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Is it Possible to Stay Friends with your Ex?

Article by Susan Leigh

how to stay friends with your ex image

After a breakup there is usually a lot of hurt and disappointment to process as well as the many practical considerations that require attention. Some people feel a failure; they never envisaged that their relationship would end in divorce. In addition it may be a massive struggle to come to terms with the many upsetting things that have been said and done.

Time may heal some of the hurt, may enable the rawness to eventually subside, and eventually some people do succeed in having an amiable enough relationship with their ex. This is especially important if children are part of the equation.

With that in mind let’s look at some ways it may be possible to manage a breakup and remain friends with your ex.

Ways to remain friends with your ex

Relationship counselling can be a useful step in managing a breakup. Two people are often in very different places emotionally, especially at the outset of a breakup. If one person perceives the other as being unreasonable or over-reactive it may be that relationship counselling can help both parties learn and better understand each other’s different point of view. It can help improve communications by providing a neutral, safe, supportive environment. Some people have even be known to try to reconcile as a consequence of their improved understanding of each other.

Successfully managing a breakup can include addressing one’s own ‘demons’. Learning from what went wrong is an important part of the healing process. If one person in a breakup has come from a difficult background where they, for example, witnessed an acrimonious divorce or experienced harsh treatment like bullying, abuse or betrayal, they may be especially sensitive to any hint of rejection or feeling disrespected. Personal counselling can be an important part of their individual recovery and help them avoid repeating negative patterns in future relationships.

Moving on with respect and dignity

Collaborative law is viewed as the humane way to divorce, but both of them need to be committed to the process. Sitting around a table with their experts, financial advisers, counsellors and lawyers can enable proceedings to work smoothly and avoid the need for a court hearing. Both parties have to agree to each stage of the process but it works by treating them both with a ‘we don’t want to be together anymore so let’s separate and move on with our lives with mutual respect and dignity’ approach.

It’s important not to forget that our ex probably knows us better than anyone else. They know, or certainly knew about our day-to-day fears, issues, concerns and have shared and hopefully supported us through those times. We used to love each other, laugh together, share our hopes and dreams, were made to feel special, wanted to be together forever. When a split occurs it means the end of that intimate day-to-day relationship, but keeping elements of our shared history and connectivity may be possible.

It’s not uncommon to find that some couples actually get on better after their divorce. The day-to-day arguments, niggles and irritations have been removed as they revert to being two separate individuals. Some people even find that they rediscover their original attraction for each other. The sense of familiarity, shared history and connection can be a powerful magnet and through working on the underlying reasons for the split it may be possible to start again and build a strong relationship together. It is important though to take time to reflect, discuss and remedy what went wrong.

It may have been that a couple got together when they were young and did not know what they wanted or did not fully comprehend what was expected from a long-term relationship. For some the massive adjustment of leaving work to become a stay-at-home parent or juggling the responsibilities of becoming the major breadwinner can be overwhelming and introduce unexpected, ongoing stress and pressure into a relationship.

Time apart can enable both to come into their own again, introduce interests into life that suit them better and maybe become friends again, perhaps on a different, more relevant footing for the future.

About Susan Leigh

SusanLeighSince starting her hypnotherapy practice in 1988 Susan has worked with many clients, helping them cope with stress, sleeping problems, self-esteem, confidence, abuse, fears, health related issues as well as relationship issues. In addition she runs workshops for corporate clients. She js due to go to reprint with her first book, Dealing with Death, Coping with the Pain, become a regular guest on several BBC Radio Stations including 5Live, Radio Manchester, Lancashire, Sheffield, Wales, appeared on BBC Breakfast TV and The Big Question, and become a prolific writer for many national and international magazines, newspapers and journals. She is committed to her own professional development, and is a highly regarded hypnotherapy trainer. For more information visit www.lifestyletherapy.net

Ceri Wheeldon

Ceri is Founder and Editor of Fabafterfifty.co.uk She is a frequent speaker at events and in the media on topics related to women over 50 , including style and living agelessly. With 20+ years experience as a headhunter Ceri also now helps support those looking to extend their working lives.

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