How to be Friends with an Ex: Step Three

We are finally to step three of how to be friends with an ex, which means that you've already resolved to be kind, and then you've set boundaries and given yourself adequate time to both grieve the loss of the romantic relationship and to figure out what you truly want from a future friendship.

And that concludes the world's longest sentence.

Anyway...

Onward then, right? Should be smooth sailing from here?

For some people, sure, it should be easy enough to settle into a functioning friendship, or at the very least, a friendly acquaintance-type situation. For others, it might be trickier as they figure out what does and doesn't feel comfortable as they move along.

Which means you gotta have the lady- or man-balls to talk about what you're feeling at any given point in time.

Honesty is good. And sometimes, brutal honesty is better.

For instance, my last ex and I have been able to maintain a good friendship, but not without some work. There have been times when both of us have had to say to each other, "That is not something I am ready to talk about with you," or "It feels strange to discuss this together, since it feels less like friendship and more like relationship-type territory."

And of course, this was all pretty normal stuff as we learned to separate the boyfriend/girlfriend "us" into friendship "us."

I also had to learn to be really honest with myself.

Was I asking him questions because I was truly interested in what he was doing, or was I doing it to still feel like I had a special place in his life? Was it fair to ask him to do certain things for me (e.g. watch my dogs, help me move furniture)? Did I really feel comfortable doing things together that felt more like dating (e.g. going to a movie, having dinner)?

I didn't always get it right. There were times when I think we both probably hurt each other's feelings as we let the last of the relationship "us" go. But I'm also happy to say that the work we both put in means that we have a really nice friendship now that comfortably intertwines how we knew each other before with the people we are becoming now.

It's kind of nice.

(Oh, and PS? If you have a "friends with the ex" situation, you should probably disclose that to any new partners. That goes with the whole honesty thing, too.)

So, spill! I want to hear more about how you have (or have not) made friendships with your exes work!

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