Ah, the never-ending debate about whether or not you should be friends with your ex. Some people believe that it is a mature thing to remain friends after a break-up, an actual sign that you have moved on. At the same time, most people think that it is not healthy, that an ex should be totally removed from your life. Ending a relationship on any term can be painful, especially if you have invested so much time and emotional energy. Sometimes, the notion of “let’s still be friends” come into play to soften the blow. But is it always healthy? Can we really be friends with our ex without expecting anything in return or without planning to rekindle the old flame? The more important question is should we really be friends with our ex? Well, that really depends. We went around and asked several people about circumstances where we can and should not be friends with our ex.
When We Can Be Friends with Our Ex
- When both of you have moved on. This means when both of you no longer feel any romantic and sexual attraction toward one another—that everything is just platonic—regardless how the relationship ended or how long it takes for you to move on. It might take several years, and when it happens, both of you can now laugh at how silly you both were after the breakup.
- When you were friends first. Most relationships start in friendship before romance blossoms. In this case, most people choose to save the friendship when they cannot save the romantic connection, regardless of the reason of the breakup. When you are both mature enough to move forward and set all ill-feelings aside and be friends again, then, that’s and a lot easier.
- When the breakup is mutual or clean. When two former lovers grew out of the relationship, it is easier for them to become friends after the breakup, especially when the decision is mutual. When this happens, moving on is also a lot easier, and friendship is easily established without bitterness, jealousy, and strife toward one another.
When We Shouldn't Be Friends with Our Ex
- When either of you hasn’t moved on. It is difficult to let go, yes, and being friends with our exes when we or they haven’t moved on from the break up is a terrible idea. We might think that this is the best thing, saving the friendship when we are actually digging our own graves. This may cause more conflict as one or both of you might be setting false
- When your or your ex’s current partner is not fine with it. It’s great if you both decided to be friends and see no challenge in being so. However, most of the time, if not always, the real issue is the current partner is jealous or suspicious about your friendship with your ex. If either or both of you are currently dating, in a relationship, or is already married, it is best to make sure that your partners are fine with you being friends with your former partner. You cannot really blame your current partners for feeling jealous or uncomfortable with you being friends with your ex; they may not be jealous of you, but they may be jealous of the memories you shared with your ex. And if your current partners oppose the idea of you being friends with your ex, it is better that you don’t. Do not compromise the present because of the past, regardless of what you think about your relationship with your ex. They are called “ex” for a reason.
- When you have other motives in being friends. Your relationship as lovers ended for a reason, and if you are trying to be friends with your ex because you want to reignite the spark or experience the same passionate heat in bed again, you are really doing yourself a discredit. This is the unhealthiest of all friendships there are with our exes. Sometimes, we just have to accept the fact that we are better off without them, or vice versa.
- When there are unresolved issues. Relationships end in different reasons, and most of the time, there are issues that are left unresolved, not because they were not addressed, but because there is just no clear resolution at all. Becoming friends with an ex with whom we have unresolved issues will only trigger discord once the past is brought up (which is inevitable at some point), and this may only trigger arguments and ignite hatred.
Human beings the most complex creatures there are, and when dealing with human interaction, there is no one right answer. What applies to me does not apply to you, regardless how similar our situations may be because there are small details that make big differences in our circumstances. So the question should we be friends with our ex? That totally depends on both your circumstances, the reason of the breakup, your willingness to be friends, and your maturity to accept the consequences of you being friends after the breakup.
NOTE: The items in both lists were collated from a survey I made through interviewing different people about this issue.