Recently, a very good friend of mine – who also happens to be an ex boyfriend – showed me a tweet from someone we went to school with. It said something along the lines of, “If you’re friends with your ex, you were never really in love.”
We had a good laugh about it.
He and I dated for a couple years in high school, and yes, we were in love. First loves, in fact. Our relationship was pretty serious – maybe not Noah and Allie next-level sh*t, but serious all the same.
And now, here we are, in our early 20s and total chums. We talk regularly about everything from mundane stuff like the 1,000-calorie burger he had for lunch (I. KNOW.) to why, exactly, we are able to be friends after a pretty intense relationship. Together, we came up with particular circumstances under which you can befriend your ex – even if, at one point, you loved him or her dearly. Take note, readers: here are six conditions that may just be the gateway for brohood between you and a past love.
1. It’s been a long time since the relationship ended.
Facts are facts – there’s simply no way you can be buddies with a previous partner a week after you call it quits. Probably not even six months. Of course, it all depends on just how deep the relationship was. If it was a brief fling, it’ll take much less time. If you were both head over heels, you’ll (most likely) have to hold out a couple years before either of you are ready to try shifting gears.
2. You’ve found love with someone else.
This is not ENTIRELY essential, but it certainly helps for shedding any lingering feelings. If you’ve happened upon a worthwhile relationship with another person, it’s a hell of a lot easier to give friendship a go with your ex. Think about it – if the experiences you had with this person are the most recent romantic memories you have, you just won’t be ready.
3. You’ve exhausted all possibilities of a future relationship.
When my friend and I dated, we split upward of 12 (!) times. Ahh, high school. Couldn’t live with each other; couldn’t live without. We did everything in our power to salvage our admittedly dramatic affair, but it simply wasn’t meant to be – a fact we now acknowledge and accept.
And in the process of all those breakups, we totally exhausted the possibility of getting back together in the future. It’s almost laughable just how hard we tried and, in turn, how epically we failed. Make no mistake, if there’s room for a potential reuniting somewhere down the line, it’ll be extra, extra difficult to be pals.
4. Neither one of you is an assh*le.
There’s a jerk or two in my past whom I would never even consider chatting up – the idea is actually kind of nauseating (if you’ve ever dated a d-bag, you’ll know what I’m talking about). My friend, on the other hand, was and is a good guy, so I don’t feel the least bit ashamed of our relationship.
5. You have a good connection.
Obviously, there has to have been some sort of spark between the two of you for companionship to even be plausible – otherwise, it’ll fall awkwardly flat. I once dated a guy who was kind of a deadbeat punk, and the idea of becoming chummy with him is so . . . meh. If during your relationship, you were able to discuss deep sh*t like the concept of fate or what “eternity” means, the greater the potential friend.
6. You’ve both wholeheartedly moved on.
The overarching theme of my advice is this – you must move on before you declare this person your new best friend. Period.
True, you’ll always have the fond recollections of your relationship past. But leave them there, in your mind, where they exist nice and pretty. Friendship – and a good one, at that – is just as meaningful.