Ex Marks the Spot

“Let’s just be friends”: the single phrase every girl in a relationship dreads with all of her heart. Whether your first experience with those four little words was during a face-to-face conversation or from a message on the screen in your hands, the fact of the matter is (sorry to be harsh) you’re breaking up—time to say au revoir to your beau.

While the phrase above marked the end of your relationship, it raises a question many guys and girls alike have been wondering about: Can you truly be friends with a former flame?

Personally, I have remained friends with ALL of my exes and fully believe you’re capable to do so as well. Don’t believe it’s worth your time or even possible for the two of you? Here’s a list of five legitimate benefits of remaining friends with your ex-boyfriend:

1. They get you.

The world is full of people who won’t understand you—your ex, on the other hand, was someone who, at one point, was the center of your universe and knew you like the back of their hand. They were with you because they saw something special and spectacular in you, and they also knew how to lift you up when your mood slipped (1). Befriending your ex allows you both to go back to the start (especially if you were good friends to begin with) and skip over the weird “getting to know you” phase (3). You can pick up things right where you left them and continue to support each other in achieving your dreams.

Besides knowing your ins and outs, your ex can also give you some of the best relationship advice since they’ve had personal experience dating you (2). I know it may seem a little strange, but having a solid friendship with your ex can give them the opportunity to act as a great wingman (4). If you establish a genuine friendship, it can ensure that they will not only look out for you, but they will also want the best for you. Always.

2. Maintain social circle.

If you and your ex both started off as friends, chances are that you also share a lot of the same friends, too. Making an effort to remain friends with your ex does two crucial things regarding your social lives. First, you avoid any sort of awkwardness that could easily arise from spontaneous run-ins at the grocery store or even a party. You’ll also be able to give them a friendly hug without it seeming weird nor spend a strenuous amount of time afterward having second thoughts about it. Moral of the story: post-breakup tension is a MAJOR fun-sucker when out with friends and it makes everyone else around you feel uncomfortable, so just avoid it!

Second, and if not most important, you’re able to keep everyone who was initially in your social circle right where they are. Don’t be that broken-up couple that forces your friends to pick sides—this is one of the worst ideas to do with your friend group because you’re more likely than not to end up losing more peeps than you had to begin with. Staying close with your ex prevents you two from creating fallout that could overall destroy your social lives (2).

 

3. Respect and maturity.

I won’t be the first person to tell you that being friends with an ex can be very difficult at times (I would know—I have done it two times over!). However, when you set aside your ego or any leftover emotions, you’re basically telling your ex that you not only respect them as a person, but you also respect the time you two spent together beforehand (1). This additionally reflects the mindset that they’re too important to be completely removed from your life—this can be a huge revelation for them.

Let’s also not forget about the fact that with some of the challenges upkeeping a friendship with an ex can bring up, a certain level of maturity is needed to fully commit yourself as being a good friend. By accepting the reality of your situation (i.e. that you two didn’t work out as a couple) and being able to remain civil with one another, you’re demonstrating a superb level of maturity that others around you will undoubtedly notice and admire (5).

4. Closure.

Another simple bonus of befriending your ex includes being able to talk about why you broke up in the first place—you’re able to discuss what went wrong. Taking the relationship out of the equation allows you both to say the things you initially wanted to, but felt too guarded to express. You can respectfully identify the problems you had and learn how to apply what didn’t work to your future relationships (5). Closure with an ex is always a relief, so keep yours close!

Quick intermission: In case you were wondering, keeping in touch with an ex can actually improve your relationship skills. Chris Armstrong, a relationship coach and owner of Maze of Love, explains how your relationship skills will “blossom.”

He also said that “it is easy to move on and leave your ex in the dust with no chance of being friends. It’s not messy, it’s not complicated, it’s just nothing. The problem with this blunt mentality is that you’re not learning things like how to balance your head and your heart.” (2)

Keep this in mind before you decide to unfriend your ex from all of your social media accounts or from your life entirely!

5. Relationship mulligan.

In golf, a player may be granted a mulligan—a second chance to replay a stroke—after their first chance went wrong because of some sort of bad luck. Think of a friendship with your ex as an open door to the possibility of a relationship mulligan: a do-over.

The bad luck you two might have faced at first could include anything from a misinterpreted connection to simply wrong timing for a serious relationship. Additionally, during the time you’ve spent apart from each other (regardless if five weeks, five months, or five years), you both have probably grown intrapersonally—you’re not only more aware of the things you like and the things you’re willing to sacrifice in a relationship, but you’ve also recognized the mistakes you might have made the first time you dated one another.

Ultimately, you both know yourselves so much better than the first time around and this intrapersonal growth is an easy gateway to a new, healthy relationship. Believe me, second chances really do pay off sometimes!

I believe in today’s world, there’s an undeniable societal pressure for us to hate our exes—and this is asinine, by all means. However, the fact that you made it to the end of this article shows that you aren’t going to be another girl who feels compelled to cave into this sad trend (congrats!).

Hopefully after reading this, you know that the phrase “Let’s just be friends” is not only possible, but it also comes with tons of benefits for different parts of your life. You never know—he just might be the very (e)x that marks the spot on your heart forever.

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