How to transition from lover to friend

How to transition from lover to friend

How to transition from lover to friend

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!

2 responses to “How to transition from lover to friend”

  1. Tristan Punter says:

    A mature honest transition from lovers to friends is wonderful. It displays acceptance, acknowledgement of lessons learned while romantic, builds trust, etc. Many things grow/mature internally from making this transition in a healthy manner.

  2. Snore says:

    Thank you for the article. I really like what you had to say. Normally, once a breakup happens I usually don’t stay in contact after that with the dumper. But with a recent ex, she really is a great person and our relationship from the get go was affected by external factors that we had no control over but yet we didn’t want to deny our feelings and had a meaningful relationship.

    After this, I hate to lose such a wonderful friend (10+ years, including the time of the relationship) due to external things we couldn’t control that impinged on us. It does hurt from my side yet as i truly do miss her, but she is important to me and even as friends i would like to keep her in my life. I think she was being very sincere when she left and really still cared for and loved us.

    Just wondering how long a time period did you stay away to heal. I know its a variable amount for each different breakup. I do wish for her happiness even if one day we may be strangers, but i really dont want to lose her out of my life if we dont have to. Relationship was two years, and i guess a amicable breakup – not fiery, but sad and she apologized and was really caring. Thank you!

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