You were happy, he hurt you, you broke up and now he wants to remain friends?

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The Question. Why do the exes feel the need to remain friends after they almost made you a suicidal risk, having thought about an end to the pain they caused when they left? Did they come back to complete the unfinished business? To drive the knife deeper into your heart?

I once was in a relationship which lasted for eight months, but our friendship thereafter lasted six years. As much as I want to tell you that it ended happily ever after, I’m afraid to burst your bubble. I had to physically and emotionally detach myself from him before I could gain any form of sanity. Worse, I didn’t even know time had gone by that fast ─ six years and I didn’t realise I was single despite being with him. And that is because we practically did everything together. Movies, classes, laundry mart. Even on Valentine’s Day, we would exchange gifts at midnight. We went to events together as well. A lot of people thought we were still dating. I thought we were still together. Sadly only I shared that thought.

The Sad Truth. This suffering mentality we girls accept for ourselves makes us go through a huge emotional backlash while smiling at it. He later informed me he had a girlfriend. All the time we were together, he had a girlfriend. I confronted him about it and he admitted he did and said he thought I knew all along. Yeah, like I was telepathic. I got angry, told him not to call me again and he stopped. I had another bout of pain to conquer and it only got worse with every level and step we took.

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Emotional Rollercoaster. Now there is something these men do. They give you time. You’ll come around or they would. They call when they know, give or take two weeks, you might have calmed down from the brouhaha that ensued, apologising and pleading and pouring words into your subconscious; things you want to hear at that point. You, extremely vulnerable at the moment, fall for every line and viola; you’re back together again, as friends (to him) but as an item (to you). Everything resumes and you’re more assured this that it has to be certain. Three times is a charm after all, right? Until you become a slave to his antics.

Your ex will always find a way to get into your head as long as you both have an intimate thing about yourselves. That one thing you both share together in sweet reverie when you were in a relationship. And that is what will always make them come knocking on the door to your heart no matter how many times you ask them to leave; and the same reason you keep letting them in, no matter how much you don’t want and you hurt after.

I asked a couple of men why they choose to remain friends after a break up and the answers ranged from wanting to clear their future of any angst to their ex being really great people. While I consciously ignored the former, I pressed on for the latter and why they left if they felt what they had was good. “It just wasn’t working. We had different perspectives of life.”

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Thesis. Truth is, you can’t remain friends with your ex after you break up. In fact, you shouldn’t entertain the idea of a comeback immediately after a break up. Psychologists say it is safe to give it a moment or two, take time off and explore other things in life, such as dating other people for a change. The time taken would even help you appreciate the relationship more, should you guys comeback together.

Friendship after breakup is great for a new start with your next but is a disaster if both parties haven’t found closure to what transpired. It can’t work if you’re going through the ‘he hurt me’ stage. “I cant be friends with him without wanting to bash his head against a rock [for hurting me],” a furious ex-girlfriend said when her estranged boyfriend posed the question to her.

Heal. You need to give yourself time to heal before even considering being friends with him again. It doesn’t matter how long you both have been broken up for. Truth is you need that friendship eventually. Along the line during your healing stage, you’ll come to realise, life is too short to be holding grudges against your ex while he is blissfully in another relationship. Being friends actually helps you get over grudges easier but again, this is after you heal. And how do you heal? Focus on yourself more and love yourself. Engage in activities; travel the world if you can. Explore and meet people, date if you must. Importantly, do things that make you happy. Don’t lock yourself indoors and cry. The sooner you realise it isn’t worth it, the better.

On the flip side. To avoid asking Siri the best possible way to commit murder when hurt, go into relationships with little or no expectations and without the baggage of hurt, because that is what mostly results to breakup. Everyone has expectations no doubt but go in with less of it. More expectations for you both and not expectations of what you want him to be vis-à-vis your ex. Go in with a clean slate, with the hopes of starting a new chapter with this person. It reduces the risk of breakup and increase the longevity of relationships.

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The sooner women realise that men are human and not superhuman, the better for us. Then again, if you feel you can’t remain friends after a break up and the hurt that comes with the reminder is too much to bear, then I suggest you forgive and cut off communications. That way you aren’t holding a grudge against anyone and you aren’t putting yourself into harms way as well. But that is only when you’re fulfilled within you that you’re cutting off for the better you than for revenge.



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