7 Tips on Showing Your Ex-Boyfriend Affection

Exes are hard to be affectionate with
Trying to figure out the boundaries with your ex

Ever wonder how to be affectionate with your ex-boyfriend? Not all relationships end acrimoniously. If you still want to maintain congenial relations even after the relationship is over, here are some things to keep in mind.

Should You Be Affectionate?

Some relationships end due to dramatic, fiery conflicts. Not all relationships end that harshly, though. Sometimes outside forces like a job can keep a relationship from working, and sometimes you just recognize that the two of you work better as friends than lovers. In cases like these, figuring out how to transition from intimate lovers to friends can be very tricky. Even the most polite gestures can give mixed signals. It can make healing more difficult, and even reopen old wounds.

How to Be Affectionate with Your Ex-Boyfriend Safely

The fact is, when it comes to matters of the heart, there is very little you can do to be completely "safe." Even if you have no contact whatsoever with him, your memories and imagination can tend to romanticize or demonize the relationship. However, there are some ways to foster a good friendship even with an ex-boyfriend.

  • Politeness. While it might seem a bit weird at first, falling back into established social conventions can be a safe way to resume contact with your ex-boyfriend. Shaking hands when you meet might feel strange at first, but don't assume that a hug is welcome without asking first.
  • Small Talk. While trying to figure out where the comfortable boundaries of the relationship are, it may be worthwhile to stick to harmless subjects. It doesn't mean you have to be boring. Talk about current events, or movies you've seen. Sharing laughter is a great way to show affection for each other without risking moving into emotional territory that either of you might be uncomfortable with.
  • Be Careful of Physical Contact. One of the hardest habits to get out of when a relationship ends is the affectionate touches and shared physical space. Make an effort, but at the same time don't give too much significance if either of you slips up.
  • Avoid Stress. If you find yourself becoming very agitated while spending time with your ex-boyfriend, it may be a sign that it's too soon to even consider it. Often a physical break is a good way to start the healing process, and trying to force affection when it causes you anguish is usually not a good idea.
  • Don't Bring Up the Past. A relationship gives you an insight into a person that is deep and intimate. However, when you break up, you not only lose that insight, but you also give up the right to share it. It's best to concentrate on what is comfortable to talk about in the present, rather than risk running over emotional land mines. An exception could be bringing up good things, such as, "You always were understanding and thoughtful!"
  • Be Nice to His Friends. Yes, that even includes his new girlfriend, and it even means when she treats you badly. You are always better off to take the high road when dealing with his friends. They may not do the same, but if you react negatively in public, you're simply giving them more ammunition. When you're in private, of course, you can lose your temper and call them all the names you want.
  • Don't Force It. There is nowhere that it's written that you have to be affectionate with your ex. If you find that there's too much hurt and anger to really follow the above guidelines, then perhaps you should just make a graceful exit and continue to let the healing process happen. When the time is right, you'll know, because it won't be difficult.

Remember that you're trying to develop a new relationship, a friendship, and that may look nothing like the old one. Starting from scratch and slowly exploring the new boundaries of what feels comfortable is how to be affectionate with your ex-boyfriend without causing either of you undue drama.

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7 Tips on Showing Your Ex-Boyfriend Affection