Last weekend I went to a wedding for an old friend. It was a beautiful ceremony with tons of people I hadn’t seen in close to three years. One of those people was my ex boyfriend. Our breakup was, uh, less than stellar, to say the least and everyone was expecting our interaction to be #awkward but it wasn’t at all, because The Ex and I have managed to maintain a friendship post-breakup. It took some time. Believe me. But now we’re at a place where I would definitely consider him a good friend.
That being said, there are some exes that you can’t be friends with. Ones who psychically or emotionally abused you or ones that make you psychically ill to be around are not ex’s I would consider rekindling a friendship with. But, in honor of the new movie Celeste and Jesse Forever, I was left wondering – what are the signs you can be friends with an ex?
1. You can’t want to sleep with them. I know it’s really easy to see someone you had a strong physical connection with and fall back into the same pattern, but you can not be “just friends” with someone who makes you giggle like a twelve year old.
2. You should be comfortable with him or her dating someone else. Actually, it might be easier to start a new friendship when you both are in a relationship. It makes it easier to stay on one side of the “just friends” if you’re both involved with some one else. It also eases the awkwardness for your significant other if you’re like, “Oh he has a girlfriend.”
3. You cannot be jealous. See above.
4. You should put the past away. I wish you would step back from that ledge my friend. But seriously, if you’re still harboring romantic feelings, angry feelings, or any sort of feeling that means you’re not completely over it, do not, I repeat, do not enter a friendship. You’ll only wind up jealous and hurt.
5. Leave some time to heal. As corny as it sounds, it’s really important to have nothing to do with each other for a while. It could be one month, it could be six, it could be a year and a half (guilty). I spent a year and a half thinking of ways to create a voodoo doll of my ex; I’m not pretending that was sane, I’m just saying it took a while for me to not want to punch him. Now that we’re on the same page with everything it’s fine, but for that year and a half – I was upset.
6. Don’t drunk text. Drunk texting should be a no-no all of the time, but drunk texting an ex you’re trying to be friends with could lead you to the point of no return. You don’t want to give them the wrong idea about your budding “friendship” and nothing says hook-up more than a text after 1:00 am.
7. Watch what you say. I know this seems like it doesn’t actually count as friendship but it does. I don’t need to hear about my ex’s girlfriend and their sex life. He doesn’t need to know about the double date I’m going on next week, or that when I say double date I mean Oreos’, wine, and re-watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s until I cry. Know that a friendship with an ex is rocky waters and you have boundaries now. You cannot be best friends.
Breaking up sucks. A lot. Post break up, I’m most often found watching reruns of Friends and muttering about Ross and Rachel being “lobsters.” It sucks knowing someone you used to spend Saturday night AND Sunday morning with is no longer a part of your life. But that doesn’t mean they’re gone forever. Rekindling a friendship with an ex is nice because it’s someone that knows you and can understand you at your worst moments. It’s also tough to decide exactly where to draw the line. Just don’t make any sudden movements towards their pants and you should be good to go.
Molly is a senior Journalism/English/Broadcasting major at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She’s not very good at small talk and English Bulldogs are her only vice. Follow her @gwacamolly on twitter.
[Lead image via Everett Collection /Shutterstock]