My ex and I stayed close friends after the divorce. Here’s how we built trust again, even while dating other people.

Before my divorce, I never thought it possible to remain friends with an ex-spouse. After all, we split up for a reason, right? Yet, after a decade of marriage turned sour, here I was sitting across from my ex-husband at a coffee shop, not as enemies, but as friends. We were talking about our lives post-divorce, even discussing our new love interests.

Moving from romantic partners to platonic buddies was not an overnight process. It took patience, understanding, and a lot of deep breaths. Our shared history, full of ups and downs, wasn’t easy to leave behind. But we both agreed that our bond was too significant to be buried under the ruins of our failed marriage.

We decided to turn the page and start a new chapter. Some people found it odd, even unnatural. “How can you be friends with your ex? Doesn’t it complicate things when you’re dating other people?” they would ask. It was uncharted territory for us too, and we didn’t have all the answers upfront.

We stumbled and fumbled along the way. There were awkward silences in the beginning, then slowly we started laughing together again. We learned how to respect each other’s boundaries while dating others and managed to build trust again.

In retrospect, our decision to stay close friends was one of the best we’ve ever made. It allowed us to heal better and faster from the heartbreak of our divorce. But what has surprised me the most? The strange journey of navigating friendship with my ex while we both explored new relationships. Here’s how we made it work in this unusual situation.

Building trust post-divorce while dating others

The first step we took was setting clear boundaries. We had to redefine our relationship, drawing the line between being friends and exes. This meant no late-night phone calls or impromptu meet-ups that could blur the lines and cause confusion.

We also made a pact to be honest with each other, especially when it came to our dating lives. We agreed to not hide our new relationships. Instead, we would share just enough without overstepping the privacy of our new partners.

One of the challenges we faced was dealing with jealousy, which inevitably cropped up whenever one of us started dating someone new. We tackled this by reassuring each other that our friendship was separate from our romantic relationships.

We made it a point to regularly check in on our friendship, discuss how we were feeling and adjust any boundaries if necessary. This constant communication made us feel connected and fostered trust.

Looking back, it wasn’t always easy, but our determination to remain friends helped us navigate through the challenges. We managed to build trust again, even while dating other people.

Challenging the belief: Exes can’t be friends

The common belief is that once a romantic relationship ends, any form of relationship is impossible. It’s like an unwritten rule in the book of breakups: “Exes Can’t Be Friends”. But our journey has shown that this isn’t necessarily true.

Yes, we had our fair share of awkward moments and misunderstandings. We questioned our decision multiple times. But each time, we chose to work through the discomfort rather than give up on our friendship.

We realized that the belief that exes can’t be friends stems from the fear of unresolved emotions and potential conflicts, especially when new partners are involved. But what if we could channel these feelings into something more positive?

Turning fear into friendship

The truth is, fear is natural in such situations. The fear of unresolved feelings, of jealousy, of judgment from others, and the fear of complicating new relationships. But fear doesn’t have to define the outcome.

We faced our fears head-on. We talked about them openly and honestly, creating a safe space where we could express our insecurities without judgment. This dialog helped us understand each other better and resolve any lingering issues from our past.

When we started dating other people, we made it a point to introduce our new partners to each other. This might seem unconventional, but it helped alleviate any potential jealousy and foster understanding.

Communication was our key tool. We always talked things out – be it a misunderstanding, a disagreement, or even feelings of jealousy. We learned to be honest without hurting each other’s feelings.

It’s not easy, and it’s certainly not for everyone. But if you’re willing to put in the effort and face your fears head-on, it’s possible to transform a failed marriage into a successful friendship.

Expanding the perspective: The power of self-empowerment

In this journey of transforming a broken marriage into a thriving friendship, I’ve learned valuable lessons. They’re not just about maintaining a relationship with an ex-partner, but also about self-empowerment and personal growth. Let me share the ones most pertinent to our journey:

  • Take responsibility for the situation: It doesn’t matter who was at fault for the divorce. What mattered was how we chose to handle the aftermath. Owning our part in it gave us personal power and helped move us forward.
  • Question societal expectations: Friends with an ex? Unheard of, right? Well, we defied that notion. We didn’t let societal norms dictate our decisions.
  • Acknowledge dissatisfaction: Yes, we were unhappy post-divorce. Acknowledging this allowed us to work towards a resolution instead of wallowing in despair.
  • Face reality: Blind positivity wouldn’t serve us. We were in a tough spot and accepting that reality was the first step towards dealing with it.

These steps weren’t just about navigating our relationship – they were about empowering ourselves as individuals. We asserted our independence from societal norms, faced our realities, and took responsibility for our situation.

In essence, we learned to think for ourselves. We chose not to conform to societal expectations but to define our own path. It was a process of self-exploration and self-improvement that reshaped our reality.

So, if you’re caught in a similar situation, remember that it’s not just about the relationship with your ex. It’s also about your relationship with yourself, your attitudes, your beliefs, and your courage to defy the norm. You have the power to reshape your reality.

Ava Sinclair

Ava Sinclair

Ava Sinclair is a former competitive athlete who transitioned into the world of wellness and mindfulness. Her journey through the highs and lows of competitive sports has given her a unique perspective on resilience and mental toughness. Ava’s writing reflects her belief in the power of small, daily habits to create lasting change.

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