Consider this scenario: The two of you were in a relationship – let’s call it dating. In modern lingo that means that you were sleeping together, but you hadn’t gotten to the stage where you had made plans to move in together.
Things had heated up so that you were close to the point of thinking about it, but then something happened – the relationship fizzled, he withdrew, and it was time to move on. Your friends were surprised, because it seemed like everything was going well, but it had to happen.
While you both agreed that it was over, there were some hard feelings on your part, because you felt that he had been fine up until the new stage of a commitment reared its ugly head, and he backed off.
Now consider a different situation: You were dating, but after 4 or 5 dates you both realized that the chemistry was not right between you, and that it was time to move on.
While you had shared some good times, and there was nothing particularly bad about your times together, neither was there anything great – the spark just wasn’t there. So you reached the mutual decision not to continue dating, and both of you were happy with the decision.
In which scenario would it be more likely that the 2 people involved could remain friends? The answer is that there is no easy answer – it depends. While the first conclusion any logical person might jump to would be that the first couple should stay away from each other and could never be friends, that isn’t necessarily the case.
Sometimes when two people have a history that involves shared experiences, intimacy and expectations, and have been successful up to a point, no matter how hard the break-up is, they still feel connected.
After the person who has some negative feelings is able to work through and process what happened, he or she may be able to forgive the other person and see him or her as a possible friend. The very fact that there is a history means that if there is a chance for friendship, it is more likely to happen.
Conversely, the second scenario has two people who share just enough experience to know that they were not meant to be a couple. Some lack of connection, a missing piece in their possible relationship had made them realize what was ineviable.
This same factor might very well be the one that would keep them from being friends, because they would know that there was something lacking in their coming together that being toegther in any way could not change. So being friends would be uncomfortable at the very least, and not a situation either party would want to continue.
Of course, relationships between us humans are never that easy or simple. It’s easy to imagine the opposite of the above explanations happening, and it’s possible that people who have dated can never be friends no matter how the romantic part ended.
While human nature and findings in psychology demonstrate that we have much in common, everyone is different and feels differently based on their past experiences and learned behaviors associated with them. So it is quite possible for some of us to be friends after dating, and quite impossible for others.