Unfortunately, our exes don’t disappear from the earth after a breakup. They keep existing, seemingly for the sole purpose of appearing when you’re horribly hungover, buying Advil and coconut water in your sweatpants, and then—boom,there they are, still alive. I’ve never understood those couples who stay friends after a breakup. It just seems impossible to form something truly platonic with a person who I’ve been in love with, who knows exactly how to make me cum, and who’s seen me smell my underwear to check if they’re clean. Many claim that being friends with your ex is the “mature” thing to do, but I always feel like those people are confusing maturity with masochism. But if you do choose to keep your ex in your life, it’s important that the friendship is genuine, without ulterior motives.
According to Christie Hartman, Ph.D. and author of Back in the Game, maintaining a platonic friendship with your ex can be a satisfying feeling that you have moved on. The key is maintaining certain ground rules, such as allowing enough time to pass before you get together again, keeping the meeting places in a public location (to discourage intimate feelings) and avoiding hashing out old arguments. Take good friends wherever you can find them!
It also helps if your breakup was the result of lost passion, rather than a byproduct of jealousy or cheating. There are some breakups that are just more easy to get over than others, and these are more likely to result in a post-breakup friendship. If you discover you’re better friends than lovers, why not work at maintaining a friendship?
And some researchers even suggest that the post-breakup sex that occurs with 20 percent of broken couples may help to ease that aching heart and help the breakup go that much smoother. This is because the sex fulfills the need for attachment as the couple works through the pain. I don’t know about all that, but there is one more very important reason that you may want to consider… true love.
According to one study published in the Journal of Personal and Social Relationships, as many as 44 percent of young lovers reconcile their relationship with a former lover within a two year period. We can only assume that on some occasions those were good decisions. Sometimes relationships don’t work out for reasons that can be cured with time and maturity. It will be up to you to read the red flags when and if the opportunity arises to rekindle such a romance. But remember, some relationships are more worthwhile to return to, while others remain toxic, and you’re just better off not going there.
This leaves us with two very reasonable excuses to stay friends with an ex: You were always better friends than lovers, and both of you agree on that. And, if you feel that the breakup was due to circumstances that could only improve with time (maturity, school, career, etc.), it’s also reasonable to stay friends with your ex. If the love was true but the time was off, you may very well discover that a second chance is just what you need.