So you broke up with somebody and now you are asking yourself the age-old question: “Can we still be friends?”
The answer is tentatively yes, if and only if the friendship will be healthy and beneficial to all parties. If the relationship was at all abusive the answer is absolutely not.
If it wasn’t then here are the four crucial questions you should ask yourself before embarking on the journey that is ex friendship.
1. Has It Been Enough Time?
This is far and above the most important question you should be asking yourself. And by enough time I don’t mean it’s been two weeks and you’ve slept with six new people. I mean has it been enough time that both of you have processed your emotions regarding the other person (read: have you both moved on fully and is there no chance you will accidentally hate fuck in the bathroom). As a general rule of thumb I give myself six months to a year before even entertaining the possibility of friendship.
2. Has There Been Enough Space?
You cannot get over somebody if you are constantly seeing them. Be proactive and remove yourself from situations where you might run into them. Give yourself the space to remember who you are without them. It is important that you feel like a separate entity before you welcome them back into your life. For example, it was not until my ex moved across the country that I finally felt enough space to begin a friendship. We are now incredibly close and it is one of the healthiest friendships I have.
3. Does Any Ounce of You Want to Be With the Other Person?
This is a hard question to ask yourself and an even harder question to ask an ex, but until you can both look each other in the eye and say, “I do not want to be romantically or sexually involved with you,” it’s probably in your best interest to wait.
4. Are You Ready and Willing to Be Supportive of Your Ex’s Future Relationships?
Your ex is going to date other people. You are going to date other people. Ask yourself, “Will I be happy for them if they meet somebody new? Will I want to give them advice? Am I willing to console them if the new relationship does not work out?”
If the answer to all of these questions is yes, then by all means pursue a friendship with your ex! These friendships can be incredibly strong and important because you already know each other on such a deep level. My ex is the first person I turn to for relationship advice because they know how I function in relationships better than anybody else. But these friendships can’t happen overnight. They take time and effort and not every ex situation can result in friendship. The most important thing is to be completely open and honest with both yourself and your ex. Don’t force it, let it happen naturally, and be prepared for it to not work out. May the force be with you.