Dear Carolyn: How does a person remain friends with an ex? I dated a friend for a year, we broke up a week ago, mostly amicably. But I’m having a hard time seeing him so frequently and seeing him talk to other women when we are out with friends. The feelings right now are mixed, and there is a part of me that sees him differently. — Friends With Ex
Friends With Ex: Oh, my, it takes most of us a lot more than a week. A little space to heal and establish a new normal — like, months, or longer — then an attempt at friendship, with patience and low expectations, and even then, only if you still enjoy this person’s company enough to make the hard work of friendship worthwhile.
If space isn’t possible — your ex is a co-worker, neighbor, friend-group friend — then you give yourself mental space to recognize that this part of it stinks and you just need to get through it before it feels like something a sane person would actually attempt. That you have enough good feelings to call them “mixed” is actually a promising sign.
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