Rio Hondo College Newspaper

El Paisano

Rio Hondo College Newspaper

El Paisano

Rio Hondo College Newspaper

El Paisano

Can You Really be “Just Friends” with an Ex?

Is it possible to remain friends with an ex boyfriend or ex girlfriend after the break up? It is definitely attainable but it isn’t easy, under the right circumstances though there isn’t any reason why you cannot be friends with a former flame.

I feel like I’m an exception to the “no friends with exes” rule. One of my best friends, Crosby Lewis, is also an ex boyfriend of mine. We were together from sixth grade to sophomore year, so about five years, on and off. We were a pretty odd yet perfect couple; he was nerdy and weird while I was a chubby tomboy, but we also were a cute and corny couple that could sit there and laugh about something that happened weeks ago. Even when we weren’t dating, we were referred to as “the old married couple.”

Going into high school, however, I moved states. We were very much in love so we opted to try having a long distance relationship, which at the age of 14 was a huge mistake. We eventually broke up, no surprise there, for a while. Through a miracle I moved back to California for sophomore year and Crosby and I picked right back up from where we left off. What we failed to realize though, is that we had become two different people during our break.

Our differences ultimately led to us splitting up for good this time.  Break ups in general are rough, but losing your boyfriend and your best friend really sucks. Crosby and I had cut off all forms of contact for an entire year.

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The “grieving period,” for lack of a better term, is the most crucial key for any chance of a friendship, post-breakup. Both parties must take a hiatus from each other (no matter how hard it is). The time apart, allows the both of you time to learn how to, in essence, live without one another.

The length of a grieving period all depends on the individual person, and in these cases there is no such thing as waiting too long. Take into consideration that even though you may be ready to become friends does not mean your ex is. Trying to begin a friendship too soon after a separation can result in a bigger heart break and deeper emotional scars.

When you both have moved on and feel you guys are ready to have a healthy platonic relationship, there are serious guidelines you both have to follow and respect. First, the camaraderie must always be platonic, just that. Under no circumstances are flirting, kissing, and hooking up okay. If you can’t keep your hands to yourself the friendship is obviously not going to work out. Second, establish emotional boundaries. Trying to be friends with an ex is just like making a new friend; you have to get to know each other all over again. So within the first few weeks, I suggest talking about and analyzing your romantic relationship is kept to a minimum.

After becoming reacquainted, I don’t see any harm in discussing the ups and downs of the failed relationship, so long as it doesn’t step on anyone’s toes. In fact, I believe it takes great maturity to be able to step back and evaluate why things didn’t work out.

At first, I’ll admit, it was quite hard to see Crosby treat his new girlfriend so much better than he had treated me. I felt as though what he and I had meant nothing to him whatsoever, this feeling is totally normal. Let’s be real, no one ever wants to see their ex do “better” in life than you are. As their friend, though, you do eventually learn to let go of any resentment and just be happy for your ex. I love that Crosby and I can now joke about all the moronic things we did while we were together. We’ve gotten to a point in our friendship that most people take their whole lives to reach. It’s possible he and I are actually closer friends than we’ve ever been.

Though I was fortunate enough to stay friends with my ex, there are many others who either can’t or refuse to befriend an ex fling.

This topic had me extremely curious, so last week I asked 100 Rio Hondo College students if they thought being friends with exes was possible.

The results are shown in the following pie graph. I was shocked to see how almost dead even the outcome was.  It seems like the majority of people I asked agree that being friends with an ex is indeed achievable.

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