You’ve all read it somewhere: “Don’t be friends with your ex”, and many of you have probably told your ex “we can’t be friends” because you think that being friends with your ex will ruin your chances of getting back together.
There is truth to all the above statements. Some people are just too toxic together, even as friends. And if you don’t know what you are doing, being friends can hurt your chances of getting your ex back.
On the other hand, being friends with your ex can actually increase your chances of getting your ex back, if you know what you are doing.
I’ll back up a little. I don’t advice telling your ex “let’s be friends” if you want your ex back. Huge mistake. Your ex might believe that friendship is all you want, and feel deceived/manipulated if later on you say you want to get back together.
BUT… this is very important. If your ex says he/she wants the two of you to be friends, or that friendship is all he/she can offer you at the moment, DO NOT turn down the offer because you are scared that being friends will hurt your chances.
Accept your ex’s offer to be friends and make the best of it. You’ve been offered a window of opportunity, that if used well, may very well turn out to be the “probation period” you need — before you are hired for the job!
1. Being friends means that you can text your ex, call and hang out within a safe emotional environment. The more you are in your ex’s everyday life (and thoughts), the better your chances.
2. Being friends also means you have the opportunity to showcase the changes you’ve made; something that’s impossible to do if you are not in regular contact via text, email, phone calls or in person.
3. Thirdly, being friends gives your the opportunity to test-drive the “new” relationship, without risking too much. Because there is no pressure to be anything other than two people enjoying spending time together, the “new” relationship has time to grow and feel comfortable for both of you.
Make sure you communicate to your ex, in words and actions, that you still have romantic feelings for him/her, but are hoping that being friends gives you the opportunity to see if getting back together at some point is a possibility.
If possible define in very clear terms what your expectations are, and ask your ex if he/she is okay with it. Encourage him/her to express his/her boundaries and what he/she is comfortable with in terms of contact, space, time spent together, seeing other people, intimacy etc.
More on making the best of being friends as a start of the new relationship can be found in my book: Dating Your Ex.