There are two options after a break-up: remain friends, or move forward without them. The most successful option has been to remain distant for a period of time, licking wounds and recovering from the break-up, and leaving the option of a platonic relationship or rekindling romance in the future. But throw in new boyfriends, old ones, social scenes, and the plethora of communication tools vaaialble today ("rejected from 7 different techlogies," anyone?), it's not so black and white like we would hope.
Friends. Brave soul and hopeful peacemaker, you choose to stay friends. If the break-up wasn't a clean one, or the relationship was a distaster (trust issues, dishonesty, disrespect, verbal/physical abuse, etc.), it is not suggested to remain friends post break-up. Why would you? If someone cannot respect you in a romantic relationship, what says they will treat you any differently in a platonic one? It's easy to throw out the excuse that you two "weren't meant to be more than friends." But if there was no respect, there will never be in any kind of relationship with him until your ex matures and learns how to treat you well. Exceptions should never be made just because his eyes, husky voice, and cute butt make your heart swim. (Sorry, ladies.) If the break up was a clean one, there is still a period of confusion. You know, that period of time where the two of you transition from romantic to platonic. The lines can get soo blurry when the break-up is fresh. Insecurities, sexual tension, questionable decisions loom over your head.
Simple: clean or messy break-up, it's your choice to allow your ex to return to your life. Key word: return, not remain. Everyone needs a breather to fully recover from any ending. The friendship will develop when and if both of you have had time apart and are really over each other.
"Friends" with the Ex, and in a Relationship. Can you really be friends with an ex? I've found, especially recently, that when in a relationship, it's difficult to be just friends with an ex. Personal experience- I am happily dating a Marine, who I am serious with. My circle of friends is 97% male. 80% of those men I've hooked up with, dated, or had a relationship with. It's life. Ladies, we all have histories, and regrets should be few and far between. But, when it comes to being "just friends" with an ex when you're with someone, you must consider your significant other. My sister told me, "if your relationship is serious, you'll find the other men in your life become unnecessary because the man in your life becomes your best friend and your lover." Smart chick. I recently got back in touch with an ex-bf who I had a clean-turned-messy break up. I almost immediately recognized the danger. Some of my ex's I have no temptation for-- those guys I stay in touch with sporadically. But, any ex I get along with a little too well with, the conversations feel too intimate, or it takes me back to "how it was before," I run like hell and cut the guy off. Option B: break-up with my current boyfriend. (Ha, I wouldn't, but for you ladies, it's an option.) Temptations must be avoided. Be classy, have integrity, respect your significant other; don't play with fire. Walk away and keep your distance. Now, you can't help the men who like to check in. You know the type. Those guyfriends who appear and disappear every 2 months or so to "see how the relationship is," or ask how serious it is, feel around and test the waters, maybe even flirt a little to get an idea just how for real you about the man you're with. Some will be more aggressive than others. The aggressive ones must be put in their place. Tell them that if they disespect your relationship, or try to pursue you knowing you are with someone, you cannot be friends with them. Those who just peak their head in innocently, merely mention that you're happy. I've experienced both while I've been with my Marine. Guy "friends" have been aggressive, and I've cut them off completely because they didn't respect my relationship. Others have merely "checked in," and I've mentioned "so happy, moving to the beach to be closer to him, flirting with the idea of moving in together." The innocent peak-in "friends" take the hint immediately and duck out until their next check-in.
Innocent or aggressive, put yourself in your man's shoes. Trust is so critical, especially with the web. The Internet is a castle of temptation to be unfaithful. If you feel sketchy, there's a reason. Keep the real friends, the ones who respect your relationship. Ditch the losers who pursue you. Avoid the temptations and old flames. If it was a genuine, real relationship, you won't be capable of just friends. That's okay. The right man will satsify you in every way, and you will not look to other guy "friends" to fill voids.
The Lingerers. I hate this one. There's a break-up. The relationship is over. But, one of you, usually the one who did the breaking up, lingers until they are sure they made the right decision. Last spring I broke up with a guy. It was a serious relationship, but it was also a joke. The break-up was mutual, but he wanted a break, not a break-up. Hah! I wasn't having that. I told him no, that a break was too messy and simply put, I didn't want to be with him anymore. Why delay the innevitible? But, it's not always that clear. The relationship following (I dated a lot last year, what can I say?), the guy broke up with me. We had a wonderful relationship, though very short-lived. For 2 or 3 weeks, he lingered. We talked about the break-up constantly (ugh), disecting our relationship. Neither of us understood why we couldn't just move on. We weren't in love, it was a casual exclusive thing. So why the stalling? Eventually, I got fed up at waiting around. The day after I chose to move on, he came back. I didn't take him back.
Lingering is a terrible habit. Like I told my ex when he broke up with me and began to linger, "don't break up with me unless you're 100% sure this is what you want." He thought it was. I got tired of hearing how he didn't want me, and by the time he realized he made a bad move, I was settling into single life.
Break-ups are hard enough without your ex breathing down your neck. It's hard enough seeing them at the office, running into them at the gym, and bumping into each other at the bar on practically every Thursday night. Let yourself breathe. Recover. A friendship may develop, but both of you need time. And if it doesn't fit, the timing is bad, or you're commited to someone and know that a platonic relationship isn't possible, don't fret. You'll feel it in your heart if you need him more than you thought, even after recovery time has lapsed. Get rid of him before you choose to let him return.