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Should You Remain Friends With Your Ex After Breaking Up?
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Should You Remain Friends With Your Ex After Breaking Up?

Being on the losing end of a breakup often feels like you're being forced to say goodbye to more than just an ex-girlfriend/boyfriend. It often feels like you're being forced to part ways with your best friend as well. Since you and your ex were so undeniably close throughout your relationship, it may be easy to rationalize things to yourself in such a way that makes a friendship with them post-breakup seem like a decent idea. There are hundreds of reasons to stay friends, and only one that should outweigh all of the positives off the bat - trying to create a friendship out of a breakup is inevitably going to crash and burn, and one or both of you are going to wind up hurt all over again.

How could anything bad result from a friendship with your ex when it seems to be chock-full of benefits? You can think of several things that a friendship will provide right off the top of your head, can't you? First (and often most important) you and your ex won't have to miss each other since you'll still be an active part of each other's lives. In addition, you still have your built-in advice provider. Maybe you and your ex can even hang out occasionally. What could be wrong with any of that?

Surprisingly, it's rather easy to divorce the concept of a friendship from a romantic attachment that went wrong - especially if you and your ex were friends before you started dating. It's easy to separate the two and justify the fact that the friendship and the relationship should be viewed as two completely separate things. Your romance didn't work out - so what? Your initial friendship worked out just fine and you can't see the problem in giving it another shot. It should all balance out in the end, shouldn't it?

No matter how hard you try, the fact of the matter is that it's ultimately not possible to maintain a friendship with an ex-boyfriend/girlfriend. You may give it your best effort, but you can't control anything but yourself - and there are other factors at play. Since there is rarely, if ever, a mutual breakup, it's likely that one of two possible scenarios describe your situation - at least generally.

Scenario 1 - your ex broke up with you: If your ex left you, you feel desperate, helpless and often like your entire life is spiraling out of your control. You would do almost anything to piece your relationship back together. Friendship, to you, seems like a convenient excuse to keep your ex active in your life. You're on-hand for a golden opportunity for reconciliation to present itself so you can step in and win back your ex's heart. In the meantime, however, you're just biding your time.

Scenario 2 - You initiated the breakup: if you're the one that called things off, you're going about things a little differently, but you and your ex are most certainly not on the same page. Despite what your ex is choosing to tell you, their romantic feelings are still intact. There's no escaping that simple fact, and that's what makes a purely platonic relationship impossible. Your ex is convinced that, if they're patient enough, you'll eventually take them back - and that's the only reason they agreed to be your "friend" at all.

When you think about it, it's fair to say that every breakup results in hurt feelings and sense of rejection, no matter how polite both parties seem to be on the surface. Both parties may even agree to part ways, but one person ultimately puts for the suggestion or decision to put it into action. Those negative feelings are ultimately the trigger that will cause the collapse of the friendship, and when it falls apart one or both of you are going to experience those negative emotions all over again.

Is Friendship a Path to Reconciliation?

If you find yourself toying with the idea of a friendship after the breakup, the first thing that you need to is to sit down and thoroughly think things through. Instead of imagining a best-case scenario, look at things more realistically. How would you feel seeing your ex dating someone else? Is a friendship really what you're looking for or do you have something more in the back of your mind?

After your inner revelation, it's time to take proactive steps to bring that reality to life. The most important thing to recognize is that a pseudo-platonic relationship is not the way to accomplish it. In fact, playing the role of a friend could work so well that, over time, that's all your ex will see you as. Once you've demonstrated your expertise in a platonic relationship, over time your ex will be unable to see you as anything more - and you will have sabotaged your own chance for success.

What if You're Already Friends?

Unfortunately, you may have already agreed to friendship out of sheer desperation. If you feel trapped and hopeless by your prior decision, take a few deep breaths and recognize that it's not too late to do something about it. Instead of merely seeing you as a friend, you want your ex to see you as a potential partner again and that means that you have to turn up the heat in order to reignite their former passion. If you feel lost, there are a lot of valuable techniques available that can guide you through the process and increase your likelihood of success.

It's never practical or profitable to try to turn a failed relationship into a friendship, at least not if you want to get back together with your ex and you still have feelings for them. The key in this sticky situation is to remember that you're always better off when you remain honest - and that applies to self-honesty as well as what you tell your ex. You need to let your ex know that you would only be faking a friendship - because you still have strong feelings for them, and leave it at that.

Friendship is your ex's safety net that allows them to remain safely between a romantic relationship and empty air - and you've just pulled the rug out from under them. Instead of keeping a third option on the table (which your friendship is), you've narrowed the choices down to two - either get back together, or they lose you for good. With their backs against the wall and no other choice, you'd be shocked to see how quickly things turn in your favor.

What's Next?

Remaining friends with your ex is only a good idea if you are completely over them and vice versa. If on the other hand you still have lingering feelings for them and harbor hopes of winning back your ex in the near future, it can only spell disaster.

So you want to know how to win back your ex, you therefore need to know exactly what you are doing. Contact with your ex is the first thing that you need to work out. You need to create interest and intrigue and this is the perfect way to do it. You also need to find out exactly where you stand - how do they really feel about you? There are some signs ex still likes you, look out for them to know the truth.


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