When your relationship fizzles and you break up with your significant other, there's this weird hole in your life. It's hard to know what, exactly, to do with that emptiness. Do you want to be friends with your ex? SHOULD you be friends with your ex? CAN a friendship between two people who once dated work?
The answer, I think, is somewhere between yes and no.
Let's find out what you need to think about to stay friends with your ex (or not).
First things first. If you want to be friends with your ex -- actual, solid friends -- you're going to have to make certain you don't have any lingering feelings for him and he doesn't have any lingering feelings for you. It's very easy to slip back into old routines when you should be getting over the person. You broke up for a reason, remember?
One of the biggest reasons to stay friends with your ex is (weirdly enough) to help your future relationships. I know, I know, it sounds both wild and self-defeating, but you can tell a lot about a person by their relationships with their exes.
For example, a woman who spends much of her time discussing what an asshole her ex was may turn off her new partner. Why? Men (and women) don't want to think about their significant others having exes. Plus, badmouthing people -- even asshole exes -- tends to backfire, if it makes you look like you're all about the trash talk.
Use your relationship with your ex as a learning tool for what to do -- and what NOT to do -- in a relationship. If you guys can stay friends, it's easy to learn a little bit about why you broke up and your role in the split, as well as what makes a relationship good. These bits of information can be invaluable in learning about yourself and how you behave when you're part of a couple.
On the downside, being friends with your ex can lead to some tensions with your current partner. It may be hard for your new man to understand how or why you're still in contact with your old one. This can be a big relationship problem, particularly if your partner is prone to jealousy, so be prepared to answer any and all questions and assuage his insecurities.
Ultimately, whether or not to stay friends with an ex depends on what feels right to you and your current flame. So take a good look at your situation and do what's best ... for everyone involved.
What do you think? Should we stay friends with our exes? Why or why not?
Image via ralphbijker/Flickr