How To Move On From Your Ex and Still Be Friends

I’m the first to admit that when it comes to men and relationships, I suffer from an out-of-control  jealousy. I’m possessive. Okay, but to my own defense all of my other qualities supersede this characteristic. Recently this green eyed mega-monster was tested when I found out that my ex was dating. I know, I know, that’s your ex, why do you care?

Well, besides being an automatic jealous beast ( and for the record, my jealousy isn’t about insecurity because I know my worth), I was with this man for 10 years, and have known him for 20 (mind you, I’m in my 20’s), I feel an unbreakable connection to him, one that I don’t want to lose but at the same time I know it’s ridiculous for me not to expect him to move on. I know that it’s difficult to let go of an ex but it must be done.

Now I don’t think all ties must be severed especially in my case but there needs to be a process of detachment. It’ll always be painful to see him move on (especially when it’s a downgrade, didn’t he learn anything? *cough*) but it’s not fair to hold onto to someone and stop him from moving on with his life and honestly these emotional ties won’t allow you to move on either. Therefore I present you with 4 steps to move on, emotionally, from that ex that you want you still want to be friends with.

1) Limit communication. Distance yourself. That person is so entrenched in your life and you need to readjust it to not include him. Once you’ve learned to fill that void with other things, you won’t be so reliant.

2) Regroup. Talk about how you feel about each other, your relationship, and friendship. Be clear about your feelings and expectations of each other so that you can move on to having a stress-free and productive role in your  lives.

3) Don’t talk about your relationships. I know, I know, if you’re suppose to be friends then you  should be able to be open, well not in this friendship. Every  friendship has its purpose and this one’s doesn’t include  sharing  your love life. Relationship convos are out because the truth is you don’t want to hear about your ex conoddling with another woman. One way or another, he’s still your ex.

4) Move On!You broke up and you’re not together. Move on and live your life and let him live his own. This is difficult but you can make it easier by talking about him less and when you think about him, steer your thoughts in another direction.

I know this easier said than done but these steps combined with the fail-proof broken heart treatment will have you better before you know it. The key is to take action and not wallow.

Do you get upset at the thought of your ex moving on? Are you attached to your ex but you want to maintain a friendship? If so, what do you do to make it work?


12 thoughts on “How To Move On From Your Ex and Still Be Friends

  1. I just did a guest blog post all about my relationship with my ex. I broke up with him, and we were only together for four years, but it was still an investment. We remain friendly, but I would never talk about my new boyfriend around him. It’s just not necessary. As the years go by and you get more used to the new level your relationship is at, you can begin to open up a little, so I think #3 on your list is totally key!

    1. I’m glad I have the right idea. It’s definitely more difficult to maintain a friendship with your ex than to form a relationship but we liked them for more than the physical, so why not keep them around for their other attributes?

      Being friends with an ex reminds of Carrie’s struggle with Big. Lol. Particularly that first episode where they went to lunch to maintain a friendship. It’s difficult but well worth it as they proved.

  2. I have been with my boyfriend well ex now for about one year and five months. i known for about 6 years now. We broken up two months after he went to college.. long distance wasnt working out but im in love with him he the only i ever really been with. i hate being friends with him. cuz i wanna be more.

    1. I’m sorry to hear that Linda. Breaking up is difficult and being friends with your ex is an even harder situation. Being friends with the ex is not for everyone. It often is harder to be friends with an ex than to just leave each other alone. Let some time pass and your feelings subside then see if you can be friends. If not, I’m sure you have a ton of other fabulous people in your life!

  3. Its really hard to be friendly with your ex especially in my case. i’ve dated this guy my ex for almost 8 months and i truly thought he was the one….i recently find out hes been cheating on me. the worse part about it he got the girl pregnant, i just dont know how to move and be friend with him

    1. You definitely aren’t obligated to be friends with your ex and in this case I wouldn’t recommend it! He disrespected you while you were together and if you didn’t build a friendship in the 8 months that you were in a relationship then it’ll be really difficult to form one after that type of betrayal.

  4. When I first met my ex bf he was separated from his wife of 21 years. At first it was incredible. But after awhile things just died down and got routine. He started to have doubts about being with me, but I convinced him to give me a chance. He did and it was amazing. I thought here was a guy who is everything I have been looking for and we have a lot in common. I thought wow what a catch. Then I decided to move into the same duplex house that he was living in and that put stress on the relationship. He thought I was moving way too fast. I thought it would last forever. It didn’t in July he broke up with me the first time. He wanted to go out and be with other women. Feeling like he hasn’t had enough experience with women as I have with men. We were broken up for several weeks until I made a decision to move on with the hope he would come back to me. The very next day he came back to me. I took him back. Things were OK for a little while. But then in the same week the arguments started back up again. I tried to apologize and make compromises for him. They would work for awhile and then I would do something else that would upset him. He always had to know where I was at and who I was with. Then the holidays came upon us. He started to get very busy. So did I, but I still made time for us. Then I noticed him start to pull away from me. At first I thought I had done something wrong and that I was losing him. Not fully understanding the situation I asked my friends for help. They did the best they could. I accused him of cheating on me because he was spending time with a female friend of his instead of spending time with me. He would tell me that nothing was going on between them. But I thought something was. I let my friends know about this and they said he probably is. He started to think that our relationship isn’t going to work. I asked him to please give it another chance. He did for a few weeks after the new year and then he told me that he doesn’t think we are a good match and that I should start to see other people. I was severely heartbroken so heartbroken that I had to drive to another state just to get away from him. My girlfriend told me that it’s his loss and that I am a wonderful person. I took a few weeks to myself to get myself back on track. I talked to him and said ok let’s try to be friends. He said ok, but can we have friends with benefits. I said no. So at first I tried to be friends with him. I didn’t spend a lot of time in his place. I spent more time in mine. I tried to pick myself back up and move on. But whenever I was with him I couldn’t stop asking him if he would take me back. And he said he doesn’t know right now, but there is a possibility that he would take me back. I took that as a sign of hope and I clung desperately to that hope. All of my friends told me that I need to completely let him go and move on and that he needs to realize what he lost. But he can’t do that when I’m constantly around him. So I tried to be friends with him for almost a month. We still did some things together. But for the most part we were apart. He went out on a couple of dates and slept with a few women, but none of them had the same connection we have. So I thought well if we have a connection and we care about each other then there’s still something there. And maybe it can be rekindled into a new relationship. So it turned into this roller coaster ride where some days he would be ok with me hanging out with him. But other days he would just push me away. Always constantly pushing me away. He told me about the dates he went on. Every time he went out on a date it really hurt me. So I told him how I feel and he stopped dating anyone. He didn’t want to hurt me. I slept with him on and off for 6 months. Thinking that would bring us closer. But I noticed some changes in him. Like every-time I was the one who seduced him not the other way around like he used to. It started to make me miss some of the things we used to do. I would bring them up to him and it would make him smile. But he would say the same thing. I don’t know Tiffany. There are a lot of positives in our relationship, but there are also a lot of negatives. And I just don’t know. So while I clung onto this hope that one day we would reconcile I started to get over the breakup. I brought myself back up and I started to bring my self confidence back up. I decided to become my own best friend. I started to hang out with my friends more often. Than hanging out with him. But that made him jealous. He always thought I was with another guy. I would tell him no. W either or not he believed me I don’t know but it annoyed me that he wanted to know where I was at. So I started to distance myself from him a bit by going out and doing my own thing. When he asked what I was doing I would only give him bits and pieces of information. I wouldn’t tell him everything I was doing. Like for example I was at the Fond du Lac mall and he sent a text message saying where are you. I didn’t tell him I was at the mall. I just told him that I was in Fond du Lac. All he said was I hope your having fun. I don’t know if he thought I was with one of my guy friends. (He has issues with me seeing my guy friends) But it annoyed me that he wanted to know where I was at. Like he didn’t trust me. So I would just tell him bits and pieces. So yeah in a sense you could say that I was pulling away for awhile. I tried to hold onto that hope that we would get back together. So I got impatient with him. I was only going to wait until my lease was up in order to find out if he wants to be with me or not. It would make me soo mad that he would always keep saying it’s a possibility, but right now I just don’t know Tiffany. I do care about you but I just don’t know. Then my birthday came around and I asked him if he would give me another chance. His response to me was that he’s afraid to be with me and he’s afraid to let me go. We have a connection and we do care about each other, but he didn’t know if it was enough. He told me that everytime he had sex with me it always felt right. That every time we walked into the theater together he was always proud to have me on his arm. I on the other hand was starting to become frustrated with him for not giving me an absolute answer. So I kept asking him and asking him and asking him. Two weeks ago he came to me and said that he’s afraid to be with me and he’s afraid to let me go. I said please give me another chance. Please don’t do this Chris I love you. He said I don’t think your in love with me. I think your in love with the idea of us being together. I said no I love you for the person you are, I like the idea of us being together. He said I am soo confused right now. I said well what would help is for you to give us another chance let’s start a new relationship. I have been making positive changes in my life. He would say Tiffany we have been over this and what I remember is you pointing out all of my faults. Even pointing out things about my body which I think I have a great looking body for a 44 yr old. I apologized and he said part of me wants to be with you and part of me doesn’t. I feel like I have to do this. I feel like I have to get out there and meet new women and experience different relationships. I kept begging him to take me back and he said no and I have to go. I broke down in tears and cried my eyes out. I told everyone what happened. They were shocked. But it was mostly an I told you so. The next day he went out on a date with a different woman and he had sex with her. I was so worried about that happening I drove around Manitowoc and Sheboygan for hours. Asking myself how did it come to this. I couldn’t sleep so I got a room at a hotel. The next day I went home and he still wasn’t there. He sent me an email telling me that he’s sorry for hurting me and that he’s hurting too because he knows that I won’t be a part of his life for awhile. That I will always be special to him no matter what happens. I talked to him face to face and asked about the date(big mistake) he confirmed my suspisions. I asked him if it made him feel better. And he said no it confused me even more. I asked him if he was thinking about me when he was with her. He said that a million and one things were going through his head that night but yes he was thinking about me. He worries about me and cares about me, but right now he doesn’t want to be with me. He told me that I can remove him off my chat room pages and he would understand. But that he can’t do it because it hurts him too much. He wants to be in my life in some way. But he feels like he has to do this in order to rediscover himself and to have someone else to compare me to besides his ex wife. I asked about the woman he’s with and he said that yes he’s dating someone and he’s thinking about being exclusive with her. A lady at wal-mart told me that what he’s going through sounds like he’s having a mid-life crisis. Because he got married young he feels like he hasn’t experienced enough or done enough. I asked her what can I do. She said in so many words that for right now I have to let him go and move on. And if it’s meant to be it will happen but not right now. I have to let him go and get on with my own life without him. Someday I hope he will realize what he’s lost or maybe he will get over his mid-life crisis. Time will tell.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing your story Tiffany. I know things will work out for the better which doesn’t necessarily mean the way you want. It seems that you were better off when you were living independently and distancing yourself from Chris. I have a lot more words of support. Expect an email from me and stay strong. Standing your ground and respecting Chris’ wishes will make you feel much better in the end. Your friend/co-worker is right. You deserve better, you deserve someone who wants to be with you.

  5. I completely understand the “unbreakable connection” part. I dated this woman for 3 years and have known her for 7. Even though we broke up, there is no way we could stop all contact, it would devastate us both.

    When i found out that she had fully moved on and found someone new, it was very difficult. We are still close and we both want to maintain a friendship.

    I also think the part about “knowing your own worth” plays a large factor. What helped calm me down is knowing that even though she has moved on, I’m obviously worth something to her since the relationship is over and in no way does she want me out of her life.

    We make awesome friends so we’re just trying to keep it simple. Stick to what we’re good at and things don’t get awkward.

    Thank you for sharing your experiences in this article, it has really helped me!

    1. Thanks for the great comment. It’s so refreshing to know that exes can definitely be friends and it’s not a figament of my imagination. It definitely speaks volume of both you and your ex’s new beau that you can be friends. Kudos to you!

  6. we were together for 4 years and now we parted our ways due to some family issues and career. I tried to move on but I still care for him and I have accepted the fact that we can’t have future but still have a little hope.
    It’s a month I have had no contact with him.
    Should I be frnds with him again? Should I approach him and how?

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