One of the major reasons heartbreak hurts so much is the lack of closure. Sometimes remaining friends with your ex offers the opportunity to maintain a dialogue in which a greater understanding about the issues leading to the breakup can be exchanged. Other times, contact with an ex can prolong the pain and delay closure. Becoming friends means that you are able to disengage the gears of the romantic connection and face each other as separate individuals. This can provide the opportunity to reconcile differences and, in some cases, reconnect on new terms. Or you can use the opportunity to say what needs to be said in order to put the romantic feelings to rest. But each time you have contact with your ex, you risk disappointment and further rejection. It's important to have realistic expectations so that you don't set yourself up for re-abandonment, which can hurt even more than the original tear. The constant re-wounding can delay the process of healing. It's important to question your motives in seeking a friendship with your ex. Are you settling for crumbs rather than go through emotional starvation? This may be an indication that the abandonment experience has lowered your sense of entitlement. After all, heartbreak can cause our self-esteem to plummet. It is important to avoid acting out this sense oflow self-worth at this vulnerable time. In spite of feeling at an all-time low, remind yourself that these feelings are temporary and that you are worthy of being fully loved. Fight to sustain your belief in yourself.
Sometimes people are fooling themselves in believing they can handle having a friendship with their ex. They are subjecting themselves to greater pain by staying friends, because they fail to recognize that they do have the strength to stand on their own two feet.
Many find that breaking the attachment to their ex allows them to develop emotional self-reliance and restore their injured self-esteem.
Examine the issues. Ask yourself: Am I staying friends to become emotionally stronger? Or am I just resisting "letting go?"
Does staying friends with my ex allow me additional closure, resolution of hurt feelings, and an opportunity to heal? Or does it prolong my sense of rejection, self-doubt and emotional hunger?
Does staying friends help me heal, or does it delay the moment when I must push forward and forge new relationships?
Susan Anderson is a psychotherapist and the author of Journey From Heartbreak to Connection, Journey From Abandonment to Healing and Black Swan: Twelve Lessons of Abandonment Recovery. Through her books and www.abandonment.net, she reaches out to abandonment survivors and clients from all over the world.
Source: Relationships & Love