Monday, August 20

an age-old dilemma

It's about to get personal here on beauty & the feast. I hope you don't mind but it's something that's been affecting my heart recently and I'm interested in your opinions.

oh and here's my great friend, biz, just because I couldn't resist

I've been thinking a lot about the "just friends" situation after a break up. It's an issue that's existed for a while but hasn't gotten easier over time. It makes sense, though, to remain friends. If you liked someone enough to date them and give them a piece of your heart, you're likely to be somewhat interested in keeping them in your life. Of course if the relationship consisted of just a few casual dates, remaining friends would be simple.  But I think keeping a close friendship, especially if love was involved, whether it was one-sided or mutual, is a challenge.

But what happens when you try to stay friends and then eventually you feel yourself failing, upset and confused? What do you do when the friendship seems too hard?

Do you power through? Put it out of your mind? Or avoid the situation? Get over it? Sulk? Eat your feelings?  (Of course in the past I've done all of these things.)

Am I crazy for struggling with this? Even after so much time? What are the boundaries? Or can being just friends after you've been more ever successfully be accomplished?

{Thanks for listening to me... I already feel better! && Happy Monday!}

31 comments:

Amanda Holland said...

My method goes something like this:

1. Attempt to power through
2. Sulk and eat my feelings
3. Avoid the situation
4. Sulk and eat my feelings
5. Get over it
6. Sulk and eat my feelings
7. Put it out of my mind
8. Eat until I forget what I was sulking about

I LOVE the picture, perfect choice!

Tori Baldridge said...

I'm not friends with any of my exes! It's too hard to find just the right amount of info to share with each other without hurting the other person. If we ended the relationship there must be a reason. I feel it's just too hard, but to each their own! Good luck girl! (ps whoever broke up with you is a dummy!)

Allie said...

I think you can be light friends with an ex depending on the situation. But I don't think an ex should ever be the type of person that you confide in too much after a break up. It's easiest to be pleasant to one another and see each other every once in a while but not too much more. Catch my drift? haha That's my opinion. :)

Rachel said...

After trying to be friends with an ex boyfriend who I dated for 3.5 years (and was friends with for 11 years prior)- it just doesn't work. I think if you dated for a long period of time and were in love, you can't move on to be just friends. Maybe years down the road, but not for a year or two after the break-up. That's just my opinion though :)

Life Unsweetened

jackiek said...

i want to go hug you for this post. i have a best guy friend who is seriously the best. we talk every single day even when we're not at school and i literally love him to death. minus the fact that i totally know i am falling for him. which makes the situation so hard because a) i don't want to have to deal with the what if situation where if we dated and broke up i would lose my best friend and b) i don't want to not do anything because we get along so great. ugh. such a sticky situation.

Gaby said...

i've never been able to be friends with an ex unless a long period of time has elapsed, like 5 years. but then it can be great :)

Karen Agreda said...

When me and my ex broke up, I wanted to remain friends but couldn't take the confused feelings. It was best to stay away from each other for a while and then slowly get back to the friendshup. It worked for us pretty well and we both moved on.

http://www.teenyhippie.com/

Stacy said...

I completely understand how you feel, it's so hard to be with someone for however long and share so much of yourself with that person and then just have him leave your life. I always had a hard time letting go even if it was by my choice. BUT, I do think it's difficult to be friends, unless it has been quite a long time and both of you are in another relationship. Then again each person and each circumstance is different so to each her own. :) XOXO

Kate Fitchett said...

As in all things in life, sadly it depends but here is some advice from me. I have been in several serious relationships and I would not say that I am friends with them after it ends, but if I needed to call them for something out of the blue it wouldn't be strained. Being a friend with someone involves work, it involves setting time and emotions aside for another person. I am personally not friends with my ex-boyfriends but if I saw them walking down the street, I would stop to say hi. By not being super close friends with them, it allows your heart to heal and be ready for whatever God has in your path for the future.

Abbey Rodriguez said...

I say there is no such thing as a "just friends" thing after you've been romantically involved with someone. This is just from my personal experience though. There is always that looming thought in the background of "what if?" and it's just better to not go there. However, I have friends who are friends with their exes and it seems to work. I suppose it has to be equally decided though on both parties that it was just never going to work and being able to accept it. None of my break-ups were ever mutual agreements, so one side of the party was always left pining for the other. Ya know? Hope you can figure it all out in a rough patch like this! :)

Emily said...

I'm trying to think now and I can't recall one friend who has made a "just friends" truly work. I don't mean to dishearten you, as I'm sure some people can make it work. But being a girl, we have so many emotions and it's hard to completely put those behind us. I hope you can figure it out, and then you can give the rest of us advice! ;)

Morgan said...

in my experience it's just depended. if my breakups had a clean break, it was super easy to remain friends, but if one of us was unhappy with the decision then it was much harder and i don't talk to them. although i do have one ex that is super important to me and i keep trying to be friends but we haven't quite gotten the hang of it yet (and it's been over a year).

katie said...

i've never been able to stay legit friends with a serious ex-boyfriend. i've tried a couple of times, but it never worked out. there was always too much jealousy on either part, and phasing out of each other's lives has always been the only way. :( now, randomly seeing some of my exes can be a pleasant experience since we don't put pressure on each other. the boys that i just-for-fun-dated, though.. they're a totally different story. some of them are some of my good friends now! haha. i just don't think serious relationships can turn into a friendship.. they have to just go away. :( it's one of the saddest parts of a break up. thinking about you, girl. <3

Taylor said...

this is hard. and a hard issue.
i think being friends after a breakup is really truly hard. i have seen some of my friends claim to be 'just friends' with their exes, but...it doesn't end that way! it seems that someone always has feelings. its just from my experience, though...do what feels best :)
anticipationblog.blogspot.com

Shireen McCleary said...

Oh man... this is such a hard question. I've tried (and failed) to stay friends with exes. Sometimes it's the simple fact that their new girlfriends don't want us keeping in touch. Sometimes it's that we were never friends to start with, so there was no foundation there to have a friendship even exist. What I have come to realize, though, after a handful of relationships and breakups is that it's not necessary to "stay friends" although it is necessary to come to peace with that person, and hopefully someday think of them with good memories and in a nice way. BUT if they are someone that you remain close with, i.e. "just friends", I feel like it'd be easy to slip back into the romantic relationship, and that's when you end up getting yourself hurt because you start to question, "why did we break up in the first place?"

Such a complicated question because there are 2 sets of feelings involved. Good luck on this! ~eatplaylovethattop.com

Shireen McCleary said...

I agree with this! the "just for fun" boys sometimes make the best guy friends, because you've already gotten that sexual frustration out of the way!! ;) Well put! ~eatplaylovethattop.com

Jenny said...

I would find it extraordinarily hard to be 'just friends' if I ever broke up with my boyfriend, just because we've been through so much together and going from that would just be too painful, especially when they moved on! I think it's better not to be friends, personally. x

http://www.jenventure.blogspot.co.uk

Jess | Big and Beautiful Life said...

I applied the "just friends" rule with one of my ex boyfriends years ago. We're still best friends to this day and at the end of the year, I'll be a groomswoman at his wedding.
It can work, and it does get easier.

Corrin said...

I'm really good friends with my ex-husband, which everyone finds extremely odd. Our divorce was anti-climatic; we separated because we wanted different things from the rest of our lives. It was a case of getting married when we should have just stayed friends in the first place, so why not stay friends?

Megan Leader said...

In my experience, "just friends" doesn't really work. I've tried it a couple of times, and I really thought it would work after I had (what I thought was) a clean, mutual breakup. But mutual breakups never seem to stay mutual, and in my experience, one party usually stays attached and tries to make the friendship work until they just can't anymore. It seems much healthier to me to have a breakup be just that-- a break--and then you can really move on.

Vic said...

In my experience (limited though that may be!) it is possible to be friends... after a while. I think both parties need time to lick their wounds, deal with any feelings they have about the whole situation and adjust to life without the other person before a friendship can be re-established. Otherwise I think it ends up a bit messy and one person (or both) usually ends up hurting.

Danielle said...

I learned from a previous relationship that lasted 4 years that if real love is involved, it's really, really hard to be "just friends" and usually not worth the heartache. At least one party gets continually hurt again and again :(

Best of luck to you as you navigate through this time though! Such a hard reality of life.

Jess | the Jess Journals said...

It really depends on the relationship. I'm friends with 2 of my exes but I'll be the first to admit that in one of those cases, there's still a little inkling of "what if"...but we're kept safe by the fact that we're on opposite coasts! My most recent ex wanted to still be friends with me, but after the way he'd treated me (and the fact that after we broke up he wanted me to give him another chance), and the fact that I'm still single, I'd really just rather spend time with my "real" friends or dating or doing something else I love, rather than hanging out with my ex - if that makes any sense. Hope this helped a little bit!

Evani Gatsby said...

I 100% believe in cutting off exes after a breakup. I fall in love HARD so with every single break up, there had to have been a GOOD reason it didn't last. Not that I hate them or that we couldn't bear the sight of each other but at the end of the day, you can't move forward by looking back. And I know Rob would prefer they stay in the past, as do I! I hope you find what you're looking for, I think you've got a lot of great advice here in the comments!

Evani

Anna said...

i've found that if you are still upset and hurt, it usually means the feelings aren't completely gone. it's so hard to just be friends when you still love that person. it is definitely possible to be just friends, but it takes a lot of time and sometimes you need time apart (not being friends) to make that separation. good luck! This is such a tricky situation, but by the looks of it you've received a lot of good advice so hopefully we can help :)

Bekuh Browning said...

Oh the age old dilemma. I have to be honest and say that after a truly deep relationship that involves love the only thing I've tried that has worked is to take a break from speaking and communicating all together. After a couple of months when you are both in a better emotional place you may be able to reconnect as friends, but that time apart is essential. If you jump from relationship to friendship immediately your heart hasn't had time to heal and so those feelings linger, and the heartbreak never really goes away. If you allow yourself the time to heal and you still feel like you can be friends then go for it. But, if after a couple of months the reconnection doesn't happen then you have to be okay with accepting it and moving on. Sometimes emotions run so deep that there is no taking a step back, or separating them.

Tiffany @ Polka Dotted Cats said...

I cut them out completely. I have to. And it always worked for me. Until they would come crawling back. Stupids. There is not such thing as "just friends." The feelings always remain. CUT.

TheTinyHeart said...

The one time I tried to remain friends with an ex we wound up getting back together and then when we inevitably broke up again, it hurt worse that the first time around. I'm married now, not friends with any of my exs and I don't miss them in the slightest!

-Sharon
The Tiny Heart
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Lacey in the City said...

I'm not a fan of just friends. I guess you could even say I don't believe in it at all. I've never been a proponent of it, and then in my last relationship, I experienced a lot of heartache from my then boyfriend remaining best friends with his ex girlfriend. He would call her every evening or morning during his hour commute to chat, and he would tell her all the important things of his day. He would tell me also, but it felt really wrong that he was keeping her so involved. He eventually told her one night (and then admitted it to me) that he still loved her. Hence I am a stronger opponent of "just friends" than I was before.

My Bachelorette Pad said...

It's good to feel like I'm not alone in this dilemma! I'm experiencing quite roller coaster of emotions right now over this very thing. Thanks for posting!

Lori said...

wow. it's so interesting to see everyone's opinions! what a great conversation starter! i'm in my twenties, and i've been lucky enough to date some incredile men. i'm still GREAT friends with two of my exes. one is my first "love" who was my boyfriend in high school and a year after while we were college. we've been friends since 6th grade, have both been in numerous relationships since - talk weekly - and couldn't imagine our lives without each other in it. the other is my first "adult" boyfriend from 5 years ago. he's one of the most loyal, generous, caring, loving men i know. he's in a serious relationship now - and i'm dating someone as well. but we give each other advice that comes from a GOOD place - and more imporatantly because we know each other so well...we can call the other person out on their bull****. i'm not sure if i'm lucky, or if i/we just worked really hard to find a place to stay in each other's lives. i can honestly call these two men two of my best friends. and because i know we've grown apart and the romantic feelings are gone - i can keep them in my life forever. :)