Can You Be Friends With Your Ex?


Being friends with your ex while in a relationship is very unhealthy to you and your new relationship. In the same way, being friends with your ex spouse is a difficult task especially one you once loved so dearly. 

But, it is very much possible when you both work towards it. For most people out there, love isn’t something they take back so easily after a romantic relationship just ended. 

Unknowingly, they might still have feelings for their former partners. They can also care for them for a long time even without being in a relationship with them anymore. 

A simple solution is that as long as you’ve accepted that your relationship with your ex is over, only then can you maintain a healthy friendship with them without falling into future traps of entanglement.

Note that when you still feel intense love for your ex, staying friends may complicate issues and make it hard for you to move on. So, if you’re still contemplating being friends with your ex spouse while in a relationship, then this article is for you. 

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Can You Be Friends With Your Ex?

Being friends with your ex spouse is possible. Meanwhile, it doesn’t matter if it’s a good idea or not but rather depends on the two of you involved. 

After all, most people build positive and peaceful friendships with their exes without encountering difficulties along the way. While others think it’s a toxic adventure to even delve into it. So you see? This whole topic now depends on the people involved.

A licensed marriage therapist by the name Weena Cullins, LCMFT, went on to explain that most people are better off as friends instead of forcing their way into a romantic relationship. 

Quoting her words, she went on to say “Being friends with your ex can be a good idea when other aspects of the relationship were valuable to your growth, development, or life goals”. Then she further stated that “If you and your ex identify that you make better business partners, workout buddies, or friends and you can maintain healthy boundaries with each other, then creating an authentic friendship could work.”

In other words, being friends with your ex could make it hard moving on or successfully dating other people due to the lingering attachments for an ex. So do you think being friends with your ex spouse is a good idea? It’s up to you!

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Rules For Being Friends With Your Ex

Below are six rules you could follow up on making a successful transition from being lovers to good friends:

Mourning period

It is paramount you give each other ample time to get over the collapse of the former relationship. That is, to mourn the death of what you both once shared. 

The more time you stay together, the longer it could probably take you two to get ready to make the transition to the friendship stage. Don’t worry about the indications of readiness, you both will feel ready when the time is right. 

Just let your hearts dispense pressure and past love before hopping into the friendship zone.

Keep platonic grounds

Do not get caught in the trap of engaging in sexual activities like having sex with your ex, kissing, holding hands, flirting, etc at any time or moment ever. 

Keep it clean and work towards platonic grounds as it would help you both maintain your stand on things not agreed upon or planned for.

Set clear emotional boundaries

If you ever feel down, encounter issues bigger for you to handle, or need emotional fulfillment, don’t go to him or her yet! Talk to other close friends that you’ve never been in a relationship with. 

And hopefully, they’d put you through your confusions. If need be to discuss certain things with your ex, the rule is that you talk about things that you once had in common. 

Especially the things that made you both friends during your relationship without any emotional entanglement.

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Have a love life

Try going on dates with other people, meet new people too, and engage in meaningful conversations with them. Don’t pretend to be friends with your ex spouse while waiting for them to fall in love with you the second time because that is not friendship. 

If you’re seeking to move on faster from a just-concluded romantic relationship, genuinely opening your hearts to others and learning to love them afresh can help you reach this goal. 

Don’t let a former relationship hinder you from experiencing better ones. Seek a love life. Have a love life while still relating with your Ex.

No relationship analysis

 If it’s possible, it is advised that you desist from analyzing your current relationship with your ex. You could do that with your other friends who would keep their talk clean and not based on what you once shared with them. 

It could even be a therapist too. Focus on your friendship with an ex instead. If need be for you to analyze some things with your ex spouse, wait till they are distant from you and can talk about it without getting emotions.

• Be cautious of friendly feelings

In cases where you start getting more than friendly feelings for your ex spouse, that is the moment to pause. Then back off and evaluate the essence of what you are getting involved in. 

Although most people get back together after a breakup, be very mindful and ensure that it is what you want before you go ahead to open up that door again. 

This is to avoid regrets and self-blames as to why you went back to a seemingly failed relationship.

Keep reading: How to get over an emotionally abusive relationship

Setting boundaries with your ex

It is important and necessary that you set boundaries with your ex spouse, whether or not plans are being made to remain friends. Note that these boundaries could come in forms like physical, emotional, psychological, and time boundaries. 

It is left for the both of you to decide which would take effect or put in place to be good friends without making a mess of it, being hurt, or going down memory lanes. At most, these points below should not be overlooked:

Talk to them

If you have just recovered from a breakup and still feel like being friends with your ex (while in a relationship) just to feel more comfortable and light-headed, then talking to them could be an option. 

Boldly discuss what you both passed through during the phase of your relationship and the need to steer clear of that path and look more on the brighter side of friendship. 

Let your ex spouse know it wasn’t an easy process breaking up with them. And that they shouldn’t erupt past feelings by being emotionally attached. Talk to them, say your mind to imprint those boundaries in their hearts.

• Block them if need be

Have you managed to move on from a broken relationship? Do you want to try out new things with other people? But you don’t seem to concentrate due to posts from your ex? 

Maybe you should consider blocking them off your social media handles to facilitate this healing process for you. In order not to rekindle past feelings that hurt you, you should block their visibility for a while – be it a month, a year, or two years. As long as it would take you, block them off if need be.

• How often do you communicate

You must checkmate your level of communication with your ex spouse to avoid giving off the wrong impressions to them. Minimize the communication and contact them once in a while if need be.

How much you emotionally rely on each other

This here also helps to create a strong boundary if you can stick to it. Desist from relying on your ex emotionally to avoid stemming emotions that were once dead.

• The kind of information you relay to them

Sharing your life activities or the current life happenings is way too much information to relate to your ex. Maybe you could cut down on how much personal information you give them. This way you set a strong boundary too.

Telling about your new partner

You could tell your ex about your current partner. But then, don’t fall into the trap of having to compare them to your ex as it might end up ruining a new experience.

  • You can consider if you feel comfortable spending time alone with them or even hanging out.
  • The level of friendliness you get around them

Do you feel comfortable when they come around you? Are you delighted when your ex hangs out with you? If the answers to these questions are all negative, then you can set boundaries as soon as possible.

Then for physical boundaries, most individuals would feel fine having to share physical intimacy with their exes– including having casual sex. 

A sexual relationship with your ex could blur the lines of friendship. But can only be possible if it’s agreed that you both remain friends with benefits without any expectations or strings attached to it. 

Yet, in case you notice that your ex is proving difficult to respect this boundary, then cut ties completely.

Final Thoughts

Human relationships are filled with their ups and downs ranging from our associations with co-workers in the office, mutual friends, parents, siblings, relatives, etc. 

If all these problems could be spotted in mere friendships, what more a romantic relationship between two people? Breakups are bound to happen as people who were once lovers turn to exes and exes become strangers. 

And no matter what form it presents itself, being friends with your ex spouse while in a relationship is dependent on you both involved. 

So, if you feel the need to maintain a cordial and platonic relationship with your ex then, the ball is in your court. But if you choose not, don’t force it. Keep your boundaries too.

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