Monday, 22 October 2012

Friendship After A Break-Up





What is it about couples who try to remain friends after a painful breakup? You would think that after the pain of breaking up a relationship would motivate you to stay as far away as possible from your ex lover. 





Granted, some relationships end amicably and the couple do maintain a civil method of communication more for their families and children's sake than anything else. Some relationships die a natural death, and both parties cannot wait to get away from each other; as was the case with one of my relationships many years ago.

If there's one thing I've noticed since I've become involved with my work helping people with their marriage and relationship troubles; the couples who suffer through a terrible and painful break up want to hang onto the friendship. Is this you? Do you wish you could at least keep your friendship alive with your lost lover, I know I did a few years back. In-fact I would have moved heaven and earth to keep this man and make him happy. I bought many relationship E-books and set a plan into action to regain his friendship and hopefully his love. Did it work? Yes, to a point. But in the end I decided that I was better off without him. But, this is another story and I could probably write a book about it.

Salvaging a friendship from the broken remains, that was once a loving relationship depends a lot on whether you did the dumping or if you were the one dumped. There are no hard and fast rules here, however if you are the one that did the dumping, then you are more likely to benefit greatly from a continued friendship. This could be at the expense of your dumped ex lover. Sometimes the dumper will request a friendship simply because they cannot stand the guilt of seeing their former lover in so much pain, pain that they believe they have caused.

Guilt can be a big motivator in deciding whether or not the dumper will reach out and soften the blow of a break up by offering the hand of friendship. The dumper may have doubts about their decision to end the relationship, so friendship is a way of hanging on to see if this is the case. For the person left behind, this scenario can actually work in their favour if they are hoping for reconciliation. Simple loneliness is a strong motivator for both parties to request friendship, it is difficult to become accustomed to living without your partner, when you have been together in a loving relationship for a period of time. The dumper may also assume that friendship may include fringe benefits like being able to borrow money, have sex with their ex partner, or borrow the car perhaps. It is imperative that the dumpee be aware that they may be taken advantage of and used, therefore it is probably best to keep a safe distance if your ex is asking for small favours all the time.

If the dumpee is hoping the re-kindle the love and get their ex back, then keeping a safe distance is a good strategy because people want what they cannot have, and human nature may see the dumper come running back to the relationship. For the dumpee, never have sex with an ex. There are so many reasons why this is a no no. Your self esteem will be shattered when they announce that you two are not getting back together. From the dumpee's point of view it is not beneficial for them to pursue a friendship, unless you have children with your lost lover. Keeping a civil and friendly attitude is so vitally important to kids. They need their parents to be friends and it sets a great example for your children later on in life.

Many people request friendship simply because they have not totally let go of their lover and the relationship and this goes both ways for the dumper and the dumpee. It could be that both of you are scared of the unknown and facing the big, bad world out there alone. It is usually the person who was dumped that feels this fear more, as the one ending the relationship wants what they want, and they are probably willing to face their fear. There is also the case of the ex lover who will request friendship simply to not have to be the bad guy, it is actually an act of self gratification. This example is not about guilt at all. The dumper will request the friendship because it makes them feel better about their decision and even worse some without even realizing it will keep the dumpee hanging on and pining after them because it feels good to them that their ex still yearns for their love. These actions are usually not conscious, however sometimes I believe they are; I am only too aware of one man who did this to me a few years ago. It felt so good to him that I was making him nice dinners, providing sexual favours and begging him to return. How stupid was I? And how great did he feel? Fantastic, I bet! I have no doubt in my mind that some dumpers realize only too well the pain they have caused, and the power they have over that person. This type of scenario makes me sick to my stomach.

Amongst the huge myriad of reasons why people choose to stay friends with their ex, and the reasons not to, you would think many of us would choose to just move on. Unless you have children then that's what I believe couples should try and do. Trying to be friends immediately after a painful break up is just too hard. Why make life harder than it has to be at a time like this. You really should be focusing on moving forward with your life, and looking to the future. Attempting a friendship is probably doing you and your ex lover more harm than good. You probably do not realize how painful it is to be friends in this situation, especially for the one who has been dumped, and especially if that person is living in hope of reconciliation. It is definitely not a wise idea to do anything to give your former partner any false hope; that would be cruel.

Many people think it is okay to keep seeing each other, and keep having sex, it's not, and someone always gets hurt. Sexual intercourse together is over once the relationship is finished. Sex should only be given freely in a committed relationship. Some of you may argue that casual sex is okay. That's your opinion and you're entitled to it, but I do not believe in casual sex. If you are the dumper in this scenario, then I urge you to watch yourself and your ex love closely. Be kind to your former lover, but do not send signals of false hope to them. Be straight-forward and upfront about your feelings at all times. Be clear about where your friendship stands. He or she could well be hoping that you will realize the love you share and want them back.

In my opinion and this is only my opinion as all my articles are; friendship right after a break up, especially a painful one cannot work. Someone always gets hurt, usually the person who was dumped, and they usually end up more hurt than when you broke up with them. As for the dumper this experience can be just a hurtful for them, as they may genuinely want this friendship to succeed and may be hurt and disappointed that it is not going to work. There is also absolutely no reason why friendship between the two of you cannot happen down a road, once the wounds have healed.


Read: Is Your Marriage or Relationship in Trouble?





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Copyright © 2007 Janelle Coulton