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Can being friends with an ex lead back into a relationship? 

If you’re looking up this question, I suspect there is a special someone in your life you would love to get back together with. Maybe things ended, but your feelings are far from gone, or there is just a little voice inside of you that tells you to fight for this relationship.

If that’s the case, I’ve been in the exact same boat as you. My then-ex (we are happily together now) had dumped me and I was devastated. I can’t explain why, but something in me just KNEW that this relationship wasn’t over, I just didn’t know how to go about getting back together, yet.

After much trial and error, I found a way to slowly rebuild the foundation of a healthy relationship with them, so I want to share that with you.

Being friends with your ex can totally lead back into a relationship, but there are some things to consider first and steps to take (plus some things you should avoid at all costs).

Here are the ways to transform your friendship back into that passionate relationship you desire:

1) Communicate effectively during the break-up

The process of getting back together actually starts with the break-up, believe it or not. The way you go about the situation during this time is crucial.

Most people that get dumped eventually write some sort of “break-up acceptance” text, where they let their ex-partner know they accept their decision, wish them well, you know what I mean.

If there is a part of you that feels like you still see a future with that person, this acceptance text is very important. Communicate to them that you still have romantic feelings for them, but are more than open to being friends.

The reason this is important is that your (ex)-partner doesn’t know your feelings until you communicate them, so letting them know you wanna stay in contact can be the make or break between separating completely or eventually becoming friends (and lovers further down the line).

In this text, you can define what being friends means to you, and see if your partner is okay with that. There will be boundaries from their side, as well, which can incorporate how much contact the two of you have, the space they need, the time they need, seeing other people, how intimate they want to be, stuff like that.

You need to accept those boundaries.

2) Don’t be negative towards them (in person, and especially on social media)

This one is very important if you ever want a future with your ex. I know that break-ups can be brutal, and you are most definitely feeling hurt, but whatever you do, don’t write any posts on social media bashing your ex and telling everyone how awful they are.

This also applies to talking to them, by the way. Don’t tell them how much they hurt you and what an a**hole they are. I know, this sounds self-explanatory, but trust me, in the heat of emotions we often feel tempted to say some brutal things.

Doing these things will drastically limit any chances you have of being friends with them or getting back into a relationship further down the line.

This also ties in with neediness and insecurity, not just anger. Yes, after a break-up you will often feel hurt and unworthy, but telling your ex-partner that, or showing them through your actions will not make you look like a more attractive, desirable partner, trust me!

You’re most probably very sad and need attention, and that is more than okay. But these things will not bring you the attention you want. Instead, try talking about it with good friends, or find ways to channel your negative emotions.

Working through your emotions is important, and there are countless ways you can do that. Maybe you already have passions that would work well for this purpose, but here are some ideas:

  • Try working out – Whatever sport it may be, it will give your pent-up anger and sadness an outlet to be expressed. Sprint until you can’t breathe, lift weights, ride the bike, whatever it is, if it gets your heart pumping – get on it!
  • Dance it out – Dancing can be super therapeutic. And no, you do not need to know what you’re doing or look good doing it. Throw on your favorite music, or maybe something that calls to your emotions, and just let your body flow with it.
  • Journal – Giving your thoughts a voice can be an excellent way to not only empty your mind of all the clutter that builds up, but re-reading those journal entries can give you a more objective opinion on your situation, as you can read it from a third-person perspective.
  • Create art – Express your emotions in an artistic way, transforming the painful and ugly into something beautiful.
  • Scream, cry, and feel it all – you have been hurt, and it really freaking sucks. Don’t push that down, give yourself the opportunity to let it out. Scream into a pillow, cry until no more tears seem to flow, sit with your feelings. This is so important for healing and will be a crucial step in rebuilding a healthy relationship afterward.

3) Don’t freak out if you are not friends with them right away, get some space

Okay, I know I said that every step so far is crucial, but this one is probably the most important of them all.

Space is KEY! Your relationship just ended – chances are very good that the two of you are not exactly in a good place with each other at this moment.

Also, at this time, the two of you have very different needs, and you have to accept and understand that. The person who dumped the other needs space, and the person who got dumped needs closeness and connection.

I know, that’s probably not what you want to hear, but being together right away might just push you two further apart.

You need to create some emotional distance so that your needs can align again. This can feel very scary, but these days, weeks, or months of space will pay off. Clinging on and wanting to hang out right away can make your ex-partner feel suffocated. It takes a lot of self-reflection and willpower, but trust me, in the end, it is worth it.

Use this time to work on yourself, to work on the issues you had in the relationship, and to regain your identity.

When you just got dumped, your job is not to build up a friendship/relationship with them right away, it’s to get yourself back first and foremost.

You might ask yourself, how do I do that? The way I went about it was simple:

Don’t text or call them all the time

As much as you want to hear from them, know about their life, and find out what’s going on with them, you have to suppress this need for a bit. It will be healthier for you AND them in the end.

Giving yourself a time frame can help tremendously. Set a limit, for example, 30 days, and promise yourself not to reach out to them during that time. It sounds daunting at first, but having a “goal” in mind helps a lot with those late-night thoughts of texting them “I miss you”.

This period will also give you time to focus on the next steps.

Think about all the things that shaped your identity, that weren’t connected to them

Being in a relationship can become our whole identity. After all, you’ve spent a lot of time with that person. But before you can get back together with them in a healthy way, you need to figure out who YOU are on your own again.

What did you love to do before you were with them, that you stopped doing in the relationship? Is there any hobby or activity you’d like to pick back up again? Not only will this bring more love, happiness, and passion into your life again, but you will also become more of yourself again – the you that your partner fell in love with once already.

Think about who you want to become

Big life changes are also big windows of opportunity for re-invention. This is your time to finally take the steps towards becoming who you always wanted to be.

Did you always want to be a ceramic artist, but never had the time? Go and visit a course on how to work with clay! Have you always dreamt of being a writer? Follow your passion and just start typing!

This will get you out of a rut, help you rediscover a love for life again, and also make you a more interesting and desirable person in general!

Reflect on what went wrong in the relationship and what part you played in it

It is always easiest to blame the other person for a failed relationship, but in all honesty, it always takes two for that.

This is an excellent time to reflect on the things that went wrong, and in what ways your behavior might have been unhealthy and pushed your partner away. This doesn’t mean you should blame and hate yourself. Quite the contrary, meet yourself with loving acceptance and see what steps you can take to heal yourself.

Maybe meditation, journaling, and shadow work will help you, or, if you prefer to not do this alone, seeking out a therapist or coach to talk about what happened can help tremendously.

No matter if the two of you ever get back together or not, this step will ensure that whatever relationship is your next one, it will be healthier, more loving, and more beautiful.

You did all that – what now?

If you’ve followed the steps above, there are a few things that might have happened. There is a chance that you realized during your “no-contact period” that you actually don’t want to be in a relationship with them anymore.

Regaining your identity and rediscovering old passions can sometimes change our minds, and that is totally okay.

On the other hand, you might be more convinced than ever that they are the one. If you’ve taken up contact with them after giving them space for some time, and you agreed to a friendship, now is your time to shine.

This friendship is an opportunity to show them how you changed. You focused on yourself, and that shows.

Not only will your partner see that you didn’t completely break down from the separation (quite the opposite – you flourished), but all your self-work will reflect in healthier habits and behavior. This is insanely attractive and will be a big reason for bringing romance and passion back into your friendship!

Also, this friendship will be an amazing opportunity to test the waters, see how it feels hanging out again without putting too much at stake. There is no pressure, only two people enjoying the time spent together. Out of this, a relationship can grow slowly and at a comfortable rate.

Give yourself, and them, some time

Enjoy this time, and don’t pressure yourself if you feel like things aren’t moving fast enough. If it is meant to be, you will find back to each other romantically, and if not, all this work you have put in will pay off when you meet the person who will fall head over heels in love with you.

I was lucky, and my partner and I both worked on ourselves during our time apart, which is why we were able to meet again as two new individuals with the same love and affection in our hearts.

This is not always the case, however, and I need you to know that if that happens to you, it doesn’t mean that anything is wrong with you, or that you didn’t do enough.

If anything, it will be a sign that they are just not the right fit for you, and that the break-up was just a catalyst for you to bloom into your best version of yourself, ready to meet the person that is actually meant for you.

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Written by Anna Scheucher

Freelance writer specializing in holistic health, wellness, and psychology. Check out my blog to find out more https://www.fullyholistic.com/!

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