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Is It Ever a Good Idea to be Friends with an Ex-Boyfriend or Ex-Girlfriend?

Sabrina loves to write about love, life, and everything in-between in a candid yet humorous approach.


Relationships can end for many reasons. Sometimes as a way to get and keep closure, people choose to stay friends with their ex partners. During the course of a relationship it is natural to grow close and attached to someone so much so that when it ends people can choose to remain friends rather than detach completely. But if you choose to stay friends with an ex after the ending of a relationship, ask yourself what is really the reason for wanting to keep them close.

The normal reaction for most people after a break up is to block all contact with their ex partner in order to start the process of healing and moving on. Keeping that ex partner in your life seems almost counter intuitive. It's been said that keeping an ex in your life after a break up is much like your dog dying but your parents saying you can still keep it. It just doesn't make sense and makes letting go that much harder. Many people need that isolation from their ex partner so they can find themselves again and learn what it's like to be on their own once more. Seeing and talking to their ex partner only makes them question their decision to part, especially if that decision wasn't mutual.

This brings me to my next point. Many choose to stay friends with an ex partner because they didn't want to break up in the first place and want to keep that person in their lives in hopes of getting back together again. Breakups aren't always mutual which makes them messy at times. Often one person wants to break up and the other doesn't which leaves someone brokenhearted. One person may offer to stay friends in the hopes of someday rekindling that romance and going back to the way things used to be. The other person may agree to said friendship, but if they have no intention of getting back together, one partner may only end up breaking their own heart again. Being friends with an ex partner in hopes of getting back together should be done only if both partners agree that they should be friends for awhile before talking about getting together again. It needs to be discussed and be mutual. Any other way will only led to more heartbreak and disappointment.

Some people choose to stay friends with an ex because they were friends for a long time before they ever started dating and they just want to keep their friend even if the relationship didn't work out. I think this is a legitimate reason to stay friends with an ex partner. You had the friendship foundation to build on and if a relationship didn't work out there's no reason not to still stay friends. If both people decide that they're comfortable going from lovers to friends then I don't see a problem at all. You just need to ask yourself the reasons why you want to keep your ex partner in your life and let your answer be the deciding factor.

The one thing I learned about being friends with an ex partner is that you have to define boundaries early on. Otherwise you could both keep each other from moving on and being happy with other people. You also have to consider how you will feel if one partner decides to move on with someone else. Your ex partner's new boyfriend or girlfriend may not feel comfortable with you having midnight video chats or late night drinks. The new partner is not wrong in being worried about you spending that much time with an ex partner turned friend. They know you have a history together and the right circumstances could make you behave in a less than loyal way. That's why there needs to be boundaries that are clearly defined if you are to stay friends with an ex partner. You don't want to lose out on a new great partner just because you kept your ex who is now a friend too close. You should never let your past mess up your potential future.

When it comes down to it, you have to make the very personal decision of whether to stay friends with an ex partner or not. Sometimes this decision will be very easy. If you couldn't stand your ex boyfriend or ex girlfriend, choosing not to keep them in your life after a breakup will be extremely easy. It gets a little more complicated when you ended the relationship on good terms and want to stay in each other's lives. Very often time will be the deciding factor. You might just need some time on your own after the breakup to heal and then afterwards stay friends with your ex partner after you've gotten that closure by yourself. In other relationships, you might need your ex partner as a friend right away to help each other heal and move on. It's really on a case by case basis with every relationship. It depends on how both people feel and how things ended. Just don't make the mistake of holding on to your ex partner in the hopes of making the transition to single life easier. If you don't actually value them as a person, don't keep them in your life to make things easier only because you're used to having them around. Many exes belong in the past because if you were happy together to begin with, your partner would still be your lover and best friend and you wouldn't have to choose which side of them to keep.

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Goodbyes by Post Malone ft. Young Thug

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 GreenEyes1607


dashingscorpio from Chicago on August 20, 2019:

I believe it is unrealistic to expect to go from being "red hot lovers" to "instant platonic friends" resembling siblings.

The best friendships between exes in my opinion occur after a {large gap in time} whereby both people have clearly moved on and found new love with other people. Should they cross paths or hear each other's name mentioned there is a feeling of indifference. In other words there is no emotional attachment whatsoever. To get there requires time.

As you noted most breakups are not "mutual". Usually one person wants to try to work things out while the other wants to move on. Sometimes people offer friendship as a "consolation prize" especially the one ending the relationship. She/he doesn't want to feel like the "bad guy". Unfortunately the person who wants to maintain the relationship sees a ray of hope and believes by remaining friends there is a chance for reconciliation.

Another risky factor with becoming "instant friends" is there is possibility the couple may slip and have sex. While the person who wants out may see it as a one night stand/booty call the other person sees it as a sign they're getting back together. Now they run the risk of being hurt again once they realize it was "just sex" for their ex.

Last but not least your ex is the last person who can help you get over him/her. You're better off grieving and spending time with actual friends and family. The purpose of the "no contact rule" is to give you space and time to heal. Unfortunately however there are some exes who don't want you to ever get over them! Much like a "Whack a Mole" game whereby every time you think you're finally done with this person they keep "popping up", "checking in", "touching base", multiple times throughout the year. Oftentimes they want to go down memory lane...etc.

Your future lies ahead of you and not behind you!

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