February 8, 2013 - submitted by Kate, United Kingdom

Friends, to a relationship, back to friends, can it work?

The Oracle replies:

It can but it depends on the individual people involved; it doesn't work for everyone. One of my best friends invited her ex to her wedding as they remained very close friends after their break-up. I, on the other hand, am not friends with any of my exes - not the ones that mattered.
I think it also depends on whether the relationship felt like an extension of the friendship. Sometimes feelings can develop but the type of love may become confused. There is a chance you may work out that you were meant to stay friends in the first place. That could be why the relationship failed and that would probably make it easier to go back.
Problems with this scenario arise if one half of the couple still have feelings that aren't just confined to friendship.
Whether it works or not, there may have to be a cooling off period before reconnecting. I think it's important for both people to respect the other's decision. Time could help.
It may also be tricky for future partners (on both sides) to accept the situation so do be aware of that and sensitive to their feelings.
Ultimately there is no reason you can't go back to being friends after a relationship ends as long as it's what you both want.
Over to you.

Indeed it can work, but it takes 2 very strong people to do so. They both have to understand that their relationship just won't work out and that they both should move on. While still having feelings for your isn't really a bad thing, it might lead to a corrupt friendship thanks to a little emotion called jealousy. Still, I've seen it happen to a friend of mine and his ex, and they're for the most part, still talking to each other. If your ex was someone who was close to you before your relationship like a best friend, you definitely want to keep them around. Personally, it sounds easy on paper, but in practice...it's tough. Sadly my relationship didn't end that great, but I hope this inspires anyone to take a bad relationship, and turn it back into a long-lasting friendship. Hope this helps anyone who reads it. Billy N.

I think it really depends on the reason that the relationship didn't work and how long it lasted. If it was for a short while, it wouldn't be as hard going back to being just friends, but that might not be the case. Make sure there aren't any romantic feelings left for either person because that can be very painful and unhealthy which isn't fair. You were probably close friends to begin with, so it can be hard drawing that line that's already been crossed. I do think you can be friends, but it'd probably be less complicated if you were distant ones. Hope this helps. Love, Darem.

It is a huge challenge to become friends with someone you have been in a relationship with, but it all depends what happened with that person. If both persons can be okay with just being friends, then they can. On the contrary, if they (or at least one of them) have lingering feelings for each other, it is not wise to try to be friends. It does not work, trust me, I've been in this situation. The best choice would be to let time decide whether you are comfortable enough to begin a friendship or to unfortunately split ways. Maybe in the future later on, you can be friends again. It's all a matter of time and patience. I hope you decide what's best for you and makes you happy! Faviolla.

Yes, yes, yes I believe it can work! I definitely think emotional maturity is required, and that it helps if you are both on the same wavelength about your relationship and back-to-being-friendship, for example being appreciative of and grateful for the relationship and that journey and adventure it took you on! All the best Kate! Cali.

The longer the time of friendship and the shorter the relationship lasts - the chance might be better, I would say. Then it can be very hard to see your ex happy with somebody else, while you are still alone possibly. Wishing a revival would be obvious and it takes a lot of self-control not even to try it, just one try could delete a sensitive friendship like that completely.
Though it is not easy, sometimes there is a need for being on familiar terms at least if there are joint responsibilities: children, work, projects, property… Even though you might befriend again, it will never be the same kind of friendship as before. However I think it is possible and it would prove a sense of responsibility and sensibleness. Providing that both can overlook the reasons for the break up and see there something new, a chance on another level - yes, then it will work. And in the end it could be more long-lasting than your new relationships. Wenona.

It really depends on the feelings of the two people in the relationship. I was friends with a girl, dated her, then gone back to friends. Our friendship has not been the same as before, but we still enjoy each other's company, regardless. Understand that your decision to continue friendship should be mutual if you want it to be successful. In most circumstances it doesn't work like this, and both will end up separating entirely. This is usually for the better, as the distance will help the healing process. Whichever route you take, be sure you agree that it's the right choice for both of you. Best of luck, Blake.

I suppose it depends on if anyone got hurt. If that's the case it may be irreparable damage and that could take a really long time to get over. Tread carefully. It's not clear if you are the one who wants to be friends or your ex. If they want to be and you're not sure, give yourself more time. Good luck! Ames.

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