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Staying Friends With Your Exes

Photo by: Chris Sardegna

Once the dust settles and all the fiery hateful passion that led to the break up dwindles, I find it is normal to stay friends with an ex. I do believe in the beginning stages of a break-up, a no contact phase is pertinent in order for both parties to heal. The relationship needs to come to a complete stop and the routine has to be broken. Each individual must take time to no longer fill the void of a previous relationship.  

 

I am not so much a jealous person, but I am a competitive person. I have had to reprogram my mind and remind myself that I am probably the only one keeping score. Trying to gauge other people’s happiness is impossible. It is a better use of energy to just focus on my own happiness and well being. Social media creeping must be avoided at all costs. I usually hide updates on my news-feed, until I feel ready to hear about an exes life. The first few weeks or months even can be painful, if your former fling is flaunting a new relationship early on.   

 
Don’t feel bad if you can’t do it. I don’t hold on to all my ex-boyfriends. It all depends on the situation. There are men I can’t believe I even gave the time of day to, or understood what I had seen in them; there are also the ones that I really connected with and truly respect, these are the ones that I would love to maintain a friendship with. I would be upset if I never spoke to them again, because their opinions have become very valuable to me. Especially if we have a common interest or a we find we can still relate to one another.
 
Don’t Live in the Past
 
Staying friends with an ex is hard if you didn’t end on good terms. Infidelity, lying or abusive behavior can be difficult to overcome and some relationships weren’t healthy, so continuing a friendship is not good for your mental health. 
 
Everyone makes mistakes through. I  know a few guys who were young and foolish, and didn’t know how to communicate effectively. I could dwell on the hurtful things they may have done to me in the past, but there would be no point. I don’t want to relive those hurt feelings. If they have apologized, they understand how the wronged me and they don’t plan on doing it again, then what more is there to say. I have to put the past in the past and bury the metaphorical hatchet. 
 
Create a New Relationship
 
Do not text all day, or take your ex to family functions or continue to go on “friend dates” every weekend. This isn’t healthy for anyone involved. Set boundaries, and know that you will no longer be best friends, you are not meant to know all of each others secrets. You are no longer that person to them and they are no longer that person for you. A coffee every couple of months is a healthy amount of contact with an ex. 
 
Some of my exes, communicate freely with me. They can offer me relationship advice, using their personal experience from when we used to date and I can be their sounding board as well. This only works if the feelings and sexual chemistry has dissolved. It is hard to do if there are lingering feelings there. 
 
I have found with some of my exes, I don’t want to hear about their dating life. I especially do not want to hear about them making the same mistakes over and over again in their relationships. I may be over what they did to me, but I can’t keep my mouth closed while they move on to their next victim.
 
The friendship that we created has to work for both of us, and if there are some subjects that we can’t talk about, then we need to be vocal and sensor ourselves to protect each others feelings. There is no need for full disclosure.
 
Set Clear Intentions and Respect Them
 
Friends with an ex does not mean texting your ex when you are drunk and saying you miss him/her. It certainly doesn’t involve sending them sexy selfies when you are feeling low and need someone to compliment you. Don’t send mixed messages or toy with your exes emotions. Friend-zone means friend-zone, you have to close the door. 
 
My boyfriend and I had this problem. He felt there was double standards in our relationships, because I am still in contact with quite a few of my ex-bfs and I would get annoyed when his exes would reach out to him. I told him it depends on the type of contact. My exes ask how my career aspirations are going or share interesting documentaries they think I should watch or articles they think I would enjoy reading. They are respectful of my relationship, they don’t try to undermine my relationship and they know where they stand with me, and what kind of response they would get if they crossed the line.  
 
My boyfriend’s previous flings text him past midnight and ask to cuddle, or power call him when they are drunk and send him pictures of them in their undergarments, these actions are not only screaming for attention, but I don’t feel they are respectful to our relationship. A friend you talk to during the day, at appropriate hours. If they valued my boyfriend as a friend they would respect his boundaries. It seems to me that they are not on the same page. I know my boyfriend is loyal to me, and I don’t question our relationship, I question their intentions. 
 
Being friends with an ex is tricky. It is definitely determined on a case by case basis. Not everyone that walks into your life are there to stay. It is important to only choose the people that will continue to add value to your life. Let me know what your experience has been becoming friends with an ex and if you think it is a good idea. 

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  • Apple

    Hmm… Now that you mentioned, I kinda not friends with my exes.
    Didn't think it was my fault though, they de-friended me on FB and cutted me out.
    I have maybe two of them still on my FB, don't talk much though just sharing our kids' photo lol

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