When you first cut your ex off out of your life (or usually the other way around!) it is quite common to say or think some very vitriolic thoughts about this person who has spurned you.  You may wish doom and gloom upon them, hope they end up miserable and alone—just like the way you presently feel.  This is a somewhat expected reaction…and thankfully the angry, toxic thoughts do eventually fade.

You may even realize someday that eschewing the relationship was a good idea, since the two of you were obviously incompatible where it mattered.  As you gradually forget the “sting” of unrequited love, or tragic breakup, you may even find yourself wishing the best for your ex, hoping that he or she can find someone deserving of such an honor.

Congratulations!  You are finally over your ex…it’s that moment when you realize you don’t have to be lovers to coexist.  You don’t have to “win” to feel good about the end of the relationship.  Why, you may even be comfortable with the idea of staying “friends” with your ex.

Yes, it does happen…but make no mistake about it, keeping an ex as a friend is an uphill battle of sorts.  You must stay strong and not redevelop feelings for this person, or reciprocate if he or she falls for you.  This is particularly important if you are both remarried and if your respective partners are (rightly) suspicious of your newfound friendship.  It is best to put boundaries on this new friendship, keeping a reasonable distance, and not becoming a “confidant” any closer than your real spouse.

In general, rules to live by when friend zoning your ex is (A) don’t flirt; (B) respect the boundaries you both set; (C) spend more time with your current partner; (D) avoid analyzing the relationship and looking for signals; and (E) backing way off if you sense the dynamic changing into romance.

On the other hand, there is no reason to ignore your ex, even if your breakup was a complete disaster.  The love you had for this person was real.  And though it’s forever changed now, you still find yourself caring about the person’s welfare, happiness, and lifestyle.  You want this person to be happy, because he or she has proven to be a good friend.  And yes, all friends are worth keeping!  Some friendships are truly stronger than sex, breakup and resentment.  Prove that this relationship wasn’t a mistake…forgive, befriend and move on!