08.05.14

ARE YOU FRIENDS WITH YOUR EX?

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are you friends with your ex-boyfriend or girlfriend? i find this topic to be pretty interesting…

i’ve recently been dating, but i also have remained friends with my ex-boyfriend. and the new guy is also friends with his ex. which is a little strange for me, because in a lot of my past relationships we just went ourย separate ways in life and didn’t really maintain a friendship. (and in some cases never wanted to speak eveeeer again. ha.) but after being in a 5 year relationship that didn’t end badly at all, it’s hard for me to just cut that person out of my life.

so what are the boundaries for you if you are friends with your ex? do you have a period apart and then pick back up as friends? do you hang out often or only in group settings? talk/text more than once a week? are you cool with it if your current partnerย hangs out with theirย ex or does it make you feel worried or paranoid? i have to admit, i’m not totally on board with it, but i’m trying to be open minded. there’s gotta be a healthy balance, right? or is it totally off limits for you?

it can be a tricky situation! do tell…

(photo source here)

98 COMMENTS

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    angela says:

    I think its perfectly healthy, however, if the relationship ended on good terms, however, if for some odd reason everything turns into a heated debate or conversation turns ugly its best to leave the past in the past.

    Jeanne says:

    I think it really depends on how “healthy” your relationship was.

    Michelle says:

    keeping good boundaries are important, and that may mean not talking to your ex for awhile (not because you are trying to cut them out in spite but because in order to start fresh with a person, you cannot keep up dialogue with someone who knows you intimately.) to start intimacy with a new guy/girl you have to focus on that relationship and build trust there.

    amber says:

    this is one of the most potentially murky situations!! I am not really friends with any exes, I think because I wasn’t mature enough to end a relationship before it got to the point where we just didn’t even enjoy being around each other anymore, so there wasn’t even a friendship to salvage. It’s pretty sad. Or yeah there are the ones that I just don’t want to even be reminded of.

    I think I would feel strange if a current beau were to hang out with his ex, though I know a lot of people who can do this without any weirdness. It all depends on you and at the end of the day it’s about trust – I am working on this still but if you can trust someone then you just have to sort of relinquish control and believe in their goodness. And not trusting someone isn’t going to make them any more trustworthy! Ah, the murkiness of love. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Kate says:

    I definitely think boundraries need to be established and agreed on early in the friendship. I don’t think it’s fair if the ex-gf (or vice versa!) is still close with his family, regardless of how many years together. It prohibits you from becoming close to his family (even if just mentally!) and it isn’t healthy for moving on. I think group settings and no personal texts/FB messages seem fair as that kind of communication can make it difficult to understand the tone, likely making you feel uncomfortable if they’re bringing up an old inside joke. To be 100% honest, while I try to pretend like the idea is feasible, I have never seen this in my life or other’s, work out healthily. Feelings end up getting hurt one way or another. Good luck! Remain patient, understanding, respectful and calm (and he should be too!) and try to come together on a mutual agreement. XO

    Anonymous says:

    I was in a relationship for 3 years and then broke up. I wasn’t getting the space I needed at first from him so the breakup wasn’t the best. When we finally stopped talking, we didn’t speak for 2 years. I honestly think its healthy to know what it feels like to be away from someone you were used to seeing everyday/talking to because you need to know how it feels to not have them by your side. We rarely talk now, because honestly I don’t feel its appropriate since I have a boyfriend now. But I am happy to feel like we are on good terms and there is no bad blood between us. I just feel since there was a connection before there is always going to be one, so thats why staying in contact with an ex is not always the best idea, especially when you are in a relationship with another person.

    Christine says:

    I was in a 3 year relationship, had a friendly breakup, and wanted to remain friends. We tried that approach a couple of times but it just resulted in us falling right back in relationship when both knew timing, emotions, etc weren’t right. This last time we took a couple of months apart of no talking and then finally came to a place where we could be friends enough that we could talk once a week if something came up that we wanted to share. I am dating again too but I still find myself missing my ex and I get the sense that he kind of does too. It’s a tricky thing but I’m so happy I can keep him in my life a little bit after such a long commitment.

    Lynn says:

    My husband is very good friends with his ex wife. When we first started dating, she wasn’t good with boundaries (calling him all the time, wanting to know about me, friending me on social media when we hadn’t even met yet). I think that starting off on a weird foot didn’t sit well with me, so it’s been strained since then as she doesn’t have the best etiquette when it comes to respect and privacy. It’s getting better, but I’m still not on board with being besties with her and I suspect, never will. It’s fine that they are friends but I will never see us hanging out together. No matter what, she is his ex, which is completely different than his other friends. Just my opinion.

    ambrlee says:

    going through this exact same thing, 5 1/2 year relationship, ending with zero animosity and trying to maintain a friendship. I’m in the same boat, confused. feels some what nice to know someone else is going through the same thing. i think now that i am in the situation i have to learn to trust someone until they cross me otherwise…jealousy or uncertainty kills any relationship or friendship and in my opinion i would be okay with my new guy talking to his ex…based on the circumstances. like if it is similar to mine i can totally understand but if they go back and forth I’m not sure if i would be on board.

    Monica says:

    I have a hard time with letting relationships end (and not just romantic ones!) That person has a piece of you, and it’s in my system to want to nurture that connection. When it’s a mutual split, I think there is a real temptation to stay friends and to redefine the relationship in a way that fits the new reality. Personally, I haven’t had any success with this, and I always find it a little exhausting and disappointing :/ I know people who do stay friends, though, so… I think it just really depends on the people! Just be sure to be really honest with yourself and how you feel ๐Ÿ™‚

    ali says:

    i am! and i thought i was being a total cool girl about it. now he’s about to get engaged and i want to stab my eyeballs out…

    Jessica says:

    My ex and I were together for nearly seven years and broke up last December. We both wanted to remain friends, but his new girlfriend won’t allow it, which makes me pretty sad. I want to hate her for it and be angry, but I would probably feel the same way if I were in her shoes.

    One of my best friends has remained on good terms with all but one of her exes. It’s actually kind of weird because they’ll all hang out together at parties like nothing ever happened! I guess it just depends on the couple. Good for them! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Katie Ann says:

    In my experience, I needed a moment to breathe. My relationship had ended much like yours, on good terms, which I found to be almost as tricky as if it had ended in one giant mess. Feelings get tangled, emotional ties (though hard to discern) remain. I found that where I thought I was moving on, in many ways I was either keeping him baited, or not fully letting go myself. For months we struggled with it, and though I KNEW that romance was not in the stars for us, and I was ready to date and move on, having him around as a friend during those times made me feel comfortable and “normal” when I probably should have been feeling the opposite. So we cut ties, and it hurt just like the breakup did. But the beauty came 3 years later, when we reconnected and learned just who we both had become, as friends. Is it weird that my now husband likes to hang out with my ex-boyfriend? Sure. But does it work? Yes. Time changes everything, and for me, it repackaged a boyfriend into a dear and close friend, without all of those emotional strings attached.

    Grace says:

    I agree with Angela, I think this is perfectly healthy especially if you broke up amicably and have a mutual respect for each other. If you were in the relationship for 5 years, it’s totally possible to love someone without having romantic feelings for them.

    However, if the next serious boyfriend is uncomfortable with your being friend you’ll have to decide who is more important. Some may be ok with it. Perhaps it will be the sign of a great, new boyfriend? Someone who is secure in himself and your relationship with him is really sexy!

    Amber says:

    My partner was in a 4-5 year relationship with his ex, however it wasn’t the healthiest. All I heard was that they didn’t mesh and all of the unfortunate things she had done to him.
    That’s why it was such a shock to me when he started texting her again (regularly). All I heard was the miserable moments and never once was a happy thought shared, and it bothered me they started talking again. Because she had done nothing but bad things, in my mind, because that’s all he had shared…
    Make sure if you plan on staying friends, you don’t paint such a horrendous picture of your ex.

    Megan says:

    I have one ex (my first love at age 16!), and we remain friends – not close friends, but we talk occasionally and meet up when we can. We actually didn’t speak for a while after our breakup, but then we picked our friendship back up a few years down the road. I think it’s silly to cut someone out of your life completely who you have so much in common with, and who you enjoy being around, simply because you didn’t work out romantically. He actually attended my wedding! My husband finds it a little odd that we’re still friends since he doesn’t speak to his exes, but thankfully he never feels like a boundary is being crossed and there are no uncomfortable feelings. I think it depends on how the relationship ends and whether or not your current partner is OK with it. If my husband asked me one day to quit talking to him, I’d obviously respect that and the world wouldn’t end. But I’m glad I met someone who is accepting of me keeping my ex in my life though, and I think that says a lot about our loyalty and trust in each other.

    Talia says:

    Well, all my ex-boyfriends and I didn’t really get along, hence the term ex, so when we broke up each disappeared from each other’s life and I always tried not to bump into them because things could get nasty. My latest ex-boyfriend was a guy who I met from his ex-girlfriend and throughout our relationship I was always hesitant about how well he and his ex got along and found it quite absurd how they could speak, go out and be really good friends the two of them and his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend. In my current relationship, my boyfriend is a kind of person that does not believe in talking with your ex if the relationship has ended but personally, if there is no bad blood in the break-up, someone can still keep in touch with the ex and keep a little of that magic that used to exist. I would love to still talk to my latest ex more often but he doesn’t seem interested in this.

    Anni says:

    I just got out of a 10 year relationship and this is something I’ve really been struggling with. I mean, for 10 years he was my best friend and partner. And, like you, our relationship ended fairly amicably (although it always hurts, doesn’t it?) – so now it kind of feels like a game of what hurts worse – losing all contact, or seeing that person in a completely different context?

    Jess Zimlich says:

    My past two serious relationships ended with the, “I never want to speak to you again in my whole entire life!”…which means I’m not much help. It’s interesting to read everyone’s take on this though!

    chubbs says:

    I broke up amicably with my live-in boyfriend of 5 years and after a brief “cooling off” period we stayed friends even after he started dating someone new. Luckily we were both very clear that: 1. we were not well matched as a romantic relationship, 2. but we still loved each other as people, and 3. there were zero regrets both about the romantic relationship and the end of it. And his new girlfriend was very confident and was totally cool with us hanging out, with or without her. yes, there were occasionally weird moments (like when he couldn’t remember if he went on a particular camping trip with me or her) but because we are all content and confident no one tripped out about it. 3.5 years after we broke up I made the center pieces for their wedding and happily attended with my current boyfriend. I know my experience is rare and certainly not the right thing for every one. But, it definitely is possible to stay friend, even very good friends, with your ex.

    I don’t believe that you can be friends with an ex until a couple years have gone by but that might be just me. It doesn’t seem like those feelings just disappear right away.

    Anonymous says:

    I’ve had exes whose friendships with ex-girlfriends were way more than friendly, so when I met my current boyfriend, I definitely had a bias in my head. However, my boyfriend is friends with ALL of his exes, and, yes, it can be emotionally overwhelming sometimes (especially since I’m not really friends with any of my exes). As his girlfriend, I guess I just want to feel like I know him best, and having someone else bring up jokes and memories from the past does bother me because I am totally isolated from those experiences. When my boyfriend and his most serious ex would “catch-up” through text, email, or phone, I felt very strange about it, but I hate to set limitations on someone’s behavior. However, allowing someone else who was so intimate to still be a part of your regular life throws off the trust if it hasn’t been already established. My boyfriend and I have been dating for two years, and it’s only recently that I’m truly adjusting to it. In all honesty, I still don’t love it, but I am trying to be understanding and trust him, rather than my past experiences.

    The biggest thing is reassuring whoever you’re dating that they matter to you. Be transparent about your feelings and conversations and everything will even out with time.

    Elle says:

    I am friendly with most of my exes and still consider my ex from a seven-year relationship as one of my best friends (we talk/text several times a week). But there are boundaries. We don’t have an intimate relationship at all and we do not discuss other people we are dating. The secret is overcoming that emotional attachment that you had during the relationship. You can still love the person and care about them, but you can’t want them or have any sort of jealous feelings. I agree with your other commenters, it just depends on the person. For me, once I make that disconnect, the emotions go with it but that’s really hard for some people. I think too it depends on the nature of the breakup and the reasons behind it. I don’t know if I believe the friendship will last forever, but it can be beneficial (and less painful) to transition away from each other – especially if you were together for a long time. To each his own though!

    Taylor says:

    I envy those that can remain friends. I was divorced after 5 yrs of a very young marriage and kind of ran away from the situation. I had good reasons to cut off all communication at the time but feel like there isn’t peace between us. It is bothersome to know thats hanging over us considering at this stage in life I strive to have much more healthy relationships. I know my current beau would understand completely if I needed to reach out, but not sure if its just selfish of me (because maybe my ex might be in a relationship with someone who wouldn’t understand..). For your sutuation – i think that if you all came from a good place in the break ups, and are open and honest about your communications with others – trust will grow!

    I say IF you can, more power to you! I’ve never had a relationship end where we were still friends (ESPECIALLY my divorce) . . .

    mekeesha says:

    this is interesting and sometimes, i think, it is hard to not have double standards. i think i would be like you in that, i would know what i was doing and what my ex was doing regarding me and know it is innocent, but it is hard to know what the current guys ex is saying or doing to him. if that makes sense. but i do think that in a reasonable world, if your new guy is okay with you being friends with your ex, you owe him the same. but i am sure it is hard. i am friendly with my exes but i do not contact them often or see them regularly. no hard feelings but i think eventually, we grew apart. plus, i think no matter what, it is always at least a little weird seeing your ex with someone else. and eventually, they will be with someone else and you have to be okay with that. but that doesn’t make it any less weird to see. haha. at least in my opinion…

    Relationships (including non romantic ones) have highs and lows. Sometimes you grow apart and if you choose to part ways, that doesn’t mean you have thrown anyone away. I am not in touch with my ex and my husband isn’t in touch with his. We don’t consider them horrible awful people or anything like that! Those relationships ran their course and it was just time to move on. If you end up entering another long term relationship and that individual isn’t bothered by your relationship with your ex, then it is my opinion that you would have to return that feeling if he wishes to remain friends with his ex. In my experience though, when you are in a serious relationship, there just isn’t the desire to hold on to past romantic relationships. It doesn’t mean you have to forget about that person or ignore that person, but you can’t continue to have that closeness that you once had.

    Ariel says:

    I am not friends with any of my ex-boyfriends, but my sister is actively friends with most of hers or on good terms with the rest. I’d like to say it’s because she hasn’t been in as serious of relationships that I have been, but that’s not necessarily the case – she just hasn’t taken them seriously. At times, I think it’s inappropriate that she talks to them so much or should be more scorned by them, but most of the time I’m a little jealous. Although there is a part of you that did not get along with your exes, I sometimes yearn for the connectedness you did share. Others I know I would probably still spit on if I saw them again in person. lol
    Most recently, one of my sister’s ex boyfriend’s who we were all very close to came back into the picture and under my sister’s suggestion asked me out! I am very reluctant about the situation because I am afraid of breaking the friendship that we have had and that my whole family has with him and not being able to return to it if a romantic relationship doesn’t pan out.
    I am equally inspired and saddened by the stories shared so far, because overall the message is that relationships of the heart – romantic or not – are always complicated. I think the biggest takeaway is to be true to yourself, and be open and honest with your feelings – even when you’re unsure of what they are.

    Hannah says:

    After dating my college boyfriend for a year and a half, I realized that our relationship was more platonic than romantic (at least on my side). We bid goodbye to our romantic relationship and since we went to a small school in Seattle, we remained friends throughout the rest of the college. There were times when it took great willpower to not give in and start dating again since we both had so much in common and loved each other deeply but we knew that a romantic relationship was not a healthy place for us. Over the years, we both moved on and found other people. A little over a year ago, when an apartment became available in my small building, my ex asked if he could apply for it. My current boyfriend was certainly understandably uncomfortable with the idea but said he trusted me. Having my ex live upstairs from me (we don’t share walls) has been a fun experience and we actually see each other less than previously since we just say hi in the hallways.

    This article is so well timed for me because last night my ex and I and our significant others went out for drinks for the first time. I’ve always stayed clear of my ex’s new girlfriend to make sure she wasn’t weirded out by me and it was such a great feeling when she reached out for all of us to get together.

    Long story short, I am a firm believer that if you invest some of your best years into a person then you should still try to cultivate your relationship. I consider my ex my friend before my ex-boyfriend and I am looking forward to having him as a great friend for many years to come.

    kim boswell says:

    The most important thing to remember in situations like this is that ANY situation can work as long as it is what you are happy with. No-one else with their own past or current situation can dictate what happens in your life. Everyone is different, with different emotions and opinions of what works. Just continue to have an open mind, listen to your intuition – and NEVER be “okay” with something if, inside, you aren’t really down with it.

    Jasmine L says:

    Wow this is such an interesting topic!

    I’m not friends with any of my ex boyfriends, I wouldn’t want my current boyfriend to feel uncomfortable. But if I was with my ex for 5 years and it didn’t end bad, then I could understand why it’s hard to cut them out of your life. I was with my ex for 3, but he cut me out of his life. Which I’m fine with. As long as he’s happy, I’m happy. & I’m in a happy state. I still talk to his family once in a blue moon because it’s not like we had any problems. I think as long as no one crosses the border then it’s fine being friends with an ex. But probably not a good idea to go out one on one. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Teresa Mendes says:

    Love this topic! I was never confortable with having a boyfriend that keeps on saying that his ex will always be one off his best friends. It’s seems to be a residual relationship. I think it’s normal that people remain friends but best friends? What a fuck. If we move on, why should we pass this idea of yerachy like: ” she got the status before you did, so don’t complain?”… If the ex person will keep on beeing so important, the new person will never feel confortable and have his/her own place on the relationship.
    I broke up 6 months ago with my ex. He’s Swiss, I’m Portuguese living in Lisbon. We are friends and we talk once a week because we miss each other and i think we will always remain friends. Buuuuut, I prefer not seeing him too much right now, and it’s actually quite cool that he went back to switzerland for a wille. I don’t feel very confortable when i go out and feel like I’m going to see him with another girl… Lisbon is a small town! I prefer to take it slowlly without cutting the contact!

    Elle says:

    My first ex-bf is still one of my best friends, I went to Vegas last year for new years with him and his family in their camper van while my bf was out of town on tour for a month. No issues except when to know to walk away from the blackjack tables ;D
    To give you some perspective, I have a lot of close guy friends and my bf is in a band with 5 gorgeous and fun gals. We also maintained a 2 year long distance relationship a couple of years ago (which gave us both a healthy sense of independence). Jealousy is never an issue because my philosophy is that we trust each other and if we didn’t then why on earth would we want to be with one another? I’m not going to be with someone if I get anxiety and jealous/mistrusting feelings over who he is with, and it should be vice versa. I trust him enough to not put himself in compromising situations, so if he feels that he needs to maintain friendships with his exes or any girl, then he should be able to do so, and I should too.
    That being said, every ex-situation is unique. I am still friends with my 2nd bf, but we aren’t close enough to hang out one on one. Our breakup was hard on him, and I wasn’t very considerate or empathetic at the end, and it took us both a while to grow up. My 3rd ex I have no desire to ever speak to again, as it was an emotionally abusive relationship.

    Bailey says:

    I know this isn’t the point of your post, but I’m intrigued that you’re dating again “already.” I say “already” because I am just coming out of a 7-year relationship, and right now I can’t even imagine myself wanting to date anyone again for so long. The idea of it terrifies me, really. Did you have feelings like that too?

    Becky says:

    Hi Bri,

    What does your gut say? I’ve learned that your gut never leads you astray. The head is too analytical and the heart is too emotional, but the gut always seems to know what’s “right.”

    If I’m reading into this correctly, it sounds like maybe it’s a conversation worth having with your new guy. Let him know how you feel and hear his side as well. If there’s anything I’ve learned from being in my relationship, communication is EVERYTHING.

    Just listen to your gut. ๐Ÿ™‚

    B.

    Kate says:

    What really resonated with me was when you mentioned, “after being in a 5 year relationship that didnโ€™t end badly at all, itโ€™s hard for me to just cut that person out of my life.” I completely understand what you mean; unfortunately, in my opinion those are exactly the exes you can’t carry a platonic relationship with. There’s too much history for it to ever be a healthy friendship and more often than not, one party still wants more than they’re leading on. By all means, this is just my perspective after attempting to be friends with my former long term boyfriend. Emotions were high, memories are rich, and it’s just not something we could water down to being “buds.”

    Taylor says:

    Personally, I’m not friends with any ex’s but that’s mostly because I don’t have any real ex-boyfriends considering I started dating my current one when I was still pretty young. I will say though that my mom and dad who have been divorced for about 20 years are still good friends. Their relationship didn’t end well at all for them, but they had kids and so they worked through it and are really kind and friendly with one another. We even still go on family vacations with my mom, dad, and their new spouses, plus all of my half and step-siblings. It’s really great. Obviously, it’s a little different if you don’t have children together, but I would say that if I were in a relationship with someone who was still friends with their ex, that hanging out alone would be off-limits in my book. Talk and being in group settings though is totally acceptable!

    xoxo
    Taylor

    Lily says:

    This couldn’t have popped up on my Facebook feed at a better time. It’s interesting and reassuring to read about other people’s experiences. I recently ended things with my boyfriend of three years and so want to be friends (we were best friends beforehand) but how do you avoid leading them on?

    Brianne says:

    When my boyfriend of 4 years broke up with me, we still loved each other but it was not healthy. I was in a severe depression and didn’t know it and even if I did I wouldn’t have known what to do about it. At first he said he wanted to stay best friends, but it was clear that we couldn’t do that and he stopped showing interest in being good friends quickly. Everything I read said to stay away from him and not follow him on social media. I decided to go ahead and get rid of pretty much all the stuff he’d given me and stay Facebook friends but unfollow him. This had its benefits for sure, it was much easier to move on but at the same time, made me paranoid and full of anxiety because I was so afraid to see him with his new girlfriend. Even now, two years later and we are both married, I still have avoided meeting her because of this anxiety. Even though we’ve both obviously moved on and done a lot of growing and healing, it’s still a scary thought and I sometimes have nightmares about it. I know it’s silly and I have to try to figure it out. As for the new guy, hold it loosely. When I was starting to date the guy I married, he was going to go to coffee with someone I didn’t feel comfortable with and I told him very calmly and politely that I wasn’t comfortable with it but it was up to him. He said calmly and politely that he was going to go anyway. Of course this upset me, but he called the next morning to apologize and say he wasn’t going after all. He had realized that it was important to me and made a very wise decision. ๐Ÿ™‚ Although, this obviously doesn’t always happen and it’s really hard when the other person doesn’t understand or does it anyway. Relationships aren’t easy! If his ex is important to him, maybe try to get to know her and maybe even be friends. That could ease some anxiety. If he isn’t comfortable with that, there’s your sign.

    Josie says:

    This topic fascinates me, too! In my opinion, unless the relationship was toxic, you can totally stay friendly, but it’s not really being “friends” in the sense that they still feature a large role/influence in your life. You might catch up for coffee every so often; there may be a text or email here and there, and you may occasionally find yourself hanging out in the same group of friendsโ€“but it is truly just keeping in touch the way you would with an old friend, rather than keeping them in your circle of closer friends. And I definitely need ample space from an ex before the dating-friends transition occurs to keep me honest re: whether I’ve truly moved on. For me, the door to a true, deep friendship with any ex was closed when we decided to break up. You may still care about each other, but that energy and time investment should now be focused on the new person and/or new chapter in your life. Also, within a new couple, I think you have to both make the active decision to trust each other, but also agree to communicate/adjust before resentment builds up. If someone spending time with their ex overshadows their new relationship, they’re either not over the ex or into the new bf/gf enough. At least, that’s what I found to the be the case for me!

    Lauren says:

    My previous boyfriend of SEVEN years and I broke up in November. We lived together (owned a home together), but after a lot of individual growth and a few major hiccups, we decided to part ways.

    For me, being friends would never work. I have no ill feelings towards him, but I don’t think that it would be conducive to my new relationship blossoming the way it should if I had the ex in the background. He served a very important purpose in my life – teaching me things about myself, what I want, what I definitely do not want, etc. But now, it is time for me to move on and give myself to the guy that I am meant to be with.

    While I think it is fine to be cordial to each other, especially if you run in the same circles or have the same friends, I don’t think it is beneficial to you or fair to your new partner to continue to regularly interact with your ex, who knew you so personally for so long, who shared very private and intimate times with you. That is for the new man in your life, IMO, and hanging on (even as friends) to the old won’t push you forward.

    Danielle says:

    I’ve never understood why people would want to be friends with their exes. I think that going from such a close relationship, to not being as close would be too much stress and cause more pain along with the break up.
    Unless the relationship was very short term and/or you both only really had friend feelings toward each other the whole time, I feel like one person will always have more not-just-friends feelings towards the other. I’ve also seen my friends suffer more because of this as they tried to remain friends, when I feel they could have gotten over it better if they had just cut all unnecessary communication.
    It’s one thing to be acquaintances and say a polite hello if you see each other, it’s another to bring a romantic relationship down to a strictly friend relationship. I just think there’s too much history to get past to remain friends.

    Ellie says:

    I was in a relationship for nearly 5 years with the person I thought was the most interesting, fun, and entertaining guy I would ever know. Buuut, after almost 5 years, I simply realized he wasn’t the one I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. After some on again off again months of tying up loose ends with the ex, I met the man (four years ago) that is now my husband. I remained friends and close to my ex, but it’s always been difficult for me to feel completely comfortable texting him because I know that even though my husband trusts me, deep down it just doesn’t sit well with him. I’ve explained that after five years of being best friends with someone, and having a smooth end to the relationship, its not fair to be made to let go of the friendship. Especially when you still share so many interests. Luckily my hubby gets it, and even though I feel a teeny bit of tension coming from his side of the sofa when I get a text from the ex, I know it’s all OK.
    So, the friends with your ex really depends on how comfortable your future bf/gf/fiance/spouse is going to be with the situation. Are they trusting enough to be ok with it? Or is the friendship not worth you wrecking your future/current relationship?

    Olivia says:

    Lauren, I couldn’t agree more. People come and go in life… if for some reason your mind and heart tell you to let go, why would you still try to hold on to something? It isn’t fair and I agree that it is an unnecessary toxin to any new, to-be-serious relationship. Some people are in your life to (this may sound callous)serve some sort of purpose, or to teach you something, expose you to something, help you learn about yourself and what your boundaries and limits are, etc. This is the case even in relationships that are strictly platonic. In my opinion, not all relationships are made to work (for example those “bffs” you had when you thought you “knew who you were”). Most of them are to be fleeting experiences that help you become who you are. Only the resilient and the best ones will stay forever. Why would you hold on to anything in the past that is over and done with? It is as though you still feel like you owe them something, when all you are owed is your freedom.

    dylcia says:

    My friends and I talk about this. I am going to be totally honest and say that I am a big believer that you cannot be friends with your ex. I feel that one side always wants something more than what they have. One side might be ok with the breaking up decision and the other side might not be 100% sure. Then that causes confusion, jealousy and sometimes awkward moments that might be hard to explain to the person that you are dating.

    I always think: “would I want my boyfriend to be friends with his ex?” If the answer is no then I feel that I should also reciprocate. I can’t expect for him to end that friendship if I am not willing to end mine. On the other hand, I do have friends that are friends with their exes and it’s all healthy and great. So I would say to keep in mind that if this relationship one day becomes serious and your boyfriend wants you to end the friendship with your ex, you will have to choose between the two.

    I’m so happy that you started to date again!! I would say to play it by ear and see how you feel. I am a jealous person so I have never been a big fan of exes. Relationships are all about communicating your feelings so be open and tell him how you feel.

    Good luck! xoxo

    dylcia says:

    I am going to be totally honest and say that I am a big believer that you cannot be friends with your ex. I feel that one side always wants something more than what they have. One side might be ok with the breaking up decision and the other side might not be 100% sure. Then that causes confusion, jealousy and sometimes awkward moments that might be hard to explain to the person that you are dating.

    I always think: “would I want my boyfriend to be friends with his ex?” If the answer is no then I feel that I should also reciprocate. I can’t expect for him to end that friendship if I am not willing to end mine. On the other hand, I do have friends that are friends with their exes and it’s all healthy and great. So I would say to keep in mind that if this relationship one day becomes serious and your boyfriend wants you to end the friendship with your ex, you will have to choose between the two.

    I’m so happy that you started to date again!! I would say to play it by ear and see how you feel. I am a jealous person so I have never been a big fan of exes. Relationships are all about communicating your feelings so be open and tell him how you feel.

    Good luck! xoxo

    Jenny Newman says:

    I agree with the person who said the comment about being friendly, but not necessarily be friends with your ex. Sometimes you just have to let things/people go, such is life. From an outsiders perspective it would be very inappropriate for either you or your new guy to “hang out” with the ex. Sounds unnecessarily messy.

    Rachelle says:

    NO, I can be friendly in a social setting and even wish you happy birthday on facebook. But if the relationship is over so is the friendship. I try not to carry emotional baggage around, and one less thing to explain to the new guy.

    This is such an interesting topic, and one that for me has a very simple answer!

    I’m still on good terms with all (but one) of my exes – three of them came to my wedding in fact. The guy I went out with for the longest (four years) and I are still in touch after 20 years, and his wife and I are now firm friends. She was lovely about meeting me for the first time and I was so relieved that she was happy that we were still friends. We don’t see each other very often as we live quite far apart but catch up when we can.

    I’m lucky that I’ve never been out with anyone who was jealous of my exes – I wouldn’t even entertain anyone who didn’t like me being friends with them. Nor am I jealous of my husband’s exes… jealously is a horrid trait and one that I just don’t understand. If my husband said I couldn’t invite them to our wedding there would have been no wedding, that’s for sure…!

    And yes I occasionally catch up with them when they’re around – none of them live that close however. And I’d go so far as to say that exes make really good friends… there’s no way I’d ever want anything to happen between us again, usually the thought makes me go ewwwwwwwwww ๐Ÿ˜‰

    C x

    Smashley says:

    Relationships sometimes die because you are a terrible match. But sometimes they end because they’ve simply run their course– you or your partner has changed, you want time or space, etc. In these cases it is much easier to remain friends– you fell out of love. As long as lustful feelings aren’t involved in either side, it should work pretty well, especially if you can be around new people your ex is dating and vice-versa. When you bring new significant others into play, you have to decide right away how to handle the situation. I’ve had boyfriends who didn’t worry one bit, and others who would basically have a meltdown if they found out I spoke to an ex. In the not so happy cases, you need to decide which relationship is more important to you and hope the other party understands. Also keep things fair. If you aren’t allowed to be friends with an ex, your significant other should show you the same respect whether you care or not. Be honest with everyone about everything– especially yourself. Avoid drama whenever possible.

    Just some of my exes are still friends with me, but ‘friends’ is a very loose definition… you could say we’re simply “Facebook friends” if that tells you anything.

    My current boyfriend only has 2 exes, one of which he can’t stand so I never have to worry about that one, ha ha, and the other is a mutual friend. We actually started dating after re-kindling friendship at her birthday party (we’ve known each other since high school). She’s our friend still, be we don’t see her much anymore due to busy schedules.

    Haley says:

    I’m not friends with any of my exes, but it always seems to be me who ends the correspondence. I tried one time to be friends because he was a great guy (I just wasn’t that into him). The problem was he seemed to remind me that he wanted to be more than friends every chance he got (or every time he was single) so I had to say bye-bye. I think a situation can work if you each are comfortable with and respect each others expectations. If one of you secretly still wants to be in relationship (with the other) a friendship can’t work, but if you’re cool to be “only friends” then I don’t see why it wouldn’t be possible.

    j. says:

    i still stay somewhat in touch with my ex. we were seniors in college at the time of our breakup, taking the same courses and we hung out with all of each other’s friends – most of whom were taking the same courses too. so when we broke up after 18 months of being inseparable it was an adjustment for our friends too. we used to have physical contact all the time – sitting together in class, holding hands all the time etc. i remember that physical withdrawal was the hardest for me. not in terms of lust but just affectionate physical contact with this particular person who i had spent 80% of my time with for 18 months. the breakup was amicable and actually a huge relief to both of us, which made it easy to switch to friend mode – neither of us wanted to ever get back together cause it had just run its course. taking classes together also forced us to normalize the way we communicate and made the transition a little easier and more casual. 7 years on, i’m married to a mutual friend, we rarely keep in touch (my husband does cause they’re friends too so i don’t need to update him about my life etc) except when it’s something about our field of study/mutual hobbies/college. i really feel nothing for him now, i wish him well but we’re more like aquaintances than friends. the husband likes to tease and ask if i still think about what i missed out on by splitting up with him, but that honestly has never even crossed my mind. there was a bit of nostalgia/comparing my new relationship with the ex at first, but it all dissipated once i fell really hard for the next guy, aka my now-husband ๐Ÿ™‚

    when my husband happens to contact an ex, i try and keep in mind the way i feel about my ex and how innocuous it is when i contact him. sometimes in a relationship you have to make the choice to trust the other person, because you simply can’t control or get proof for everything.

    bex says:

    im not entirely sure how many of these you’ll actually read through, but going through something similar at the moment, i feel writing this out may be beneficial to myself, as well as those reading.

    when you have an ex-boyfriend who isn’t your typical “i-hate-you-dont-talk-to-me-ever-again” ex-boyfriend, things get tricky. Like, do you hang out? Do you text / call? And how often?

    If I’m being honest, I don’t think there’s such thing as being “just friends” at first. Are you guys being close because that’s all you know? I think it’s healthy to be able to have conversations, to catch up over coffee once in a while and maybe hang out in the same circle of friends, but if you’re texting, calling and hanging out often, I don’t think that’s the healthiest decision, especially if you’re both in the process of moving on.

    You both need your time apart to realize who you are without each other. Once you’re confident in yourself as one-man-wolf-pack (so to speak), then comes the friendship.

    However this all turns out, I hope it’s all good for everyone involved :). xx

    Rachel says:

    This couldn’t be more timely. My relationship of 11 years just ended and I still consider the guy to be my best friend. We are really struggling with maintaining distance as we both miss laughing with each other … And just being with someone who “gets” it. Reading all of these opinions doesn’t lead me to a decision on whether we should remain close but am comforted that others have worked through it. Thanks, guys!

    Stephanie says:

    i dated someone for about 3 1/2 years, & lived with them for 3. it’s absolutely rough to cut someone like that out of your life, especially after making their family your family as well. i found that after some time had passed & no lingering emotions were present, we were able to embark on a friendship & revamp our relationship. now we’re great friends, talk very often. he’s met my current boyfriend & at first the current was a little uneasy with the whole situation. he’s cut every ex out of his life completely like a band-aid. i feel as though for women it’s not that easy. but you definitely have to let the time pass before you can work on a friendship, you ABSOLUTELY cannot try to be friends immediately after a breakup. there’s too much emotion & confusion!

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    Rebecca says:

    Well, my ex and I were together for 10 years, from age 22-32, we also knew each other in high school. In our 9th year we together we moved to a place where we knew no one and shortly after that my sister died by suicide. Yeh, I couldn’t handle the relationship with him so we split. It has now been 5 years since our breakup and I’m with someone else, live someplace else, have a child. My ex is still the person who knows and understands me the most. We are truly friends. We talk about once a month. In fact the other night we had a 5 hr catch up via phone (like i said we live in differ places). This is a very interesting topic! Write a book!

    M says:

    I think it takes a lot of work but at the end of the day… it’s rare to find connections that deep and sometimes they are just worth fighting for. it’s not for everyone or every situation but it’s not impossible.

    sandov3r says:

    I love the photo. Deep down it’s awkward for me to remain friends with exes but I always try to reciprocate when it seems like they’re pushing for the “friend zone.” I definitely have one He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named though, ha ha!

    sbort says:

    its all about personal growth, acceptance, confidence, and trust.
    we’re at an age now where a LOT of people have come and gone from our lives, so EVERY relationship (friendship, romantic and otherwise) we get into now are going to have countless other relationships they are bringing with them as well. it’s absolutely unnecessary to tell someone they “can’t” speak to someone (an ex, a “threatening” friend, a “bad influence”, so on…) IF YOU ARE CONFIDENT IN YOURSELF. if you are confident- then you know that you are fine without them, no matter how much you might want them, and that they are going to be with you IF THEY WANT YOU – and if they don’t – well, they’ll leave. and that’s fine too. you’ll find someone more secure and better for you. it’s all about maturity. if you have inner strength and peace – nothing can rattle you – and exes shouldn’t ever be a problem as long as you trust yourself and the person you’re with <3

    catherine says:

    I think it can be really healthy to sustain relationships with exes (given the romantic relationship was generally healthy to begin with, of course). I feel thankful that I have remained friends with nearly all of my ex-boyfriends and their families; and now with my ex-husband who is my best friend. Key here is to not talk shit about people. I’m not a fan of my girlfriends talking smack about their significant others on the regular- deal with the issue or get out of it. Besides, it’s mean and nasty and I don’t think it bodes well for any kind of relationship. I guess just treat each other kindly and with love, even if you are both drawn toward other directions. It makes everyone feel better and it’s pretty damn amazing what can evolve from that. If life happens to take you a little further away from each other, most of what remains is a fondness- which is something special, too. Kind of a win-win.

    D says:

    This post couldn’t have come at a better time. My ex and I have been on and off for about five years and we’ve known each other for almost 20 years. We’d reached the point in our relationship where we were talking about marriage but then we realized the connection we had wasn’t as strong as it had been in the past. We both wanted to maintain our friendship as we’ve been close friends for so long. Even though the relationship ended on good terms, it wasn’t easy as feelings were still there.
    Instead of taking time apart to get over my feelings, I jumped right back into being friends with him. Things seemed fine at first, but one day we started arguing about the past. The arguing got out of hand and he started accusing me of things that seemed so petty and irrelevant.
    Things ended pretty badly. We exchanged so many hurtful words. It was so shocking as we’d never really had a major argument before. He pretty much cut me out of his life.
    While it hurt like crazy and still does, all that arguing brought a few things to light which I’m very grateful for. I saw firsthand why things just wouldn’t have worked out between us. I learned things about his personality that I didn’t recognize before.
    While I’m really torn up about losing the close friendship we had, I realize it wouldn’t have worked out given the situation. I’ve learned to leave the past in the past and learn from my mistakes. People come into our lives for a reason and usually it’s to teach us something. We kept saying we hoped we wouldn’t lose our friendship because we’ve been friends for so long, but I felt like I was the only one putting in the effort. Maybe that relationship ran its course. Who knows?

    Meagan says:

    I truly believe that each and every relationship is so private and different, it’s incredibly difficult to generalize. You need to do what’s right for you! Almost two years ago, I ended a 7 year relationship. It was hard and painful for the both of us – although I was the one who threw up the flag. We remain friends but have the safety of an ocean between us. The bond that grows between two romantic partners over a long period of time, is hard to just forget. Especially when it didn’t end badly. I think honesty is always the best way forward and respecting one another. I still struggle with etiquette at times, for instance, I am moving in with my boyfriend in 2 weeks. Do I tell my ex? Does he need to know? Ultimately I decided to let him know so he wouldn’t find out via social media and he was super grateful. We speak pretty often for exes but I have attempted to trail it off as to be respectful to our new partners. Good luck! It does get easier!!!!

    Michaela says:

    It depends on the relationship but it all comes down to trust and like you said keeping an open mind. There’s certain boundaries of course, but then those are varied to whatever your comfortable with and your partner be comfortable with. As long you two are on the same page, i don’t see how it could be a problem.

    Leslie says:

    Because of your posts I feel that I can open up a bit more on my blog about this kind of stuff. So thanks for that.

    I think every situation is different.
    I was with my ex for 8 years and I feel that him and i at the moment cannot remain friends because we have this history where he cared and i didn’t or I cared and he didnt. Of course there’s more to that….

    I feel that for those 8 years we never took our relationship as serious as it should have been.
    There was lying and cheating and a bunch of stupid shit that I should have walked away from but I didn’t because I was an idiot.

    Eventually it got better but with all that harm, it can be kind of hard to see the serious side of a person when they’re really trying after you’ve been hurt so many times.

    I really loved that post where you guys took a trip together and that also woke me up as well because we never did that.
    Ultimately, I wanted someone to do things with to travel with to explore with and it wasn’t happening.

    He said he was but I wasn’t seeing it and who knows it might be true but, and it may sound super child ish but it’s all I’ve ever wanted!, if I had to beg him for 5 yrs to take me on a date to Disneyland, then that should say something.

    Basically, every relationship is different.
    With him, after 8 years, no I don’t think we can be friends right now or any time soon.
    It wasn’t a healthy thing from the get go which is why it wouldn’t work as friends and it would hurt me if I saw him with someone else because why could he try harder with her and not me you know?

    But i feel that with you and your ex, you guys were grown ups in your relationship which is why it’s easy for you guys to be friends I think. But that’s just my opinion.

    I feel that if you truly care for someone no matter what, you will find a way to keep them around.

    And i mean only you know your story but who knows….maybe this is what you guys need for now…..and maybe down the line it picks back up better than were it left off.

    Life is too short to hold grudges or anger (and i feel like I might have contradicted myself there….) but I’d rather be a lover than a fighter, there are just certain people in yuri life you have to cut out of it.

    (Thanks for letting me rant! & sorry for all the typos!)

    Love ya,
    Les
    Lovewhatyouread14.blogspot.com

    Jess says:

    I was the “best man” at my ex boyfriend’s wedding. His wife is just gorgeous and we’re great friends too. He and I dated for quite a few years in high school and then mucked around a bit afterwards. We’ve been there, done that. There’s no threat to his wife or my partner that we would ever go there again.
    We just work so well together, and we adore each other, just not like that.

    Kate says:

    I am not friends with most of my exes but with one I have made the exception. We were good friends before we got together and without him, my husband and I would never have met! It’s odd having a mutual friend who is also my ex but ultimately it’s worked well so far. He is even coming to our wedding celebration in England this month!

    Ashley says:

    I think it’s okay to be in contact with your ex until you’re in a new relationship. Once you’re in the new relationship, out of respect for your new boyfriend/girlfriend, all ties need to be broken. Otherwise, it will always be an issue. That’s too exhausting and will eventually wear on you both. Just my two cents ๐Ÿ™‚

    Rachael says:

    I think you just have to be honest with yourself! If you are still emotionally or in any way dependent on your ex – especially with situations your boyfriend should be tending to then its not healthy. When it comes down to it your current boyfriend should always come first – being friends with an old ex it may be more comfortable to run to him during hard times or advice because its familiar – not giving your current boyfriend a chance to connect with you and help you though those hard times – so if you see emotional lines being crossed on either end – you should re-adjust and decide simply decide who is more of a priority! ๐Ÿ™‚

    its all worth exploring – give yourself grace and figure it out for yourself – thats is the only way to learn and know whats right for you ๐Ÿ™‚ xx

    Shelley says:

    I am married and I am not friends with my ex. I think that you can part on good terms & leave it that (allow the past to be the past). I don’t think that the past should be a part of your present situation. If they have kids with someone else, that is a bit different. Just my opinion.

    shayna says:

    Totally friends with my ex! We dated for over two years and the relationship was on it’s way out, when I moved to a different city for school. Being in different cities definitely made it easier to cut ties, but I still needed at least a year of distance before we could really be friends, without the past emotions sneaking in. I definitely recommend that to anyone. Take a good chunk of time (like a year) separately to redefine your relationship as friends. Now my ex is kinda like my brother, we don’t talk often, but we still understand each other so well whenever we see each other. 8 years after breaking up – he was at my wedding, and I was at his. My husband is also still friends with his exes. BUT the ones you’ve been separated with for longer, it’s easier to have a friendship and keep it UN-complicated.

    molly b says:

    i always say “if you can see your ex kiss another girl and not feel jealous, you are ready to be friends.”

    if seeing your ex kiss someone else makes you feel awful (or if him seeing you kiss someone knew makes him feel awful), you’re not ready for friendship yet (and unfortunately might never be) – and it’s okay either way!

    jm says:

    I recently went through a break up (literally 4 weeks ago). We were friends BEFORE we dated, but things escalated quickly, we dated for almost three months (which is nothing right?) but we were very close. Things ended abruptly but on good terms. we decided to be “friends”. We haven’t talked much over the past few weeks and I only just recently saw him for the first time last week. It was like nothing happened at all. Which was the best (and worst) thing ever. It’s hard completely writing someone off, because you feel like you’re betraying what you had. And in your case you were with that person for years! I can’t even imagine! But something that i’ve started to think about…what exactly is a “friend”? What is my definition of a friend? For me I have a handful of very intimate friendships, a handful of casual ones. But to me a friend is someone who I consistently (to the best of my ability) invest in emotionally. I call, text, spend quality time, confide in and offer advice to that person. It’s a very intentional thing. When I think about doing all of those things with my ex…its kind of strange because…but I definitely think it would be weird doing all of those things if I was also dating someone else. I don’t think it’s wrong, but I think you (As in general, not call you out specifically because i’m totally in the same spot right now almost haha) have to think about how it really effects you. Sometimes you really do need a clean break. I haven’t totally come to grips with that myself, but Im trying to ask myself why I’m contacting him or spending time with him when I do, apart from “I miss him”. well duh I miss him. he was amazing….but there’s a reason why we ended things, and taking time apart, so that you can fully invest in whatever you have currently going on (even if that means temporarily or slowly cutting that person out of your life) may be the best thing you can ever do for both relationships. Its really hard letting go but that doesn’t mean you’re betraying that person or being petty or over dramatic. At the end of the day it’s a very personal thing, and you have to do what is best for you. I’m having a lot of trouble with it myself even though it was such a clean, non ugly breakup. It might sound selfish to say this but I keep reminding myself that the most important thing for ME is to love myself and focus on MY life, not investing in my ex or being a good friend to them. I come first. When we were together I wanted to make sacrifices and put them first (that’s a lot what love is about) but now it’s my turn, and I don’t have to feel bad ditching them for awhile! Just some of my thoughts…obviously my situation is a little different and there are a million and one details that can effect what the right and wrong thing to do is – but I kind of take that back – I don’t think there’s a right a wrong way to navigate being friends with your ex, only choices that help you grow as a person or choices that might stall that progression.

    Samantha says:

    If there is any aspect of your relationship with Arian that you feel the need to hide from the new guy, then it’s not kosher. Same goes for his relationship with his ex. Other than that, it’s harmless.

    bri says:

    thank you all for your comments and stories, i read through each one of them! wish we could all sit down and chat about it. i find all of your advice and experiences truly fascinating!
    bri

    cheyenne says:

    it differs. my first boyfriend, with whom i was together for about 5.5 years, i hardly every speak. i was with him from the age of 14 till 19, and i just changed so much during that time, that it is hard for me to think that we were ever together at all. it wasn’t such a good relationship in the end either, so i don’t really feel the need to talk to him. we do still have the same friends, so i see him from time to time and we’re just friendly to each other, but that’s it. he guy who i’ve dated after him, however, is a whole other story. we were never really together, just dated on and off for a period of a year and a half, but it became this confusing situation in which he treated me pretty bad. we went from dating, to him ignoring me, to dating again, to ignoring me again, to a very emotional deal after he wanted me back when i started dating someone else. though he said he still wanted to be friend, he ended up ignoring me again, and now, after about half a year, we’re hanging out again. it’s a weird relationship, one of the best and most hurtful ones i’ve been in, but i couldn’t imagine banning him from my life. i know he’s a difficult person, so i’m not going to put in too much energy in a friendship, but he was just to important to me to not ever see again. let’s see how long we’ll make it this time ๐Ÿ˜‰
    xo, cheyenne

    Anonymous says:

    I believe relationships should be between the people involved in them. Since they are all completely unique, you have to do what feels right for you. I was with my ex for 5 years before he split from me. It has been difficult to remain friends sometimes. We live 5 blocks from one another so hating each other would have had its own difficulties.
    The most important piece is to know what you want out of it and make clear expectations and restrictions for yourself.

    Merissa says:

    I’m on good terms with all of my ex’s, but I’m pretty good friends with one. We dated for two years, and were pretty serious. I moved to Chicago for him (along with a bunch of other reasons, of course), but it didn’t work out. We’ve been broken up for 4.5 years. Though it was an amicable breakup, time apart was important. We checked up on each other every other week or so for a while, when it was still fresh and we were still very much on each others minds. That slowly died down, but we’d keep up naturally – see each other at parties; email links that make us think of each other, etc. Within 6 months we were both dating other people, and introduced our new partners to each other (at a party with friends). Weird, but I have a lot in common with his girlfriend. Then I found out how much he has in common with my boyfriend. To me, this makes sense. If my ex and I matched on a lot of things, and my new boyfriend and I match on even more things… then the ex and the new would both have all that in common too! We don’t talk often anymore, and rarely see each other alone. But we always invite each other to bbqs, parties, and outings. Recently that “new” bf of mine and I recently broke up (after 4 years), and the ex I mentioned helped me make sense of things. We met up for dinner, and he helped me sort out some things the “new” guy accused me of in the breakup. What helpful insight! There’s literally no one else that would have been able to give me that kind of open and honest input.

    When you date someone for a long time, you get to really know them. Even though I see this ex only a few times a year, I’m always surprised at how familiar I am with his life – I know tiny details like his insecurities, his brother’s best friend’s pizza preferences, and his father’s driving quirks. I think it’s silly to react in anger to a break up. You have to work through that anger, experience it, but ultimately let it go. At the end of the day, there’s a reason you dated that person, and why should you let this awesome person go from your life just because the romance didn’t work out? If possible. I know all break-ups aren’t amiable, but I think it’s important to try to be kind and reasonable.

    Leanne says:

    We had a solid 3 year relationship and it was a pretty bad break up for both. We didn’t talk for a few months and then he reached out to me. We were great friends before and during the relationship & it was hard not to be without the other. I sometimes feel sad that I ended our relationship but I’m glad he’s still in my life.

    Aubrey says:

    I agree with most of the comments all around.

    If you want to be friends with your ex and your new partner is okay with that, you have to allow them the same respect, NO DOUBLE STANDARDS – that’s just bad all around.

    I definitely agree with the comments about having the time apart and not being in communication/contact (for a little while anyway) to know what it’s like to not be around/have that person in your life.

    I didn’t see any comments about this, but I think it’s also important to look at why you broke up – although it ended amicably, there was obviously a reason why you chose to end the relationship. I think it might be harder in the long run to not have feelings get involved depending on what the exact reasoning was.

    This is hard and I can’t imagine the heart, head and gut hurting that it all causes.

    Nicole says:

    I am pretty close friends with my ex. We were together for six years (21-27, now 29). The break up was devastating, but we never unfriended on social media. We had a good year cooling off period, but in our social circle we would constantly run into each other. I’m not claiming that it’s healthy in every situation, but it’s definitely possible. My biggest advice as someone mentioned earlier, is to establish guidelines. i.e. Don’t allow him to leave some of his belongings at your house forever (did it!) or sleep with him on your sad single birthday (did it too!). My girl friends think it’s a really different and uncommon relationship that we’ve established (we play pub trivia on a team every week together, have gone to concerts together strictly as friends).
    But for some reason I feel like a real adult being able to maintain a friendship with someone who I still have so much respect for as a person. However, all relationships take time and effort, including friendships with an ex, and it’s a personal decision as to whether you have either of those resources available to that other person. And I also have to check in with myself and reevaluate these same questions on
    a regular basis. When that is done, I always come to the conclusion that I’d rather have him in my life, than not.

    KayBe says:

    I am but I honestly feel like its because we let a year go by when we didn’t talk. We were each others best friends so you have to mourn that part of a relationship as well (not just all the romantic ‘brownchicka browncow’ times). Now he has moved and I’ve been with the same man for 3.5 years. And we chat monthly as a check in. We will always love/care for each other and support each other. You just need to find the balance where you feel comfortable.

    I recently ended an almost six year living-together and all – relationship and while I think it is possible at some point to start over as friends, it would be weird to me to just switch from being a couple to being friends.
    I think time apart to re-focus and have time to yourself to find out what you want and where to go, will never hurt. Who knows what the future will hold?

    Antonella says:

    I may ruffle some feathers here but I don’t really think that a man and a woman can be friends, like totally friends and nothing more, unless one or both is gay. Esp. with an ex, if you continue to invest emotionally in him (like friends do), the line is so thin that you can slip into something more (that is not quite a relationship, but can really mess your life) very easily. Guess how I know?! ๐Ÿ™‚ Detach yourself, give both of you time to heal and properly move on and than end up to be nice aquaintainces to each other. How can you create something serious with another man if there’s so much still going on. Your new man, if he’s the one, will become your male friend, not an ex, even if he’s a nice guy. BTW As for Feng Shui love reasons, how do you feel when considering to change your About picture? I feel it can give you hints on whether you can move on. Hugs

    Janel says:

    TOTALLY A STICKY SITUATION!!!

    I think public/group settings ONLY! I can imagine falling back into old habits QUICK (i.e cute texts, silly smirks, inside jokes!!), especially if there isn’t really a long gap of separation after the break up. Also, these kind of habits can easily make a new beau feel insecure in comparison. I say, treat your ex like a BUSINESS PARTNER! No need to text often, no need to hang out every weekend – after all, you broke up for a reason, right? Enjoy time with your new man and DO NOT fall into the same routines as you and your ex – start anew!

    Wish you lots of luck in love!

    Charlotte says:

    Great post! Great comments too! I think that it is different for everyone. For me personally – and totally understand that everyone is different – I think that any relationship that was built on intimacy cannot then turn into ‘just’ friendship. So, maybe if you were friends first, it would work out fine. There’s obviously no right or wrong answer here, it’s what’s best for you that is most important. Perhaps the best test is to have a month or so with no communication, and then see how you feel. Some exes shouldn’t be in our lives, period. And some we probably mistook for lovers, when they should have been just our friends all along ๐Ÿ™‚

    Jessica says:

    Facebook friends with high school bf. Not at all friends with guy that ended badly. Really good friends with my old friends with benefit buddy. Don’t feel awkward because I am glad we never moved to a real relationship but there are times when we’re all hanging out and I remember oh yeah we’ve seen each other naked. haha.

    Steph says:

    In high school, I dated my best friend. And after we broke up, we went back to being best friends. I dated other guys, but I still liked him (on and off) for about 3 years. Once we started university though, I swore off boys for about 2 years (best decision of my life, btw – gave me a lot of clarity in my life). Since then, we don’t see each other as often, but I am still very good friends with him. We can chat for hours and not notice time pass.

    However, my current bf doesn’t like it much. He’s not friends with any of his exes, and his previous relationships ended on pretty bad terms, so we’re both coming from very different places.

    I do my best to respect his feelings, and he does his best to respect my friendships.

    Lauren S says:

    Being friends with exes has never appealed to me. I find the need to cut off completely in order to fully move on. I have so many friends who “try to be friends” with their exes which results in them hooking up, dating again, and then pissing everybody else off when they’re surprised it ends… again. I’m only becoming friends with an ex after 4 years apart and living on different continents. It’s fine now, but it certainly takes time.

    Cathy S says:

    I’m friends with two of my exes (both significant relationships of 5 years each).
    One is in another state, but we email often and have created a “tradition” of mailing each other a birthday present every year. I instigated the break up. It was hard for both of us, but him more. I moved on to another relationship fairly soon (6 months after the breakup) and moved interstate. I imagine he’ll be a special part of my life ’til the end. The man I moved for (he was not the only reason, but a catalyst), we ended amicably about 5 years later. We are still friends, share friends and move in the same circles. My husband (who I met about a year after that break up), has become quite good friends with him too! I think its healthy to remain friends. And I think the older one gets, the more likely that is to happen. Good luck, Bri ๐Ÿ™‚

    T says:

    This is a great post and couldn’t have come at a better time… I am currently going through a break up (four years together), it hasn’t ended badly, in fact it’s the most mature and calm break up I have ever been through. We have a lot to sort through, I have moved to Europe to be with him, we live together and I have no idea what will happen next (we are now trying to change the dynamic from “together” to flatmates due to our circumstances), but I can’t imagine not having him in my life… We shared so much and as a person, I will always love him, now just like a friend. I am not too sure how I will feel in the future when new partners come into the picture, but I would like to think we and our new partners can make it work, but we will see, only time will tell. Thank you so much for discussing this and starting a very relevant conversation. It’s been great to read through the comments.

    Liz says:

    Im minority here (if not the only one). An ex is someone that belong to the past. If both of you decided to close that chapter in your lifes it should remain like that. Im not saying you should be enemies. But is healthier to go by separate ways. If the relationship didn’t work, Im sorry but must be because there was something wrong. Something happened and that ‘something’ will always be there. You don’t break up with someone because you love him/her so much.
    Im not friends with none of my 2 ex-boyfriends. What I had with them was amazing and those memories will always be in my heart. I really wish them hapiness. But that’s it.

    Do you know the say ‘People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime’? I think my ex-es belong to ‘a season’. And my now husband is my ‘lifetime’.

    (Im talking about ex-boyfriends/girlfriends. No children involve. If children are involved then my opinion is the oposite.)

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    gracie says:

    friends for sure. you just need a gap for a while. For me, even though I didn’t want to go back there it was hard the first time when he was with someone else and we were all on a night out. It felt out. So it was nice to have a 3-6 month break from each other afterwards, not a prescribed, just time to let the dust settle. Good luck with dating!

    Rita says:

    To be on good terms doesn’t has to mean to be good friends. I’ve always been friends with my exes but now that I’m thirty I’ve discovered that’s a huge mistake. And I’ve recently came cleared that up. Yes, they are nice people, we were friends, we’ve grown so much together, but in the end we wrote a romantic story together, not a friendship one. When that ends, so must the whole relationship. Because if you actually stay friends with a person who was so important for you and knows so much about you it’s so unfair for the future person who will be with you. There is the need to be this void to be completed by someonelse. But, of course, we all have different opinions on the subject. So my only advice is, if you do wish to stay friends, don’t be very close in the beginning of the breakout. It will hurt both of you. You both need to start clean. All my love for you* in this difficult time and remember that sometimes the worst times are the best times ๐Ÿ™‚

    Hannah says:

    I honestly have the same problem because me and my ex were bestfriends before we dated then he told me he liked me so we started dating because I always had a huge crush on him!! He was amazing but we faught a lot we were on and off for like a year then broke up and stoped talking for like 3 monthes (which is along time for us) then someone Else Walked in my life which I am still dating. Then my ex texted me and wanted to be friends so we became really good friends! Now I’m catching more feelings for him but idk who I love more my ex (bestie) which could prolly never work out or my boyfriend!! That I’ve only dated for a couple of monthes!!! HELP ME PLEASE !!

    Sally says:

    I personally do not feel it’s appropriate for ex’s to remain friends. I think you should wish them well and move on. I feel keeping them around can cause issues with any possible new relationship you may have or your ex may have. It is not healthy to keep them around whatsoever. Even if it’s on social media. If you’re checking up on their facebook, that show’s you still have interest in that person. Let’s face it, most of you who say “oh it’s ok to have them in your life” are saying this because you want to justify your unresolved feelings for them and want to keep them around as a back up, or if things don’t work out with their new partner you can be right there to pick up the broke pieces for them and coddle them.
    I recently started dating a guy that I really like and he really likes me as well. He was friends with pretty much every single one of his ex’s. I personally have been cheated on ex boyfriends where they kept their ex girlfriends around as friends.. So therefore I told him, before we go any further, you either need to choose me or your ex’s. He chose me, he doesn’t want ruin what he has with me. One of his ex’s tried hooking up with him (when he and I first got together, and got mad when he told her no). The same girl later on ended up getting really upset with both him and I when he deleted her off facebook and told her to not contact him again. She ended up contacting me as well, desperately begging me to allow him to continue being best friends with her. Never once even mentioned “hey, I’ll glady meet you or you can come along too”. Nope just please allow me to continue him being best friends with me. Maybe I am a b*tch, but I also don’t play b*llsh*t games. And most ex’s who want to remain friends have some sort of ulterior motive. I have been the ex girlfriend who wanted to remain friends before, and I won’t allow it. I don’t want any of my ex’s in my life and I don’t want any of my boyfriends ex’s involved in his life. We’re building a future together, we don’t need the past disrupting us.

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