Ashley, a friend of mine, is known as the "ex-boyfriend whisperer." I call her this because, no matter how awful any of her breakups have been, Ashley and her ex-boyfriend have moved comfortably into the friend zone four months after the separation. This isn't the first or second time this has happened. In fact, it's now at least the third time this has happened.
Her theory is that if an ex-boyfriend can remain friendly with the girl they broke up with, then so can she. She says that men are like cats: They always land on their feet. Even if she was horrible to him every day after they broke up, he'd still feel compelled to stay friendly just for her sake.
I think this comes from a place of love. Her ex-boyfriends know that even though they're no longer together, Ashley will always be there for them. That means a lot to men who are used to being in control, especially since most girls don't work like that anymore.
The problem is that when a guy enters the friend zone, it usually implies that there's some kind of attraction there. With Ashley's ex-boyfriends, there is definitely no attraction anymore. So why keep trying when it's clear that she doesn't want anything to do with you?
The answer is simple: Because they love her.
It's not simply about not doing things—keeping a friendship with an ex is just like keeping any other friendship. Ashley, the Ex-Boyfriend Whisperer, informed me that her trick is to put in the effort. I remember their birthdays, I check in, and I always inquire about their parents. It's true that you can't hang out with your ex every day, but she needs to feel like she's important enough to think about.
The key is to not focus on what they used to mean to you, but rather what they mean to you now. If they're still important to your life, then you should try to see them often even if it's for a few minutes.
However, if they're not important anymore, then there's no need to keep hanging out with them. You should also avoid bringing up the past unless they do so first. This shows that you still care about them even though you no longer have feelings for them.
In conclusion, staying friends with an ex-boyfriend is possible if you take the time to maintain the relationship. You just need to make sure that you both want to remain friends after you've ended the relationship.
Although individuals maintain friendships with their ex-partners for a number of reasons, when a toxic ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend contacts them, there is typically something more going on than simply "missing" their former relationships.
There are two main reasons why people keep connections with someone they used to love/hate: obligation and convenience.
When you have an obligation toward someone, it means that you should help them even though you don't want to. For example, if you promised your friend a visit before she moved away then you should go ahead and keep your promise even though you'd rather not. An obligation bond forms when you feel compelled to help or protect another person.
In most cases, people form obligations to those they care about. This may be because they believe the other person needs help, or it could be because they want to be needed. Either way, obligation bonds can grow strong over time, much like friendship ones do.
Sometimes we're forced to keep connections with people we don't want to help ourselves. This could be the case if the person in question has done something threatening or harmful and you need to report it. Alternatively, you might be obligated to someone who can't help themselves - for example, an elderly relative who requires constant attention. In this case, the connection feels more like duty than desire.
A really good connection with an ex-partner—one in which new partners are completely integrated and all friendships are disclosed—is not simply a terrific indicator that you've emotionally matured after the split. It suggests the relationship was extremely mature, based on mutual respect and intimacy. If these qualities were present before the breakup, then even though things may have changed, there's a good chance the old feelings are still there beneath the surface.
The problem is that most breakups leave people feeling sad, angry, or both, and as time passes this can affect your former partner's ability to make new friends. You might also want to explain that while you'd love to keep in touch with them, you just don't have time right now. And if they ask why not, you could say that you have too many interests and hobbies to get involved in another relationship. Finally, be sure to follow up with your ex once you both feel ready.
It is highly feasible to maintain friendship with an ex in those uncommon conditions. There are no harsh feelings, nor was there any squabbling about the breakup. In most situations, however, one person in a relationship was discarded while remaining deeply in love with the other. If this has happened to you or anyone you know, try not to engage in arguments about the ex-girlfriend or boyfriend. Keep in mind that you two are now going your separate ways and it's best if each of you moves on with your life.
If you want to remain friends with an ex, be respectful of their feelings. Don't call them too often or visit too often. Make sure they're okay by sending them an email or text message once in a while. It's also acceptable to send something special for them once in a while like flowers or candy.
The only time you should have contact with an ex-lover is if you need to discuss the breakup or plan future events together. Otherwise, they need to move on with their lives as well.
People change, relationships end, but what we learn from history can help us better understand how things work now so we don't make the same mistakes again. Being able to maintain friendships after a breakup helps us heal faster and makes moving on easier. So next time you hear someone say "it's impossible to stay friends with an ex", tell them that it actually isn't.
My buddies are still friends with my ex! Dear Wendy, a relationship counseling site, welcomes new readers. If you can't find what you're looking for in this column, please check out the Dear Wendy archives or the forums (you can even create your own topic), or submit a query for guidance. I ended my four-year relationship with my partner six months ago. We were very much in love when we started dating and remained so throughout our relationship. He's been there for me through some really bad times, and I want to keep him in my life as a friend. Problem is, I'm not sure how to go about it without hurting his feelings.
I don't want to start something that will end up destroying our friendship but at the same time, I don't want to lose contact with him either. Help!
Being one of your friends is about more than just being available to have a good time with. It's also about being there for them when they need you, which means sometimes you have to let go of friendships that aren't right for you. But that doesn't mean you can't keep your friend happy by letting them know what you're doing and why. Tell them that you want to make sure they're okay with where you're headed, what you're doing, and who you're spending your time with. Let them know that while you'd like to keep things friendly, you don't want to be pulled into another relationship just yet.