It’s a toss-up, right? She’s a super cool chick, and that’s why you two got along so well. Not many other girls can show you how to shoot a corner pocket the way that she can. Even so, it just didn’t work out. Does that mean you can’t play pool with her anymore? Well, that depends. What do you really want out of that experience? That is just one of many questions you need to ask yourself before you choose to stay friends with your ex. Here are six more.
- Is it too soon? Was there crying at the breakup? Was the breakup an hour ago and you still need a ride to work? It might be too soon if it was overly emotional and/or less than one month has transpired since the breakup in question. At least that is the time frame suggested by the researchers at the University of Virginia who studied people one month after a breakup and found that friendships were more likely to occur at that point, than at any point prior.Psychologist Dr. Melanie Greenberg also says on this topic that if you were the one to do the dumping, you may need to wait longer. Play this card too soon, and you might risk opening a wound for her that she won’t appreciate being opened. If you can see her face without causing her pain or tears, then you have a green light to give this a go.
- Will you feel like you want to make a move on her? If the answer to this question is yes, or maybe, then you don’t want to be friends with your ex; you want to get back together with her, maybe.
Alan Cohen, writer for Chicken Soup for the Soul and author of Happily Even After, says that if you are going to choose to be friends, you need to stick to your guns on this one. You can’t be OK with making a move, from either party, if friendship is all you want because friends don’t have sex with each other. They don’t even want to, not even a little bit. Period.
- Can you control your own emotions? Will seeing her be difficult, even if it is just at the pool hall with the rest of the guys? You don’t need to answer this question to her, just to yourself where nobody else will ever know. If it will be hard to see her, then you shouldn’t take this step yet. In this case, it is irrelevant who broke up with whom. Even if you did the dumping, you are still a human with feelings. If you can’t control those in a friendly platonic way with her, then you can’t handle being just friends with her.
- Can you handle seeing her with another man? This is a yes-or-no question, and if it takes you time to consider the answer, you’re probably not up to staying friends with your ex. There’s nothing wrong with that. If you both genuinely didn’t fit and genuinely want each other’s happiness, then seeing her with another guy should be no biggie. In which case, you will have a beautiful friendship. If it is a biggie, then you still aren’t talking about a friendship with your ex. You are talking about a continued relationship with her that is exclusive because you don’t want to see her with anyone else.
- Do you really just want to move on? Perhaps she is the one that has suggested you stay friends after the breakup, and you aren’t sure whether this is a good idea. In a 2004 poll conducted by NBC, 48 percent of Americans stated that they were able to remain friends with their exes, but only when both parties agreed. Eighteen percent said they tried it, but it was too difficult because they just wanted to move on in the end. If you are thinking of staying friends, you need to ask yourself, “Would just moving on and cutting her out be emotionally healthier and better for me?” If the answer to that is an honest no, then you may be able to fall in that 48 percent that say it can work.
- Have you gotten over what broke you two up to begin with? This is the tough one because there is always pain at a breakup. In any relationship, no matter what type of relationship, from friendship to family relationships to romantic relationships, if you can’t get over pain that someone else caused, the relationship may not work. So if some serious infraction occurred that led to the demise of the relationship, you will need to get over that before you are able to sustain a healthy friendship. If you cannot forgive and forget, the friendship will not survive. This is another reason why it is important to also ask yourself if it is too soon.
The Bottom Line:
The bottom line when it comes to whether to stay friends with your girlfriend who is now your ex-girlfriend will depend on what you expect to get out of it. It is important to remember that this will be a new relationship and not an extension of your romantic relationship.
This friendship will be a relationship like any other one that you have, just without the romantic component. Is this a friendship that is founded on good vibes and trust? Can you handle seeing your new friend with a new romantic partner that isn’t you? If you can be honest and realistic about these kinds of questions with your new ex-girlfriend and new friend, then you two may well just have a beautiful friendship after all.