Sex doesn’t have to be the end of a friendship. You can still stay friends afterwards! Here’s how you can make that transition from lovers to friends.
Nothing else in the world complicates things between two people like sex. Sex is so fraught with our most powerful emotions – love, lust, and jealousy – that it can make people totally irrational. Because of this, it’s no surprise that sex often makes friendships seem impossible after the deed is done. It doesn’t have to be this way. If two people can avoid the common pitfalls, they can maintain and even strengthen their post-sex friendship.
There are often two people who were once good friends, but after having sex, they begin to regret that they got intimate. For whatever reason it just didn’t feel right. It’s a shame that this should ruin the good thing they had going before.
Sometimes, people have no choice but to remain cordial with an ex flame. They may be colleagues or have some other professional relationship. They may belong to the same social circle. They may even have children together. If they will inevitably have to see each other, it will be much easier in the long run if they avoid the drama and just get along. [Read: 9 steps you can take to be friends with your ex flame]
Can it really be done?
Yes! It absolutely can be. Ex-lovers can be friends. By avoiding certain situations, keeping a mature attitude, and planning out and managing their meetings and interactions, two people can find friendship even after sex. They’ve simply got to follow these steps…
10 surefire ways to stay friends after having sex
#1 Take your time. You may have both decided that you want to remain friends after your fling or relationship, but that doesn’t mean you have to dive in headfirst. Take it slowly. If you go a few weeks without seeing each other, that’s okay. It’s probably even better to try and keep your distance for a little while. [Read: Does the “no contact rule” really work?]
Think of it like any new friendship. You wouldn’t call or text a new friend every day. It’s okay to send an occasional message, but never do it out of loneliness or when you’re drunk. Limit communication initially to once or twice per week.
#2 Go in groups. When you do start seeing each other again socially, try to make sure it happens in a group setting. Go out with mutual friends and try to treat each other like you would any other friend. Avoid going with another couple as it can seem like a double-date this way.
#3 Avoid alone time. If you can’t find other friends to go with, make sure you hang out somewhere where you won’t feel like it’s just the two of you. If you’re meeting for food, choose an informal lunch place or coffee shop and not an intimate restaurant setting. A public park during the day is another good option. The cinema is probably the worst possible idea.
#4 Stay dry. Do not drink alcohol. Drinking will most likely lead to one of two outcomes: getting in a heated argument or drunkenly stumbling into bed again. Since these are the last two things you want to happen when you’re trying to establish your friendship, drinking should be avoided at all costs. Further down the road when some time has passed since you were lovers and your friendship has strengthened, then it can be okay, but in the early days, it’s not worth taking the risk.
#5 No sex talk! Whatever you do, don’t talk about sex. Don’t talk about any sex you’re having with your new partner, and don’t talk about the sex the two of you used to have. There is just no reason to start talking about your past because it will just compromise the friendship you’re trying to cultivate. This isn’t always easy, especially if you used to have great sex together. It can seem like fun to reminisce about it, but in the long run, it’s just adding some needless temptation and it will get in the way of being friends.
#6 Be honest about new partners. While you definitely shouldn’t talk about the new sex you’re having, there’s nothing wrong with telling your ex-lover and new friend when you start seeing someone new. Of course, if barely any time has passed then it might be better to wait, but it’s always better if this information comes straight from you rather than through the rumor mill. It’s not a bad thing either to ask them if they’re seeing anyone, but if you don’t feel like you can handle hearing a yes, then it’s better to avoid the topic.
#7 Avoid old routines. At least in the early stages of your friendship, it’s best to avoid your old stomping grounds. Stay out of the restaurants where you went on dates or the hangout spots where the romance blossomed. You probably shared some cute little inside jokes before or had nicknames for each other, but it’s better to leave those behind. Remember, you’re starting over from scratch and you need to keep a clean slate. [Read: 16 clear signs your ex secretly wants you back]
#8 Avoid being possessive. The most important thing for both of you to do is to be mature. And the best way to show your maturity is to not be possessive of your ex-lover. Remember, you’re friends now, and you need to treat each other that way. Demanding to know where someone is, what they did last night or who they’re having lunch with tomorrow is not acceptable between friends.
It will be normal to have some feelings of jealousy, but you must do your best get over those feelings. Your friend is his or her own person and has the right to make independent decisions without consulting you. Being too possessive of them will only make them resent you, and no friendship can flourish with resentment in the mix.
#9 Don’t try to provoke jealousy. While it’s important for both partners to overcome their feelings of jealousy, it is also important to not try to stir them up either. It can be a short term ego boost knowing that your ex is jealous of your new flame now, but it’s immature to try make them feel that way. You’re both trying to overcome your feelings for each other, so trying to make someone jealous is petty, immature, and a terrible way to transition from lovers to friends. [Read: Are you jealous of your ex?]
#10 Fight temptation.For many people, this is the single hardest step of all. Even if both people want to stop having sex, and 99% of the time you don’t even want to, there’s still the temptation that can potentially ruin your judgment and lead you to do something you’ll later regret.
Sometimes, an ex-lover can be like an addiction, one that you know is bad for you but you can’t say no to. It usually strikes late at night, or after a few drinks when you make that phone call or lean in for a goodnight kiss. Self-control is your ally here!
You can make it happen. Staying friends after having sex will take some work, but then again, all types of friendships take some work. Don’t allow your history to ruin the beautiful friendship you can still have!
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I'm a freelance writer dividing my time between the beaches of Thailand and my hometown of Chicago....