Breaking up is hard to do, as the song goes. Whether you and your ex were together for a few months or years, you shared a part of your life with someone who was important to you and now that you two have split, what’s next? What should be the nature of your relationship going forward? There are a few scenarios that can typically play out depending on the cause of the breakup, so let’s explore some of those:

Remain Friends

I won’t front; I never knew how two people can remain close friends after a breakup. I’ve always thought this was a concept seen only on sitcoms or in high school relationships; in reality, it happens a lot more than I originally thought. What I’ve come to realize is that often times, relationships born out of friendship have a better chance of surviving post break up. During the relationship they may have developed an even stronger friendship, outside of any romantic connection, that they are able to fall back on once the romance is over. Either way, they are still able to confide in one another, still able to hang out, and still able to be in each other’s lives without missing a beat. The cynic in me is weary of this course of action. What if the guise of friendship is being used to hide an ulterior motive of reconciliation? What if remaining friends doesn’t allow you to completely move on in your romantic life? How will your future significant others feel about the place an ex holds in your life? These are tough questions, but questions that need to be considered if you go this route.

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Totally Erase Them From Your Life

This option usually goes down after a nasty split or super emotional breakup. It hurts too much to be around your ex because it unearths old memories you don’t want in your mind. So you stop all types of contact and act as if they never existed. People will also erase a former lover from their lives in hopes of starting brand new. They don’t want any relapses, and want to ensure that exes will stay exes. Why tempt emotion and fate, right? I would be lying to you if I said this isn’t my preferred method of ex interaction. However you have to consider certain factors when taking this option. What if you and your ex have common friends? Are you going to continue to shade one another and waste that energy? Is the nature of the breakup that serious that this method is necessary? How much is principle and how much is pride? You truly don’t know if this way is needed unless you are in the situation, but this is another extreme.

Keep Cordial and Respectful

When relationships end, this is the option I’ve seen most. You recognize that you had some type of importance and love for one another, so rather than keep ill will or stay buddy-buddy, you remain respectful. You say what’s up, make small talk, and keep it moving. It’s organic and not forced. Essentially, you revert back to being acquaintances. This seems like the happy medium, but Streetz the cynic says, is that real? Are you being cordial for cordiality’s sake? Do you not want people to call you childish and bitter and feel this will appease public sentiment? Do you really want that person back and are using the cordial approach to bide your time? Are you being true to your real feelings?

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We may act on impulse initially and decide on one of the three options above. As time goes on however, we have the foresight  to evaluate future relationships and determine which course of action is best. You shouldn’t let emotion cloud your judgment, but you should let it serve as a reminder of the past and to tread cautiously. Everyone can suggest better practices, but at the end of the day what’s right for you is all that matters.

How have you all interacted with your exes? Does cordiality exist, or do you act as if your ex never existed? Is it harder for men or women to act more ‘mature” post relationship? Is it even beneficial to have any type of interaction once you break-up?