Can You Be Friends With Your Ex?
by Wendi Schuller
Does divorce end a relationship between a couple? Not necessarily – it can be a shift instead. This depends upon the circumstances of the divorce. As a school nurse, I spoke with parents who were on great terms with each other. Surprisingly, quite a few were divorced and claimed to be better friends now, than when married. So can you be friends with your ex after the divorce is finalised? It is possible – with the following caveats:
Take a pause
Give some time between when your marriage is over and forging a new relationship with your former spouse. This gives space so you both can determine clear boundaries and move away from past resentments and hurts. Waiting, lessens the chance of becoming friends with benefits when feeling lonely or craving intimacy. If you resume a physical relationship, it keeps you from moving on to new ones. One woman stated having sex with her ex turned into a messy situation when she stopped it after meeting a new guy.
Fill the void
Feeling fulfilled with one’s social life fills this gap left behind by the departing spouse. Enlarge your circle of acquaintances and business network. Renew old friendships and make new ones. Feeling connected to others eases the adjustment of becoming single again. It is better to become friends with an ex-partner when not feeling desperately lonely.
Tell people about your relationship
Inform mutual friends that they can invite both of you to the same event. It will be a relief that they are not being disloyal by staying in contact with each of you. Also, you are not dropped from a social circle if others feel they have to choose sides.
Put your pride aside
The divorced parents who are doing a marvellous job co-parenting said, “to put your ego away.” Focus on the children and getting along with each other. Be flexible and negotiate issues as they happen. By trying to be cordial for the sake of the children, their relationships with each other turned into friendly interactions. Then later, nice friendships developed.
When you have children
Make it clear to youngsters that Mummy and Daddy are friendly, but are not getting back together again. This is important so that kids can accept a future step-parent and are not having a fantasy that their parents will reunite. Children are happy when both parents attend school and sports events. Former couples have said they enjoy each other’s company without all the drama they had when married. A more easy-going relationship.
Get in tune with your emotions
See how you feel about embarking on a friendship with a former spouse. Some couples are totally finished with each other after their break up. What is your gut feeling? If something does not seem right, then take a breather to evaluate your situation. It may not be in your best interest to have any contact, especially when emerging from a toxic marriage. Do not let yourself be coerced into anything. A Friendship with anyone is by mutual consent.
Wendi Schuller is the author of The Global Guide To Divorce. She has a series of children’s books with the third, Jack Jack The Cat Loose In London released in October 2020. She is a dating coach who specializes in helping people date after divorce. www.globalguidetodivorce.com
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