Your phone buzzes with a text. You check the sender. It’s your ex, wanting to meet up.
What do you do?
Here are my 3 pieces of advice:
- Wait 24 hours to respond. Seeing an ex’s name pop up in your texts or email is going to flood your body with emotion and adrenaline. You need actual, physical recovery time before you can approach the communication with logic rather than whichever emotions are triggered (elation, anger, loneliness, nostalgia, etc.). Take a day to let things sink in so you can respond with a cool and collected mind.
- Write down why they’re an ex. It’s easy to look back on a relationship with rose-tinted glasses once you’re removed from the day-to-day issues. Nostalgia is really powerful, but try not to let that color your judgment. Write down a physical list of why this person was not right for you so that you can see it and re-read it when deciding whether to let this person back into your life, in either small ways or large. Don’t let someone back in just because you feel lonely.
- Decide: is a friendship worth it? Maybe your ex really does want to just establish a platonic relationship with you. If you’re ready for that and want that, amazing! But take some time to think through the practicalities. As alluring as welcoming this familiar and perhaps comforting presence back into your life may be, will that be healthy for you? Are you secretly seeking their approval or desire, or are you truly seeking friendship? Do you have enough in common to maintain a friendship if you remove physical intimacy? Ask yourself the tough questions now so that you can best take care of yourself in the long run.
Being friends with an ex is absolutely possible—to this day I have some wonderful friendships with people I used to date! Just remember to heed logic more than emotion, and always make sure you’re protecting your heart.
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