Is it Okay to Stay Friends with an Ex?

When you take a look back at your exes do you see a black smudge of unsuccessfulness or do you remember them fondly and hope they are doing well? The way we deal with our exes probably says a lot about who we are, and the weight we allow their memory to hold can seemingly define our future happiness.

man-woman-thinkingRemaining friends with an ex can be a touchy subject, especially if you are now in another relationship. While it probably wouldn’t be fair to anyone if you were hanging out with your ex every day, is it a sin to stay in touch and catch up everyone once in a while? I think it depends on a few things and while every situation is different, in most cases–if done modestly and with good intentions–being friends with an ex doesn’t have to be the end of the world.

There doesn’t seem to be any cut and dry guidelines to friendship after a breakup but I think it all comes down to a few simple things. First, how long ago did you break up and when was the last time you saw each other? If it’s been years since your relationship fizzled out and you don’t even live in the same city anymore, catching up over the internet from time to time seems harmless. You may always care for that person but as long as you are positive that you no longer have the need to jump their bones, then a quick hello from time to time shouldn’t cause alarm.

Second, if you have the same group of friends it could be hard to keep avoiding your ex so it might be time to start dealing with it instead. If you still have mixed emotions and are worried you may still be in love with your ex, this might be extremely hard. Distance (and time) will usually help you heal but if you’re forced to see the face of the person who just broke your heart (or whose heart you obliterated) it might be a while before you can actually be real friends again. Give it time and when you are forced to be in the same vicinity as your ex, be cordial and be nice. It will make you look like less of an idiot than if you were giving dirty looks or making nasty comments towards that person all night.

Third, the toughest of all, if you’re still sleeping with your ex then you cannot keep saying that you’re getting along great being “just friends”. If you’re still hopping in the sac together every now and then, you’re not allowing a friendship to form because your heart and dirty bits are stuck in limbo. This will never end well. There is a chance you guys could get back together, but stop fooling yourself by believing you guys have defied all odds and become the best of friends who can still fuck with no ties. This will eventually blow up in your face. If it doesn’t, then congratulations to both of you.

When a relationship ends we either cut all ties or try to stay friends, which then eventually turns into hanging out once in a while until one or both of you start dating other people and then you hardly stay in touch. If you are still in love with someone I would recommend that friendship is not your best option at the moment but if you have completely moved on, then why not? Just be sure to be honest with anyone new you may be dating, it’s only respectful. You don’t need to give them a transcript of every short catch up, but there should never be anything to hide from them. If you’re talking about stuff with your ex that you know would hurt the person you’re dating, then you probably shouldn’t be talking about it.

So, yeah, being friends with an ex can work, if done properly. After all, you probably had some good times together, so wishing them a Happy Birthday or a Merry Christmas shouldn’t be cause for alarm. You may find that once you do figure out how to have a friendship with an ex, your dislike for them may start to dissipate. With the hurt gone and replaced with indifference, you will feel a huge weight lifted off your shoulders and the happiness you lost with the breakup can then be found again, through friendship.

Friends are better than enemies,
The Love Hawk

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