Going through a divorce is challenging.
Anyone who has cut ties with their partner- be it a long-awaited, drama-filled or mutual situation, knows how difficult it can be to say goodbye to a big part of your life . Even a smooth and clean divorce can take your emotions and feelings along with it and still become difficult to get over.
Stepping back and watching your partner move on without you is hurting. And dealing with the strange emptiness created during a divorce is not easy. Not after being emotionally connected and romantically involved for the years that the marriage lasted.
Also, the idea of an entire relationship filled with deep intimacy, suddenly shifting and changing the couple to cordial strangers, is quite strange.
This has led to the development of the favorite saying by most couples “We can still be friends” – as they try to get over the breakup.
But “can we still be friends”? Is it even recommended to maintain a friendship with your ex?
Well, post-divorce friendship can be a necessary consolation for a divorced couple that still cares for each other. After all, it was only a few moments back when you considered each other lovers and soul mates.
But even without the emotional consolation, there are a few reasons why friendship after a break up is essential. Here are some:
- You get a chance to revive an old friendship.
Most relationships start by having a common interest or as good friends. Divorcing your partner and putting off the romantic connection you had before doesn’t mean that you can’t continue being friends like you were before.
- You become better co-parents- if you already had children.
Befriending your ex can help you make the experience less traumatic and smoother for the children.
- Set a good example for your children.
Your children will learn how to handle their own relationships and inevitable breakups in the future.
- You get to spare your feelings.
If befriending your ex is the Holy Grail for curing the heartbreak caused by the divorce, then it is important you remain as friends.
But Why don’t most divorced couples stay as friends?
Most times, post-divorce friendships can set you up for further heartache. This happens when your ex very quickly hops on to another relationship stirring up jealous feelings.
Is it possible to maintain a friendship after divorce?
Yes. It is possible.
Here are a few tips to help you bridge the gap between you and your ex and maintain a friendship.
Tips on maintaining a friendship after divorce
1. Take some time off
At times going through a breakup can be as difficult as going through a bereavement. You need to allow yourself some time to grieve.
While it may be tempting to try to establish a relationship immediately, it is essential to put some distance and stay away from your ex. Even if your marriage ended on mutual terms, some time away from each other will help you break the bond you had as a couple.
Take baby steps
Emotions often run too high after a breakup. Take small steps at a time and let time heal your broken heart. Time, the great healer, will help to remove any feelings you might be holding onto from your past relationship.
First, focus on yourself, and not on becoming friends. For instance, you can start a new workout routine, reconnect with old friends, or even start a dream project you’ve wanted to do. This way, you will be able to step back and limit your relationship to a platonic friendship.
2. Set aside your anger and pain
Maintaining a friendship means that you will have to let go of your emotions any resentment, hurt, or anger you had during the divorce.
Focus on the good side of your relationship and use it as a basis to restart the friendship.
At times you may find your ex bringing up something you did when you were lovers. Yes, it may feel weird and bring up mixed feelings and thoughts now that you are friends. However, it is important not to try to pretend that your ex was not once your lover. Focus and appreciate the good things that you shared. Reminiscing is fun and can help you relieve the good memories you had as a couple.
3. Clarify your motives
You surely don’t want to fall back into the old patterns. Therefore identify why you want to have the friendship.
You can start by examining your feelings. Clarify your motives and get to know whether you genuinely want to be friends or you still feel the attraction and secretly want them back.
Do this by being open and telling your ex how you feel and how you want your friendship to be.
If you have romantic feelings for your ex, it can be difficult to establish a platonic relationship. It is the same as harboring hope that you shall one day reunite back as a couple as you build the friendship. It can also open you up to additional pain and hurt.
4. Set boundaries
Setting up boundaries in your friendship helps you to establish a framework of an acceptable way that you would want to be treated. Set the regulations that will rule your friendship and discuss them with your ex.
Old activities can blur the line between friendship and a romantic relationship and should be avoided. Here are a few examples of old brokendivorcepatterns most post-divorce friendship couples find themselves falling into;
- Texting your ex daily or having a flirty chat.
- Calling each other for emotional support is also something to avoid if you are to keep a platonic friendship.
- Going to places, events, or evening dates, you used to go when you were in the marriage.
Avoid all these activities and set up new activities that you can enjoy as friends.
5. Plan your hangouts thoughtfully
Post-divorce hangouts can easily lead to “friends with benefits” situations – and that’s not what you want.
When you decide to hang out, make sure you plan it carefully. Hang out in public or any setting that will not trigger your feelings. You can also decide to hang out in a larger group.
It feels strange and frightening to cut ties with your ex after being together for a while. It feels unsafe to stay away from each other. It just feels unfair to let them go.
Wanting to maintain a friendship with your divorced partner is a noble endeavor and definitely the ideal. Therefore, don’t hesitate, go forth and that ignite a healthy friendship with them.
About The Author
Steve Much is a Freelance writer and who loves tech, sports (playing basketball) and business. He works closely with https://divorceattorneynaplesfl.com/ as a content specialist helping them build their online presence through friendly, engaging and shareable web content. When not hunched over his computer thinking loudly, you can find him playing pop music with his band, reading horror novels or traveling.