How to be Friends With Your “Ex”

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Breakups are never easy no matter how much you carefully and gently pry your fingers off each other’s hearts and souls. You’ve shared your lives, allowed each other into places of greatest vulnerability and best/worst of all, bonded with each other’s friends, both two-legged and precious four-legged ones too.


You tried everything to make it work for both of you. Assuming there was nothing abusive, it wasn’t perfect but there were some wonderful trips down the coast, snuggling on cold mornings and feeling the day is a little softer and kinder because there’s someone there beside you. Now, every rock turned over, conversations running into the same immovable walls, acceptance is the only route to extrication and moving on. But, maybe it doesn’t have to really end? We’ll  just be friends.


Ah, were it that easy. We could skip the part where the memories feel permanently etched in our hearts. Thoughts and feelings, those conversations that hurt tumbling in our heads like a dryer that we can’t unplug. Zigging and zagging through anger, sadness, joy, regrets for things said and unsaid and the doubt that keeps coming back…could it have worked if….?


The only way the heart heals is taking the time to be gentle with ourselves while our heart finds its way back. Nobody’s journey is the same, but one will be necessary in order to move on, pick yourself up and get ready to open to love again. And it won’t heal if you can’t let go of the other person, at least for awhile.


Sometimes we want to be friends with our “ex” and sometimes we don’t. The fabric of friendship needs to be strong,  made of respect, mutual interests, the ability to solve problems amicably when they arise, and a commitment to be there when times get tough, to listen deeply and to allow the good, the bad and the ugly in each other. My question…shouldn’t that have been the foundation in the love relationship as well?


Friendship might be possible if the elements of what makes a good friend are/were there between two people who were formerly lovers. But, only time will tell. Time apart to allow the tears to dry, the heart to heal and to become ready to love again.


How much time needs to pass before friendship is possible? There is no temporal magic number, but my recommendation is at least 6 months to a year. Anything earlier will often recreate the hurt, like pulling off a scab that protects and heals the wound. Time, and time alone heals most things. And, sometimes it’s wise to find friendship elsewhere. But by all means, be sure your friends draw near when love ends.

Has your relationship just ended? Need some guidance about when to begin again?
When you are ready, let’s get together to get you back on that horse.

Donna Bailey, MS

Coach, Speaker, Writer and Expert, Dating and Relationships for “Grown-ups”


Are you tired of watching sunsets alone, want more than kisses from your four-legged companions? I am here to show you how to find the right person for the next great chapter of love, and life. I’ll help you find the sometimes invisible roadblocks so that you can choose the perfect person to spend this next amazing chapter of your life snuggling, traveling and enjoying what love can bring when we choose it.

Give me a call, and we’ll see if we’re a match for the journey ahead!




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