Still friends after relationship?

Shannon Hall

Last week I asked my friends on Facebook in preparation for this article if two people can be friends after a relationship ends, the response I got was an overwhelming “No,” and I have to say, I’m not sure that I disagree.

When a relationship ends, there are still many emotions that surround the relationship those two people had, whether it be saddness, regret, anger, you name it–those feelings prevent people from really being able to be friends.

Ideally, it would be great to say that it’s possible. In fact, I think we’re supposed to believe that it’s possible. But in reality, it just isn’t. One friend put it in a perspective that made a lot of sense he said “being friends with an ex is like telling a child their puppy died, but they can still play with it.” There’s a lot of truth behind that.

Maintaining a friendship after a relationship ends becomes tricky and often, I believe, it becomes a sort of challenge. I’m not sure if people are ever really friends after a relationship ends or if it’s just a test to oneself to prove that they can do it, that they aren’t stuck in the past.

However, seeing someone you used to share intimate moments with in a frienship type relationship is a strange and awkward transition. And, I’m not just talking about sexual intimate moments, I’m talking about the transition from sharing your deepest thoughts and insecurities to suddenly trying to make the distinction between friends and the type of relationship you once had. How do you go from talking about what scares you, what you’re dreams are and what you want out of life to talking about exams and other more superficial topics? How are you supposed to not be tempted to treating that person like you’re accustomed to? Once you know someone well in a relationship type setting how do you act like just friends?

Trying to maintain a friendship can get confusing as well. If two people do talk often after they break up, it can become confusing and make one believe that there is a possibility to get back together. Those feelings you once had for the person take awhile to get over, how can you really be friends with someone if you still are pining for them? Or, if you’re angry at them?

Also, how about being friends with an ex once you’re in a new relationship? Unfortunately, it’s just a terrible idea.

Again, ideally it would be a wonderful thing. And, as much as we’d love to believe we’re mature and trusting people–jealousy is bound to creep up.

That in of itself becomes a trick and slipperly slope. Where does your loyalty stand? To the person you once loved/dated or the person you currently love/date? It’s just an awkward situation that is bound to leave someone feeling betrayed.

Similarly, there is a balance that needs to be addressed if the situation calls for it. Once a couple breaks up and there is a new relationship and the two exes still talk how does that make the new significant other feel? Besides jealousy, it can make the new significant other feel like the past is constantly in their face, like they can’t really move forward because the former is always sticking around.

Choosing to be friends with an ex, and really friends not someone you occassionally talk to, is something I really believe just isn’t possible… as sad as that is.