They say that breaking up is hard to do… The saying, and the song, stands the test of time because it’s true. Ending a relationship is tough on everyone. Breakups potentially affect your emotional state, your physical well-being, and your relationship to other people. In fact, it often involves friends, family, and other aspects of your life. That’s why many people stay in touch, even after a breakup.
But a breakup doesn’t have to mean never seeing or talking to your former partner again. Sometimes a breakup can be more like a redefinition of your relationship to one another. But is that the best choice? Is it better to have no contact with your ex?
The best way to decide whether or not you should have contact with your ex is to define what your new friendship will look like, while also checking in on your own personal feelings.
Here are some questions to ask yourself before deciding to have no contact with your ex:
Are you still in love?
If you’re still in love with your ex, it’s not highly advisable to keep contact with him or her. At least for the time being. Being in love with someone you’re not currently dating can be really tricky. When your heart is with another, it will likely interrupt your capacity to move on. Dating other people is much harder when you’re in love with another person, particularly if that person is still regularly in your life and on your mind. If you’re still actively in love with your ex, it’s best to cut off contact and allow yourself to heal, process, and eventually move on.
Are they still in love?
Even if you’ve moved on, it’s important to be aware of how your ex feels too. If your ex is still in love with you and you don’t reciprocate those feelings, it’s best to not have contact with one another. If your ex is in love with you, any action, point of contact, or moment will mean much more to them than it means to you. It’s not fair to allow yourself to give someone hope if there is none. As hard as that may be, saying goodbye to someone may be the best thing for them and you. Even if it doesn’t feel that way in the moment.
Are you over the relationship?
Sometimes being in love and being ready to move on from a relationship are separate things. Many times, people have fallen out of love, but are still currently in a comfortable state of mind. Often, we love a person but are no longer in love with a person. Or maybe you don’t feel the love anymore, but are having a hard time saying goodbye to your life together or who you were when you were with that person. If you’re not completely over the relationship, it’s best to remove yourself from your ex’s life for a bit. It’s completely possible to have feelings of love for a person while not being actively in love with them. It’s absolutely a confusing time, but it takes some real self-reflection to ask yourself what you (and your ex) need. It may be better to take a step back and allow yourself the time to heal.
Why do you want to stay in touch?
This question isn’t easy, but it may be the most important. If you’re not sure why you’d like to remain in touch, make a list, talk to a friend or therapist, and really get to the bottom of it. Do you just want to keep in touch with your ex because they’re comfortable and familiar to you? Do you want to keep in touch with your ex because you still love them? Is staying in touch with each other important because you’ll miss their family, their friends, or because you work together? There are a variety of reasons why you might need to stay in touch with your ex, but if you can avoid it, it’s probably best to do so, at least for three to six months. It’s natural to not want to let someone go, especially if you’ve built a life with that person. If you’ve grown used to talking to that person every day, sleeping next to them every night, planning travel dates and concerts around them, it’s difficult to retrain your mind to stop. But you owe it to yourself and to them to give yourselves time to figure out what’s next.
Every relationship is different, which means every breakup is different. Deciding whether or not you should talk to your ex is a big decision, and one that should not be taken lightly. If you feel completely equipped to maintain a friendship, even a casual one, with someone you used to date, congratulations. But before making that decision, it’s important to ask yourself a few questions. You deserve it.