Author Topic: Is it possible for a couple to remain friends after breaking up?  (Read 6950 times)

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Lorelei_Evil

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Re: Is it possible for a couple to remain friends after breaking up?
« Reply #15 on: January 10, 2012, 11:51:23 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.

Quoted for truth.  I've had more than one try to be friends effort go like that.  I also advise a complete break. 


squashedfrog

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Re: Is it possible for a couple to remain friends after breaking up?
« Reply #16 on: January 10, 2012, 11:56:07 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.

Quoted for truth.  I've had more than one try to be friends effort go like that.  I also advise a complete break.

POD'ing the above.   

Reason

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Re: Is it possible for a couple to remain friends after breaking up?
« Reply #17 on: January 10, 2012, 12:52:24 PM »
I would say yes if the relationship was not too serious and no one had expectations of commitment to begin with.

If it was a serious relationship with plans for the future, it would be very difficult to remain close friends. Being cordial acquaintances would be easy enough though.

TurtleDove

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Re: Is it possible for a couple to remain friends after breaking up?
« Reply #18 on: January 10, 2012, 12:59:37 PM »
I would say yes if the relationship was not too serious and no one had expectations of commitment to begin with.

If it was a serious relationship with plans for the future, it would be very difficult to remain close friends. Being cordial acquaintances would be easy enough though.

Perhaps it is in the definition of "friends" but most no-longer-together couples with children who truly put their children first are close friends with an ex. 

Twik

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Re: Is it possible for a couple to remain friends after breaking up?
« Reply #19 on: January 10, 2012, 01:07:53 PM »
I do not think you have to be "close friends" with any ex, even if you have children. You are exes for a reason. If someone is abusive, manipulative, etc., why on earth would it be good for the children to see you trying to remain friends with someone who distresses you to be around?

Working together for the good of the children does not require being best buddies. In fact, I think it may often work better if you are not, by allowing both exes to establish boundaries.
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Re: Is it possible for a couple to remain friends after breaking up?
« Reply #20 on: January 10, 2012, 01:45:50 PM »
You can be friends very successfully as soon as you are both over the relationship. My husband is friends with his ex-wife and I've visited her in Germany with him once, it was fine. I am good friends with two ex boyfriends, one in particular is so close that he's my daughter's godfather. But if there is any unfinished business or one person is hankering after the other, it won't work.
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TurtleDove

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Re: Is it possible for a couple to remain friends after breaking up?
« Reply #21 on: January 10, 2012, 02:29:57 PM »
I do not think you have to be "close friends" with any ex, even if you have children. You are exes for a reason. If someone is abusive, manipulative, etc., why on earth would it be good for the children to see you trying to remain friends with someone who distresses you to be around?

Working together for the good of the children does not require being best buddies. In fact, I think it may often work better if you are not, by allowing both exes to establish boundaries.

To the bolded, it wouldn't be, but my comment was about couples who put the needs of the children first, and not about individuals who do.  Couples who put their children first are not abusive, manipulative, or distressing to be around. I don't even think that statement needs a qualifier.

As to the italicized, I don't disagree.  Of course it is not required.  I do think some of this has to do with the definition of friendship, and I think couples that can have a better than "I tolerate this person" relationship with the other parent likely lead less stressful lives, as do their children.

MommyPenguin

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Re: Is it possible for a couple to remain friends after breaking up?
« Reply #22 on: January 10, 2012, 02:59:58 PM »
I dated a guy for almost three years in college.  We were part of the same friends group, and remained part of the group as friends (even chatted online, etc.) for several years afterward.  Eventually, the group drifted apart as we all got jobs, some of us moved out of state, etc.  I was still peripherally friends with him when I married (he was part of my group of friends at the wedding) and we were part of the group of friends who helped him move, and he helped us move, etc.  However, eventually we moved away and we lost track of each other.  I haven't seen/talked to him for years, although his mom and my dad are friends (they go to the same church), so I know he's dating "a nice girl" and he probably knows that I have a few kids, if not their names or ages.  So it *is* possible.  I think that, if both of us still lived in the same area, we'd still be friends and our group would still get together from time to time, so our drifting apart was more that we didn't have a strong tie directly to each other anymore, so once our group split, we didn't make special effort to communicate.  Our closest friends from that group are another married couple now, because my husband and the guy talk computers/tech and the wife and I talk writing and kids.  :)

Twik

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Re: Is it possible for a couple to remain friends after breaking up?
« Reply #23 on: January 10, 2012, 04:14:59 PM »
I do not think you have to be "close friends" with any ex, even if you have children. You are exes for a reason. If someone is abusive, manipulative, etc., why on earth would it be good for the children to see you trying to remain friends with someone who distresses you to be around?

Working together for the good of the children does not require being best buddies. In fact, I think it may often work better if you are not, by allowing both exes to establish boundaries.

To the bolded, it wouldn't be, but my comment was about couples who put the needs of the children first, and not about individuals who do.  Couples who put their children first are not abusive, manipulative, or distressing to be around. I don't even think that statement needs a qualifier.

As to the italicized, I don't disagree.  Of course it is not required.  I do think some of this has to do with the definition of friendship, and I think couples that can have a better than "I tolerate this person" relationship with the other parent likely lead less stressful lives, as do their children.

I think we're quibbling about the phrase "close friends" as opposed to "friendly". There is, to my mind, a difference. Close friends are emotionally entwined. I suspect it's often s better when people separate that they try to "untwine", at least for a while. That has nothing to do with hostility, and more with clearing away the debris before you can build again.

I recall reading about a study of divorced couples, that broke several hundred couples down into "hostile," "tolerate each other," "friendly," and "still the most wonderful friends in the world". While the researchers admitted that they started the study believing that the fourth category would be the healthiest, for both the exes and their children, they were rather astonished to find that not a single one of the participants in the fourth category had remarried or started living with a new partner (over a 5-year study period), and very few of them had formed any sort of serious new relationship at all. They concluded that that these people were still "emotionally married" even if legally divorced, and that it wasn't quite healthy to remain THAT involved with your ex.
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."

JoieGirl7

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Re: Is it possible for a couple to remain friends after breaking up?
« Reply #24 on: January 10, 2012, 04:20:44 PM »
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?

Yes, its possible.

Others have provided many pros and cons.
 
You go about it by just doing it.
For example, if its something you are comfortable with then you reach out.  But, you can't expect that you will not be rejected if the other person does not want to remain friends.
There is really no way that having a conversation about it with firm commitments to "remain friends" will be honored.  Some people want to remain friends but find it too difficult or emotionally dragging on them.  So, even if they said that they wanted to, it doesn't mean it will work.

If you don't feel like its a good idea then you don't agree to it at all.  You say "I am not comfortable with that."

Also, if you do agree to it initially and find that it doesn't work for you, then you can say "I know what I said and I thought it would work.  But, its not working out for me and I am not comfortable with it."

aiki

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Re: Is it possible for a couple to remain friends after breaking up?
« Reply #25 on: January 10, 2012, 07:31:14 PM »
I am wondering if it is possible for a couple to remain friends after breaking up?

Yes, it's possible, but not necessarily easy.

Quote
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?

It's the sort of thing that takes two enthusiastic yesses. Not a yes from him and a "well ok, I'll try it because you want to" from you. All you need say is "I don't think that's a good idea right now."

"A true gentleman is one who is never unintentionally rude."  - Oscar Wilde

Corvid

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Re: Is it possible for a couple to remain friends after breaking up?
« Reply #26 on: January 10, 2012, 07:48:09 PM »
What if you felt it was not a good idea, but the guy you dated wanted to do this? How would you tell him?

You don't think it's a good idea, so I don't think any of the pros or cons or hows and whys matter.  There's a good chance your gut is telling you something and were I you, I'd listen to it.  Nor would I bother to try to explain yourself or debate the subject with your ex.  You don't want to.  You don't have to.  Period.  Women always think they have to explain themselves.  We don't.  Tell him you don't want to maintain a friendship, best wishes for the future, bye now.




Gwywnnydd

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Re: Is it possible for a couple to remain friends after breaking up?
« Reply #27 on: January 10, 2012, 08:12:01 PM »
I've done it a few times, with various exes.
+1 everyone who says to take some time with no contact, to work out what's in your own head. For me, it was usually about six months.
Basically, you need to take time to grieve the rel*tionship that ended, before you can forge a new friendship. And you may find you don't *want* to be friends, after you've gotten through that. That's fine, no one is saying you have to be friends. As long as you can remain polite when you encounter each other in public, that's all that society requires ;).
The guys I'm still friends with, are good guys, they were just a bad match for me.

LifeOnPluto

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Re: Is it possible for a couple to remain friends after breaking up?
« Reply #28 on: January 10, 2012, 08:54:52 PM »
It's only possible if both people are completely over the other. If one party still has unresolved feelings, it's not going to be happy, healthy friendship.

As previous posters have said, the best way to ensure there are no lingering feelings is to have a period of no contact. I reckon at least 3 months is the way to go. If for some reason, you can't avoid your ex-partner (for example, if you work together or study the same classes, etc) I recommend limiting contact to short, civil exchanges wherever possible.

If both of you have overcome any feelings and sincerely wish to be friends, my only advice is to show them the same respect you would any other friend. Don't treat them like someone who you only want to hang out with when there's nothing better to do.

blarg314

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Re: Is it possible for a couple to remain friends after breaking up?
« Reply #29 on: January 10, 2012, 09:29:21 PM »
It can work, for some relationships, and some people. For others it will be a painful disaster.

It has to be completely mutual. Both people need to want to be friends - if one person is pushing it, and the other is just giving in because they think they should, or they don't want to look petty, the results will be bad. And it's not uncommon for someone to 'want to be friends' as a way of hanging on to a relationship they don't want to end.

Both people have to be completely over the relationship. They can't be harbouring resentment over the breakup, or still in love with their ex. If there are still feelings, trying to be friends makes getting over the other person a long, drawn out affair, where every sign of friendship or attentiveness is seen as proof that the other person wants them back.

And it takes time after the break up, both to get over the feelings of the breakup, and to reset to friendship mode rather than romantic mode. 

As a test - if you can watch your ex cuddling with a new partner and be happy for them, you're in a good state to be friends. If you're jealous, or angry, or sad, then you need more space and time before you're ready. And if you were friends before you dated, then the friendship after you've dated will be different - you won't get the same thing back.

If the relationship was one with a big imbalance in power - one person tended to call the shots, or control the relationship - then trying to be friends is likely to perpetuate that imbalance, and will be unhealthy for the person who is on the controlled end.

If it's a case where you're going to be seeing an ex regularly, professionally or in the same social circle, then polite but distant works well, and you can see how things progress.   It may turn into a friendship, or you may just be casual acquaintances/co-workers.

ETA:  I also find that it's important that you respect your ex as a person.  If a breakup was due to differences in personality/style/lives/goals, or complications of life, or just not feeling that way about each other, but you still respect the other person, then friendship has a better chance. If you don't respect them - if they cheated on you, or otherwise treated you badly, say - and you think that they are not a very nice person, then you shouldn't try to be friends.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2012, 09:31:33 PM by blarg314 »