Staying friends brings benefits

16 June 2020

You’re about to have that awkward conversation with your partner – that you want to break up. But should you suggest ‘remaining ‘friends’? Or cut them out of your life completely?

Relate relationship counsellor Gurpreet Singh has been talking with HuffPost Online about the benefits of remaining friends.

It can help you bring good energy into your next relationship

“History, sadly, has a way of repeating itself,” says Singh. “If you have unresolved issues from a past relationship it’s likely you will carry them forward.” By forcing a resolution with your ex-partner, and parting more amicably, you are likely to go into your next relationship with a more positive mental outlook.

It benefits mutual circles of friends

When relationships exist for long periods, not only do your family lives intertwine but you may well have built up the same friendship group. Or you may have had the same friends before you got together who are left feeling torn when you split. Remaining friends may ensure people close to you don’t feel they have to choose between you both.

It stops you losing a relationship you’ve invested in

Singh says: “Even if you don’t have children you will have developed a friendship with your ex over a period of time, and maybe you don’t want to lose that. You might be okay with losing romance but you may want to hold on to the friendship you’ve built – so why lose that?” 

It’s better for the children

For any children involved, it’s usually better if you can remain friends. It also helps in legal disputes as you might be able to resolve things without a third party getting involved (and all the costs that brings).

How to stay friends

So… you’ve decided it’s worth trying to be friends with your ex, but still don’t know how you’ll make it work.

Ensure boundaries are in place

Singh’s single most important piece of advice is to set boundaries early on – to make sure the friendship remains exactly that. “If you are going to do this you have to make sure that there are boundaries in place from the beginning –especially if you are both now with other partners.”

Be aware it could slip back into being romantic

You decided to break up for a reason and, although it may not always feel like it, there’s a reason you should stay only friends. Singh says: “There’s always a danger with these friendships – what was once there can resurface – so you have to ensure you have checks in place right away.”

If you’d like to talk with one of our counsellors about how you might break up with your partner why not give our friendly appointments team a call on 01234 356350.

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