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

being friends with an ex you still love

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. 

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. Being in love with an ex is already tough enough. Being friends with an ex can be excruciatingly 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 with, allow us to list down the 8 things that can happen if you’re being friends with an ex you still love:

Related Reading: Being Friends With An Ex After Breakup

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. 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. 

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.

So can you be real friends with an 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 major 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. 

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 complicate 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. 

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? 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 ex has no one else to turn to? Are they so terrified of loneliness that they’re okay with staying friends with an ex? 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 it yourself rather than letting someone else play with it. 

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

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 your ex 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. 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. Being in love with an ex is going to suffocate you as you hang around them and their new love interest. 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. Can you be real friends with an ex? 

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

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, you’ve conveniently devised a plan to avoid them all. But really, who is the one at loss here?

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 unnecessary baggage you’ve been carrying. Let your past be where it’s supposed to be and move ahead. 

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 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 go time. 

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? These could be indicators that you need some effective time away from your ex. 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. 

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Can you be friends with an ex if you still have feelings for them? Absolutely. It depends upon the nature of your ex – 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. 

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