It's a nice thought right? Spending a few hours one afternoon sitting across from the person you once gave your heart to. Having coffee would mean that they're still in your life. That it wasn't all for nothing — you're adults now, you can be civil. And a friendship validates the relationship, doesn't it?
You'll hug, you'll say it's so good to see each other. You'll remark how great you look. You'll acknowledge the new hairstyles and shoes and smile at the old wallets and ink fingers and flyaway hairs. You'll surprise each other with your orders — you don't drink coffee any more, but they've just switched from tea. You'll talk about your families, your friends, your jobs. You'll talk about a trip you took independently that you had hoped you'd one day take together. You'll try not to be passive aggressive about it.
You'll pray they jump across the table and kiss you and tell you it's all their fault and they'd do anything to take you back — even though you're not sure you want them back, if you're being honest. Some part of you will be waiting for them to tell you that now seeing you with your new hairstyle and your cup of tea, they realize they were wrong about everything and you're the best thing that ever happened to them — they're a shell of a person without you. Oh, and here are 300 letters they were too scared to mail, they wrote one every day since you left.
Maybe you've dated other people. Maybe you've even fallen in love. So why not get coffee, it's just coffee, right? Well, before you set a date (that's not a date), consider these the following.
What's Your Objective?
Ask yourself why you want to see your ex. Do you miss them? Do you want to develop a friendship? Do you want to catch up? Make sure you know why you're reaching out before you do. If you're going to develop a friendship, you need to start on an honest foundation.
Has Enough Time Passed?
Imagine sitting across form your ex and hearing about their new life without you. If finding out that their life is better with out you makes you unhappy, it's too soon. You have to be in a headspace where their happiness is genuinely important to you.
Do You Have An Agenda?
Are you proposing coffee as a prelude to a late night text message that will go something like "I want you back"? If so, think twice about meeting up. You should go into this with no agenda other than catching up and spending some quality casual time with someone you once loved deeply.
Can You Handle It?
Really think about what it will be like. If your gut tells you it will be too painful to sit across from someone you usually sat next to and hug rather than kiss, maybe it's too soon. Really being able to handle it, is wanting nothing more than completely plutonic interaction.
If It's Just Coffee, Will That Be Enough?
Are You Looking For Answers?
It's totally normal to want answers after a break up. Especially after significant time has passed, some things become more clear while other things become even more cloudy. If you have questions, make that clear when you reach out to make plans. Don't blindside your ex with an inquisition. Give them the opportunity to politely decline meeting if they're uncomfortable with rehashing your relationship in a public place.
Are You Keeping Tabs?
Think about why you want to see your ex. Why do you want to know about their life? Is it because you care about them and want to see them thrive, or is it because you can't figure out what's going on in their life because they don't post enough on Instagram? It's natural to want to know what they're doing without you, but if you're reaching out under the false pretense of being OK with friendship, when you're really reaching out to get some gossip, you're better off postponing the coffee date until you've moved on a bit more.