5 Signs You're Not Ready To Be Friends With Your Ex, So Take It Slow

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I like to stay friends with my exes. There, I said it! While not every breakup leads to this kind of relationship (like, for instance, if the partnership was toxic), usually, I tend to still like them as people, even if romance isn't ultimately in the cards. This friendship rekindling tends to happen a little after we breakup, because usually one or both of us needs some space to heal before we can forge a new path. If that's something you want, but you're not ready to be friends with your ex yet, that's totally OK. In fact, Lisa Concepcion, certified dating and relationship expert and founder of LoveQuest Coaching, tells Elite Daily such feelings are common. "There absolutely needs to be time for processing, healing, and forgiveness. When you reach forgiveness, then you can choose if you really want to be friends with this person. Once healed, we have a different perspective on our exes," she explains.

As Elise Schuster, a sexuality educator and founder of the okayso app explains, taking time isn't just about getting over the breakup — although that's definitely a part of it. It's also about regaining our own sense of self. "That way, if we do want to be friends with an ex, we're not coming to them as we were when we were dating them, but we're coming to them as our individual self," she tells Elite Daily. In other words, feel free to take whatever time you need to get to that place where rekindling a friendship feels right to you.

But what if you're not sure how you feel? After all, going from lovers to besties can be pretty complicated. You want them to be in your life, but you're not sure if your heart and your head are in the same place. Well, according to the experts, there are some clear signs that you're not quite ready just yet.

You Still Think Of Your Ex Romantically.
Jovo Jovanovic/Stocksy

If you want to know if you’re ready to be “just friends” with an ex, the first step, according to Michelle Henderson, a licensed mental health counselor, is to be honest about how you really feel about them. “If you still have romantic feelings toward your ex, a friendship will not be successful,” she tells Elite Daily. “You'll likely still want to have a physical connection with them and cross boundaries that you wouldn't cross with someone who is just a friend.”

You’re Hoping You Can Win Them Back.

Is there a part of you that hopes a “friendship” could be a gateway back into something more? If so, Concepcion warns that it's better to hold off until the lines get less blurry. “Friendship with agenda for more means you haven't really decided on friendship and only friendship," she says. "You haven't really asked if it's really necessary to be friends. You're too consumed with keeping them in your life as opposed to restoring the deep connection with yourself. You're looking to them as your source of happiness. This is all clear signs that not only are you not ready to be friends with the ex, but that you need to focus on your healing."

You Get Jealous When They Move On.

Watching an ex move on can be really hard, especially if you still have feelings for them. So, if you are filled with jealousy whenever they swipe right on someone, Henderson says you likely need to pause and give yourself more time before pushing a friendship. “This is a reality that's going to happen at some point: Your ex is going to start moving on. If this is hard for you to witness or you find yourself unable to be around their new partner because of the jealousy you feel, you're not ready to be their friend,” she advises.

And don't just fake it to make it, warns Brenda Della Casa, a relationship coach and author of Cinderella Was A Liar. “Pretending you're cool with hearing about their latest Bumble date is never a good idea. While you may want to be OK with them seeing someone new, you can't fake your way out of feeling all sorts of excruciating pain. Leave it for a while,” she tells Elite Daily.

You Still Think About Them All The Time.

If you want to gauge how you're feeling about your ex, Schuster says to consider how much time and energy you put into thinking about your ex. “One of the biggest signs you aren't ready is the space that person takes up in your life,” she explains. “Are you thinking about them all the time? Obsessing over their social media? Asking mutual friends for updates? That means that person hasn't moved into a 'friend' in your mind yet, they're still very much an ex that you have complicated feelings about.”

You’re Still Thinking About Hurts Caused By The Relationship And The Breakup.
Alejandro Moreno De Carlos

When you think of your ex, do you still feel pain from the memories? If your feelings are still raw from the breakup or from things that happened in the relationship, Henderson warns that you are probably still healing. “If you are around your ex and all you can feel is sadness, hurt, or pain about what happened while you were together, a friendship is not something to pursue," she explains. "You want your friendships to bring joy to your life and it may be that so much emotional damage happened in your relationship, that you still feel that come up being around your ex."

Still need more time? If the answer is yes, Schuster says the best course of action is to maintain your distance. “This means both in person and on social media, where it can be easy to pretend that we're keeping our distance, but in reality, we are not,” she says. If your ex is pressing you for a friendship before you’re fully prepared for one, Schuster says it's best to be honest about how you're feeling. “It’s important to make that boundary very clear, even if they get upset," she explains. "Until you're ready (if you're ever ready), it won't really be a beneficial friendship for either of you anyway."

Concepcion agrees, and suggests that you should focus on self care. “Commit fully to healing and protecting your peace. Make feeling good your top priority and make your happiness your responsibility and no one else’s,” she concludes. In other words, if you’re not ready to be friends with an ex, focus on your own healing and well-being, then try to create a new friendship. Who knows, you may even learn that you like your ex much better as a friend than you ever could as a partner.

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