Okay, so you've gone through the stages of dealing with your breakup. You’ve watched your favorite romantic comedies in your pajamas and tried to cheer up with wise words of women who have made it through the breakup black hole. You’ve taken up hobbies to take your mind off of things, and you feel like you’re getting close to getting over her. Now it’s time to figure out if you’re ready to be friends with your ex, which can be difficult to navigate. There’s the confusion of figuring out if you feel ready, figuring out if she feels ready and trying to avoid the inevitable post-breakup awkwardness.
But don’t stress! We, along with the creators of The Gay Women Channel, Adrianna DiLonardo and Sarah Rotella, are here to help. Their channel is filled with both hilarious and informative videos with dating advice, personal experiences and oh-so-relatable content on being a modern queer woman. So, before you hit send on the text that starts with, “I think we should try to be friends” and ends with a brunch invite, Sarah and Adrianna want you to ask yourself the following questions.
1. Are you both genuinely interested in being friends?
It’s natural to want to be around your ex after a breakup. After all, she was your person. But just because you enjoyed spending time together while you were a couple doesn’t mean you’re both interested in hanging out now that you’re not. Sarah and Adrianna point out that if either one of you is faking your platonic interest, the truth will come out—and it will only lead to someone getting hurt.
2. Are you reaching out because you’re bored, lonely or sexually frustrated?
These reasons are no-go’s when it comes to initiating contact with the ex. One of you will inevitably get upset if you reconnect for a reason that is fleeting. Plus, one of two things will happen. Likely, you’ll reach out expecting the support and intimacy you had before, only to be rejected and feel awful. Or, you’ll realize your mistake and increase the awkwardness by a factor of 10.
3. Did you have a messy breakup?
All breakups are hard and complicated, and they don’t always happen for a clear reason. Be cautious, though, if your relationship ended in a particularly turbulent fashion. If either of you cheated, for example, it’s probably best not to pursue a friendship. Likewise, if there was a major lie or betrayal contributing to the breakup, that’s a clear sign that post-breakup friendship could be tricky.
As far as messy breakups go, Sarah and Adrianna agree that “being friends is probably not gonna happen.” You may say you’re over it and she may say she’s over it, but chances are, one or both of you isn't being entirely honest with yourselves. It’s a mistake to push those feelings away, because in all likelihood they will resurface. You’re better off letting her go.
4. Does any part of you want to get back together?
This one is pretty key, so be honest with yourself. If you’re still holding a torch for your ex, you’re not ready to be friends—especially if your relationship was serious. Sarah and Adrianna agree that if either of you is still interested romantically in the other, a friendship probably isn’t possible. "One of you will always want more,” they say.
Why put yourself through that? It’s like having a crush on your straight best friend and wishing she would notice you—except this is way worse because this best friend was in love with you at one point. This goes both ways, so make sure your ex isn’t harboring feelings for you. It’s not fair to her, and it won’t end well for you either.
5. Are you emotionally prepared to see her with someone else?
There’s a big difference between seeing pictures of your ex looking happy with her new girlfriend on Facebook and having to see them together and talk to them at parties. This one is probably the toughest to deal with. If you’re struggling to figure out the answer, you’re probably not ready.
If you feel good about your answers to these questions and are aware of the warning signs, it’s definitely possible to become friends. However, one of the biggest signs of whether a friendship is possible is whether the breakup was mutual. If both of you felt like the relationship just wasn’t working and you’re interested in being friends, do it. The best strategy is just to be honest about your feelings and respect her feelings if she’s not interested in a friendship.