Why Staying Friends With An Ex Can Strengthen Your Relationship

A catastrophic breakup can feel like the end of the world. Even a clean, easy break can take your heart along with it. That's why it's hard to stay friends with an ex.

It doesn't have to be that way, though. What if you could use a failed relationship to make your next one that much stronger? They say failure is the best teacher, after all. Instead of running from your past, here's how you can make your next relationship even better by building a friendship with your ex.

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger

When you become friends with an ex, you make an important realization: breaking up doesn't have to be the end. So often, the fear of losing someone forever can cloud and complicate a relationship. And being scared is no way to be in a relationship. Instead, you can be confident knowing that no matter what happens, there's still a chance for the two of you in the end. A relationship guided not by fear, but by confidence, is all the stronger in the end.

You'll get dating advice from someone who knows what it's like to date you

Your exes are the only people in the world that have this perspective. Their valuable insight is the only true, objective advice you could get. Now, it's going to take some time for healing and a really strong friendship to be able to go to your ex for dating advice, so don't go there until you're sure there are no feelings of jealousy.

We all could use someone who knows our soul

What's a significant other, if not an extremely close friend that you sleep with? Take away the bedroom aspect, and you're left with a friend who knows you as few others do. When in a relationship, and in life in general, we could all use one more super close friend who just gets us. You never know when you need someone to lean on.

You get a crash course in emotional maturity

Remaining friends with an ex is one of the most difficult emotional trials you can go through. It requires an abundance of self-awareness, swallowing your pride, mutual respect and understanding, and self-control. Stretching those emotional muscles and getting better at dealing with those issues only makes you that much better at handling the emotional aspects of your new and future relationships.

It shows you don't run away at the first sign of trouble

Granted, a breakup isn't the first sign of trouble, but if you can go through something as harrowing as splitting up and still remain friends with your ex, it shows you are a strong and loyal person. Your new significant other sees that you're not the kind of person that will bail on them with the going gets tough, and that's important in a relationship. Not everything is going to be easy. It's a boon to be with someone who can handle that.

You have a constant reminder of what doesn't work for you in a romantic relationship

It can be so easy to fall into the trap of repeatedly dating the same type of person that is terrible for you. With an ex close at hand, you can more easily recognize when a person is just a little too close to the wrong type of person for you — which could help you avoid them. One key to building a strong relationship is starting one with the right kind of person in the first place.