Is It Possible to Be Friends with Your Ex? [And Should You Even Try?]

Fact-checked

Breakups suck. Your partner is usually one of the most important (if not the most important) people in your life. So it’s only natural that even though the romantic aspect of your relationship hasn’t worked out, you’d like to keep that person in your life. After all, you probably spent a lot of time together, and you might still have feelings for them. But can you be friends with your ex? Our guide tackles this question.

Can You Be Friends with Your Ex - Image 1

Staying Friends with Your Ex: Pros and Cons

A good-ole pros and cons list is always a good idea for addressing the complex decision of staying friends with your ex.

Why Staying Friends with an Ex Is a Good Idea

Consider the following reasons why staying friends with your ex can be a good idea.

  • It helps you stay close to the people who matter to you the most, e.g., if you have kids together, you need to remain friendly to co-parent effectively.
  • It can provide support and companionship during a difficult time.
  • It can help you get closure after the relationship.

Why Staying Friends with an Ex Is a Bad Idea

There are, of course, some downsides to staying friends with your ex.

  • It can be emotionally tough to see them moving on without you.
  • It can be hard to resist getting back together if you still have feelings for them.
  • If you’re not ready to be friends, it can be hurtful to force yourself into the relationship.

Can You Be Friends with Your Ex?

This question is neither simple nor definite, as it depends on the circumstances. A few factors can influence the possibility of a friendship with your ex.

When Can You Remain Friends with Your Ex?

You can try to remain friends with your ex if:

  • your breakup was amicable, and you still have a good relationship.
  • you’re over them and don’t have lingering feelings.
  • you’re okay with them dating someone else and won’t get jealous when they talk to others.

When Isn’t It a Good Idea to Be Friends with Your Ex?

It might be a good idea to distance yourself from your ex if:

  • your breakup was traumatic or hurtful.
  • you can’t see them without feeling pain or anger.
  • you’re not over them and still have feelings for them.

How to Make the Right Decision

So can you be friends with an ex? Only you can decide whether or not staying friends with your ex is right for you. Consider the following questions that might help you with this dilemma.

  1. Do you want to be friends with them because you care about them or don’t want to let them go?
  2. Do you think you can handle seeing them with someone else?
  3. Do you have other friends or a support system that can help you through this time?

If you answered ‘yes’ to the first question and ‘no’ to the second and third, it might be worth a shot to remain friends with your ex. But if you’re not sure or have answered ‘no’ to the first question, it might be best to take some time apart.

If you’re struggling to decide whether or not to stay friends with your ex, it can be helpful to talk to a therapist or counsellor. They could help you figure out what’s best for you and provide support as you move forward.

How to Be Friends with Your Ex

If you’ve decided that staying friends with your ex is the right decision, you can take a few measures to ensure your friendship is healthy and beneficial.

Take Some Time Apart after the Breakup

Taking a break from each other can help you process the end of the relationship and give you perspective on whether or not you want to be friends.

Six months is typically a reasonable amount of time for the dust to settle and emotions to get more in check before attempting to maintain a friendship and avoid being friends with an ex you still love.

Use this time to work on yourself and focus on other significant people in your life, hobbies, and even your profession or work. You could even possibly date other people. Whatever brings you joy and an escape at this juncture in your life.

Set Boundaries

It’s crucial to respect one another’s space and privacy, especially if you’re dating others. Don’t contact your ex if they told you not to. Don’t show them affection, as you did when you were dating. Instead, focus on strengthening your bond with others in your life or even work on building new friends and relationships if you’re ready.

Be Honest with Each Other about Your Feelings

If you’re not ready to be friends, let them know and give yourselves some more time apart. No one expects you to move on in a matter of days (or even months). Move at your own pace and be honest with yourself (and your ex) about how you feel.

You may not have moved on fast enough to be ready to have a friendship, and that’s okay. Sometimes being friends with your ex can prove to be an impossible task.

Don’t Try to Replace the Relationship with Friendship

It’s essential to accept that your friendship will be different from before. Although at the foundation of every good relationship lies a friendship, that friendship will change after you break up; otherwise, things get complicated.

It will take some time before you develop a different dynamic that’s healthy and beneficial without uncomfortable feelings.

Be Supportive

Friendships are built on trust and mutual respect. So make sure you’re there for each other when needed. Respect shouldn’t stop just because your romantic relationship ended.

Can Being Friends with an Ex Rekindle Your Romance?

When you’re going through a breakup while still being in love with your partner, it’s natural to wonder if there’s a chance of getting back together. If you’re friends with your ex, you might have even more reason to hope that things can work out—especially when nostalgic feelings come back into the picture. But can staying friends with your ex rekindle your romance?

On the one hand, being friends can give you and your ex a chance to get to know each other differently. You’re not in a relationship. So you can be more open and honest with each other. And since you’re already familiar with each other, you can avoid some of the problems that come with a new relationship.

What Should Be Your Motive?

On the other hand, being friends with an ex can also be a way of holding on to the past. If you’re not ready to let go of the relationship (even when he is), being friends can be a way of hanging on to what you had. And if you’re hoping that being friends will eventually lead to getting back together, you might be disappointed, and things could get messy between you and others in your life.

A guaranteed way of getting yourself hurt is getting into a ‘friends with benefits’ situation with your ex, hoping that it would reignite romantic feelings in him. And the friend zone is not a place you want to be stuck in.

It’s essential to ask yourself about your motives. If you’re hoping to get back together, it might be better to give each other some space. But if you’re looking to move on, being friends can be a good way to do that.

Bottom Line

Whether or not you can be friends with your ex depends on many factors. But if you both are willing to work at it, there’s a good chance you could make it work. Just be sure to set boundaries, communicate openly, and support each other.

FAQ

Why does an ex want to be friends?

There are several reasons why an ex might be interested in being your friend. They might (platonically) miss you in their life; they may need something from you or want to be in your life to control you, or they might want to get back together.

Why shouldn't you be friends with your ex?

Being friends with your ex isn’t a good idea if you still have lingering feelings for them or if they were toxic or abusive, or if seeing them with other people is painful.

Is it healthy to keep in touch with an ex?

It’s healthy to some extent, but it could turn toxic quickly. Try to limit your contact to a comfortable level for you both, or cut ties if necessary.

Can you be friends with an ex and get back together?

Can you be friends with your ex? Yes. Friendship can act as a gateway for rekindling your relationship, but this doesn’t always happen. So don’t stay friends with an ex only with that motive; it will only prolong the time you need to move on from them.

ABOUT AUTHOR

I've loved writing since I can remember, and back in high school, I started loving psychology as well. So I majored in it while dabbling in spirituality and yoga on the side.

Latest from Jelena

Why Do I Twitch When I Sleep? [Common Reasons Explained] What Is Past Life Regression & How to Do It 7 Symptoms of Negative Energy at Home When Can a Baby Sleep With a Blanket?

Leave a Reply