Should You Be Friends with Your Ex: A Guide to Answering the Big Question

The inquiry as to whether you should be friends with your ex has gained various responses from people who’ve had to answer the same question. But most times, people will tell you one thing: if two past lovers can remain friends, it’s either they were never in love—or they still are.

However, experts say otherwise. They suggest that while there are dangers, it’s also very possible to stay friends with an ex with absolutely no strings attached. Psychotherapist Rachel Sussman, author of The Breakup Bible, echoes said findings, adding that it usually depends on many factors including how and why you broke up, your feelings toward each other, and your previous experiences. After all, it is “an individual determination.” Nonetheless, Sussman suggests that some serious self-assessment must be taken before sailing on the friendship waters.

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Guide to Deciding Whether to Be Friends with Your Ex

There’s a fine line between making amends and being friends with your past lover. You can forgive and forget, but you don’t have to maintain close ties, text each other, or go out together. Why should you? As they say, exes must stay in the past and out of your life.

Well, it’s a case-to-case basis; and at the end of the day, it’s your call. To help you decide, here are some questions you must ask yourself and ponder upon when deciding whether you should be friends with your ex.

1. Do you have children with your ex?

You stop being lovers the minute you decide to break up or divorce, but you never stop being parents to your kids (if you have one). So you must still pose as good examples to them, and perhaps make them understand why things had to happen. To do that effectively, come to terms with your previous lover. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but it’s in your kid’s best interest.

2. Are you with someone else now?

It won’t be fair to your new partner if you choose to be friends with your ex. Pause and ask yourself, if it were you, would you be glad to see your partner still hanging out with their ex. Remember this: breaking free from suspicion and jealousy is easier said than done. As Christie Hartman, Ph.D., author of Back in the Game, said, “It can create serious problems in a new relationship,” even if you say it’s purely platonic. But if you insist, try asking your partner and read between the lines.

3. Are you aware of your emotions—and your ex’s?

If you or your ex still have some lingering emotional attachment, neither of you are fit for a friendship. Your varied expectations will most likely lead to hurting each other, even prevent you from moving on. Reassess your feelings for your partner and be honest! Perhaps, you’re clinging on to something or still hoping for a second chance.

4. Why did you break up with your ex?

A relationship that was toxic, violent, and sadistic should never, under any circumstances, shift into friendship. But if it wasn’t like that, then whether to be friends with your ex is a question worth answering. However, you should prepare yourself for the possibility that the problems (e.g., family disapproval, jealousy, cheating, etc.) that broke you up will leak into your friendship and eventually ruin it.

5. How long have you been apart from each other?

Couples that went their separate ways but became best pals not long after raise suspicion. The feelings of remorse, hate, and anger that go along with the separation are inevitable, and these are very impossible to dismiss right then and there. It’s possible to be friends with your ex, but maybe not right away. Don’t rush. Let time heal your wounds first.

Maintaining a friendly relationship with your previous partner might be a sign that you’ve truly let go of all the romantic feelings. Or it might be something else. This decision is hard, yet only you alone can make it. As you ponder upon the possible friendship between you and your ex, understand that the healthier route is always the better choice.

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