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Tough Love Lessons: Can We Still Be Friends?

Not every divorce is a heated battle that requires a posse of attorneys or multiple Kleenex trips to Costco. No, some marriages end peacefully with mutual understanding and a dignified parting of ways; these marriages usually are the ones in which the inevitable question is brought up in: Can we still be friends?
For all you divorcees out there who needed a posse of attorneys, or who needed to make those runs for commercial-sized packages of Kleenex know the correct answer to this question: NO!
Why can’t you be friends, even if your divorce was a quiet and painless as a lazy Sunday? Well, try this on for size: You are no longer a couple and you both desperately need to discover who you are without your ex.
No ‘I’ in Couple
You may not think that you have become a different person just because you were married, but just think about your daily routine with and without marriage and your ex. Yes, it’s official. Life is different when you are a part of a couple and when it is just you, on your own, without a built-in dinner buddy. You may not have wanted it to happen, but when you are in a serious relationship, you change a little, and your routine changes a lot.
But, now that you are out of that serious relationship you need to rediscover who you are by yourself, or maybe how you want to be. Just make sure that who you want to be is okay being alone for a while before jumping into a new serious relationship.
But, But…
If you find yourself being the one asking “Can we still be friends?” then we need to have a different talk. Whether you consciously think or feel this or not, your motives behind trying to keep your ex involved in your life may be caused by two things (which might be working in tandem): 1. You’re afraid of being alone; 2. You have unresolved feelings you’re not ready to let go of.
I’m just going to say it; both of those feelings are self reasons to keep an ex in your life. Divorce and major life changes are scary experiences, and it’s only natural you want someone close to you during those changes. But if you’re major life change is being single again, and the person you’re keeping close is your ex, then you’re not really being single again.
On the other hand, if you don’t feel ready to have your ex become a periphery character in your life, then you need to ask yourself why. The answer probably has something to do with unresolved feelings you have towards your ex. It may be easier to keep holding on to your ex instead of dealing with your feelings, but it’s not better for you.
Let’s get this lie cleared up: Divorce is never easy, even if yours was an uncontested divorce. And the period after a divorce is even harder since you must rebuild your life, daily routine, and dust off the single person you once were. So do yourself a favor and keep communication with your ex to a bare minimum; yes, even if you’re divorce was mutually agreed upon. Think of it this way: If you keep your ex in your life, not only are you not healing, but you aren’t letting your ex have the chance to heal either.

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