Author Topic: Is it possible for a couple to remain friends after breaking up?  (Read 6419 times)

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snugglegirl05

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I am wondering if it is possible for a couple to remain friends after breaking up?

What are the pros & cons?

How would a couple go about this?

What are the proper rules of etiquette regarding this? What if you felt it was not a good idea, but the guy you dated wanted to do this? How would you tell him?

Yvaine

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Re: Is it possible for a couple to remain friends after breaking up?
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2012, 10:18:48 AM »
My experience is that it's possible but that it works best when you can take a break in between; i.e. don't go from breaking up to hanging out like buddies right away. In my experience you either end up falling back into an unhealthier version of the relationship out of habit, or else one starts dating again first (usually the dumper) and the other gets hurt because the emotions are still raw (usually the dumpee). But if you take a few months of space, it can work.

Twik

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Re: Is it possible for a couple to remain friends after breaking up?
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2012, 10:19:37 AM »
Yes, it is, but it's not easy.

Pros - some people are really better as friends than lovers.

Cons - well, it can be a con. "Oh, we'll be friends. I'll be dating a lot of other people, and cry on your shoulder when things don't go well. Since you're my friend, you'll be glad to support me, won't you? But of course, we'll still sleep together if I can't find anyone else. What? You slept with me before and found it satisfactory, why won't you do this friendly act for me again?"

Give the relationship a break *totally* for a few months. Learn how not to be lovers with him. Learn not to depend on him for emotional support. Then, you can, if you want, resume a friendship after you've broken the "lover" habits.
My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."

MariaE

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Re: Is it possible for a couple to remain friends after breaking up?
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2012, 10:20:46 AM »
My experience is that it's possible but that it works best when you can take a break in between; i.e. don't go from breaking up to hanging out like buddies right away. In my experience you either end up falling back into an unhealthier version of the relationship out of habit, or else one starts dating again first (usually the dumper) and the other gets hurt because the emotions are still raw (usually the dumpee). But if you take a few months of space, it can work.

POD. I'm good friends with some of my exes, but it took at least a year from we broke up till we started a friendship.
 
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lady_disdain

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Re: Is it possible for a couple to remain friends after breaking up?
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2012, 10:27:26 AM »
It depends so much on the couple, the relationship, how it ended. I don't think there is a set answer or a set procedure. Personally, I think it should be one of those things that just happen, instead of a formal decision and a how-to manual. So, if the break up was friendly and the two still see each other at friends' houses, meeting with the same group for activities and inviting each other to group events, then a friendship can develop or be maintained. In time, one on one events may not be weird anymore.

If you don't think it is a good idea, just refuse his invitations and focus on other people if you do find yourself in the same events. If he asks you straight out, a simple "I don't think it would work" is good enough. Don't try to give reasons, as they will only prolong the subject.

Xallanthia

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Re: Is it possible for a couple to remain friends after breaking up?
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2012, 10:34:01 AM »
You certainly need space, before you can start.  When my first serious relationship broke up, it was a 5 year relationship (since my first year of HS) and I was in college.  It was towards the end of the year.  When I got home for the summer, he was wanting to hang out with me *all the time*, calling me almost every day, because we were friends so of course that was fine.  After about a week of this, during which time I said no, was legitimately busy, and went out with him (with friends) once, I had to lay out really specific ground rules about what kinds of activities and groups he could invite me along to.  Like: big party with his college friends, who I'd met and formed separate friendships with?  Yes please!  Hanging out at the house of his high school best friend, who I didn't really like?  Don't even bother.  And even with Yes Please people, no more than once per week in most cases.  It took about the rest of that summer for things to settle down into a place where we really could be just friends, but after that, I enjoyed seeing him at events our university Christian groups did in common, and occasionally, with friends, when home on breaks.

We'd probably still be doing that, except that after I graduated (3 years post-breakup) he wanted to get back together and I said no, and that rather killed things.  We're both married now, so perhaps if we ran into each other at some point we could be friends again, or at least good acquaintances.

That was all rather long-winded to say decide what you want and need, and execute it, but absolutely *take a break* first, especially from doing things you frequently did as a couple.

cicero

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Re: Is it possible for a couple to remain friends after breaking up?
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2012, 10:35:08 AM »
Yes, it is, but it's not easy.

Pros - some people are really better as friends than lovers.

Cons - well, it can be a con. "Oh, we'll be friends. I'll be dating a lot of other people, and cry on your shoulder when things don't go well. Since you're my friend, you'll be glad to support me, won't you? But of course, we'll still sleep together if I can't find anyone else. What? You slept with me before and found it satisfactory, why won't you do this friendly act for me again?"

Give the relationship a break *totally* for a few months. Learn how not to be lovers with him. Learn not to depend on him for emotional support. Then, you can, if you want, resume a friendship after you've broken the "lover" habits.
POD. and everyone else's thoughts. the bolded made me laugh because that's what my ex husband said to me after we got divorced.

if *you* don't want to continue to be friends - then you don't be friends. don't let him pressure you into this. simply say what you are hearing here:
"i need some space from you right now and i need you to respect that". don't give any promises of "someday, maybe" because you don't knwo how you will feel.

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WillyNilly

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Re: Is it possible for a couple to remain friends after breaking up?
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2012, 10:40:22 AM »
Like others I think the most crucial thing to being friends is to have some time totally apart - truly break up.  Delete their phone number and email address from your cell and computer/email service.  Throw or at least pack away all photos, letters, mementos, etc.  Expand your social circle and hang out spots so you are socializing separately, etc.  Essentially in the beginning, plan you won't ever be friends again.

After 3-12 months its ok to resume some contact but remember you have both grown and changed and moved on - your new SO and their new SO (if either of you has started dating others) is now the person in the prime relationship spot - inside jokes, knowing glances, etc should be exchanged between the current couple, not the no-longer couple.

It can work, but sometimes it doesn't.  What caused the break up is also key.  I am friends with some ex's - they are good guys and were good guys, they were just a bad match for me/me for them - they are now my friends.  But other ex's were just bad people - selfish, dishonest, immoral, etc and quite frankly I have no interest in being friends with them.

learningtofly

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Re: Is it possible for a couple to remain friends after breaking up?
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2012, 10:47:50 AM »
You can do it, but give yourself time.  While I'm friends with my ex we rarely see each other.  Most of his girlfriends have been extremely jealous and seem to think I'm going to jump him in public places.  This is after they find out I'm married with a kid.  His fiance is supposed to be very nice, but I haven't met her.  I've heard that she's the jealous type too and I decided that I didn't need that stress.

jmarvellous

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Re: Is it possible for a couple to remain friends after breaking up?
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2012, 10:51:35 AM »
I am facebook friends with a few exes, but I haven't hung out with them in years. We've moved on in our lives and I'm quite grateful for it. They're much better as acquaintances than boyfriends.

I could be closer friends with an ex, but it hasn't happened yet. And when I've tried harder than the bare minimum of effort I'd put forth with someone who started as an acquaintance, it's either led to heightened expectations on the part of the ex or some kind of big falling-out. When I've had to hang out with exes regularly as part of a larger social group, it's had mixed results, but rarely have we gotten very close.

That said, men I've gone on a date or two with and quickly decided we'd be better off as friends make up a chunk of the men I consider friends.

ilrag

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Re: Is it possible for a couple to remain friends after breaking up?
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2012, 10:55:53 AM »
You can but there's a manditory 3 month no contact period. If at 3 months you still feel acutely sad/hurt/not over the break up, extend your time.

If your ex wants to be friends and you don't? Just ignore him/her. If they're at all normally socialized they'll leave you alone pretty fast.

guihong

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Re: Is it possible for a couple to remain friends after breaking up?
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2012, 11:20:47 AM »
I think it can be done if you don't even get to the "couples" stage.  I once went on about two dates with someone, and we realized we were acting like friends (not that dating people can't be friends, but I hope you know what I meant  ::)).  That was an easy transition and not too weird-but we did have "apart" time, too.

Be really aware of what you need, and don't let yourself be talked into something you don't want or let yourself be strung along.



Allyson

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Re: Is it possible for a couple to remain friends after breaking up?
« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2012, 11:31:42 AM »
Again echoing the "yes, but it needs time." And every situation is different. There are some of my exes I would never be friends with, either because they acted repulsively (the one who cheated on me for six months then tried to make it my fault) or because there were too many feelings (my first love who ended things when I didn't want them ended).

One of my exes is a near best friend. I think we had a few things in our favour. We knew each other, but weren't really close, before we dated. We developed a great friendship and had fantastic conversations while dating. The friendship was much, much stronger than the romantic aspect. Nobody was in love with the other. The breakup wasn't awful. And I left the country for 4 months right after we broke up. By the time I came back I was totally over him. I saw him in the social group for a few months, and about 9 months after our breakup, we ended up chatting for about 2 hours at a party, and have had dinner regularly since.

Twik

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Re: Is it possible for a couple to remain friends after breaking up?
« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2012, 11:36:27 AM »
Also, as someone who's been in the position - it's easier for the "breaker-up" to be friends, than the "breakee". The breakee is entitled to take all the time s/he needs before resuming a friendship. A true friend will understand that.
My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."

Searcher

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Re: Is it possible for a couple to remain friends after breaking up?
« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2012, 11:48:07 AM »
I tried it, as the "breakee," and it didn't work.  He had too many hangups.