Breaking Up but Staying Friends: The Do’s and Don’ts

Breaking up is hard to do, but sometimes it’s for the best. However, just because a romantic relationship is over doesn’t mean that the friendship has to end too. Staying friends after a breakup is possible, but it requires both parties to follow certain rules. In this article, we will go over the do’s and don’ts of breaking up but staying friends.

Why stay friends after a breakup?

There are several reasons why people may choose to stay friends after a breakup. Perhaps you share a friend group or work in the same industry, meaning you will still have to see each other regularly. Or maybe you both value the connection and care for each other, but the romantic aspect of the relationship didn’t work out. Whatever the reason may be, maintaining a friendship can be a way to preserve the positive aspects of the relationship.

The Do’s

1. Take a break

Before diving headfirst into a friendship after a breakup, it’s important to take some time apart. This break can help you both process the change in your relationship and give space to heal. It’s important to note that this break should be a complete break – no calls, texts, or stalking on social media.

2. Communicate

Effective communication is key to any healthy relationship, and this includes friendships. In order to maintain a friendship after a breakup, both parties need to be open and honest with each other about their feelings, boundaries, and expectations. If either of you is feeling uncomfortable or needs to take a step back, it’s important to communicate that.

3. Set new boundaries

As you transform your relationship from a romantic one to a platonic one, you will need to put in place new boundaries. This may include things like not discussing your sex life or refraining from making romantic gestures. You should both agree on what is appropriate behavior and stick to these agreements.

4. Give support

Although the romantic aspect of your relationship is over, you can still be a support for each other. Be there to listen and offer emotional support if needed. It’s important to remember that your friend may be going through a challenging time, and lending an ear can help them heal.

5. Respect each other’s space

Sometimes, even though you’re friends, you may need some space. It’s important to respect each other’s boundaries and understand when it’s time to give each other some breathing room. This will help avoid any unnecessary tension or arguments.

The Don’ts

1. Expect the friendship to immediately return to normal

Although staying friends is possible, it’s important to understand that the relationship has changed. This means that it may take some time for both parties to adjust to the new dynamic. Don’t expect your friendship to immediately return to the way it was before the breakup.

2. Maintain physical intimacy

This may seem obvious, but maintaining physical intimacy after a breakup is not a good idea. Not only can it be confusing and hurtful, but it can also lead to a cycle of heartbreak and emotional turmoil.

3. Keep score

Just because the romantic relationship is over doesn’t mean that the friendship should turn into a competition. Don’t keep score of who has done what or think of your friendship as a second chance to make up for past mistakes. A healthy friendship is built on mutual respect and support, not competition.

4. Engage in jealous behavior

It’s natural to feel a twinge of jealousy when your ex starts dating someone new, but try to not engage in jealous behavior. This may include constantly checking their social media or interrogating mutual friends. Remember, jealousy only creates negative emotions and does not promote a healthy friendship.

5. Avoid discussing the past

Although you may have shared a deep emotional connection with your ex, it’s important to avoid discussing the past. This includes dwelling on arguments or trying to decipher what exactly went wrong. Instead, look towards the future and focus on the positive aspects of your friendship.


1. Is it possible to stay friends after a bad breakup?
Yes, it’s possible, but it depends on the circumstances of the breakup. If the relationship ended in a toxic or abusive way, it’s better to prioritize your mental health and distance yourself from the situation.

2. How long should a break last before starting a friendship after a breakup?
The length of the break will depend on the individuals involved and the intensity of the relationship. A good rule of thumb is to take at least a few weeks apart to process your emotions and move forward.

3. Can staying friends with an ex hurt potential future relationships?
It’s possible, as new partners may feel uncomfortable with the close connection. However, if the friendship is healthy and respectful, there shouldn’t be any issues. Communication is key – be transparent with new partners about your friendship and listen to their concerns.

In conclusion, breaking up but staying friends is possible, but it requires both parties to communicate and respect boundaries. By taking a break, setting new boundaries, and giving support, you can maintain a healthy friendship without any unnecessary hurt or tension. Remember, the key to success is mutual respect and open communication.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *