Platonic Friendship After a Failed Relationship?

You thought that special person was the one. It turns out the person was not and you are hurt, confused, and disappointed. You are at the point of a final break, but you know how these break-ups go: it is long and dragged out, with more mistakes and failures piled up behind the good (or bad) intentions to try again. Plus, there is a mutual understanding between the two of you to remain platonic friends. Platonic friends after a failed relationship? Is it a good idea, an excuse to keep each other around? Is this another mistake waiting to happen?

What will make someone want to stick around even after a painful break? Were the two of you friends before the relationship blossomed into something more? Were you both best friends? Is it hard to fathom losing such a great person altogether? Is the thought of completely letting that person go so unbearable that you use the platonic friendship as an excuse for your partner to remain?

There is already the issue of opposite sexes being platonic friends. Many people believe it is not possible and steer clear of it. Others are all for platonic friendships with the opposite gender and have a few successful friendships to refer to as proof. Still, others may be undecided on the topic,try to fail at an experience of “just being friends,” and both people end up with burns. The fact of the matter is, there are many failed platonic friendships between the opposite sex, more so when both parties are attracted to each other.

Can friends remain friends and nothing more if the attraction is there? What if you hang out with that friend more than anyone else? People may interpret the quality time you are spending with your friend as something more. Even if that does not happen, should it matter anyway? Of course not. Still, how are you being affected?

Trying to be platonic friends with your ex comes with all of these issues and more. For example, the both of you may look at each other differently because of all of the history you once shared. Will you regard that person as another buddy or pal? Will you be comfortable hanging out with that person alone when there are vivid memories of what alone time once met? How do you deal with one of you moving on before the other? Will it be okay to see the person with someone else? Will you okay with hanging out with your former flames’s new squeeze? What if you become the new squeeze again, and find yourself in a never-ending continuum, where you find yourself getting hurt over and over again. You deserve more than that, much more. Your partner deserves more, too.

Platonic friendships after a failed relationship may be for some, but it is not for many. How can you move forward when you are still dredging up and carrying bits and pieces of your past? Your past will always be a part of you, and a significant one at that. It defines who you are today, and who you can be in the future. Yet, the past are reference points. It cannot be erased and shaken in oblivion like the etch-n-sketch writing pad of your childhood days. We are no longer children; it is time to stop playing pretend and to put away childish things. Keep moving forward, look back when you need to, but do not dwell on the past. If you dwell on the past, you will remain there.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. SuchAnAfroholic

    January 5, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    This year I’ve found that it’s perfectly feasible to be friendly with an ex. We can do work at adjacent tables in the same library and sit at the same dinner table with a group of friends without there being any bad blood. It was a nasty breakup, and he admitted that his feelings for me were never what he’d said they were and I felt so betrayed I couldn’t possibly have feelings for him anymore…and then he left the country for three months and we had time to cool down. He came back with jewelry from Africa (as a peace offering?) for me and I found that I just didn’t have the extra emotion to waste being angry or hurt at/by him. We said we were going to be friends when we were breaking up and I didn’t believe it worth a damn, but I seem to have been proven wrong. We don’t like, chill on the weekends together or anything, but we can have conversations and occasionally even ask for small favors. So, I think it’s possible. It might just depend on how serious “serious” was and how close “friends” you’re trying to be.

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