Just because you've hooked up with someone, doesn't necessarily mean they can't be part of your life in other ways. Whether it's a friend with benefits or an ex-partner, sometimes you want to keep this person in your life because you enjoy the essence of who they are, and that's OK! Knowing how to transition from lovers to friends can be tricky, because yeah, sex can make things awkward. But I spoke to an expert to understand how to do it right, and he had a lot of great advice.
"Whether or not two people can go from a romantic relationship to a friendship is a tough question to answer," Grant H. Brenner, MD, psychiatrist, psychoanalyst and co-author of Irrelationship tells Elite Daily. "It varies a lot from couple to couple, and individual to individual. Oftentimes, the fantasy of being friends is appealing, but the reality is less optimistic." Nevertheless, if you and your former lover really want to try to make things work as friends, there are some things you might want to keep in mind.
Perhaps most importantly, Brenner says two people who want to be friends "need to look very closely at their own desires and motivations to see if trying for friendship is even possible." If you're still too physically attracted to each other, for example, it might not be the right time to be friends.
Additionally, Brenner explains that if you and your ex-lover attempt to smooth things over too quickly, and claim that you want to be friends right away, the chances of it working out are probably lower. "When people try to rush friendship after a breakup, it's an indicator that it won't work," he says. "For most, friendship after love takes time to develop, and romantic feelings and the aftermath of being together, take time to get past." To get real for a second, you've seen each other naked, so like, it's OK if you can't be friends right away. But if you and your lover had a pretty casual relationship where you were able to talk, joke around, and hang out in addition to hooking up, a friendship might a little easier to transition to.
That said, if you think that you and your former hookup buddy would be great friends, don't feel like you need to rush it. "Take your time," Brenner advises. "Don't push friendship. Be aware of any residual issues from the relationship, lingering sexual or romantic feelings, wishes to get back together, feelings of jealousy, and so on, which will interfere with friendship." The key, according to Brenner, is to be mindful of any lingering feelings you or your previous lover might be harboring. That way, you can make sure that you're both cool with how your dynamic evolves without sex.
As Brenner says, it's totally possible to be friends with someone who was once a hookup partner, as long as you're both on the same page about sex no longer being on the table. "Try to meet the person from a new place," Brenner adds. "Holding onto past patterns from the romance will spell doom for the friendship. Start fresh, and get to know one another in a new way." Hang out with mutual friends at a game night, or grab drinks with the people who introduced you. Go get a cup of coffee, or check out the local farmers' market. Do something friends would do that you've never done before. You never know how your bond will evolve. (Cue Step Brothers' infamous "Did we just become best friends?" scene.)