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When to be Friends With an Ex Partner

Updated on August 12, 2017

I attended a party before with my friend. We were just having a good time meeting people when suddenly her ex boyfriend entered the room, approached her and talked to her casually. After the party, I asked her how they managed to become friends after the breakup. She told me that they broke up amicably and they were friends before they became a couple. And just because their relationship did not work out, it does not mean that they should stop being friends.

Of course, the situation above does not apply to everyone. It is almost impossible to be friends with someone you had a romantic history with; there is too much emotional baggages, too much hurt feelings and too much moments you have seen each other naked.

Friendship is not a consolation prize that should be offered to the dumpee so that the dumper would not feel guilty for breaking up. So the question is, under which circumstances should you be friends with your ex?

  1. There is no unfinished business - Usually the one who is suggesting to be friends has unfinished business that he or she is not owning up to it. He or she cannot commit to the relationship and yet, he or she cannot also let go of his or her partner. It will only be acceptable to be friends with your ex if both of you have moved on and not being selfish by leading someone on just because they can't let you go just yet. Would you want to be friends with someone who's selfish?
  2. The breakup is mutual - Both parties should decided that it's better to part ways when they sort of outgrew each other. Also, both took the time to heal, to be independent and to be open to new relationships. There's no unfinished business, no hurt feelings and no unsaid words. You both should have sorted your feelings out and have fully decided that being friends is the best that you two can be.
  3. Both are cool with seeing each other with someone new - It's really hard to stay friends with someone you still love but doesn't love you, and worst, seeing someone new. There is no need to be friends with your ex if you are not comfortable with the idea of them dating someone else. It's like setting yourself on fire.
  4. The breakup does not involve cheating, lying or manipulating - You cannot be friends with someone who created a void in your heart because clearly, he or she doesn't care about you and you will only prolong the pain by being friends with him or her.
  5. He or she made you a better person, in a good way - Just to be clear, this person should made you a better person by treating you right and he or she challenged you to be a better version of yourself. Everyone wants to be around someone who made him or her a better person. It is clear that he or she cares for you, knows how to treat you right and has your heart's best interest. This person is your kind of people and it's understandable that you want to hold on to him or her because of the positive impact that he or she has given you.

Lastly, consider the reason why you want to be friends with your ex. Is it because you want to revive your friendship that you have even before you became a couple? Or you're still hoping to rekindle the fire with your ex?

Basically, the decision is really up to you. But of course, the scenarios that I have mentioned could help you in deciding wisely because any breakup is painful and you need healing.


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    • MariaExcala profile image

      MariaExcala 6 months ago from Germany

      i have a friend who had a breakup with his girlfriend last February and the tension between them is still there, i can't wait to share this with them, great hub!

    • MrManifesto profile image

      MrManifesto 6 months ago from South Carolina

      Great hub! I personally like to be friends with my exes, but I'd like to keep my distance to avoid hoping for something to bloom from our friendship, we already tried and failed a number of times trying to make it work.

    • Emilea Andrews profile image

      Emilea Andrews 6 months ago from UK

      It would be hard for me to friends with that guy but I wouldn't ignore/run away from him if we ever meet, and I would prefer not to go where he goes

    • dashingscorpio profile image

      dashingscorpio 6 months ago

      "Friendship is not a consolation prize that should be offered to the dumpee so that the dumper would not feel guilty for breaking up." - Amen!

      In those situations most likely the person initiating the breakup simply doesn't want to feel like the "bad guy" and the person who was dumped secretly hopes for a "reconciliation".

      I personally believe the main factor in deciding whether to become friends or not is how much time has gone by along with how happy one is with their life and current mate/spouse.

      The best friendships between exes usually occur after there has been {a large gap in time} with no contact where both people have emotionally invested themselves in other relationships.

      Going from being "red hot lovers" to "instant platonic friends" resembling (siblings) is unrealistic and can lead to heartache.

    • Coffeequeeen profile image

      Louise Powles 6 months ago from Norfolk, England

      There's some interesting points there. Quite frankly, I don't think I'd want to be friends with any of my ex's. I've never seen any of them since anyway.