Breaking up is hard – but dealing with your ex afterwards can be even more difficult. During the awkward time after a breakup, it’s hard to tell if you should try to stay friends with your ex or cut off all communication completely. Here’s how to handle the situation if you want to try to stay friends with your ex.
Question: I have been out of a relationship now for 3-4 months and am over my ex – but I somehow I feel I owe something to her and should build a friendship again. I still feel awkward talking to her even though it’s small talk – any tips?
It’s Always Awkward
If you’ve just broken up with someone or have just been broken up with, the period directly following the breakup is always awkward. If you’re feeling as though things are strained between you and your ex and it just doesn’t feel right, join the club! Most people feel strange after a breakup, especially if they’re often around their ex. For example, if you and your ex work together or share many of the same friends, coming into constant contact with each other after the breakup can be just plain weird. It’s totally normal to feel awkward after a breakup and it can take some time for you and your partner to reach a totally platonic state.
You Don’t Owe Your Ex Anything
Many people leave a relationship feeling like they owe their ex something, especially if they’re the ones that did the breaking up. Even people who leave a relationship in the best possible way can feel bad about hurting the other person. Here’s the thing – you don’t owe your ex anything. Each person reserves the right to end a relationship if they feel it’s not working out in their best interests. It’s kind of like at will employment. Either party can terminate the relationship at any time for any reason of their choosing. Your ex may be hurt after the breakup, and things may be awkward, but don’t hold it against yourself. Staying with a person that you’re not happy with just because you don’t want to hurt them never works out. You deserve to be happy, so learn to let it go.
Time Heals Most Wounds
Even though the relationship with your ex is awkward now, time heals just about anything. You may feel pressured to have small talk with your ex now, or to try to force a friendship but it may be that you and your ex just aren’t ready for that yet. After a break up, most people need some time to think and process what happened in the relationship. If a friendship just isn’t there for you and your ex yet, time may be what you need to get there. Give yourself – and your ex – some time and space to sort out what happened. If you or your ex are very emotional after the break up – for example, if you two were in a long term relationship – you will each need some time to sort through how you feel about the break up. Just relax and let time do its thing.