’re trying to be friends with may not be the same. They probably picked your calls at midnight because they were in love with you back then. That may change and you need to respect that. Humans change when the relationship capacity changes.
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Prepare for awkwardness
It will be awkward. You may cringe a couple of times and will probably forget how to talk to them. You may slip up and call them a former pet name and fall into an awkward silence. But it’ll pass eventually and you’ll be alright.
Create healthy boundaries
Protect your peace and your space. Make sure to let them know the ways and capacites you can be available for them. It’s easy to blur the lines for someone you were once in love with, so stand your ground.
Make peace with yourself
You can’t successfully be friends with them if you’re still holding on to things that may never be. Free yourself from the expectation of getting back together and enjoy this new phase.
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Jealousy will come but how you navigate it is what matters
They’ll most likely date someone else. You’ll see them do things both of you had once planned with their new partner(s). You’ll also see them do things for their new partner that they swore they’d never do. It’s okay to feel some jealousy, but you need to understand that you’re no longer in their life in that capacity. Feel your feelings, but don’t do anything rash.
Give it time
Don’t rush into the friendship. It may take a while for it to finally work out well, so don’t rush it. You may have hiccups today and fights tomorrow, but if you’re deliberate about the friendship, it’ll most likely work out.
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Zikoko is launching a new series where we explore those friendships, familial and romantic relationships that are no longer sailing.