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Being friends with your ex

Updated on May 14, 2014

Think of it as... starting over


Frankly, this is a hub I never thought I would write less than a year ago.

But I suppose it happens to the best of us.

Sometimes things don't work out with someone you date or even become seriously involved with. Of course this is a tragedy, but it doesn't need to be.

So maybe it didn't work out with that person you thought you'd love your whole life. It doesn't mean you can't see him or her anymore, talk to them like you used to, or even hang out with them.

There must have been a reason that you loved them in the first place.

I think it's a shame for couples to break up and then never really speak again unless if their relationship wasn't the greatest in the first place. I believe that good friends are never in large enough supply and we can't afford to lose them.

However, this can be difficult. No matter how close you were before, a break-up can make things especially uncomfortable.

The one thing I believe is necessary in repairing what you once had and starting anew without the previous status you held with that person before is TIME. Just give it time.

Give yourself enough space to realize who you are and to let things cool down. Hanging out again and doing the same old thing too early can ruin friendships or take you steps backward.

At first it might seem impossible to even imagine going back to anything near what you had before, if only friendship.I thought it would be the hardest thing to do, but several months later I finally figured it out. It was hard to know if I still like my ex, if I wanted to move on, and then when I did decide I wanted to move on, I wasn't sure how I was going to fit him into the life I wanted.

So the next hard part was to decide how we were going to be. You have to decide what you would want from a relationship with your ex, what your motives and goals are, if it's just lust, etc. I was seeing someone else at that point, so obviously I couldn't hang out the way I used to. So the next piece of advice I have to give is BE HONEST.

You have to be frank with your ex and, if applicable, with your new significant other. You can't lie and say to one that you're not hanging out with the other if you are. You can't say they mean more or less than they really do. You have to tell the truth so that things can fall into place and so you're not creating a story that will fail to materialize successfully.

This also means you have to be true to yourself. You have to respect yourself and realize what you want. Sometimes this might hurt, but you only have one life. Come away with no regrets.

Be kind and considerate. Try to remember why you broke up in the first place and why you didn't get along so you don't do those same things again. Remember what you learned from your relationship with that person and put it into effect. This is not the time to quarrel or to be self-righteous; you gave up those things when you guys broke up.

It took me a little while to try out a few things, see what I was comfortable with and what I wanted from my ex after we broke up. I can't say I did everything perfectly, but I am happy in general with how things turned out. Now we talk regularly, friendly, and can be around each other without being awkward, like... friends.


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      lysh 5 years ago

      It tookd years for my ex and I to start talking again... I'm really happy we did though... we hated eachother for too long... I'm happy that I get to see he is still that great person =D

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      wish u was me! 5 years ago

      Im 13 years old!I was secrectly datin one of mi ex ex boyfrinds for alittle over a year!Then i had to break up with him on mi birthday(1/12) because i fell in love wit someone else and i never really liked him,i just felt bad for him! He was mi best friend sence 5th grade and now everythin is weird! But lately we been kool!Well laugh at jokes and well talk to each other!But durin all that time,i was fallin in love wit someone else! And on January 20th we started goin out! At first all mi friends liked him,but then mi friends were findin out that he wasa lyin and cheatin on me wit some girl in his nabor hood! I did everythin for him,i packed him lunches,i got grounded for bein wit him and everythin else!He broke up wit me on Easter! HE said that he keeps gettin in trouble over dumb stuff so we should take a break! i said ok! He said well be friends but more than friends! I was asked out by at least 6 ppl! and i said no to all of them just cuz i was waitin for him! Then recently he told me he was cheatin on me the whole time!I was really mad at him! But for once he didn't make me cry! i was releaved cuz i was free! But i was cryin cuz of all of our GOOD memories together! We went on 1 secrect date,skatin,it was soo fun!But now i realize that hes gonna be missin out on me! NOT ME MISSIN OOUT ON HIM!Watch,1 day he will come back crawlin on his kneens 4 me and ill say HELL NO! U BROKE MI HEART AND NOW U GOT 2 SUFFER FOR IT,NOT ME! But there r 2 songs out there that i am listenin 2 right now and they make me feel better!Those songs r: blind and fairytale by jason derulo! LISTEN 2 THEM,U WILL FEEL BETER,I PROMISE!!

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      Joanne 5 years ago

      Hannah you got to make up yr mind. Just follow yr heart. Best of luck!!

    • profile image

      Hannah 5 years ago

      I'm working things out with my recent significant other while my ex of 2 years and I have been talking every single day since the recent guy and i broke up. My ex shows he cares and wants to hang out. And the guy im workig things out with had told me in order for things to work out, i must completely cut off any connections with my ex. The thing is my ex of 2 years was my first love and we went out for about 2 years.The recent guy is a great guy, but extremely emotional. Weve been going out for a couple of months and we never have a good time unless we try our hardest to do so and be happy. Other than that he always complains and gets emotional or mad. Never tries to have a good time. What do you guys have to say about this? What should I do?

    • profile image

      abby 5 years ago

      my ex brock my heart the first day i'm 9 but i'm super ugly i think

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      kater 5 years ago

      My boyfriend recently broke up with me, like a few days ago. I agree with his decision and feel it was for the best, even though I took it really hard. We made plans prier to the break up about celebrating new years together with his family and friends. I made the decision to still attend the party, and most people believe its a bad idea. I did try to make other plans but they didn't workout. I guess i feel that although im still sad and I miss him, going to the party and treating each other with respect is a good way to start the year with him as my friend. It will be awkward at first and a bit uncomfortable but if we both act as friends and nothing more than people around us will see that we care about each other but things just didn't work between us and were both ok with it.

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      Asor 5 years ago

      I broke off with my bf about 3 weeks ago because of his parent's objection against our relationship. It was sad, but I do not want to lose him as a friend. It took me a while to accept the fact and I initiated a meet up with him 3 weeks later as a normal friend. I missed him but I guess, its the companionship that I missed most, so why not just be a friend? We finally met, and it turns out pretty well, we still joke and talk like usual. I'm glad that things now turn to this way. Most important, I think we should not cling onto any hope for reconciliation, just focus on being a friend and treasure this friendship.

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      Laura Brown 5 years ago from Barrie, Ontario, Canada

      My ex and I were friends a long time before we married. After the divorce I needed time to find my feet and get feeling like myself again. It took time but we are friends again now. Not the same as before. For me it started when I thought he had changed his email address and I wouldn't have any contact with him. I really didn't want that. So I started keeping in touch again, just a bit. It's not a comfortable friendship exactly but it's a friendship.

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      ViolentKiss 6 years ago

      I went out with my ex 3 times for long terms, he was the best thing I ever had. I didn't appreciate it. I found out what I loved after I lost him. I did the biggest mistake in my life, letting him go. We broke up year ago, we tried friend ship, we were getting along as friends. I ruined the friendship just today, I told him how I feel about him , and he didn't accept it. I don't know what I'm going to do now. Hopefully he understand's me..

    • glassvisage profile image

      glassvisage 6 years ago from Northern California

      Adaoma, I agree - pathetic.

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      Adaoma 6 years ago

      I dated a guy for 5yrs and we talked about marriage all the time.But he married someoneelse without informing me.He later apologised.Now he calls everyday and wants us to be friends.He just asked me to go out with him as friends on saturday night.I think its pathetic.What do you think?

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      naturalsolutions 6 years ago

      To be honest I don't believe that ex can be friends before.

      But it is good to be friends, there will be a chance of being sweet again. And have a second chance.

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      Ruben 7 years ago

      These advices will enlight people even in most hopeless situation. I also appreciate some wonderful tips at

    • glassvisage profile image

      glassvisage 7 years ago from Northern California

      I think you're right... You shouldn't have to be a back-up!

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      smonky 7 years ago

      id really like to be friends with my ex. but she is in a place of confusion. she has feelings and is physical with me but is "in love" with a married man that has kids. i cant be her back up, not even on a friend level. im going to give it some time, a couple months most likely. hopefully by then ill either be over it, or maybe she will be and we can work something out.

    • glassvisage profile image

      glassvisage 7 years ago from Northern California

      This is how I used to be... I'd overthink and I would stay stuck on things until it was all I'd think about. Now I try to distance myself from things like that and it makes me feel better.

    • Chriss101 profile image

      Chriss101 7 years ago


      Thank you for your info im sure your right!. my problem is i over think things.

      one thing i did not say in my last post was ive allways had feelings for her.

      and i gess that why other relationships never worked out for me..

    • glassvisage profile image

      glassvisage 7 years ago from Northern California


      Any input on this from others would be great, but to me it seems that she is probably surprised by what you had said. I would say wait before writing back or anything, I can't say how long to wait, but don't put on too much pressure.

    • Chriss101 profile image

      Chriss101 7 years ago

      When I was 18yr I was madly in love with this girl, she was my first love...

      One day she sent me a letter saying she can’t love me coz she has lots off Exam’s to think about. I was so crushed; I sent her a letter the next day, the day after that I felt so bad that I sent that bad letter. Anyway I got on with my life meeting new girls and dating, the problem was I could never give my heart to girls and the relationships did not last. Years past and then I met this girl that I married, we had 2 children, and the marriage did not last too. For 10years I did not want to get into another relationship and now im 46year old. One day I was talking to my friend about old girlfriends and he said you should see if you can find you ex on facebook, so I looked on facebook and typed her name in, she was the only girl that came up in the search, "what the chances of that". I sent her an email and she replied back saying she remembers me and my family and ask how is everybody, that day I was on cloud 9 and felt like my old self, I then sent her another email, but one of the stupid things I said was, "I kept all the letter’s you sent me they meant so much to me". 2 weeks have past and I know she’s been on facebook but still no email, I now feel that I may have upset her by saying about them dam letters, I really like to be friends with her but not sure what to say or do.

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      canali 7 years ago

      i don't agree with being friends with the ex unless you first had a strong friendship to begin with...friend can become lover, but seldom can lovers become friends (cool acquaintances perhaps but seldom very good friends)

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      dayanna 7 years ago

      Yea me and my boyfriend broke up and after that he went out with another girl , him and me are really good friends after every period we play fight and stuff and he's nice to me and we made up nicknames for each other____^ , but i'll always love him ?

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      Psychic Australia 7 years ago from Australia

      It breaks your heart when you separate. So sad. But chin up and keep on going. I will give you some of my energy if you have none!

    • Gigi2 profile image

      Gigi2 7 years ago from UK

      Great hub indeed and very wise. I am very good friends with my ex husband. It has helped us and the kids enormously and enabled us to move on with our lives.

    • glassvisage profile image

      glassvisage 7 years ago from Northern California

      Thank you, AEFrancisco! Glenda, it sounds like this is working out better than when you were together! ...Maybe that means it should stay that way? Who knew?

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      GlendaC 7 years ago

      Good article and feedback. I am friends with my ex husband. We have 3 kids together and there is every reason to work out what we can.

      I broke up with my boyfriend of many years 3 months ago. I was not a priority and he constantly forgot dates, important events, to call when he said he would, to ask how an important dr appointment had gone. He broke up with me because "he could never meet my expectations." He now tells everyone that we are friends and that he will always love me. Funny thing is that about 2 weeks after the breakup I got more attention than when we were a couple; he calls and emails about any little thing, even asks about my dog's health! He dates a lot of women but was still using me as his emotional "home base." I had to cut off communication just to stay sane. I need some time to figure out what's in this friendship for me.

    • aefrancisco profile image

      aefrancisco 7 years ago from somewhere down the road

      "...but I am happy in general with how things turned out. Now we talk regularly, friendly, and can be around each other without being awkward, like... friends."

      I am happy for you. :)

      Your hub is great. It's very inspiring.

      Thanks so much for sharing.

    • glassvisage profile image

      glassvisage 8 years ago from Northern California

      Esllr, thanks for offering this additional perspective on relationships with exes. I didn't even consider this, but it's a huge issue.

      I'm glad you were able to be happy for yourself and to realize what you really want.

    • esllr profile image

      esllr 8 years ago

      Please read this hub about a woman was battered because she stayed and married a man that no longer respected her. Then be strong enough and gather some SELF esteem and make your self happy to meet another happy deserving person.

      I once dated a man that all of a sudden didn't feel the same way about me our relationship was ruined.

      Now years later he wants to be my husband and for a year now has been trying to get me back.

      I had to become happy for myself first, low self esteem is not attractive nor is abuse or disrespect.

    • glassvisage profile image

      glassvisage 8 years ago from Northern California

      Angel, he doesn't sound worth it at all. When people are deliberately cruel like that, it just goes to show there really are better fish in the sea if you're willing to look.

      Peter, I agree! Not doing so can cause a world of trouble.

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      Peter atta gyamfi 8 years ago

      I think being A friend to your ex is a good idea.But when you are in another relationship,then i will advise you be a friend of you partner. nothing more or less

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      Angel  8 years ago

      I broke up 2 months back.We were together for 2 years.He has betrayed me,been rude ,mean everything possible..But i still love him! We decided to be friends aftr the break up.. But he neglects me totally.He knows how important it is for me to talk to him so that i can concentrate on my studies and future but still.. he wdn't even try.Pls gimme a way to keep myself happy..i'm ruining my life.I take care of all his emotional needs.. i can't stop that and be like him.what should i do ?

    • glassvisage profile image

      glassvisage 8 years ago from Northern California

      Friendship isn't for every broken-up couple... I don't have the desire to be friends with my last ex, and I think he's okay with that too. If that's not what they want, then it's not meant to be; if it is, then it will happen in time. In my experience, three months isn't long at all... I was shot down by a friend, and it's been almost a year and a half.

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      NessaA 8 years ago

      My boyfriend and I broke up about 3 months ago. It's been really tough and I would love to talk to him but he has absolutelt no desire to be friends with me and says he needs time. I thought 3 months was a lot of time. I guess he just really does not want to maintain a friendship..

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      Mosaicinmotion 8 years ago

      My guy broke up with me, connected with my replacement even before his final move out date....did not let the dust settle as he claimed was his intention...that REALLY hurt....and then after only a couple weeks, bought her some sexy underwear. I guess he likes the thrill of the chase, and has a pattern of breaking someones heart about every 'six months" - but Gosh, when there are children involved it just seems cruel. He said he misses our "friendship". I was a wonderful lover too and i find that the way he exited created a sense of disrespect that renders me unable to continue on as "Friends'... am i being childish when i do realize how rare cherished friends really are?

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      blong72 8 years ago

      its pretty hard to stay friends after a breakup with someone for sure. again like someone else said its a personal choice.

    • lakenjrat profile image

      lakenjrat 8 years ago

      I don't think you should become friends with your ex. Their your ex for a reason. And if it didn't work out when yall were in a relationship, why would you wanna become friends with them. And you know yall don't wanna hear about who yall dating now and stuff. And what else can yall talk about besides when yall used to date. That's not gonna do anything but bring back memories

    • glassvisage profile image

      glassvisage 8 years ago from Northern California

      Fair enough!

    • stricktlydating profile image

      StricktlyDating 8 years ago from Australia

      My ex was a cheat too, not someone I'd want to stay friends with! Look honestly, it's a personal choice, but sometimes they just don't deserve to be your friend afterwards!

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      pqc19 8 years ago

      it depends! i am good friends with most of my exes but not with the other because when your ex cheats, you're not to remain friends. Its pathetic!

    • glassvisage profile image

      glassvisage 8 years ago from Northern California

      That's an unusual story, Rthoughts, but very honest and I appreciate that you shared it! Thanks to you and Ebower!

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      Erin Bower 8 years ago from Georgia

      Good advice!

    • Rthoughts profile image

      Rthoughts 8 years ago

      I have a fiancé and a daughter and i still love my ex but there is a difference from loving someone and being in love. i'll always be there for her. her last boyfriend died in a crash recently not even 3 months ago and i feel terrible. But there are some ex's that leave that good memory and i will support her till the end

    • glassvisage profile image

      glassvisage 8 years ago from Northern California

      Thank you both for bringing up a good point: sometimes it's best not to be friends with an ex, for whatever reason. I admit that I'm friends with one but not another.

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      nicolecc 8 years ago

      I loved him like no other. I am still in love with him. I would've been his wife. I am still in love with him. I broke up with him not because I wanted but because I had to. He has issues with jealousy and possessiveness and anger. I am still in love with him. I cannot be just friends with him.

    • fionacassim profile image

      fionacassim 8 years ago from Ireland

      Yep, tried to be friends with an ex for the good I once saw in him, but quickly realised that all that good was gone. Such is life, eh? At least I was around to catch the glimpse of someone good :)

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      TimJJackson 8 years ago

      great post. Many people do not believe you can be friends with your ex, but my exwife is still my best friend. Anyone can do it if they are willing to put aside their ego and talk with their ex about how they feel.

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      glassvisage 8 years ago from Northern California

      Thanks for sharing your stories, everyone! They're all different, which shows that it can be difficult to give advice, as manwhisperer explained. I think there are common threads... Basically, breaking up can cause you to do crazy things! I'm friends with one of my exes, but not the other

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      dohn121 8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      I really truly believed that the two of us were going to spend the rest of our lives together. Everything seemed to be in motion. We dated through college and then she dropped the bomb on me: Poof! It was over. Once I thought to buy her an engagement ring to get her back! How delusional was that? I'm not certain that we can be friends. Everything is so complicated, as she's now married and has a daughter...Life goes on, right?

    • manwhisperer profile image

      manwhisperer 8 years ago

      I'm good friends with most of my exes - but we had to reset the relationship and start again. Because we had to work out new ways to relate to each other.

      The funny thing is they ring me to ask me advice on their current girlfriends/wives - and a few times I've given the advice to help them deal with whatever bad behaviour they did - and thought to myself 'phew! Thank god i'm not with him!'

    • Sexy jonty profile image

      Sexy jonty 8 years ago from India

      I still love my ex ... for whatever good person he was .....

    • kelseyelaine profile image

      kelseyelaine 8 years ago

      i'm still best friends with my ex. I still love him but I was the one to break up with him. I love him but it just wouldn't work out. He is now in relationship and at first i was jealous and then I realized that was ridiculous

    • myslykemeeh profile image

      myslykemeeh 8 years ago from Canada

      Well, being friend with an ex- is cool but getting back with him isn't cool. Friendship is just safe as it.