Ex with benefits

A guide to staying friends with your ex

Written by Kelly McGill


“It’s not you, it’s me, I’m sorry but it’s over” – let’s not lie lads and lassies, it has been said to us all at one point and has shattered our hearts into a million pieces. For us girls it’s panda eyes as the mascara stains the pillow and well lads, unless you’re into wearing make-up, I’m sure you go through the exact same emotions.

To be honest, being dumped is one hell of a smack in the face! But let’s look at the positives. As they do say “everything happens for a reason”. At the time nothing seems fair, the world has officially ended and all members of your ex’s gender are complete and utter… well you can fill in the blank there yourself.

A friend for life

However, losing one thing makes you gain so much more. The thing about it is, I am still best friends with my ex, it might have been a tough, crazy and a mind-boggling experience but folks it can be done and what I gained is a friend for life.

The question that I know runs through most people’s mind is “Can you really be friends with your ex?” Most of the time saying goodbye leads to that promise of still staying mates and 99% of the time it never happens. However, I believe I have a guide to staying friends with your ex!

Listen, I know most people don’t want to ever speak to or even be in the same room as their ex. If you despise each other, well you made the right decision to break up. One thing that is crucial before trying to become friends is that you must make sure that you are both not still set on each other because let’s be honest; it’s cruel for both sides.

Your heart is most certainly going to be hurt; this is when you need to take time for yourself. Believe me, it’s difficult not talking to the person you spoke to every day. But giving each other space to clear the head and get rid of any anger that is bound to be bubbling up inside is well worth it.

One of the best times is being alone, and to be honest, this is when you find out who your friends are, as they come to the rescue just like modern day super heroes! But it also gives you time to get back to things you forgot you loved, like drawing, writing and reading or for people more sociable than me, going out and catching up on the nightlife. As they say, a healthy mind is a good one!

It might feel strange at first

The biggest leap of faith most certainly has to be getting back in contact; it can either be the biggest regret or something that can set that friendship on the yellow brick road. One thing is if he/she doesn’t respond after the first text; DO NOT send tonnes of messages! That will no doubt lead them to believe you’ve gone stalker crazy, and if you find the need to do this, you’re not ready yet!

Stepping out to meet for the first time after the break up will involve various feelings. Not only will you get butterflies that make you feel sick, and the hug hello will be as awkward as when Brennan tries to hug Mr Doback in Step Brothers, you will be filled to the brim with fear that if you see them again, you will fall straight back in love! But it’s natural to be nervous! If in the meantime you have been lucky enough to fall in love again during the weeks, months or years not talking to the ex, the number one rule is to make sure that your new partner is 100% OK with what’s going on.

More than likely your new partner will find it weird, and mostly not feel comfortable, but always make sure that you give him/her the understanding that you do not see your ex in that way. Trust is the most important aspect of a relationship, so this needs to be at its peak before you start hanging around with somebody you used to be sexually attracted too! Another thing to make sure of is letting other people know you're friends.

By god, if we’re ever in the room together I still get asked, “Oh why are you here?”. Or sometimes, I get told “You're very brave” when the other partners are around. But we’re not brave, we're friends! At the end of the day people’s questions are something that will always be there, no matter how irritating or insulting. It’s probably the only thing you will just have to take on the chin!

After that it is all a piece of cake! The friendship bubbles up and grows and the respect you always had for each other comes back to bite you both. So believe me when I say it can work, and when it does, it turns into a friendship that cannot be broken.

If you find yourself stuck in a predicament, wanting to become friends with someone you used to love, you can message me on Twitter for advice! @KellyAnnMcGill

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