Photo by Mariah Wilson

Tips for interacting with former lovers

By Lady Marmalade, March 30 2018 —

Relationships can be messy. The beginning and end of relationships can especially be blurry and difficult to navigate. People disagree on whether one should or shouldn’t interact with an ex-partner and most of these views are based on personal experiences. There’s a lot to keep in mind when it comes to being involved in any capacity with an ex and it’s important to keep in mind that each situation is different. Here are some tips and tricks for navigating interactions with your ex:

Time will heal — no matter what:

Whether or not you are hoping to reconnect with an ex, it’s important to let things cool down after a breakup. Even if things ended amicably, take time to sort out your emotions and reflect on the relationship. This will make it a lot easier to work with your ex later on because your feelings will be clearer. Take time to heal so you can think more clearly. You might even find that after some space, you have less interest in speaking with that person, even as friends.

Be honest with yourself:

Whether you reach out first or your ex does, be honest about how you’re feeling. Being “just friends” might turn out to be harder than expected. Depending on how serious and lengthy your relationship was, going back to friendship can be almost impossible. Feelings stay dormant and may re-emerge by spending time with that person again. Some people are good at being friendly with former flames, but if you feel like that is something you can’t do, be honest about it as quickly as possible. It’s easier to cut the cord before anything serious starts to develop. Don’t rush into anything, even if it’s just friendship.

Sharing the interactions:

After a breakup, it’s super easy to bad-mouth your ex to friends and family. This might not be a good idea because so many couples end up back together after a breakup. That transition period of easing a person back into your life — either as your significant other or a friend — can be difficult because nobody in your life is fond of that person after you gossiped about them. Friends often convince each other to not get back with their ex, so it’s a humbling moment to come back and ask the people in your life to forget your past too. Be careful about bad-mouthing your ex to your friends, because you might be doing damage control down the road.

Have reasonable expectations:

Always remember that the heart is a complex thing. Being alone is hard and time can do funny things to your emotions. If you discount someone’s ability to change, you’re also saying that you don’t have the capacity to change, which we all know isn’t true. People grow and learn lessons. So take your time when reconnecting with an ex and be clear about your intentions. Just looking to have sex? Be clear about that and set boundaries. Looking for more? Open the conversation. Take your time to feel things out and put the situation into perspective.

Articles published in the Gauntlet‘s opinion section do not necessarily reflect the views of the Gauntlet editorial board.

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