“Let’s just be friends,” is one of those classic break up lines that many say but few mean.
For many of us, wanting to stay friends with our exes is a deeply unpopular sentiment. There’s this notion that staying friends with our exes is sadistic because it’ll make it harder to move on or it’ll leave us emotionally perplexed.
While it can be incredibly difficult to transition from a romantic relationship to a platonic one there can also be great comfort in keeping that friendship post-break up — after you’ve given yourself time to overcome the woe and heartache.
If you’ve developed a strong relationship with your ex, staying friends with that person allows you to maintain that close connection without having to have the same level of commitment.
For me, I dated someone for two and a half years on and off, but our romantic relationship ended due to timing and irreconcilable differences. We decided to remain friends because we still deeply respected, cherished and cared about each other.
We made this decision because despite the fact that we were both unhappy together, we had shared so many fond memories, experiences and inside jokes that it was incredibly difficult for both of us to cut each other completely out of our lives.
We understood each other in a way that others didn’t. We had been there for each other during the worst and best times.
We didn’t want the super close relationship we had built to just fade away.
It shows great emotional maturity to be able to stay friends with a former flame. Being able to stay friends with someone after a break up shows that you cherish the person even though you’re not in a relationship with them. It shows that you’ve moved on past the break up.
It’s difficult to do, but remaining friends with your ex allows you to develop self-awareness and emotional strength. You have to understand your motives for seeking a friendship with an ex, overcome the sentimental feelings and realize that, while you may still have that emotional connection, you broke up for a reason.
While you should take some time and create some distance between you and your ex when you first split, I believe that ultimately, you can stay friends with your ex.
Maybe you’ve fallen out of love, maybe the timing didn’t work or maybe there were irreconcilable differences. Whatever the reason is, just because a romance has ended, doesn’t mean a connection has to.
-Vivian Cheng is a second-year medical sciences student at Western.
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