Last week, I posed the question on Facebook of whether it’s possible to become friends with an ex. A couple of people responded that it hadn’t worked for them, but for the most part, the consensus seemed to be that if both parties are adult about it, and the relationship didn’t end on a hugely negative note, it is possible. Especially with time.
In my life, for the most part, it hasn’t worked out that way. I’m only in contact with two of my exes, and one of those is only because he and I have kids together. We definitely aren’t friends. Just co-parents.
But the other one, surprisingly, has become a good friend, and I think that’s probably because he and I were more friends than anything to begin with. It was a long-distance relationship, so for the most part we just talked on the phone or texted. The relationship actually ended because he was in my area on business for a few weeks…and seeing each other didn’t work as well as talking and texting.
Because of the way things crashed between us, he chose to sever all contact with me, and it took six months before I was comfortable enough to reach out to him. But as soon as I did, we spent part of a conversation hashing out what had happened, and then picked up the friendship right where we’d left off. He’s now one of my key support people, just like he was before, and he’s the one I trust with the most about my life because he’s the one I know won’t judge anything I say.
If you’ve been in a relationship with someone, the ending isn’t easy. Even if it’s completely amicable and you’ve already agreed you’re better as friends, sometimes you need space for a little while to decide whether the friendship can work and how to go about it. And if there were hurt feelings on either side, the healing process might take longer.
But to my mind, if someone was worth having in your life in the first place, and assuming there weren’t strongly damaging reasons (like abuse) for relationship to end, they’re worth trying to keep as a friend as well. It might require time and patience, but there’s no reason not to try.