Regardless of whether it was a long-term thing, the one that got away or just a fleeting experience which despite some signs of great potential failed to get off the ground, break-ups are never easy. It’s easy for outsiders to preach and tell you that it is simply a case of deleting that person’s number, unfollowing them on social media and burning all the photos ever taken of the two of you. But in reality cutting all ties with an ex is far more complex. What happens if you’ve been together long enough to share friends? Just because he was a philandering scumbag should you cease contact with his family members who treated you so well? Or maybe the break-up itself wasn’t all the dramatic – you still think she is a lovely girl, just not YOUR lovely girl. This brings me to the topic of this weeks post. Does there come a point after a break-up when you need to sever all ties with the ex and completely start life over? Or is it possible for some ex couples to remain friends?
In the immediate aftermath of an epic break-up, I think it’s quite natural to maintain some sort of connection with your ex (although letting it slip into a boomerang relationship should be avoided). If it was a serious thing it is likely that your day-to-day affairs are somewhat intertwined. Despite that fact that these seem simple in theory, practical things – like moving house, settling outstanding bills or simply dividing up things the two of you purchased together or returning all those books you nicked from his collection – all take time. Obviously, as civilised human beings we will try to deal with these matters as quickly and painlessly as possible – after all once upon a time we did love this person. Beyond the bureaucracy, I think it’s fair to say that many of us are guilty of holding onto an emotional connection to an ex. Having spent a significant amount it is likely that your ex knows you pretty well and it’s easy to look for comfort in the familiar when you’ve simply had a bad day and need cheering up.
Naturally, if the relationship (and you weren’t just a dirty little secret) was at all healthy the two of you would be likely to have some common connections and similar social circles. This is where things get complicated. With friends do you divide them up fairly? Is it OK to be immature and force people to choose between the two of you (in some cases this will happen organically anyway)? Or do you try to be mature adults and accept that there will be occasions when your paths are bound to cross? Perhaps at a mutual friend’s birthday party or a wedding? Of course in an ideal world, we’d all be emotionally strong enough to handle such things but the reality is different. I mean, how many of us can honestly say we could maintain our composure after being told by mutual friends that the ex has moved on? Hmm.
When it comes to family, you’d expect things to be more clear cut. His family is HIS and her’s is HER’s. Well in cases where you didn’t get on with you ex’s family and he spent the whole time trying to turn you into a younger version of his mother the solution is straightforward – it’s easy to cut the ties. But what about if you actually got on your ex’s tribe and actually formed solid relationships with them over time? And consider how you’d feel if the shoe was on the other foot and your mother was drinking tea with the ex or your brother and him went out sarging for chicks together? I guess when it comes to both family and friends you have to deal with things on a case by case basis. You have to decide which relationships are worth maintaining and which ones are nice but not necessarily good for you in the long run. And sometimes you will have to burn bridges, cut all ties and simply whats best for yourself and accept that other people may feel somewhat hurt or judge you for being immature.
So to conclude, I would say having any sort of relationship with an ex, be it platonic or not so much, will likely make it more difficult for you to get on with your life. In more fickle cases where things between the two of you never really got started, it’s totally possible to be friends somewhere down the line but things are a little messier when real feelings for one another are involved. Honestly speaking, I’d say that any good romantic relationship should be based on a solid friendship and obviously over time our significant others get to know us in ways that other people in lives don’t (get your mind out of the gutter!!). Therefore I guess it would only be human to want to prolong the friendship even after romantic relations have long ended. However, whether it’s possible, or more importantly healthy, depends on the individuals involved, their emotional capacity and the nature of the situation. Of course, there are cases where people make things work but for most us staying friends with an ex is a recipe for disaster. So while keeping things civilised is always good remember that if you do choose to burn bridges for the sake of your own sanity it isn’t a crime so don’t let anyone make you feel otherwise. Because sometimes you just have to say screw everyone else and just do what’s best for No.1.
What do you think Rinsers? Can you maintain a healthy friendship with an ex? Are you proof that it is possible? Or do you think it’s best to sever all ties with the past and start afresh if one truly wants to move on with their lives? Answers in the comment section below.