Jennifer Aniston and ex-husband Justin Theroux have been spotted out for dinner in New York City six years after their breakupand the former couple are far from the only ones who remain friends.
Camilla, 75, recently invited her former husband Andrew Parker Bowles to the coronation on May 6. Sarah Ferguson, 63, still lives with Prince Andrew, 63, at the Royal Lodge in Windsor, and Gwyneth Paltrow, 50, is also famously friendly with her ex, Chris Martin, 46.
So what’s the key to maintaining a platonic friendship after a romance has broken down?
Relationship expert Kate Mansfield says, “Staying friends with an ex can be challenging, and I’m not sure I’d recommend it.
“People may want to stay friends with exes out of habit or familiarity, even if we don’t really like them.
Justin Theroux and Jennifer Aniston photographed in 2016 at the 21st Annual Critics’ Choice Awards in Santa Monica, California. The exes are still friends
“And the relationship could also have been unhealthy, or someone still hasn’t let go emotionally.
“That being said, if both really want to stay friends, it’s possible with effort and communication.”
Here Femail brings you nine top tips that can help.
1. Give yourself time to heal
Take time to process the breakup and heal any emotional wounds before trying to build a friendship. Consider your own emotional state and whether you are ready to maintain a friendship with your ex. If you’re still struggling with feelings of hurt, anger, or sadness, it might be best to take a moment before trying to build a friendship. It can be very damaging if you deny your feelings or if you pretend to be cool when you’re not.
2. Be observant and sensitive to each other’s emotions
It’s also important to consider your ex’s emotional state and whether they’re ready to be friends. If your ex is still struggling with the breakup, he or she may not be ready to maintain a friendship and you should be willing to accept it. They may have to unfollow you on social media or take time out so they can move on in life.
3. Set boundaries
If you plan to remain friends, have an open and honest conversation about what the friendship will be like and set clear boundaries to avoid confusion or misunderstanding, especially when it comes to dating other people. Decide if you want to tell each other if you’ve started seeing other people so you both know what to expect and be prepared.
4. Be respectful
Show respect for your ex and treat him like any other friend. Avoid past discussions or issues and focus on creating a new, healthy friendship that feels supportive and positive. Likewise, it can be valuable to think about how you want to interact with the other person. Will you enjoy hugging each other? How often do you want to see them? Is it okay to go to the movies together? All these things need to be thought about.
5. Communicate openly
Communicate regularly and honestly about your feelings and expectations. It is important to address any issues that arise. Be open to both of you needing space and time to work through hurt feelings. Misunderstandings can arise, for example if one thinks the other is flirting. So being open and honest is the key to progress. It is more likely that a few can remain friends if the breakup is amicable.
6. Maintain your individual life
Continue to pursue your own interests and hobbies and encourage your ex to do the same. Remember that both of you are individuals with separate lives, so don’t use each other to avoid new friendships or romantic connections. And if you’re going through a rough emotional time, don’t expect to rely on your ex for support like you may have once done. Also keep in mind that any new partner may have reservations about maintaining close contact with an ex. This is not a reason not to – but it can happen.
7. Accept that things can be different
Accept that your relationship has changed and your friendship may be different than before. Don’t take it personally if your ex doesn’t want to be with you all the time, you need to adjust to a totally different type of relationship. It is a noble act to give friendship a chance, but know that – just like a relationship – it can come to an end.
8. Trust yourself first and be realistic about the past
If your ex has consistently demonstrated trustworthy behavior in the past, it may be reasonable to trust them. However, if there have been instances of dishonesty or betrayal in the past, it can be difficult to fully trust them again. So take a moment for an honest reflection of what you can really expect from them.
9. Determine how you interact with mutual friends, family, and other shared connections
Make clear rules and boundaries around what you feel comfortable sharing with people you know in common. It’s often a good idea to have a rule about not sharing your personal information too much with extended outside circles so that you can redefine your friendship without outside influences getting in the way. Too often people have an opinion.