There's a man who I've known for more than 10 years. We're friends to begin with — we went to the same school, lived in the same boarding house, and he used to annoy me SO MUCH!
He'd distract me when I was trying to enjoy movie nights, gang up with his friends to hide my glasses, misplace my books for maths class — apparently, it's his way of showing me affection. After we graduated, we lost touch for a while, but thanks to a friendly email in the second year of university, we finally admitted there's something between us that's worth exploring.
You Had To Have Broken Up For The Right Reasons
Long story short, during these 10 years we've done the merry-go-round. We've been together three times — the first time he got scared and he broke it off, the second time, I did. The third time, we thought it was it, we wanted to give it a good shot we even moved in together, but then we eventually realised we want different things from life.
It's never going to work. Despite much heartache from both sides, we decided to pull the plug for good; it was the hardest decision we've had to make.
After the break-up, there were a few months I was so angry at him. We got into a couple of massive fights and it was going nowhere. I knew it's time to stop and for us to really take time away from each other. So I started to text him less, call him less, and when he got in touch, I kept my responses friendly but as brief as possible — and it worked.
Giving Each Other Space Is Key
Finally, we started to see each other less and less like ex-romantic partners, and more and more like friends. We've learned to love each other in another way. We would still go for movies, dinners, and tell each other about the most trivial things in life, even our new relationships. When one wants to talk, the other one listens.
I'm not trying to sugarcoat anything. At first, it will feel a little bit weird to talk about new relationships with an ex, but once you break down that wall, an ex can sometimes be the best counsel because they're the only ones who know how you tend to behave in a relationship, and they're not afraid to point out what went wrong so you can improve and save your next one.
You'll Just Know
Up until then, I've always been a fan of the 'never be friends with an ex' policy. I always thought, "What's the point?"
I didn't believe it's worth my while. But when you find someone who truly cares about you and are able to turn them into family, take the chance because it only happens once in a blue moon.
I'm not saying that all exes are suitable to be friends with. Some jerks are meant to disappear from our lives for good. I also can't give you a checklist of attributes to tick off in hope to determine whether your ex is friend material. But what I can tell you is that you'll know when someone truly has your best interest at heart.