DIVORCE
04/07/2014 03:16 pm ET Updated Apr 08, 2014

5 Things To Know About Befriending Your Ex

Tim Robberts via Getty Images

We can't help it: We're in awe whenever we meet a former couple who've managed to remain chummy after the split.

"What's their secret?" we wonder. "How did they manage to seamlessly transition from exes to good pals? Is that brother-sister vibe just an act? Are they secretly still into each other?"

Clearly, we have a lot of questions -- and luckily for us, the ladies of the AskWomen board on Reddit have answers. Late last week, someone asked the Redditors to give their take on the classic post-split dilemma: Can you still be friends after a breakup, or is it best to leave things be and walk away completely?

Here are the five most interesting takeaways from the thread:

1. You need to spend time not being friends first.
Don't fool yourself into thinking you can instantly transition into friend territory with your ex, however amicable the split may have been. You need to create some distance between the two of you before that can happen. "I think trying to be friends too soon just brings back the good parts of the relationship and it might end up bringing back your feelings for them," one Redditor explained, "[You won't be] able to deal as well with breaking up."

2. It depends on how the relationship ended.
Let's be honest here: not all relationships are worth salvaging. If things ended on a toxic note -- or the two of you could barely stand being in same room towards the end of the relationship -- what's the point of holding on? If you had a relatively civil falling out with your ex, friendship just might be a possibility. Here's how one Redditor broke it down: "I wouldn't want to be friends with someone who makes me miserable. If we end it on a good, mutual note, sure. An ex and I broke up once because although we got along great, but what we had simply wasn't love. We were friends immediately."

3. It's a five-step process.
We can't stress this enough: The "we were friends immediately" route isn't par for the course when it comes to befriending your ex. Chances are, you're feeling all the feels right now and need some time to process the breakup. Rushing into a friendship with your ex is the best way to sabotage your efforts to move on.

One Redditor summed it up this way, "You can TOTALLY be friends with your ex! But not right away. It'll stop you from getting over it. I personally need time to be upset, then angry for a long time, then neutral, then awkward hangouts, then friends!"

4. Don't force a friendship.
You might be down to continue your weekend World of Warcraft PvP battles and taco truck runs a few months into the split, but your ex may not feel the same way. Broach the topic of friendship sensitively, and respect your ex's decision if he or she admits they're not ready to be close again.

Unsure how to make your post-split friend request? Here's the language one Redditor suggested using: "Instead of ending it with a 'can we be friends?' it should be more of a door left open: 'I'd still like to be friends. I'll be around if you want to, too.' It's less of an obligation/pressure and more of a gentle offer."

5. The friendship won't work for everybody.
In the end, it's different strokes for different folks. (Isn't that always the case?) While some Redditors said they felt compelled to stay close because they couldn't stand the thought "of loving someone so intensely and then never seeing them again," others said they were completely opposed to the idea. "I'm the opposite. I'm Facebook friends with my exes but I honestly never want to be close to them again -- and I didnt break up 'badly,' either."

Now it's your turn to weigh in: Do you think it's possible to remain friendly with your ex after a breakup? Do you have a success story that proves it is? Tell us what you think in the comments!

Keep in touch! Check out HuffPost Divorce on Facebook and Twitter.

ALSO ON HUFFPOST:

PHOTO GALLERY
HuffPost
BEFORE YOU GO
Celebrity Exes Who Are Still Friends
PHOTO GALLERY
Celebrity Exes Who Are Still Friends

CONVERSATIONS