Maintaining friendships with ex’s has the possibility to be fulfilling and enriching to your life. Getting to maintain some level of intimacy with an ex-partner or an ex-boy/girlfriend can make the relationship seem like a wise investment into your long-term community. Many of us have deep intimacy with our romantic partners, and it can be painful to not get to continue that connection after the break up.
But as we all know, transitioning into a platonic friendship with someone you’ve once been romantic or sexual with is not easy.
What makes the journey from partner to friendship so challenging?
First, not everyone chooses people for romantic and sexual partnerships that they would choose for friendship. If a relationship doesn’t have a solid friendship basis to start out, its unlikely that one will develop in the absence of your sexual and romantic connection. Many of us get swept up in the romantic and sexual spark, and fail to notice if that person is really on the same page as we are in terms of shared values, shared lifestyle, and even simply enjoying each others’ company.
This transition can also be challenging if one or both people involved are “full” in terms of their friendship needs. Some people are looking for a romantic and sexual partner, but their needs are met in the friendship department. They don’t have room for more friends, or they are not currently prioritizing having more friendships in their life.
And finally, how and why you end the romantic relationship greatly influences the likelihood of a friendship down the road. If one or both people broke major relationship agreements, and the break up was messy, this obviously creates a barrier to friendship down the road. Or, if one person is still in love and the feelings are not reciprocated, friendship can be challenging.
You thoughts? What have your experiences been in maintaining friendships with ex’s? Do you judge whether or not potential partners are friends with ex’s as a barometer of how healthy their relationships are?