How to Be Friends With Your Ex-Boyfriend

by Kelsey Wonderlin

It is understandably challenging to change your mental label of someone from "boyfriend" to "friend," especially if you dated him for a long time. It feels weird to have to stop yourself from usual habits, like calling him "babe" or even texting him every day. Being friends with your ex is hard, and sometimes it just doesn't work out. Try these few guidelines to hopefully achieve a healthy friendship with your ex.

1. You can text, talk or hang out (on occasion), but YOU CAN'T HOOK UP.
Hooking up will only cause one of two things. First, it will make you get back together for the wrong reasons. You broke up, and there was probably a good reason for it! Questioning a break-up is normal, but don't let physical attraction or tension be the reason you get back together with your ex. Second, it will hurt you. If he doesn't want to get back into a relationship, but wants to hook up, he's only leading you on and hurting you. Even if you think you can handle just hooking up, you will more than likely end up wanting to date him again - don't set yourself up to be heart-broken, twice.

Bottom line: There are too many emotional attachments for you to be able to have a fun, meaningless hook-up with your ex-boyfriend.

2. Don't hang out or communicate too often.
Even though you may be used to talking to him every day, don't let yourself. Think about how often you text or see one of your guy friends (that you've never dated), and treat your ex the same way. If it's hard not to text or call him, turn your phone off (especially if you're out!).

3. Try to hang out in groups whenever possible. Hanging out alone (depending on the setting) will likely lead to an unwanted, intimate situation, purely out of habit. If you don't share any mutual friends and feel that the only way to catch up with each other is to be alone, go somewhere public. Publicity automatically makes it feel friendlier because you generally wouldn't bring up serious conversation or meaningful memories. To keep an even friendlier vibe, simply talk on the phone.

4. Set a mental time frame.
Don't allow yourself to linger around each other for too long, especially soon after the break-up. Go to get coffee or a quick lunch, and leave when you are finished. And don't be afraid to be busy - Tell him you have to be at a meeting by such and such time to ensure a quick good-bye.

a. Don't ask about who he's dating (or talk about who you're dating). It might jeapordize the friendship by making you or him upset to hear about another person in each other's life. And it will only make you look jealous when you ask him about other women. Also, talking about your relationships with new guys will make you look like you're trying to make him jealous, and WILL push him away.

b. Don't talk about your old times. Talking about memories or bringing up inside jokes from when you dated does not help either of you move on. It will also make you look like you're trying to rekindle the flame.

The truth of the matter is that being friends with your ex-boyfriend may not work out. There are so many variables that can affect the way your new friendly relationship with him will turn out. It is important to keep in mind that if you try to be friends when you're not emotionally ready, you are only going to close yourself off to other, better guys - and the friendship will fail. You must wait until you truly feel like you are over him to start a friendship; in many cases this means NO TALKING at all immediately after the break-up. We know it's tough, but doing otherwise can put you in a worse situation. Give it time, and then ease in to an honest, friendly friendship.

To figure out if you're even ready to try being friends with your ex, read How to Know If You're Ready to Be Friends With Your Ex.