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Nobody says you have to be close with an important part of your life; being able to interact with them without drama is an important skill to cultivate.
One of the most important – and misunderstood – aspects of recovering from a break-up is the Nuclear Option – that is, cutting off all ties and forms of contact with your ex.
In fact, in some circumstances – attending the same school, working in the same industry, overlapping social circles – you may well risk running into them on a regular, even with it.
But it doesn’t mean that this necessarily has to be an awkward or even painful experience.
All too often, when we end a romantic relationship with somebody, we tend to assume this means that we can no longer stand to see that person ever again. No matter the circumstances of the relationship ending, it is still a painful experience and the associations you had with that person are now intertwined with that pain.
Small wonder, then, that you wouldn’t want to have anything to do with them; why But in the midst of the angst and anger, the feelings of betrayal and the slipping of Katy Perry songs into your Spotify break-up playlists and hoping nobody notices, it’s worth remembering that pain doesn’t friends or haunts in common or you’ve moved across the country, the odds are that eventually you’re going to have to face the fact that you’re probably going to run into your ex on occasion.
Because quite frankly, the anger and the bitterness that comes from a break-up? All it’s doing is burning a pit in your gut and making you take time away from your recovery period when you could be doing more productive things like actually working on your life instead of plotting elaborate revenge fantasies.
Just as important as distance is to the healing process, it’s also a critical part of salvaging a friendship – or at least a non-awkward relationship – out of the ruins of your breakup.
On the other hand, somebody who is able to maintain a cordial – if not friendly – relationship with his exes is generally someone who is able to handle the complexities of a serious relationship, who has a handle on his emotions and is able to, if not forget, at least forgive the wounds and errors that are part and parcel of romantic entanglement.
Now, in fairness, there will always be break-ups where the pain is too great or the betrayal too unforgivable or the relationship too toxic for you to remain even in casual contact with your ex and you will be well rid of them.
People are often surprised when I tell them that I’m friends with a large number of my exes.
In fact, I hang out with several of them on a regular basis. Researchers at the University of Michigan have found that break-ups activate the same parts of the brain that feel physical pain.