When exes stay friends

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Some couples don’t come out of breakups bitter and spiteful

Transitioning from being a couple to strictly platonic friends can be unusual for exes. Thankfully, we found a way to maintain our unique friendship post-break up. 

Who said exes can’t be friends? 

Liam: It all began in first year when we were at the Lazy Scholar on Halloween. I met Tiffany through a friend of hers who happened to be gay. I was talking to him for some time. Meanwhile Tiffany was hoping I was straight, as we both discussed our floral tops while standing in-line for a four-piece. Lucky for us, she was right. 

Tiffany: I was with two of my friends that evening when we met. We were celebrating the end of our midterms with a few social drinks. I was very tipsy and trying to act “normal” while waiting in line for the classic four piece from Lazy, when Liam, turned around — we locked eyes — and he said hello. I instantly fell for his eyes. We introduced ourselves. At first, he thought I was in Commerce like him, since he saw me all the time, but could not place where. That’s how we found out we lived in the same building. 

Liam: I wanted to treat Tiffany to a romantic night out for our very first date. Since we both have a love for jazz music, I took her to the Olivea’s Tuesday Jazz night. Our first date was Nov. 11. We walked in and sat down; sharing more about ourselves, our hobbies and other small talk topics. We ordered our food, happy that it wasn’t from Leonard or Ban Righ for once. Don’t get us wrong — the food is good there, but a change is always nice. Then we ordered Tiffany’s favourite Italian dessert, tiramisu. Afterwards, we walked back to residence and spent the rest of our night watching a movie and having deep conversations. 

Tiffany: While we were together we travelled to Israel. I met his extended family from there and from Denmark. We also took small trips to each other’s homes to spend time together. Liam lives in Guelph while I’m from a small town called Frankford (it has roughly 2,500 people, with one set of stop lights). Those are the memories that brought us closer, and also farther, apart. 

When you’re around someone so much, you get thrown into so many different scenarios together; sometimes you’re not ready to handle the outcomes. One incident that pushed us apart was when we got into a car accident in the country side during a summer trip to Liam’s cottage. 

Luckily, nothing bad happened to us, but it was something that upset me. Once, we smoothed things over we realized that some parts of our relationship were moving too quickly. 

Liam: We’ve been through so much together that it would feel alien to not have one another in our lives. We were a major source of support to each other; we spent the majority of our time together either watching movies or studying. We developed a strong bond that has not died since we broke up. 

Tiffany: The break up made things rocky between us for a few months, as everything we thought and knew was shattered. However, back in our second year at Queen’s we decided to get coffee and talk about what happened and where we wanted to go from there. We decided we could try being friends, but with a gradual start to avoid confusion. 

Liam: Being apart was a rough time. Tiffany broke up with me due to our irreconcilable differences. During this time, I wasn’t myself. My friends got slightly frustrated with me over the break up, but they had my back nonetheless. They encouraged me to get out of my love funk and back on the playing field. 

Tiffany: Liam is still someone I consider to be a great friend. We still keep each other updated about our lives, what we’re doing, who we’re seeing and so on. We even meet for coffee every so often. We recognized that just because our relationship didn’t work doesn’t mean we couldn’t still keep in touch.  I still care deeply for him, not as my lover, but someone who I cherish and care for. 

Liam: Considering how our relationship came to its end, you would think we wouldn’t even be on speaking terms with one another as many exes are after parting ways. After our break up, there was next to no communication for a month as we tried to carry on with our lives. 

We went about second year on our own paths and those paths rarely crossed. A month later, we texted and agreed to meet up to speak face-to-face as friends and get more closure. It was the first time we had spoken since before our break up, as our relationship came to an end over a text message. 

When something ends in a way with little true communication, there are lots of loose ends hanging in the air left unsettled. Speaking was a way to reintroduce each other as friends and say goodbye to the past year together.

Tiffany: We continued to keep our distance for another month, and both met new people. Liam entered a new relationship, while I spent most of my time experiencing being unattached. In the end, we both found new people who made us happy, and who we’re now “Facebook official” with. While it may be an unusual situation for exes to remain friends, especially to our significant others, it’s a completely platonic friendship that has grown between us.

Liam: During the transition period of not seeing, or barely speaking to one another, we have a mutual friend that was able to keep things smooth between us. Considering she shares a house with me and is close friends with Tiffany, it made things a little tricky at first. But she helped each of us see the other person’s perspective and feelings. In a sense, our friend was a mediator without specifically being labelled as one.  It wasn’t the most comfortable of situations, but in the end it helped as rekindle our friendship. 

Tiffany: Today, Liam and I maintain a good friendship. Occasionally, we’ll meet for coffee at the Common Ground and catch each other up on the happenings of our lives. It’s not easy to move from a heated relationship to a strictly platonic one, but we’ve figured out a way to do it. 

Liam: Advice from us would be to give yourself plenty of time before seeing your ex again. Once words are spoken in the heat of the moment they can’t be taken back. It’s important to give yourself and the person you’re ending your relationship with time to grasp the situation at hand. 

Tiffany: It’s also important not to seek out your ex if you or him experience mixed feelings. You will only be causing each other more grief that can be easily avoided. 

Liam: To all of the guys out there who can’t see why they would want to befriend someone who left them, give it some time. Time heals all wounds, and you’d be surprised how easy it is to become friends with someone who you’ve already cultivated a strong friendship with.


breakup, friends, love, relationship, Relationships

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