When “We can still be friends, I still care about you” is how most breakups end, asking ‘can exes be friends’ should only yield a positive answer, right? But then again, how many people have you really seen being friends with their exes? All it takes is a passive-aggressive look from your current partner, and being friends with an ex suddenly becomes impossible.
You can’t really expect there to be zero animosity post-breakup. Even if it may immediately seem like being friends with an ex is possible, things can quickly go awry when you hear they’re dating again just two days after your breakup! Plus, can you ever really move on when you’re still waiting to hear back from your ex?
Even so, there might still be some exceptional situations where exes really can be friends. The question then becomes, what does it take? Is it good to be friends with your ex? Let’s talk about it, and see how it played out when a friend of mine tried being friends with her ex.
Can I Be Friends With My Ex?
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It’s a tricky question to ponder. Despite not being in a relationship any longer, the ex who you were very close to a few moons ago, seems to be the logical person to go to when you need advice or a shoulder to lean on. Inherent here is the assumption that the ex knows and understands you and is a good person to be around. When the need arises, a person to fall back upon can be a blessing. But going back to an ex can be like a loaded gun.
Should you stay friends with your ex? To put it simply, for most people, the answer is usually no. Even though most people suggest it during the breakup to somewhat lessen the pain of an otherwise crushing reality, being friends with an ex rarely turns out well. To some people, an attempt at being friends with an ex means delaying the moving on process. For others, it may mean they end up comparing any new prospects to their ex.
“Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t”; nowhere else does this proverb seem more appropriate than when after a month of friendship with an ex you start thinking, “they weren’t too bad, you know”. By that point, “can you be friends with an ex?” isn’t even really on your mind anymore. You’re slowly but surely edging towards Googling “how to win your ex back”.
Related Reading: How To Win Your Ex Back – And Make Them Stay FOREVER
We’ll break it to you right now — the chances of that working out are as slim as your friendship with your ex working out. Even though it’s messy and complicated for most people, what does it take to make a friendship between exes work?
How can you make a friendship with an ex last?
Can ex-lovers be friends? Sure, if you possess the emotional maturity of a Greek philosopher. In all seriousness though, it really can be possible in some situations, but it’s going to take communication, clarity and patience. For starters, none of you should have a shroud of feelings for the other.
If you truly want to be friends with an ex, you must make sure you both admit that you were about as efficient as a car with square tires as a couple. Make sure none of you have feelings for each other, and of course, if either of you are dating, you’ve got to ascertain that your current partners don’t have a problem with it.
Even then, it’s important to note that human beings are bound to change, and their feelings towards being friends with an ex might change overnight. Especially when they realize that those nights their ex was “working late” were actually something else.
So, can you still be friends with your ex? Well, it depends. As you’ll see with the example of my friend, it really is an extremely subjective proposition.
Can exes be friends? How my friend found out the hard way
Esther, My friend had a live-in relationship with a man. They seemed like a happy couple, each supportive of the other, both in personal as well as professional matters. Then the man lost his job. Esther found it hard to manage his mood swings, his constant belligerence, and his excessive splurging of her money. Her entreaties to take stock of his life were treated with resentment. Within a few months, their six-year-old relationship collapsed. The end was predictably bitter.
Related Reading: Is It Okay To Be Friends With Your Ex On Social Media?
Esther took it hard. It took her almost a year to move on from a hard breakup, during which they did not keep in touch. Then, a couple of years later, she bumped into him accidentally. He looked good and was his charming self again. She warmed up instantly to him. They met for lunch and had an easy conversation. He was well placed in a large firm now. She was single, he was not.
On their next lunch date, she met his girlfriend, who was pretty and amiable, with no apparent faults. The two of them seemed well connected. She felt a jab of jealousy, wasn’t sure if she still had feelings for him, but she sure wanted him to be a part of her life again. The ex and his current girlfriend accepted her with open arms and she began socializing with them.
When jealousy reared its ugly head
Despite being over him, there were times when she pined for him, lusted for his arms around her. Seeing his happy pictures with the other girl angered her. From a warm and sunny person, she became a grumpy and insecure one. Sugar-coating her words, she began poisoning his mind about the other girl, who gradually picked up on the adverse cues and began cooling off.
The ex sensed the increasing tension between the two girls but only realized the seriousness of the situation when his current girlfriend put her foot down on socializing with his ex-girlfriend. She wished him to curtail contact, physical and virtual. Soon he was forced to sever all interactions with my friend. Esther was, in a sense, dumped a second time.
So If you’re still wondering “can I be friends with my ex?”, certainly, as long the above situation is not applicable to you. But do understand the possible implications of meeting up again with an ex who is now in a committed relationship with another. If you’re single, and s/he’s not, complications are likely to crop up. For two exes to remain friends, the acceptance of the ex’s spouse/partner is crucial. Without it – it could be havoc in four lives.
Perhaps it is fine for exes to stay in touch, remain casual acquaintances. But anything more might be pushing it. Can you still be friends with an ex? Perhaps that question is better left unanswered.