Being Friends With An Ex You Still Love – 8 Things That Can Happen

being friends with an ex you still love
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Life doesn’t always unfold the way you dreamt it would. There are too many obstacles strewn in the path and sometimes you stumble. A romantic relationship not working out, no matter how hard you try, is unfortunate and disheartening. However, being friends with an ex you still love might be more painful than the breakup itself. Not all of us can pull off a Jessica Day and Nick Miller, can we? 

Let’s assume for a second that you’ve lost all romantic and/or sexual feelings toward your ex and are ready to embrace them as a friend. Even if your ex has been a best friend for years, you might still be unable to get rid of the memories that haunt you. Each time you look at them, it reminds you of a thing that couldn’t materialize. Sheesh! That’s a messy road.

Can you be friends with an ex if you still have feelings for them? Some people can pull it off. They shove their feelings into a place of no return and continue being amicable with a person they still love. They might even have an ex that has been a best friend for years. While suppressing your feelings isn’t a healthy way of coping, such a state, if achieved through proper closure and honesty, is a great place to be at, mentally. 

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8 Things That Can Happen If You Are Friends With An Ex You Still Love 

Are you still friends with your ex and overthinking whether it’s the right thing to do all the time? We feel ya. As if being in love with an ex wasn’t already tough enough; being friends with them can be all the more painful.

Whether you both work at the same firm or study at the same school, being friends with an ex is awkward and has plenty of complications. If both of you are a part of the same circle of friends, you must pretend to be normal for the sake of others. When you see them with someone else, you would have to look the other way and pretend to not notice. When you see them looking at you, you would be secretly hoping they still reciprocate your love. 

If all of these are instances that you can relate to, allow us to list down the 8 things that can happen if you’re friends with an ex you still love:

1. You end up becoming the sidekick

What’s worse than being friends with an ex you still love but doesn’t love you back? That you become their sidekick. They parade you around like someone who cannot let go of them even after the relationship ends. Admit it or not, you boost their ego. They’re in love with the idea of having someone who’s crazy about them at their beck and call. It fuels their vanity and lowers your self-esteem. There are a few things you should never compromise on in your relationship. Your self-esteem is one of them. 

Nine out of ten times you will not end up as the hero if you’ve been their sidekick for a while. You will remain on the sidelines until they’ve found someone new. They’ll soon be telling you how they ‘cannot’ hang out with you anymore because their current partner is uncomfortable. What’s the point in being friends with an ex who hurt you?

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So can you be real friends with an ex? Are there any real reasons to be friends with your ex? That depends on what your definition of ‘real’ is – it surely cannot be having someone take advantage of you.

Pro tip: If you want your ex to treat you with respect, you have to respect yourself. You deserve better. Even if you have an ex that has been a best friend for years, choose yourself and your dignity. 

being friends with an ex you still love
Do you really want to become the sidekick?

2. You will never move on

Isn’t it common knowledge that a person never forgets something that they keep revisiting? This is also the reason trauma patients are asked to move cities or bring significant lifestyle shifts. When you remove yourself from a situation, time heals your wounds by allowing you to forget a lot of things from your past. Moving on is imperative in the healing process.

Although this sounds a tad bit cruel, it is important to remove an ex you still love from your life. At the very least, you need to have clear boundaries for being friends with an ex. If you do not do so, you would get mentally exhausted and your emotions would be complicated further. It leads us to this question: Can you be real friends with an ex?

Well, ditch the drama and give yourself some space. The time away from your ex would allow you to get your business in order. It would heal you better than being friends with an ex you still love. 

There are certain rules for being friends with an ex that you need to strictly follow and religiously abide by to maintain your own sanity. If you can’t forget them, try to maintain distance from them.

Pro tip: Staying friends with an ex is only advisable if they don’t affect you negatively. Prioritize yourself, complete the healing process and then think about others. 

Related Reading: Can You Be Friends With Your Ex’s Friends?

3. They’re calling you their “best friend”

Are you in a situation where your ex has been a best friend for years? Playing mind games with an ex who is still in love with you must be the cruelest trick out there. Is that what your ex’s behavior toward you amounts to? You could be turning a blind eye to a toxic friendship here.

If you’re still determined to be friends with an ex you still love, we urge you to at least observe how they treat you. How a woman treats a man she loves would be very different from the way she would treat anybody else.

Do they call you their closest friend? Were you best friends before your relationship or is it just that your former flame has no one else to turn to? Are they so terrified of loneliness that they would rather stay friends with their former partner than trun to someone else to kill their time? If you answered all the questions with a ‘yes’, it’s time you moved on, honey. 

If your relationship has ended, it’s better to pick up the broken pieces of your heart and fix them yourself rather than let someone else play with them. You two cannot get back together even as friends.

Pro tip: A person might change after a breakup and it’s not wise to view them through the same rose-tinted glasses. 

Can you be friends with an ex?

4. Thoughts of them don’t leave your mind

A breakup calls for you to move on from your ex slowly and put yourself on the path to heal your broken heart. Ask yourself, are you impeding this natural order of things by being friends with an ex you still love?

Staying friends with an old love doesn’t allow you to get over them and become accustomed to their absence. In order to move on completely, you need to stop thinking about them. But here you are constantly trying to solve their problems; you worry if they’re making a mistake and are always checking if they’re okay. If they are on your mind forever, even if not romantically, it isn’t a fair deal to sign. 

If you find yourself getting distracted from your work, other relationships, and most importantly, yourself – it’s time to let go. There are dangers of being friends with an ex that can wreak havoc with your emotional and mental well-being. Walk out on them if you catch a sniff of compromised mental health.

Can you be friends with an ex if you still have feelings for them? Sure. But you need an equally mature person at the other end. 

Pro tip: You deserve a place in your mind as much as others do. Are you thinking about them more than you think about yourself?

Related Reading: Should You Delete Pictures Of Your Ex From Your Instagram?

5. It will kill you when they start dating someone else

Don’t get us wrong, we get it. Being friends with an ex you still love is hard as it is, but being there when they start dating someone else? That pain is unfathomable. The question remains – what are you going to do about it? Sometimes it’s best to let go even if you’re deeply in love.

Staying friends with an ex is good if you’re over them, romantically speaking. Keeping yourself aloof and detaching yourself emotionally from them can actually help you move ahead in your healing process following the breakup.

Being in love with an ex is going to suffocate you as you hang around them and their new love interest. Seeing your former love getting along with someone else will only feed the flames, making you feel jealous. Also, do not forget the elements of awkwardness and humiliation. 

You would end up hurting yourself more than your ex ever did. What are you going to say? How are you going to react? How would you pretend to smile while there’s a dagger plunged into your heart? If all your answers exhibit your hesitance, maybe it’s time to face the music. Is being friends with an ex healthy for you?

Pro tip: It is important to have boundaries for being friends with an ex. If you’re aware of the pain it might cause you in the future, do not let them assume you would receive the news with delight. 

On ex and more

6. You might start running away from social gatherings 

The weight of the friendship might become so overbearing that you start avoiding people altogether. Maybe your ex and you are a part of the same group. You’re so afraid to run into your ex and get hurt, that you’ve conveniently devised a plan to avoid them all. But really, who is the one at loss here?

Not being friends with ex is fine and justifiable, but running away from them will take a toll on you. Just because you cannot say no, you haven’t been able to gather the courage to let your ex know that you don’t want to be around them too much. If love is a shared feeling, why does the onus of pain fall on one? Let them know. Don’t shy away from telling them that you’re uncomfortable. Everyone needs closure to let go.

Maybe staying friends with an ex turns out to be a lot tougher than what you imagined. If you think you’ve made a wrong decision, do not beat yourself up. More importantly, do not run away from the people who love you.

Pro tip: If you do not speak up now, things could get a lot more uncomfortable.

Related Reading: 9 Ways To Deal With Relationship Anxiety – Tips From Experts

7. You will hesitate dating other people

If you’re sure about staying friends with an ex, be prepared for the hesitation it brings regarding dating other people. Maybe, you’re on the path of moving on but if you’re always in and around your ex’s dramas, are you really giving your own love life another chance? 

Say, you are interested in someone else and desperately want to wipe your slate clean. Well, you won’t be able to do it because of the unneseccary emotional baggage. Let your past be where it’s supposed to be and move ahead. 

Being friends with an ex while being in a relationship will not help your love life. You won’t always come across people who would make you want to move on. Why not tap that opportunity? Even if your ex has been your best friend for years, you don’t plan on staying single forever. Right? 

Pro tip: Exes may come and go; don’t miss your chance at finding love again.

8. You get back with your ex

We simply cannot rule out the possibility that your ex might secretly feel for you too. Maybe it’s been a while and neither of you is sure about the other’s feelings. You’re trapped in the friend-zone because both of you cannot communicate. 

It is in this situation that the chain needs to be broken by being bolder and expressing clearly what’s on each person’s mind. If you’re quite certain of the signals that they’ve been throwing your way, it’s probably time to act upon them. Staying friends with an ex is your choice. To be more than that, you’ve got to make a move and test the waters. 

Being friends with an ex you still love is obviously a sticky situation but allowing yourself some time to figure out what they want is also a good idea. A friend of mine asked me a couple of days ago, “I try to make sense of what she wants. I am still in love with my ex and friends with her but I’m sure I want more. What should I do?” 

Here’s a simple answer: Set some boundaries for being friends with an ex. Why, you ask? It becomes easier to know what they want when they attempt to cross them. When they’re uncomfortable by the distance between the two of you and you can sense it, it’s a good time to get back together. 

Pro tip: It’s always a good idea to slow down and assess the situation properly. Do not read too much into things.

Related Reading: 9 Examples Of Emotional Boundaries In Relationships


Have you allowed yourself appropriate time to heal? Do you often feel the urge to lash out at your other friends because of the frustration that’s been accumulating inside you? If you are still wondering, “My ex wants to be friends but I still love him. What should I do?”These could be indicators that you need some effective time away from your ex to process your feelings. As we’ve already established, setting boundaries for being friends with an ex is a great idea to figure out what you want. The same goes for them.

You definitely care a lot about this person if you’re being friends with an ex you still love. It isn’t what most people can put themselves through but you place friendship and kindness above your own ego. Kudos to you. Although taking care of your own self-esteem and self-worth isn’t such a bad thing either. You will get over a broken heart but not a bruised self-image.

If you’re in the ‘I’m still in love with my ex and friends with her/him’ category, we hope this article has helped you put things into a better perspective. To summarize everything we just said – prioritize yourself, always. 

Key Pointers

  • Maintaining a friendship with an ex can be extremely difficult. You need to set certain boundaries
  • Never compromise on your self-esteem or happiness in order to appease someone else, in this case, someone who is not even  your partner anymore
  • Put yourself above everything else and act accordingly
  • Take a step back to assess your feelings before you decide to get back together or move on
  • Allow yourself to heal, even if it means snapping chords with an ex who has been a friend for years

Can you be friends with an ex if you still have feelings for them? Absolutely. It depends upon the nature of your former love interest– how they treat you, how they view you as a person and how important it is for you to be a part of their life no matter your position. Let us just sign off by reminding you that even if your ex has been a best friend for years, it’s never too late to say that you’re uncomfortable. 

1. Can you be friends with an ex you still love?

Being friends with an ex you love can be intimidating, to say the least. Being romantically attached even after the relationship ends can spell doom for your mental and emotional health if matters of the heart are given a free rein.

2. Why being friends with an ex is a bad idea?

Being friends with an ex might serve as an impediment in your process to survive the grief and pain of a heartbreak. Moving on is a significant step to getting started with your healing process. It is better to maintain distance from old flames to sustain your happiness and mental well-being.

3. Can being friends with an ex lead back into a relationship?

Yes, it can help you two get back together provided both of you are mutually ready for it. If both of you are still in love with each other and are eager to give things another chance, then your friendship can prove to be a stepping stone in your love life.

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