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Ask Chrissey–How Can You Be Friends with your Ex?

(Before all of you start ripping on me for using this picture Bernie said it was totally cool. And now that I’m typing this I’m totally reminded of the fact that I said I’d drag him into doing a video. So that’s happening!)

Chrissey with short hair–crazy right? That pictures over two years old!

A lot of people ask me, occasionally meanly, “How can you be friends with an ex?”

Isn’t there some universal rule telling you that that is a no-no?

A lot of people are under the impression that when you and ex break up you’re supposed to be like, “good riddance!” and hope for their life to go down in flames and mass chaos because you guys broke up. A lot of people think that you’re supposed to always wish that their life goes to shit, because you guys didn’t work out. And although breakups are different, and no two are the same, one thing they all have in common is that they absolutely suck…and that going through one definitely changes a person.

The specifics of my break up with Bernie are…complicated, and not something I love discussing or chatting about all the time. They are, of course, private. Of course I was mad, and of course I was sad. Of course there were moments when I wished that he’d get hit by a mack truck. (I’m only being honest, right?)

I didn’t even think we’d ever talk again, but we’re friends!

I’m not going to speak for Bernie, but one thing I will say is that we are both two completely different people than we were two years ago, and that is most definitely a good thing. We want different things now, and we view things differently. And I think that is a big part of being friends with someone you used to date.

If you can view them as an independent person than the person you were in love with, then I think that being friends is totally feasible. I don’t look at Bernie, and see this nineteen year old dude who took me on dates and held my hand–I see my friend, who has been there for me as a friend, and supported me, as friends should do.

Another aspect of being friends with your ex is not holding anything against them, not bringing back any arguments or disagreements. Not bringing up fights at 2 am, or things that they didn’t or should have done. This isn’t your old relationship–this is a friendship. And would you constantly bring up negative memories when talking to one of your friends? No!

Yes, sometimes Bernie or I will bring up the time we did (something), but it’ll just be a fun thing to reminisce on and laugh about. Like the time we saw the tightrope walker in Downtown Chicago, or the time I forgot to season the spinach dip pasta! But we aren’t constantly talking about the past or missing it–we talk about the now, and things that are present. Because if you’re going to be friends with an ex, just to stay in the past, then that isn’t healthy at all.

Honestly, if you haven’t moved on, then you really shouldn’t try to be friends. Being friends with someone you dated means that you’ve forgiven them for all the things that happened in your relationship, and that you’re ready to start a new friendship. That you understand that they were a part of your past, but now you’re building a future. And that now you’ve moved past that point, and that there are no hard feelings. You aren’t trying to win them back, or fall back into old habits. You just miss your friend.

Don’t expect it to happen in a few weeks or a couple days, it definitely takes time. People always argue over what heals a person, and truly the only thing that can is time.

People always ask me, “are you really friends” or they question our friendship, and I’m going to say that yes, we are truly simply friends. It’s hard to explain, but once you’re at that point where you’ve moved on and you’re over it, it’s definitely possible to be friends with your ex. When you stop associating them with love and forever.

And it’s really just not complicated after that! You’re just friends! I really wish I had a better explanation, but truly, once all the residual feelings, hopes, and dreams (or whatever) go away, you don’t have to try or think hard about it. You’re truly just friends.

I hope this helped, or provided a little bit of clarity.

Chrissey

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