“We’ll stay Friends though, right?” is one of the hardest questions to answer after a break up. You most likely started off as Friends and there was a reason you liked them before the relationship, but you also know that you shouldn’t because of the trouble it will cause in future relationships. So is it okay to remain friends with an ex, or just selfish and deluded?
There are a number of factors to take into account, did the relationship end badly, did one of you cheat, did you simply grow apart?
Dr Massimo Stocchi, from HarleyStreetPsychology.com, says, “It takes a huge amount of understanding and character to be Friends with an ex because when we face an ending of a relationship one of the most difficult parts to let go of is the actual friendship that has developed.”
Dr Stocchi said that when a relationship comes to an, it’s difficult to stay close as usually the relationship ended because it wasn’t working, an one party will always have stronger feelings for the other.
He added, “Unfortunately in most cases one party will still be more in love with the other and this is where things can turn ugly. The person still in love can become needy and resenting towards their ex and because they want to hold on to any form of contact (even sexual) will find themselves in situations succumbing to the needs of the ex and this can become quite abusive to themselves.”
It’s obviously a different story when the relationship ended badly. You most likely never want to see one another again, but Sarah Whitten, a family law expert and partner at Charles Russell LLP, believes that if children are involved, you must try to keep your relationship on friendly terms and try to put the past behind you.
She says, “It's never easy getting on with someone you have split up with but once you have had children you can't just erase them from your life. If parents can put aside their differences and get on, life for their children will be improved.”
Fitness celebrity and owner of makeoveressex.com, Rachel Evans, says that herself and her ex fought all the time, and even though she didn’t want to remain friends after their split, it worked in her favour.
She says, “I’m friendly with my ex, my son’s dad, only so he can have relationship with his dad, but I did it all for my son whom now resides between two homes and his dad does the school run.”
She added, “My friends with ex strategy paid off as now I’m living the dream, dream man, home, car and career. Even my new man Mike has to be friendly with his ex for his son, and we know we only do it for the children.”
Once a new person is in your life, it’s important to let them know where you stand with your ex. Not necessarily on the first date, but be honest to them by letting them know how the dynamics work.
If you do have to see your ex, Sarah says that diplomacy is the key. She says, “It's a challenge for everyone involved and requires tact and diplomacy at all times especially when new partners are involved.”
Fortunately it’s not always so difficult, Dr Stocchi is very confident that the ending of a relationship can go either way and that both are healthy depending on the individual situation.
Dr Stocchi says, “In theory everything in life needs to have a beginning, a middle and an end, but this doesn't mean that the end is finite when it comes to relationships. If things are too painful then this is a good sign that ex's should not be friends but if both parties experience no heartache and can value what they experience from the friendship then I would say all green lights ahead.”