1. Give each other time and space right after the breakup. The amount of time and space varies and depends on the personalities and needs of the individuals involved. It may be weeks, months, even years. Leave him or her alone and don’t call, text, especially during the first few weeks.
2. Focus on the things you like about your ex, not on the things that drove you apart. The things that brought you together can form the foundation of a newly defined, platonic relationship. If your ex is abusive, dig deep to discover what attracted you to an abusive partner so that you can change it.
3. Look toward the future. Envision yourself eventually dating again and being happy. Importantly, envision your ex doing the same with someone else. See the breakup as a new opportunity for you to be happy.
4. Start small. Make small friendship gestures with no strings attached. For example, offer to return items that belong to your ex to make him or her whole and reduce a sense of personal or financial loss. If he or she reaches out, don’t slam the door.
5. If you have children together, know that co-parenting is the most sensible option. When necessary, get an objective mediator to assist you in this process. Do not use the children to exert control-it does not work in the long term, hurts the children, and interferes with your ability to heal.
6. Consistently check your emotions. It is normal to have feelings for your ex and sometimes these feelings can be intense. Look at yourself and avoid backsliding into old habits that were part of the previous relationship. Create new, healthier habits based on your new friendship.
7. Stay strong. Be patient with yourself and each other.