In my lifetime I have seen many relationships, a few of which were my own, end (not all were good). As I have matured over the years, I have often wondered, “Is it possible to have a friendship after the break-up?”
Many of us often say, “My mate is my best friend” but after the relationship ends so does the friendship. When I hear people make that statement I often wonder is there truth in it. Relationships end for many reasons: infidelity, money, abuse, change in lifestyle, lack of sex, lack of communication, lack of trust, and the list goes on. But as the relationship ends (depending on the reason for the breakup), I believe the friendship can stay in tact. Please understand I am not saying that you will be best friends; but you can be civil, respectful, and even share a meal together.
After countless conversations with friends about their breakups and taking a closer look at mine, I have developed this list to help keep a friendship in tact after a break-up:
– The break-up should be handled with care and all parties must always be mature.
– Do not share the private details of the break up with everyone. The less you tell others, the better. Brene Brown says it best: “Our stories are not meant for everyone. Hearing them is a privilege, and we should always ask ourselves this before we share: ‘Who has earned the right to hear my story?’ If we have one or two people in our lives who can sit with us and hold space for our shame stories, and love us for our strengths and struggles, we are incredibly lucky. If we have a a friend, or small group of friends, or family who embraces our imperfections, vulnerabilities, and power, and fills us with a sense of belonging, we are incredibly lucky.”
– No sex after the relationship has ended. This may confuse feelings and will make trying to have a friendship difficult.
– A few months of no communication is good to allow emotions and feelings to subside.
– Develop a timeline/plan to deal with joint property and living arrangements.
– Discuss the possibility of running into each other in public and what that interaction should look like.
– Have a meaningful discussion about why the relationship ended for closure. This may be a very difficult step for most but it is necessary to build a friendship.
– Do not talk negatively about your ex to others.
– Discuss how to handle if either of you starts dating.
My list may not work for all but I believe it is a great starting point. We live in a world full of anger, hostility, prejudice, and discrimination; but holding on to all the negativity is not good for the next phase of your life. We must always remember that we are adults and our kids copy what we do and how we treat each other. Let’s do a better job!
Please feel free to share your thoughts and feelings! We are all in this together!