Expert: Why You Shouldn't Stay Friends With An Ex

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couple breakup

Can we be friends?

After a breakup, this simple question can weigh heavy on your mind. And the simple answer is always the same—no. Why? Because as hard as it may be to accept, your relationship is over. This person is now your ex. The relationship ended for a reason. It's now time to EXtract your ex from your life, give yourself time to heal, and find the space to move on. Most people who try to stay friends with their ex are just doing so in hopes of either rekindling the relationship or using the other person as a crutch until someone better comes along. What happens when it's the other person who moves on first? Ouch!

Of course, there are certain circumstances in which you can't avoid maintaining a relationship with your ex, but for now, the following is a cheat sheet on appropriate ways of communicating with your ex after the Big Breakup.

By Phone

The reasons for talking to your ex on the phone are…wait. There are none. Delete his number from your cell phone. And if he leaves you a message, listen to it only once in case your million-dollar check from Publishers Clearing House somehow ended up at his address. Then delete immediately and move on.

Via Email, IM, Text Messaging, Facebook

After you've arranged to return each other's stuff, delete your ex from your email address book, your Facebook friends, and your instant messaging contacts. That way when you're having a fragile moment at three A.M., you're not tempted to contact him. (The repercussions the following day can be both embarrassing and costly to your recovery). And if you were hoping to keep tabs on your ex by tracking his every online move or possible new dating adventures via his Tweets? Don't do it. It'll just make you wonder who he's talking to (or obsess about those girls who keep leaving him flirty @ replies), and you don’t need that. Delete him from all of your social networking sites immediately.

In Person

And because there are just too many emotions swirling around in your post-breakup head, you should avoid seeing your ex in person at all costs. If you see your ex too soon, you run the risk of suffering potentially bad consequences, like maybe these, including any or all of the following:

1. Losing face by crying hysterically

2. Waking up beside him the next morning and realizing you just had sex with your ex

3. Getting arrested for assault and battery

Let's face it. None of these situations are ideal. So if you can, avoid seeing your ex until your emotions are more stable. Only you can determine when that will be (and it's okay to say never!).

Breaking up is never easy. And staying connected to your ex only makes it more challenging. By following the ex etiquette I've outlined above, you accelerate your healing heart and guarantee a happier ending in your future.

Have you stayed friends with your ex? Share your experience by leaving a comment.

Article contributed by
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Lisa Steadman

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Lisa Steadman

Location: Los Angeles, CA
Credentials: Other
Specialties: Dating/Being Single Support, Life Management
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