To Be or Not to Be…

This is an interesting topic that one of my readers requested: Can or should people be friends post breakup?

Let me preface by saying this – I am not a relationship expert. I don’t pretend to have all the answers people seek. I will always give my honest opinion and advice, when asked.

Let’s begin.

Can people be friends post breakup? 

One of the beautiful advantages of a being in a committed relationship are the emotional walls that can be pushed down when you reach a comfort level with another person. You learn more and more about each other and grow to see the real person you’ve chosen to be with. Those are strong ties that don’t easily sever, and some people aren’t willing to let those go.

My answer to this question is, yes. If it’s something both parties really want, it can be done.

Don’t fool yourself, it won’t be simple.

Remember that the relationship ended for a reason. You can move on, but the reasons it happened and the feelings regarding it will always be there. If you want to be friends, each person will have to learn how to truly leave all of that in the past and move forward in these different roles.

Think about it like the toothpaste experiment, once it’s out, it’s hard to put it all back.

Should people be friends post breakup?

Not always. Not immediately. Sometimes not ever.

Ah, the age-old conundrum. Just because I can, doesn’t always mean I should. I tie this back to the adage, just because it zips, doesn’t mean it fits. Amen.

When the breakup is messy. When the tensions are high. When the emotions are raw. Don’t try. Give it time. A human has to go through the same phases of grief with a breakup. Allow yourself and the other person the time you need to process through all of it. If you need to be angry, be angry. If you need to eat a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, eat it.

Don’t try to force a friendship when one party may not be ready for it. Don’t push yourself into a friendship if you aren’t ready yet. The worst thing that could happen would be this particular scenario:

Imagine a discussion over what movie to see. Tensions are still high and someone is still grieving the end of the relationship while the other one isn’t. Suddenly, a simple decision turns into a monumental argument on how the other person never communicated enough and THIS is why the relationship ended.


Then there is the difficult yet sometimes necessary decision to just move on. To go your separate ways and try not to look back. To grieve individually and rely on your support systems to stumble through it as best as you can.

There you have it. My two cents.

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, please contact local law enforcement agencies or  The National Domestic Abuse Hotline at 1-877-799-7233 (SAFE).

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Mother of three. Writer extraordinaire. Lover of art and music. Consumer of chocolate and wine.

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