Your relationship is over. It’s time to call it quits. Still, in the back of your mind, you’re wondering whether the two of you can remain friends.
Trying to be friends with your ex isn’t recommended. Sure, it seems to soften the psychological blow of the breakup. It makes the end seem a little less final. But it can interfere with the important work you need to do to finish this relationship. First, there’s a reason you’re breaking up. There are obviously issues between you that you haven’t been able to resolve. Switching from lovers to best buddies fails to address these concerns and perhaps keeps them solidly in place.
You won’t fully experience your emotions. If you caught him in bed with your roommate, you’re going to be filled with anger and rage. The betrayal could take weeks, maybe months, to process. Anything less merely shoves it in the closet and prevents healing from taking place.
Any attempts at friendship interfere with moving on. You’re still talking and texting multiple times throughout the day, so you’re not likely to close this chapter in your life.
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This is especially true for people who have trouble saying goodbye. They cling to dying relationships with a tenacity that turns every breakup into a Dostoevsky novel.
A YourTango.com poll found that 71 percent of respondents admitted thinking about their ex “too much” and more than 57 percent of singles said that “thinking about their ex prevents them from finding new love.”
Friends and family are rightfully confused by your sudden attempt to shift relational gears. One night, they see you entwined in a passionate embrace; two weeks later, you swear up and down you’re just good friends.
Their mystification is understandable and reflects your own lack of relational clarity. You’re not sure whether you’re in or out.
Others are equally at sea.
In spite of all the pitfalls, many couples manage the lover-to-friend transition. According to a 2004 NBC.com poll, 48 percent of people surveyed said they stayed friends with their exes after the breakup. Those odds increase when there’s been ample time for healing and conscious effort from all parties involved.