Should You Keep Your Ex as a Friend?

In a perfect world, you and your ex would naturally evolve into a (jealousy and tension free) friendship post-split. As idyllic as it sounds, it can happen. You can't force it, though. The lucky few couples who do stay pals likely had a mutual breakup and their relationship was big on honesty, respect and good humour. If you're not convinced you're up for trying to try to make it work, ask yourself these questions.  

Are you afraid to move on? 

Keeping a space in your mind occupied with that person does just that – prevents you from keeping it closed off from other partners or opportunities. Leaving the past behind is tough. Maintaining close contact with an ex can make it even harder, especially if you haven't enough spent time apart after your split. Sometimes it's better to pull the plug, accept that it's over, and shift your energy onto the next phase of your life. If that next phase includes your ex as a friend, you'll know. 

Was the breakup messy?

Unless your breakup was completely amicable, one sided bitterness is expected to linger. Do you really want to risk stirring up all the hurt, anger, or guilt you endured in your breakup every time you see them? The only reason to make a friendship work is if you truly want to. Feel guilty, responsible, or needing the validation aren't good enough reasons to stay friends. Why would you want to try to feign a frienship, or spend time with someone who is?

Are you thriving on / giving false hope?

Be realistic – sexual chemistry doesn't just turn off like a lightswitch, just like it doesn't turn on that way. Can you be sure you're not just sticking around because you're hoping to hook back up again? If you do end up hooking up, you'll be right back at the breakup stage again.

Could you talk honestly and openly as friends?

Do you really want to risk hearing about the new person / awesome job / plans in your ex's life? Can you be sure he or she wants to hear about the new one in yours? If the thought of sharing intimate details about your new single lives makes you cringe (either with pain or guilt), what's the point in keeping the small talk going?

Is it too soon to decide?

Trusting yourself to make this decision too soon after a breakup puts way too much pressure on you. Ideally, a friendship is something that naturally happens, rather than having to plan hangouts and deal with the awkward navigation of a new situation. Allow yourselves both time to move on and decide what you want to happen.

Tags: boyfriend, friends with your ex, Relationship, should you be friends with your ex

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