“Let’s just be friends”: the single phrase everyone in a relationship dreads with all their 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 you’re breaking up—time to say au revoir to your beau or belle.
While the phrase above marks 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’ve remained friends with all 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 benefits of remaining friends with your ex.
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. 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. 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. 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 or wingwoman. If you establish a genuine friendship, it can ensure that they’ll not only look out for you, but also want the best for you. Always.
2. Maintain your social circle
If you and your ex both started off as friends, chances are that you 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 a party. You’ll also be able to give them a friendly hug without feeling weird or spending 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!
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 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 mutual social lives.
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. 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 also you respect the time you two spent together beforehand. This ultimately 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 that with some of the challenges maintaining a friendship with an ex can bring up, a certain level of maturity is needed to fully commit yourself to being a good friend. By accepting the reality that you 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.
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. Closure with an ex is always a relief, so keep yours close!
Quick intermission: 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.”
Keep this in mind before you decide to unfriend your ex from all 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 bad luck. Think of a friendship with your ex as a possibility of a relationship mulligan: a do-over.
The bad luck you two might have initially faced could include anything from a misinterpreted connection to simply wrong timing for a serious relationship. Regardless if five weeks, five months or five years apart, 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 also you’ve recognized the mistakes you might’ve made the first time you dated one another.
Ultimately, you know yourselves so much better than the first time around and this intrapersonal growth is an easy gateway to a new, healthy relationship. Second chances really do pay off sometimes!
In today’s world, there’s a societal pressure for us to hate our exes—and this is asinine, by all means. I repeat: You. Do. Not. Have. To. Hate. Your. Ex.
Hopefully after reading this, you know that the relationship-ending phrase “Let’s just be friends” is not only possible, but also it comes with tons of benefits for different parts of your life. You never know—they just might be the very (e)x that marks a spot on your heart forever!