I received an email asking me this relationship question, “I met a great guy. We dated for a while but it didn’t work out. Is it possible to be friends?”
My answer to this relationship question needs to take a broad approach and look at some possible variables:
How long did you date and were you physically involved? If you dated for a couple of months (what’s a while? weeks, months or years). I dated a nice man and we were never physically involved. I realized that we were not a match on many levels. However, through the years we were able to remain friends.
What were the circumstances of the breakup? Who broke up with whom? I’m not sure what it didn’t work out means. It does appear that you are okay with the break up or have come to terms with it. When you are with him, can you be okay just being friends? Or are you going to be hurting inside and be thinking, “Only if..” every time you see him.
What is the relationship/friendship based upon? There is a reason you think he is still a great guy and worthy of your time and attention. Know that the time you spend with him takes away the time you have to devote to finding a new love. And how would a new boyfriend feel about you having a relationship with an old boyfriend? Time will tell on this one.
It takes two to have a friendship. Is he open and willing to have a friendship with you? What are the expectations of this friendship? Would both him and you take the responsibility of initiation of contact? What would that look like? A weekly phone call to check and to ask, “How are you doing?” or “What are you doing this weekend?” Or the friendship requires just periodic text messages, having you on his joke distribution email list, or as Facebook friends?
One of my coaches told me that it is possible to be friends after you have had about 3 relationships. I really think once you have a new man in your life, and that this new man is okay with you having a friendship with a man you were romantically involved with in the past, then a friendship is possible provided your ex has moved on, as well.
To answer your relationship question, “Is it possible?” – of course it is! You need to weigh the pros and cons and see if this is the right situation for both of you. Also, check in with your body and see how right that decision feels for you. In the end, time will tell whether a friendship can really develop. I believe relationships are organic. They either move forward and grow or dissipate!
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