"It's okay, let's stay friends."
"I value your friendship, but I'm not in love with you anymore."
"Let's keep in touch."
No matter whether you're the one giving or receiving the break up conversation, there is little fun to be had. Certainly the offer of enduring friendship will lessen the sting of rejection, right? Who doesn't need an enduring friendship?
Keep reading to find out if you should stay friends with your ex. (Spoiler alert: probably not.)
In Defence of Staying Friends
Alright, so there probably are some scenarios in which it would be okay to stay friends with a former partner. If you and your ex had a long platonic friendship, decided to give romance a chance and then after a few weeks decided that it wasn't happening, you can probably stay friends. Your relationship has a foundation that goes deeper than a brief romance, and you may be able to easily slip back into your former way of relating to one another.
Another scenario in which staying friends may be beneficial is if you and your ex have children together. Your relationship didn't last, but for the sake of your children, it is likely best that everyone learns to peacefully coexist. That doesn't mean that you have to be best friends, but if you can successfully navigate holiday gatherings, birthday parties or other celebrations, everyone will benefit.
Why Do You Want to Stay Friends?
If neither of the above scenario fits your circumstance, then you need to consider the real reason that you would want to stay friends with your ex. Even if the break up was amicable, your reason for wanting to stay friends may be more than a little passive aggressive.
You Actually Want To
So, things didn't work out, but you genuinely still like your ex. You share the same interests, you like the same television shows, you enjoy the same music. Maybe they're not boyfriend/girlfriend material, but they're someone that you want to stay connected with. Also, you still want to use their Netflix password.
You Want to Keep Tabs on Them
You don't love him/her anymore, but you're not quite ready to make a clean break. You still want to be able to keep track of who they're dating, how you measure up to their newest love interest and, most importantly, how spectacularly that relationship will come to an end. After all, karma, right?
You Want to Be the One Who Got Away
Sometimes, the best revenge is subtle. Enjoying career success, exciting holidays abroad or even a new relationship may feel especially satisfying after a painful break up. Far be it from you to deprive your ex from a front row seat where they can watch your awesome life unfold.
It's the Expectation
It's humbling to admit when you're not okay. It's even more humbling when the person that madeyou "not okay" wants to move forward like nothing happened. Particularly if your ex was the one who put an end to the romantic relationship in favor of being friends, it may feel like admitting the pain and making a clean break is somehow more humiliating than putting on a brave face and agreeing to take care of their cat while they go out of town.
Cutting Your Losses
For the most part, the above reasons for maintaining a friendship are unhealthy. That's not to say that you should snub your ex if you should happen to cross paths, but it will likely be better for you to make a clean break. By maintaining a shallow and ultimately self-serving relationship with your ex, you may end up sabotaging your own chances of peace and contentment.
When it comes down to it, it's your life and you get to make the rules. If you and your ex truly have a desire to maintain a friendship, then by all means, go for it. However, if you feel that it would be healthier for you to cut your losses and move forward, then that is more than acceptable.
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