Breaking up is something normal, especially when the relationship was not working out anymore. In some situations, you still have feelings for the person. In other cases, the feeling may be gone. Either way, you decided to go separate ways in terms of romance, but sometimes you want the person as your friend in your future life.
Then a question comes: is staying friends with an ex okay? Moreover, what should you do and what should you not do if you want to be friends with your ex? Your questions will be answered below.
Should You Stay Friends With Your Ex?
You rarely hear someone saying, "My ex is my best friend." Many couples don't want to remain friends after a breakup and they end up rarely hearing from each other or not talking at all. Even if you want to be best friends with your ex, you have to analyze the situation and figure out if staying friends is a good idea, especially if the breakup is still fresh. There are some situations when you should not stay amicable with your former partner:
1. If your breakup is caused by a serious or bad reason
Was your breakup caused by something serious? Did you just grow in different directions and wanted different things from life? If the latter applies, maybe you can pursue a friendly bond, but if the breakup was caused by something serious and harmful, rethink it. For example, there are relationships in which one of the partners cheats or is abusive towards the other, either physically or mentally. If this is what caused your breakup, staying friends is the irrational decision. Not only would the wounds still be fresh, but it would also be hard to trust the other person. Friendship cannot exist without trust. Not to mention that the other might try to gaslight you and make you get back together, and that's not a goal to have with someone who used to be abusive. You can be abused as a friend, too, not only as a romantic partner.
2. If you still have feelings for them
Even if you broke up, you might still have feelings for your ex – which is totally understandable. You spent a considerable amount of time with this person and maybe even saw a future together. But due to your attachment style, you may still have an urge to be with them.
If this is the case, you should spend some time apart to move on and maybe even go to therapy before becoming friends.
3. If it always causes troubles
If your friendship always causes trouble, then it's best to stay apart. Maybe you're always arguing over being petty after the breakup. Or maybe your friendship affects your ability to find new people. In this situation, you should try to be away from each other, at least for a while.
Things to Pay Attention to When Getting Along With Your Ex
If you think a friendship between the two of you would work out, then here is what you should do if you want a good and healthy friendship.
1. Focusing on your motivation
If you want to stay friends, it should be for a good reason. That being said, you should not be friends because you're hoping to get back together, or you want to hook up once in a while.
The friendship should occur for valid reasons – for example, the fact that you have children together or because you had a good, strong relationship before the breakup.
2. Setting boundaries
If you want to stay friends with your ex, then set some boundaries for a nice and respectful relationship. Therefore, you should never share too much about your breakup or former relationship details. It's nobody else's business what happened between the two of you.
Keep in mind that as soon as the breakup occurs and before you start a friendship with your ex, give yourself enough time to grieve the relationship. Then, you should also set boundaries for spending time together – you may not want to meet too soon after the breakup and maybe not spend a lot of time near each other either. After all, you don't want to immerse yourself in the past.
3. Avoiding any flirting and hooking up
You're not a couple anymore, so you should stop acting like one. Even if you were used to flirting and sleeping together, that shouldn't happen now. You want to be friends – so, treat each other like friends.
Apart from that, flirting or hooking up might make the old feelings come back, and you don't want that. This is why you should be careful with the way you act towards each other. Make sure to act like friends, not lovers. If you start making compliments, then it might make you think of the times you shared together, so you shouldn't go overboard with it.
4. Being careful with social media
If you want to stay friends, then be mindful of what you share on social media. If you are back into dating, for instance, don't shove it in your ex's face. Social media could easily cause jealousy and insecurities, which could be damaging for your relationship as friends – especially if your ex didn't move on yet. That doesn't mean you shouldn't post anything about it – it's your life, after all. Just don't make it seem like a competition between your ex and your new date.
On the other hand, you should not stalk your ex on social media either. You might end up discovering things that could hurt you – such as them moving on too quickly. Of course, it's not your business once the relationship is over, especially if you're also back in the dating scene. Your ex can post whatever he/she wants on their personal account. If you don't want to see what your ex is doing but also don't want to block them and damage the friendship, you could take a softer approach and mute them. Muting them will still allow your ex to be in your life as a friend but will prevent the awkwardness that would occur after blocking them and sending a friend request later on.
5. Staying apart if the feelings arise again
Do you feel like spending time near your ex is making the feelings come back? Then take your time away from them for a while, at least until you stop thinking about your ex. Wait for it to cool down before you go back to being friends because it could otherwise ruin the friendship.
However, if the friendship is making you anxious, you don't need to force yourself. You have the right to leave and live your life without your ex.
In case you want to stay friends with your ex, you should be happy to know that it's possible, especially if you create boundaries and there was no abuse going on between you. However, before you do so, you should see if you're ready to be just friends. You should treat the situation maturely, not trying to cause jealousy or being friends only for hookups and flirting.