Myth Vs Truth: Why Ex-Boyfriends Actually Make For The Best Friends

by Laura Davis

Shortly after a breakup, a city dweller realizes how small a large city of over 2.7 million people can feel. Having been born and raised in a city of under 100,000 people, I know (too well) the fear of running into exes.

It was either chance these run-ins, or accept your fate as a hermit.

While I initially thought this was an annoying quirk of a small town, I quickly learned this is actually an unwritten law of the universe.

Once two people formally decide they no longer want to spend time together (widely known in layman’s terms as a breakup), they will be forced against their will to run into each other. This funny “joke” played on you by the universe means you will run into your ex and/or his new girlfriend all of the time.

Before you break your lease and flee the city, let me advocate a new idea: Stay friends with your ex-boyfriend.

And I'm not saying he'll be a good friend in the traditional sense. You probably won’t spend a Wednesday evening giggling over wine, gossiping and watching "The Real Housewives" of some city. But, he will be a good friend because, by staying cordial, you also may stay slightly more sane.

I stand strongly against the myth you have to hate your ex-boyfriend. Anger takes up a lot of time and unhealthy space in your mind (as does trolling through his Facebook and quietly hoping his life is less successful than yours).

The Myth

Every end to a relationship needs an Oscar-worthy, hysterical breakup, with a burnt bridge to follow. Your best friends think the end of your relationship is the perfect time to tell you all the reasons they hated that guy. You find this is the perfect time to invent a new hobby: pick apart your ex-boyfriend in detail.

The Truth

As much as you like to pick him apart, you spent a significant amount of time with him. You loved him for some reason. Just because you broke up, it doesn’t mean he is some terrible person all of a sudden.

The Myth

We are right 100 percent of the time.

The Truth

A healthy breakup should be an "agree to disagree" type of situation. Most relationship endings aren’t black and white. There isn't a good guy and a bad guy.

If you change your perspective about what a breakup entails (it can be a mere choice to take different paths, instead of a dramatic overhaul of both of your lives), then it is easier to continue to be cordial with an ex.

The Myth

If you are awesome, smart, beautiful, talented and wonderful to be around all the time (which obviously, you are), then only a blind jerk would leave you.

The Truth

You experience a large amount of cognitive dissonance after a breakup, especially if someone ended things with you. How do you make sense of someone leaving you, especially when you are all of the above?

Most people quickly go from love to hate. They go from “can’t live without you” to “I never want to see you again,” just to protect themselves from the inevitable hurt breakups can cause.

Right About Now, You’re Saying:

You’re crazy. My ex was a jerk. I am better off, and I hate his new girlfriend.

I’m Not Saying:

Go be friends with someone who was really a jerk, or who you are actually better off not having in your life.

But, you should be aware of where these criticisms of your ex are coming from. Consider the broad picture, keep a positive attitude, and, most importantly, give yourself some time to mourn the loss of the relationship before you attempt to see him as a friend. Come to the table from a place of sadness, instead of a place of anger.

The Myth

Being friends means staying caught up on his life or seeing him on a regular basis.

The Truth

Just as you were together for a reason, you broke up for a reason, as well. Sometimes, he is just like the best friend from high school you never stayed close with. When run into him, you say, "It’s so nice to see you! Hope things are well. We should catch up sometime."

But, you never do.