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How do you stay friends with an ex?

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Matt (anonymous)

My ex-girlfriend wants to be “just friends” and it is killing me. It’s hard for me to be in the same room with her and not have feelings for her, or to have a conversation with her and not think about what we had.

I don’t want to lose her forever, but I don’t know how to go back to being friends after dating.

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Unfortunately, most couples aren’t able to go back to being friends after a break-up. I know that’s hard to hear, but you need to know that what you are struggling with is very normal.

Sometimes break-ups are mutual and friendly, and in those cases, it might be possible to remain friends. But, in the majority of break-ups, someone’s heart gets broken and that makes it difficult to maintain a friendship.

If she hurt you in a way that you are struggling to forgive her, you need to try to forgive. But, forgiveness doesn’t always mean remaining friends. While she may be a big part of your life now, a year from now, you will have moved on. Five years from now, you won’t remember much of the time you spent together. It is perfectly OK and normal to give up on a friendship that hurts you.

Just explain how you are feeling and tell her that you don’t see how you can be friends at this point. It doesn’t have to be permanent, but for now, continuing the friendship is just re-opening a wound.