Deciding if you and an ex should separate completely or stay friends can be a hard decision. It can effect much more than just you two. Mutual friends, new relationships and personal feelings are at stake. Here are 5 things to consider when staying friends after it ends.
1. Were you friends before?
Relationships that start out as friendships have a basis to resume a platonic relationship after the romance dies. You had things in common and compatible personalities to begin with, so you likely still have good times ahead.
If you were not friends beforehand, look at how your relationship played out. Did you become good friends in the course of building your romance? Would you have been friends with your ex even if you were not dating at the time? If the answers to those questions are yes, you have a good case to remain in each other's lives.
2. How did it begin?
How a relationship starts can have a big impact on what happens after it's over. Honesty and openness in the courting stages are good indications for the closing act. If you found yourselves building a deep trust and close bond at the beginning, you have a better chance to retain that at the end. However, if your relationship began in emotional turmoil, life crisis, deceit or infidelity, you'll have a harder time establishing a friendship later.
3. How did it end?
If the end of your relationship came in chaos, you may need to remain apart for some time before trying to build a friendship. Hurt feelings from lying, cheating or disrespectful interactions don't fade away when the relationship ends. You may need to let that one go. If things ended amicably, you have a better shot at making a friendship work.
4. Are there lingering feelings?
Good or bad, if you or your ex still harbors feelings, a friendship is not a good idea. All emotions regarding the relationship need to be worked out and neutralized. So no fawning over good times or fuming over bad. If you're both completely over each other and what you had, go for it.
5. Does it interfere with new love?
Dealing with your new love's ex could make anyone uncomfortable. Here you have to ask yourself if keeping your old flame in your life is worth losing your new one. Even if your current partner is not the jealous type his feelings on the matter must be respected. Going to dinner or spending time alone with an ex raises questions and eyebrows, and begs uncomfortable questions. You also can't force your current and ex to be besties to ease your mind. You may encourage your ex to get along with your new partner and assure him things are totally platonic. But in all reality, there may still be tension.
The decision to be amicable vs. enemies after a breakup is clearer when kids come into the picture. Children need a stable family with good communication, and both parents need to focus on that more than dealing with each other. But without kids to consider, a close friendship with an ex needs some thoughtful reflection.