Tip #1: Take A Break First
Start with a clean break. Avoid the mistake of staying in close contact with your ex right after the break-up. It will prevent you from taking the necessary steps to move forward with your life. Even if you’re certain that you want to stay friends, you both need some time apart to grieve and recover from the loss of the romantic relationship.
Respectfully communicate your need for space and hold firm boundaries. Give yourself more time than you think you need before reconnecting to ensure you are returning for the right reasons. You both need distance, time and perspective before establishing a fresh beginning.
Tip # 2: Establish Rules of Engagement
Once you resume contact, make sure you are both on the same page about intentions, expectations and boundaries in this new relationship. Establish clear ground rules up front including what’s okay to share and what’s off limits. Are you comfortable hearing about your ex’s dating life? How about sharing details of yours?
There’s no right or wrong answer. Everyone has their own comfort level. Initiating an honest and direct discussion will help establish appropriate boundaries and potentially prevent hurt feelings and miscommunication.
Tip #3: Avoid Ex Sex
You may be tempted to sleep with your ex, particularly if they were great in the sack. However, the short-term pleasure derived from ex sex is seldom worth it in the long term. It will likely confuse and complicate things.
Take a proactive pathway to prevent procreation provocation. Choose to meet in daytime in a public place. Take separate cars. Avoid booze. Don’t offer or accept an invitation to return to either of your homes.
Pro tip: Consider some self-love an hour before you meet up in person to discharge any pent-up lustful urges. It’s okay to not always be master of your domain.
Tip #4: Know When To Cut Your Losses
Listen to your gut. If something doesn’t feel right, review your intentions and expectations. Take a step back and try to objectively evaluate the state of the new union. Is continued contact with your ex healthy or hurtful? Supportive or toxic? Is your ex receptive to or dismissive of your needs? Do you feel emotionally safe or afraid of expressing your feelings?
If the new friendship needs fine-tuning, give it a chance before abandoning ship. Share your concerns and needs respectfully with your ex. Hopefully they will be receptive and course correct. But if your words fall on deaf ears, it may be time to cut your losses and call it quits.
It sucks have to "break up" again, but it may be in your best interest. If your sincere attempts to improve a rocky relationship feel more like an exercise in futility, you may have to accept the reality the best relationship to have with your ex is no relationship at all.
Are you having a hard time getting over a difficult break-up? Contact me for a free phone consultation to see if psychotherapy can help you.
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