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  • Paula Thompson
    Paula Thompson

    How Can I Best Handle a Difficult Relationship With an Ex-Girlfriend?

    If you're struggling to manage a difficult relationship with your ex, you're certainly not alone. Ending any long-term relationship can be emotionally draining and often, the thought of maintaining even a limited form of friendship afterwards is too overwhelming. So what can you do to ensure that you're able to successfully move forward in your lives, without placing further strain on either yourself or your former partner?

    The very first step you must take in this process is to assess your feelings and determine why exactly you are having trouble with this particular situation. Are you angry, resentful, hurt, or simply terrified? Identifying your emotions will help you to establish a more realistic path forward. For example, if you are angry, then the best course of action might be to consciously attempt to let those feelings go and forgive your ex, allowing you to move on. On the other hand, if you're hurt or scared, then putting limits in place might be the best way forward.

    As you begin to understand your own mind and motivation, it can be helpful to also assess your former partner's mindset as well. Do they want to maintain a connection? Or does this entire affair cause them heartache too? Knowing how the other person feels and perhaps even acknowledging that, can go a long way towards creating a more focused attitude and forming a concrete plan of action.

    When tackling a relationship problem, communication is key. If you and your former partner value each others' company and would like to keep in touch, then by all means make the ongoing effort to do so, provided that both parties are comfortable with the level of communication. It might also be beneficial to schedule regular catch-up sessions, even if only once every few weeks or months - this will help to ensure that a line of dialogue is being kept open between the two of you.

    Another very important factor is to think about boundaries. When establishing limits with your former partner, it is important to be firm and direct. Explain what is acceptable behavior and what is not, and be clear about your expectations. This will help to avoid any potential misunderstandings and awkward situations down the road. No matter what your ultimate decision might be - to maintain the friendship or to move on - work hard to stay mindful and respectful of one another. Remember that regardless of the circumstances, your former partner was once an important part of your life - and knowing this will enable you to treat them with kindness.

    Whether you decide to remain friends or cut off communication completely, it is crucial that you take the necessary steps to prioritize your own mental health. Unhealthily stewing in anger or obsessing over contact with your former partner is extremely damaging, so instead make sure that you take some time out for yourself and focus on healthy ways to foster acceptance. It is perfectly natural to feel overwhelmed and confused when dealing with an ex-partner. But as long as you are committed to understanding your own emotions, assessing the other person's stance, engaging in healthy communication, and respecting yourself and your former partner, it is possible to come out of the experience with a newfound sense of closure and peace of mind.

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