Stay Friends With Your Ex

Is there still hope after a bad breakup? Learn 3 ways to stay friends with your ex.

By Christopher DeLorenzo

s a favor to my friend Ricky, I shipped several boxes to him in Germany. Shipping involved a lengthy stop at the post office and several long-distance phone calls regarding my reimbursement; despite the drama of it all, we’re still close friends. Why is that surprising? Because Ricky’s my ex, though after we broke up I wondered if we’d ever speak again.

That was seven years ago, and I have a monstrous phone bill to prove that my fears were unfounded.
Solid friendships are built on trust, sometimes taking years to form.
But why is it so rare for ex-lovers to be friends? And why is it that some people can maintain friendships with their exes, while others can’t?

It depends on the breakup
If you ended your last conversation in a shouting match and he hung up on you, or if one of you was caught cheating or lying, the trust you shared was violated, and it’s a long road home from the land of distrust.

Solid friendships are built on trust, sometimes taking years to form. In many romantic relationships, this kind of trust is never established before there is a falling out. No solid trust equals no solid foundation, and you can’t build anything without a foundation.

It depends on the initial relationship
Some people — like my ex Jerry — seem to be friends with all of their exes (except me, of course). That’s because they decided to be friends before they got in too deep. Scholars, psychologists and philosophers are still trying to understand why we have a different set of rules for communication in our friendships than we do in our intimate relationships.

In the meantime, this much we know: If you’re pals to begin with, you have a greater chance of remaining friends after a breakup. It may be a superficial friendship, but at least you can see one another on the street and still be civil.

It depends on your maturity level
I wish I could say that I have evolved beyond “I was right, and you were wrong,” but the truth is, we all go there sometimes.

When insecurity arises in a relationship and arguments occur, people are hurt, and sometimes
We didn’t speak for nearly six months after our breakup.
sometimes they need to cut themselves off to protect their pride. But is that what friendships are based on? Protecting ourselves? Just the opposite.

The only reason Ricky and I are still friends is because we didn’t want to lose one another; we apologized; we fought fair. Even so, we didn’t speak for nearly six months after our breakup. Because it was important to acknowledge that our love was real and that we appreciated having each other in our lives, we never gave up on one other.

I suppose, in the end, that’s what being a friend is all about.

Christopher DeLorenzo is a freelance writer who contributes to Happen magazine.
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