Thought Catalog
March 14, 2013

How To Be Friends With Your Ex

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What is the issue?

Break up spectacularly. Break up in this sort of inevitable way where you both know it’s coming and going to meet each other to do it is sort of like walking to the gallows between a stream of people staring at you and humming under their breath with solemn faces. Break up in a very loud, public way where everyone knows he came too fast and she never liked his parents.

Try to immediately become friends. Hang out and get coffee and laugh and act normal. Feel weird about not kissing goodbye.

Feel listless and sad afterwards though. Decide not to hang out again for a while.

Try cutting each other out of your lives. Try hanging out with your mutual friends without it being awkward when one of them brings up your ex. Try going to the bars you used to go to without wondering if they’re going to show up. Try not looking at their Facebook page every twelve seconds.

Try hanging out again in groups. Feel weird about not holding their hand or going home together. Feel weird when they flirt with the waitress. Feel weird when they don’t pay special attention to you like they used to.

Wonder if they only cared about you because you were sleeping together and think that probably you’re not actually as interesting or funny as they made it seem when you were together because now, they’re practically ignoring you.

Do something out of habit, like getting them their favorite beer or touching their hand and immediately know that unlike your other friends, you have an intimate knowledge of their person you can never take back.

Unfollow them on Twitter. Unfriend them on Facebook.

Realize you’re probably not going to get back together.

Try dating other people. Have some ill-advised hook ups. Make out with one of his friends and both immediately regret it.

Run into each other at a mutual friend’s thing. Have a pretty good time with them, though maybe that’s just because you’re both drunk and feeling nostalgic.

Try to hang out again. Get coffee. Talk. Start to feel normal around them. Try to kiss them. Get rejected. Apologize.

Start feeling like you can ask if they’re dating someone. Be unsure if you want to ask. Ask anyway. They hem and haw about it. You act happy for them.

Convince yourself you’re not weirded out that they totally have someone. Wonder what their dating life has been like since you broke up. Feel a bit sick imagining them with someone else. Worry.

See them out with their new person. Feel something akin to rage. Feel like you built this person from scratch and now some other blowhard is going to enjoy your work? No way. No. way.

Get too drunk and make a scene. Tell them they’re being a bad friend even though you’re the one being crazy.

Wake up. Regret it all. Text them an apology. They reply that maybe you guys aren’t ready to be friends. Feel like they’re right but be bummed about it anyway.

Let some time go by. Don’t contact them. Try and move on. See other people. Find someone new who makes your heart flutter and who teaches you about excitement and caring. Start to really fall for this new person.

Hear from someone else that your ex is doing really well and seems to be super happy now. Refollow your ex on Twitter. Re-friend them on Facebook. They send you back a “:)” in a message. Healing has begun.

Think about them and don’t feel sad. Mostly feel nostalgic and calm.

See them out. Say hi. Exchange pleasantries. Agree to catch up over drinks someday soon. Smile. TC Mark

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