Relationships 101

15 reasons why being friends with your ex doesn’t work

If you are toying with the idea, we'd suggest you let it pass.
ex not friends

No doubt in the past your day began and ended with your ex. You were extremely close to your ex at one point of time. You knew your ex inside and out. So it is natural that after the breakup it becomes difficult for you to move on as your life depended on your ex on so many levels. However, being friends with an ex while in a relationship with someone else is not considered to be a noble thing to do. That being said, it is not a forbidden road too.

Many people are able to continue friendship with their exes. However, not all can expect good quality of friendship from their exes. Research shows that exes turn out to be less concerned, less honest, less caring and less compassionate beings as friends after the breakup. This is the case when they were either not happy with the past relationship or did not willingly break up.
Consider this scenario…

‘When your ex wants to stay friends’

This scenario might hurt you if you truly loved your ex and broke up with him/her because of their insistence and happiness. In addition, you do not understand the need to continue a friendship with your ex when it is going to disturb you mentally.

On the other hand, this same scenario can be really relaxing for you, because it is a sign that your ex still cares about you and it means that there is a chance of a healthy friendship to develop between the two of you.

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Why does your ex want to keep you as a friend?

It is important that you try to comprehend why your ex wants to continue being your friend. Reasons for these can be the following:

  • Having come out of a long or short-term relationship, your ex might have become close to you. So maybe he/she does not want to throw away the bond that you both shared with each other despite not being in a relationship
  • Maybe your ex is undecided as to whether leaving you was a good idea or not. So he/she wants you around until he/she can get rid of the indecisiveness
  • In case you broke up with your ex and he/she suggests continuing their friendship with you, then it might mean that he/she still has feelings towards you. Your ex might see the friendship as a way to win you over once again

Related reading: 15 clever ways to turn down an ex who wants to be friends

Can you be friends with your ex-boyfriend?

You must realise that your ex-boyfriend is someone with whom you shared a special relationship with in the past. It took time to know him, to trust him and to build an honest relationship with him. But now, since you both have parted ways for one reason or another, isn’t it better to not be friends with him? Why destroy the good memories of the past by keeping him nearby?

15 reasons it does not work to be friends with your ex

Relationship therapists suggest that when two people break up, it is essential that they take time to heal and move on. Immediately after the breakup, you cannot expect to have a healthy friendship with your ex-boyfriend. If you are still unconvinced, then these 15 reasons why it does not work to be friends with your ex might help you make up your mind.

1. You need time and space to work things out

A breakup can be an overwhelming experience for you, especially if your ex took the initiative to part ways. Therefore, the last thing you need is to get calls and messages from your ex or meet with him/her. The most essential thing that you require is a breather, so that you can emerge as a better and a more mature person after the breakup.

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2. It can rekindle physical intimacy which you might regret

Hanging out with your ex, watching movies with him/her, going out with him/her for drinks – these are the things you will do with your ex, and now your friend. All these activities with him/her might tempt you to be physically intimate with him/her. Sexual tension may become so intense because of your feelings that it might happen that you both fail to control your desires,. However, you will surely regret it later, especially if you are already in a new relationship.

3. Your current relationship will suffer due to the friendship with the ex

Wondering why exes ruin relationships? Well, the answer to this question is simple. When you remain friends with your ex, you still consider him/her as an option and fail to invest completely in your current relationship. This is completely unfair to your ex, as well as to your current partner.

4. Jealousy will ruin your friendship in the long run

One of you will definitely try to move on and get into a new relationship. If it is you who gets into one, then obviously your ex will not really enjoy the idea of talking about your present partner. And if it is the other way round, you will not like the idea of your ex dating another person. This is natural human behaviour, because you both have known each other for a long time. But then ultimately jealousy will rear its ugly head and ruin your friendship with your ex.

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5. Sharing personal stuff is out of the equation

Friends usually are expected to share details, as in extremely deepest and darkest personal details, of their life with each other. However, you will notice that you both will find it really awkward to share personal stuff with each other and just initiate small talk amongst yourselves. This is not the true essence of a friendship though.

Related reading: How do I cope with my husband’s deep friendship with his ex-wife?

6. The friendship might give false hope to one of you

Even if you just consider your ex as a friend now, there is a high possibility that he/she might get false hope. You or your ex might think that maybe one day this friendship will be converted into a relationship with you once again. You may refrain from dating new people because you have this hope of getting back with your ex sometime. And if the other person moves on, it may hurt terribly. This false hope will not be healthy for the both of you.

7. Such a friendship will not give the both of you mental peace

Obviously, if any of you still has lingering feelings for the other, then the friendship between the two of you will become absolutely messy. It will just keep reminding you or your ex of past memories and destroy your or your ex’s mental peace which is necessary after a breakup.

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8. Honesty and trust will be lacking in such a friendship

Neither will you be able to be the best supporter of your ex during his/her time of need nor will your ex be there for you during your time of need. Why? Because one of you must be hurt after the breakup or not happy about the past relationship with each other. Thus honesty and trust, which is the foundation of good friendship, will be lacking.

9. Your mutual friends become awkward

These friends know the both of you and are aware of your past. They have also seen you express your love for each other in the past. Now after the breakup, even if you both are friends, they will find it really awkward to deal with the two of you, especially if you both land up somewhere together.

10. The possibility of finding your true love will become bleak

Well, you might become so busy being friends with your ex that you might give up on the chance of meeting a nice guy/girl. And what if that nice guy/girl is your true love? You will miss an opportunity, just because of your friendship with your ex.

11. The friendship will not reduce the pain of the breakup

If both of you think that the friendship with each other will help deal with the pain and heartbreak of the breakup, then you are absolutely wrong. Eventually you or your ex will keep dwelling in the past and ruin the future.

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12. Giving respect to your current partner should be top priority

No guy/girl you are dating currently will be happy with the prospect of you being friends with your ex. It might make your current partner uncomfortable and anxious. And as his/her partner, it is your duty to respect his/her wishes and ensure that he/she does not feel insecure because of your ex.

13. Someone or the other will be hurt harshly

Either you or your ex will end up getting hurt way more than the initial hurt of the breakup, because of the continued friendship. You or your ex might not be able to recover and might move into depression as well. So save yourself and your ex from such hurt and end the friendship with him/her as soon as possible.

14. Being friends is illogical

You really need friends? Then why not meet your college friends or your office colleagues and hang out with them? Why does it have to be a person who has hurt you or whom you have hurt? It does not make sense.

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15. You both parted ways for some reason

Whether you both broke up due to conflicting values and beliefs or trust issues, the fact is that you both ended your relationship. So being friends with your ex while you still have unresolved issues between the two of you is not healthy.

Thus pay heed to the warning and completely avoid the toxic trap of becoming friends with your ex.

15 signs you are still not over your ex

Why is it so hard to let go, even if the person doesn’t love you?

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