It's Possible to be Friends with Your Ex
And these former flames (and co-authors!) are proof.
If you liked someone enough to date them, you probably like them enough to be their friend, too. (And if that's not the case, maybe consider going after someone who's good for more than a makeout.) But while maintaining a friendship after the romance implodes is not an easy thing, it's also not impossible.
Take it from Lucy Ivison and Tom Ellen, two high school sweethearts who broke up as teens, became pals in their twenties, then went on to write a truly awesome YA book, A Totally Awkward Love Story, loosely based on their own experience.
So, when can—and can't—you turn an ex into a best friend?
Hmmm...it's a difficult question. If the relationship ends mutually and fairly amicably (i.e. not because of cheating or lying or some other not-very-nice reason) then it is definitely possible to turn an ex into a friend. Also, if—like us—your relationship was at a very young age, then it's much more likely you will stay friends, as you are still growing up, developing, becoming the person you will be. Maybe you wouldn't be as likely to stay friends with someone you broke up with in your late twenties.
What's the most important thing to remember when trying to maintain a friendship with an ex?
Give it some time! The key to us staying friends was definitely that we didn't see each other for a while after we broke up. There was a good year or so when we hardly spoke or saw each other at all. That was pretty healthy, as we were both going out with other people, and it would've been too raw to see each other with someone new so soon after splitting up. But then, after we'd properly gotten over the relationship, we met up again and realized we still had loads in common. We liked the same things and had a similar sense of humor, so it would be stupid if we didn't stay friends.
What should you do when your ex-turned-friend admits he still has feelings?
Well, it depends on what your feelings are. Obviously if you have feelings for him, that's perfect. Jackpot. But if you don't? Well, it's definitely best to be completely open about it. You don't want to lead him on and make him think something could happen when it couldn't. The best thing to do is not see each other for a while. Have a bit of a break. That will give him some time to get over it properly. Failing that, you could always try to set him up with one of your single friends...!
Speaking of platonic friendships, they're obviously controversial. Some think they're possible; some don't. Thoughts?
Well, we are in a platonic friendship, so we definitely think they're possible! Maybe it's easier for girls and boys to be friends after they've actually dated. Because then there is no mystery; no sense of "I wonder what would happen if..." because you already know what would happen. And that it didn't work out!
What do you do when you suspect your best guy friend might be ~secretly~ in love with you?
It depends how certain you are! If it's just a hunch, then there's no point bringing it up, as it might ruin your friendship—or at least make it very awkward—if you are wrong. But if you're dead certain, then the best thing is to get it out in the open. If you're not interested in him like that, just make it clear—in the nicest, gentlest way possible—but reiterate that you really, really want to keep being friends. If your friendship is meant to be, then he will understand!