The Lalatwo Girls Sitting On A Step

Valentine's to Galentine's: How I Became Friends With My Ex

This will be my first Valentine’s Day as a single woman in four years. But instead of celebrating Valentine’s Day, I’ve decided to celebrate Galentine’s Day—with my ex.

I’ve heard it all: you can’t be friends with your ex, it never works out, if you’re friends then you must still have feelings for each other, etc. I admit that it is pretty unorthodox to be friends with your ex, but hey, it happens! And you can trust me when I say that there are no lingering feelings on either side. Sometimes things happen and people find they’re better as friends than a couple, even years later. In this instance, we were pretty much forced to be friends, otherwise we’d spend the whole academic year in uncomfortable tension. 

We re-signed our lease together in January 2019 before breaking up during the summer. Instead of moving out and finding other people to take over our lease, we decided that it made the most economical and financial sense for both of us to stay where we were—especially considering that this is our last year as undergrads and we’ll be moving out in April anyway. 

It was really tough at first. There were new boundaries we had to set up and conversations we had to have so that we could both ensure that we were comfortable in this house together; we had to find a new respect for each other’s space. We found that the biggest thing that helped us stay civil and become friends was compromise. Now, some of these may sound silly, but when you’re creating new boundaries for yourself, even the littlest compromises hold huge importance:

  • We make our own tea, but will ask if the other wants some before boiling the water.

  • If one of us is studying, the other will text instead of knocking on the door. This way there is no interruption in the flow and they’ll get the message later.

  • We make our own meals now, but if one of us has leftovers or extra we’ll offer it to each other.

  • When working on assignments, we’ll brainstorm and bounce ideas off each other for 10 minutes, and then get back to our own work instead of spending x amount of time trying to help each other while our own work suffers.

These are just a few of the compromises we’ve made since September that really helped to set new, firm boundaries and allow a friendship to grow. We still watch TV together sometimes—our show of choice right now is The Circle on Netflix. But we always make sure to have time to ourselves, such as playing video games for her and reading a good book for me. 

It was a rocky start, but I can confidently say that we’re pretty good friends now, and I am so grateful for that. She is one of the most kind, caring, and supportive people I have ever met, and she gives great advice too.

So this year I’m going to celebrate Galentine’s Day! And I can’t wait to spend it with my friend.