Can You Be Friends With Your First Love? Experts Say You Can Totally Go From Exes To BFFs
One of the hardest things about breaking up with your first love is feeling the sense that they may be lost from your life forever. They're someone you experienced all kinds of life-changing and amazing moments with for the first time, so naturally they're important to you, and that can be really hard to let go of. But what if you don't have to? What if you can keep them in your life, albeit in a different role? Can you be friends with your first love? Or does your past, and all the baggage it comes with, automatically mean that once the romantic relationship ends, they're out of your life for good?
According to Kali Rogers, relationship expert and founder of Blush Online Life Coaching, the answer is pretty straightforward. "Yes! Of course," Rogers tells Elite Daily. "It's always possible to be friends with an ex. Clearly you two had enough in common to be in a relationship, so there should be enough of a foundation to build a friendship." Whew, that's a relief. But here's the thing: Knowing that something is possible and knowing how to actually make it a reality are two very different things. To help connect the dots, I asked Rogers how to rekindle a former flame into a BFF bonfire. Here's what she said.
How to restart the friendship.
If you want to be friends with your first love, the first step, says Rogers, is to simply “Reach out!” OK, that seems easy enough, but the question is what to say. “Let someone know you're thinking about them,” says Rogers, adding that it's important that when do, you make sure and provide them with context for why you're reaching out. Otherwise, she warns, “your advances for friendship might be mistaken for wanting to get back together, so the more background shared while reaching out, the better.”
Keep it positive and platonic.
To set the right tone, Rogers suggests that you keep the conversation positive and platonic. “Avoid bringing up romantic memories or reasons why the relationship failed if they place blame,” she says, and instead advises to “focus on the commonalities.” She adds that you want to “be sure to communicate your desire to be friends and friends alone.” That way, no one gets confused and potentially hurt, which could basically end your attempts to rekindle a friendship from the start.
Set clear boundaries.
Rogers says the key to avoiding confusion and any resulting pitfalls is simple: Set clear boundaries. Otherwise, she warns, “it's too easy to mix personal feelings with friendship, and you could easily end up in a half-baked relationship you weren't trying to seek out in the first place.” It’s hard enough to transition from relationship to friendship after one breakup, let alone two. Be open about your expectations for the friendship by setting boundaries that include “no romantic touching, no dates, or anything else that will help keep lines clear,” according to Rogers.
After that, you may actually find that forging a new friendship is easier than you think. They may actually really miss the bond you had and be just as eager to have you back in their life in this new role than you could have ever guessed. As someone who counts their high school boyfriend as one of their best friends to this day, I can tell you from personal experience that not only is being friends with your first love possible, but it can be better and more fulfilling than anything you had with them romantically ever could have been. True story.
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