Staying Friends After a Breakup You may have heard a lot of rules about whether you can remain friends after a break up. The truth is that it’s a personal decision you need to make on a case by case basis. These are some suggestions for steps to take before and after you break up if you want to remain friends after your romance is over. Before You Break Up 1. Develop a true friendship. Studies show that couples who were friends before they became intimate have a better chance of remaining as buddies after a breakup. However you connected, your relationship will be stronger if it’s based on more than just physical attraction. 2. Retain your own identity. Enjoy doing things together as a couple but cultivate your existing support network and pursue your own interests. That way you’ll be more resilient in adapting to fluctuations in your romantic life. 3. Hold yourself accountable. Be honest about your actions that contribute to the decline of any relationship. A realistic perspective will help you recognize patterns of behavior that you can improve on and make you less vulnerable to blaming the other person for everything. 4. Work out issues between yourselves. Seek advice and support from family and friends but avoid bad mouthing your partner. If you deal with your conflicts directly, your loved ones will have less reason to view your partner in a negative light and create obstacles. 5. Establish valid sources of self esteem. Learn to appreciate yourself in a stable and sensible fashion. Value and respect yourself as an individual so you avoid becoming overly dependent on your partner. After You Decide To Break Up 1. Separate amicably. Get off to a good start on being friends with your ex by handling the breakup with mutual respect and consideration. Talk out your differences instead of withdrawing from each other or saying hurtful things. 2. Make your intentions clear. If you want to stay in touch, be clear about whether you want to get back together or maintain a platonic relationship. It will help you both to avoid painful misunderstandings. 3. Give yourselves time to cool off. Even when you part on good terms, you’ll probably need some time to yourself before you are ready to communicate with your ex. Take a breather so you have time to reflect and plan for your future. 4. Think before you become intimate. Having sex with an ex girlfriend or boyfriend is always a delicate issue. It may work out for some people but think carefully about whether the immediate pleasure justifies the potential regrets. 5. Set boundaries. Decide what you are comfortable with. If you and your ex are at ease with discussing personal matters, you both may benefit from talking with someone who knows you so well. Otherwise, you may want to keep your contacts cordial but more superficial. 6. Meet new people. Give yourself the opportunity to find new friends and romances. Sign up for an adult education class or throw a party. 7. Plan ahead for how you’ll handle new love interests. It’s always challenging when either of you finds a new partner. Think ahead so you’ll be ready to adapt as your circumstances change. 8. Learn from experience. Welcome every relationship as an opportunity to learn more about yourself and the world around you. Take satisfaction in your personal growth instead of viewing breaking up as a failure. Continued friendship with your ex could be very beneficial for you or it could cause you grief. Make your decision carefully, reflecting on your true feelings. Whatever you decide, clarify your intentions and treat each other with compassion so you can feel good about whatever your future holds.