Should You Stay Friends with an Ex After a Break Up

woman with man on the balcony

A bad breakup is one of the worst things in the world. Suddenly, the person closest to you is no longer in your life, leaving you feeling hurt and confused. Even an easy breakup with little animosity can be tough. That’s why it’s difficult to stay friends with an ex. Often, it can seem like too much has happened to salvage anything from the relationship. However, this doesn’t always have to be the case. You may not have worked as a couple, but if you tread carefully, you could still remain friends. Here’s our top tips for staying friends with an ex.

Tips for staying friends with an ex

Obviously, some couples will never manage to stay friends after a split. If the relationship was abusive or manipulative, it makes sense to run for the hills and never look back, leaving your ex-partner firmly in the past. But if your relationship was generally healthy and things just didn’t work out, there may be a chance for the two of you to build a lasting friendship. Can you be friends with an ex? Absolutely, but tread carefully in the beginning.

Take a break

If you decide that you’d like to stay friends after breaking up, it makes sense to take a break first. Don’t simply split up one day and then the next day head out to the movies as mates. You both need time to heal after your split and gain insight into what went wrong. Time apart will help you to fully recover from the breakup and get used to being singles again, rather than a couple. This doesn’t just refer to face to face interaction. You should also limit the amount of time you spend communicating on social media too. In fact, it wouldn’t hurt to unfriend each other for while after your split. It can be too tempting to keep checking their profile to find out what they’re up to, delaying the healing process further. Agree to cut contact for a few weeks or even months and then reconnect when you both feel ready.

Choose your meeting venue carefully

Once you’ve spent some time apart from your ex and you decide to build a friendship with them, you need to tread carefully. Don’t make the mistake of arranging to meet them for dinner and drinks at a place you both know and love. This will bring back all those old memories, and after one too many glasses of wine, you could be back in their bed once again! Anywhere that stirs up a feeling of nostalgia is a big no-no. It makes more sense to meet with mutual friends or for morning coffee. In the beginning, you should try to keep meetups to daytime and avoid drinking alcohol.

Establish new boundaries

Staying friends with exes can be tough, especially if you’ve been intimate in the past. That’s why it’s so important to establish new boundaries right away. You can no longer share private details about your personal lives or display overly friendly body language. You’re now friends rather than lovers, and so being in constant close contact needs to cease. This will be all the more important if either of you are in a new relationship with someone else. Being friends with an ex while in a relationship can be challenging, which is why setting solid boundaries is all the more important. Set boundaries that you both agree on and stick to them, else being friends with your ex will never work.

Be happy for your ex’s new relationship

When a couple stays friends, this often involves watching their exes begin new relationships. This can be difficult, but it’s essential to be happy for your ex and forgive them if you want your friendship to thrive. Be as supportive as you can and don’t be mean about their new partner. If you find yourself being negative or bitter about your ex’s new relationship, it may be that you’re not ready to be friends with them. You need to give yourself more time to come to terms with your split. If you can support your ex in their attempt to move forward and find new love, this is a good sign that your friendship can go the distance.

Being friends with an ex you still love – can it work?

If you still have feelings for ex, you need to seriously consider if staying friends is the right option. Although you probably want them to remain in your life in some way, being friends is only likely to leave you hurt at some point. You may find yourself feeling angry at them for not loving you back or find that they’re a constant reminder of being rejected, which could impact your confidence. What’s more, it may be that you’ll delay or avoid dating other people because you secretly hope that they’ll want to be with you once again. If your ex has made it clear that they don’t want a romantic relationship with you, you need to accept this and move on. Trying to be friends with an ex who doesn’t love you back is only going to make it harder for you to do this.

It’s certainly not easy to stay friends with ex-girlfriend, particularly if things ended badly. However, it is possible, especially if you set boundaries and stick to them. It’s important to work out why you want to build a friendship with your ex. Do you just enjoy spending time with them? Or are you secretly hoping that you’ll get back together? If it’s the latter, staying friends may not be a healthy option for you right now. If you’re both prepared to put the past in the past and build a true friendship built on trust and respect, it might just work out.

Best of all, take your time to recover and sign up to to find new acquaintances!