We’ve all been in that situation where a love relationship is ending and while we want to remain friends, we’re not really sure whether it’s possible and how to make it happen. Transitioning from lover to friend can be very tricky especially if the break up was more one sided. In the last five years, I’ve had my share of relationship transitions and I really pride myself on my ability to smoothly transition almost all of my loverships into friendships. I count most of these men as very good friends to this day.
How to Transition from Lover to Friend
- Release your lover back into the world with love. This can be extremely challenging especially if there was a strong connection. Often our desire to “hold on” to a relationship that should have ended months ago trumps our judgment about what is best for us. Releasing someone in a loving place allows us to honor them and the wonderful things about the relationship.
- Have closure on the lover part of your relationship. So often we just “drift away” and never really formally admit that we are no longer lovers. This can cause confusion, resentment and anger which does not bode well for creating a friendship. Acknowledge that the lover part of your relationship is over. I even suggest having a “closing ceremony” where you can really honor each other and share what you’ve learned from being in relationship.
- Recognize that one of both of you may need some time to grieve. Ending a love relationship can be very painful and its impossible to transition from lover to friend while emotions are still raw. Time does heal all wounds and sometimes a conscious decision to stay disconnected for a period of time can be very healthy for both partners.
- Create clear boundaries for the friendship. Come to some clear agreements around what this new friendship will look like and understand that it may morph over time. Some things to consider as you transition from lover to friend are physical boundaries. Is physical contact an appropriate part of your friendship? Is sex on or off the table? Are friend dates in a public place or at your home? Are there certain topics that you won’t discuss (e.g. other people you are dating).
Transitioning from lover to friend can take some time…be patient and allow the process to unfold!