Can You Be Friends With Your Ex After Heartbreak?

Ensure you are both in the position to maintain a friendship before doing so.
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Even if your heart is broken after a breakup, the thought of losing someone who was once so close to you can hurt even more. But before you think you can have a platonic friendship with your ex, you need to consider a few things. A friendship with an ex won’t work unless both of you are in a healthy place as individuals.

1 After Some Time Apart

It is wise to wait a while before asking for your ex to be friends. In “Friends With Ex: Should You Be Friends With Your Ex Post-Split?” on “The Huffington Post,” grief counselor Susan J. Elliott suggests waiting at least six months after a breakup to heal your broken heart. Even if things did not end badly, it is important to get time alone to figure out who you are as an individual, separate from your ex. This can only happen if you’re not involved in your ex’s life and he is not involved in yours.

2 If You’re Over Each Other

Being friends won’t work out if at least one of you is secretly hoping to get back together. Ask yourself why you really want to be friends. If you are holding on to your ex through this friendship because you are scared to let her go, it might result in more heartbreak for you when you realize she does not want to get back together. Some people find it hard to get over someone they may be addicted to, clinical psychologist Janice Levine tells “Cosmopolitan” online, in "Should You Be Friends With an Ex?" Levine compares this ex to a drug, because seeing her can cause chemical reactions in the brain, similar to chemicals released by drugs. In this case, it is best to stay away so you can get over her properly.

3 If You're Both Moving On

You may have pure intentions when it comes to being friends with a former boyfriend, but if neither of you are moving on, it can be harmful to your dating life. You might feel so comfortable being around your ex that you won’t feel the need to go out and meet new guys, marriage therapist Elena Michaels tells "Cosmopolitan" online. You might also compare every new guy you meet to your ex, especially if you are in contact with him often. It can be unhealthy if your friendship with your ex is holding you back from moving on and dating someone new when you are ready. It is also selfish, asserts Elliott, because you are also hindering your ex from moving on with his life. You may have a healthier friendship if you've had enough time apart to explore other dating options, so that you are not still emotionally dependent on each other.

4 If There's No Resentment

Sometimes heartbreak can leave you with resentment toward your ex, and this can make it difficult to maintain a friendship. If the wounds are still fresh and you get into a conversation about what went wrong in the relationship, it can easily turn into a fight about who is to blame. Even if you want to put aside your differences, you cannot be friends until you take the time to heal for your own sake. In “Living With Resentment Is Like Taking Poison and Hoping the Other Guy Will Get Sick” on "Psychology Today" online, psychotherapist Mark Sichel stresses the importance of finding peace for yourself by letting go of the past and focusing on the present. Once you let go of the negative feelings, you will be able to move on, but until then, steer clear of starting a friendship.

Sarah Casimong is a Vancouver-based writer with a Bachelor's degree in journalism from Kwantlen Polytechnic University. She writes articles on relationships, entertainment and health. Her work can be found in the "Vancouver Observer", "Her Campus" and "Cave Magazine".