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Can we really be friends with our exes?

By Erin Shriver
On March 31, 2014


Breaking up is obviously tough. They were your go-to person, your best friend, your shoulder to cry on…so what do you do with that relationship after all is said and done? You might like to be friends with that person, but that just might not be possible.

Do not get me wrong, people are different. I have plenty of friends who have stayed close with their exes and have completely normal friendships with them now, but some experience the opposite.

I think that each relationship is different, obviously, but I am talking about how they are different in legitimacy.

To begin, you have your relationships with someone and you just grew apart; it was a mutual decision. You guys were friends for five years before you started dating, went out for a few months, and figured out it just wasn’t the right thing for you. The fact that the breakup was mutual and that feelings were mutual is a good thing. That friendship can most likely be mended and you won’t freak out or get jealous when they get a new girlfriend or boyfriend.

But then there is the relationship where you talk about the future, marriage, moving in together; those relationships are the ones that are harder to mold into friendships…especially when it isn’t a mutual decision.

You break up. They say they want to still be friends; hang out like normal and text on a regular basis. In my opinion, this isn’t going to work. You most likely still love them. Yes, they could have done something completely horrible that created the break up, but usually, feelings are still there. You are still hoping that every time you see your ex that they will want to rekindle the flame that you once had. You put your life on hold waiting around for this person who is most likely never going to come back to you.

But they want to hang out; they want to introduce you to their new boyfriend or girlfriend. HECK NO! Not okay. You need time to be away from each other and cool off. Think about yourself and live without that other person. Be on your own and have time for the emotions for that person to fade away.

Personally, it hurts me to see friends trying to keep in contact with exes that they thought one day they would marry. They are looking at their ex’s every move, seeing whom they are talking to on social media, who they are sending SnapChats to…basically stalking, but still hoping you will get back together. They are texting as friends and talking whenever they see each other in the hallway, making it so they can’t get over each other. If you don’t take that person out of your life, they are not going to go away and neither are the feelings.

So here is what I think you need to do, and this is from my own personal experience. After being in an over two-year relationship, I was unable to be friends with my ex right away. I’m not even “buddy-buddy” with him today, but I am cordial with him if we ever do talk. It took me a long time to get to that place though. It was probably around a year to completely not care about him anymore and have no feelings for him. I knew that after that year, if I were to talk to him, no feelings would arise.

It was probably one of the hardest things I ever had to do because he was a person I talked to every day about everything. That person is just stripped away. But not talking to him helped me move on. I would have never been able to move on if I had still had him in my life after we broke up. We talked about the future and planned things together; you can’t forget about that and lose those feelings after a week.

So can you be friends with you ex? It depends on the circumstances. If you are friends beforehand and didn’t have a “one day I am going to marry you” relationship, then it will most likely be easier to get over them, but if you had a relationship where the future was a subject that was talked about a lot, take time away from that person and figure yourself out.

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