“So, this is it then,” I said, blinking back tears like a little bitch. I looked up at my former boyfriend trying to meet his gaze, but he was suddenly fascinated with the carpet. “We can still be friends though?” I offered unsure if I was lying for his benefit or mine.
“Of course!” he replied still refusing to make eye contact.
There’s no way around it. Even the best breakups suck. Even if neither of you are feeling the relationship anymore, I guarantee you’ll still want to cut the first hoe who so much as breathes the same air as your ex. To save face, you’ll fake a smile and pretend like everything is fine. You’ll post your most flattering selfies on Tinder that are only slightly Facetuned, have several meaningless conquests, and rejoice in the fact that you were the first to move on as you cry into your Pinot at night. But the reality of your misery doesn’t matter as long as you maintain the appearance of happiness and moving on. As far as he’s concerned, you won the breakup.
The key to staying friends with your ex is to stay in contact just enough so he can’t forget you. Unfollow him on Facebook, but don’t unfriend him so he can still see how well you’ve moved on. Don’t snap him directly, but be sure to post a snap story when you’re looking flawless. After all, life is about balance. Eventually, he’ll text you wanting to hang out. Even if your only plans are wearing a face mask while reciting all the words of 10 Things I Hate About You, say you’re busy and suggest another day. You must always be in control, even when your life is spiraling out.
Whoever says you can’t be friends with your ex is a hater who should be ignored. Of course you can be friends with your ex! A very unhealthy friendship in which you mutually tear each other down and take frequent digs at each other, but isn’t that what friendship is all about? If he tells you about the new girl he’s talking to, be happy for him! Tell him how she looks like a prettier version of Rosie O’Donnell. Call him out on that thing he does you’ve always hated but never told him because honesty is the cornerstone of friendship.
The real problem starts when you two inevitably start hooking up. Just like your toxic, half-assed friendship, it will probably originate from both convenience and slight hatred. Alcohol may also be involved. You’ll convince yourself the meaningless sex of your friends with benefits arrangement is ideal while your feelings continue to get more muddled and the lines of your fake friendship become more blurred. Inevitably, one of you (probably him) will push the other one to the limit (most likely you). You’ll blow up at him and say things you only slightly mean. He’ll tell his friends you’re crazy and you’ll tell yours he’s a fuckboy. You’ll be sad for a day or two before realizing you’re a fucking peach and it’s a shame he never realized it.
After much stress, slight alcoholism and credit card debt, I’m here to tell you that yes, you CAN be friends with your ex. For the first time since we met, my ex and I are no longer fighting. Granted, we’re also no longer on speaking terms and he may or may not have flipped me the bird as I passed him on the street, but this is the happiest we’ve ever been. In the words of Billy Shakespeare, “All’s well that ends well.”.
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