Regardless of why a relationship ends, one of the worst things to deal with is losing the friendship with your now-ex, especially if you were friends before you started dating. At some point, whether it’s minutes or years after the relationship ends, you may wonder if the two of you can be friends. Depending on the circumstances, it’s not necessarily a bad idea. It will take some hard work and maybe even a heart-to-heart talk, but friendship is definitely possible. The situation may not be ideal at first, but adhering to certain tips and guidelines can help make it easier.

Take Time Away From Each Other

If you try to be friends immediately after breaking up, it’s almost a recipe for disaster. There’s still feelings there, at least from one of you, and even if the breakup was amicable, it’s still a huge adjustment to go from taken to single. Give yourself at least a few months to heal before you try to be friends again. If he contacts you and you aren’t ready to be friends yet, don’t hesitate to tell him so.

One of the major reasons why dating goes horribly wrong is that people start becoming possessive right from day one without giving the other one enough space and caters to their needs and wants so in a way the love feels more like bondage. So times of separation may help couples in understanding each other

Avoid Old Habits

After reconnecting with an ex, it’s very easy to fall back into the same routines and habits as when you were together. This tends to happen especially if you were together for a long time. Be careful of acting like you’re a couple again. If there are any things you did when you were together, such as calling each other on the way home from work, make sure not to fall into the same pattern of doing them again. Also, even though he’s a friend, keep in mind that he should not be your go-to person when you’ve had a bad day.

Skip Significant Occasions

This falls along the lines of old habits, but opt to not see your ex on significant occasions including holidays or any anniversaries the two of you had. Also, there’s no reason he should be your plus one to an important occasion like a wedding, even if both of you are attending. If you don’t have feelings for him, those settings are perfect opportunities for them to start up again.

Let Go of the Past

If you’re going to move forward with a friendship, you need to bury your feelings for him and about anything that happened in the relationship. Bringing up how he never called when he said he was going to or how he once talked about getting married is only going to complicate the current situation. It’s impossible to forget everything that happened, but focus on the friendship as it is instead of the relationship that once was.

Skip Certain Forms of Physical Contact

A kiss on the cheek or a hug hello is fine, but certain other forms of physical contact with your ex can lead to trouble. Holding hands may seem innocent enough, but it’s an intimate enough gesture that sparks can happen instantly. You should absolutely avoid kissing and especially sex. “Ex sex” can create complications and cause you to kick yourself for letting it happen.

Keep Your Emotions in Check

You should constantly be aware of how you feel around your ex. It’s better to stop feelings before they start than to let them develop to the point where they’re hard to control and even more difficult to eliminate. If, at any point, you start to feel them develop, it’s probably best to back off and put some space between the two of you for awhile.

There may be times, especially in the beginning of the friendship, where it feels almost impossible to be just friends. Take the process slow – you don’t have to go from ex to friend immediately. Even agreeing to be friends is a big step. Decide what is best for you and what you feel comfortable with. If your ex really wants to be friends, he’ll have no problem taking things slow and not rushing you.