Why would you want to remain friends with a former significant other? Sometimes, the most difficult part of a breakup is the void left by your special someone. You spent so much time together and shared so many things on a daily basis, you probably became best friends. Or, if you did the breaking up, maybe you want to lessen the sting of the separation by suggesting you continue your relationship on a platonic level. Either way, there are certain times that it could work, but there are some speedbumps that could slow down the healing process and prevent you from moving on. We’re exploring six pros and cons of remaining friends with a former love interest.
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1. When You Can Be Friends: Mutual Separation
There are certain scenarios where it is possible to have a friendship: Say you pretty much grew up together–and then sort-of outgrew each other. You both agreed it was time to part ways, so the breakup was mutual. You took time to develop some independence and are both dating other people.
To be friends? In this instance, it is possible. The fact that the breakup and feelings were mutual is a good thing–and the main reason it is possible to forge a new friendship. Just make sure your new partner is okay with the relationship as well, as it is important to consider their feelings.
2. When You Can Be Friends: Friends First
Besides a mutual breakup, sometimes two people who already share a great friendship try to see if there is more there, and then figure out they are better off as pals. These are the types of situations when it is possible to have a platonic relationship.
3. Why You Can’t Be Friends: He/She’s Moving On, But You Are Not
One of the worst things that can happen to your dating life is staying hung up on someone who doesn’t love you. You pine, and they move on. Each new person that comes your way and expresses interest is swiftly blown off, because you are desperately hoping you can rekindle the flame with your ex. If you’re still seeing the person regularly, you can’t meet someone new because your old love is still in your life—hanging around, being your buddy, and reminding you of how great they are.
4. Why You Can’t Be Friends: The Mixed Messages
Friends do things for each other. They call when you’re sick. They take you out when you’ve had a bad day. They give you a gift on your birthday. It is very easy to get mixed signals in the midst of all this kindness, love, and support. It’s easy to wonder if feelings have changed, if there is some spark underneath all that effort. “Would she really come over and cook me dinner if she didn’t love me and want to be with me?” you might ask. Keeping it all straight can be a full-time job and distracts you from really moving on.
5. Why You Can’t Be Friends: The Romantic Connection
It is hard to turn off romantic feelings. If you’ve ever been dumped and agreed to “just be friends,” deep down inside you still want to get back together. Each time you get together as friends you’re hoping and praying that you’ll end up in each other’s arms. You may even subtly be pushing things in that direction. If you did the dumping, the knowledge that this person—this new friend—would love to kiss you will always be in the back of your mind waiting for the right moment to lead you exactly where you don’t want to go.
6. Why You Can’t Be Friends: The Bottom Line
The common scenario in all of these situations is that one person—or both—may still have some romantic feelings for the other. After a breakup, it’s best to have a cooling off period from each other, with little to no communication. Give some time for those emotions to fade and an opportunity to create new love in your life.
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