Is It Ok to Be Friends with an Ex?

Story By Caitlin Paroczai

It is an irrefutable fact that relationships end. You date someone. Maybe you are fifteen, maybe you are twenty-five. One minute you are having the time of your life strolling down the beach, fingers entwined, singing INXS ‘Never Tear Us Apart’. Then somewhere along the line, things go wrong and bam. It is over. Romantically, at least.

But what if you don’t want to cut that person out of your life? What if you actually want to be friends? You know, change the tune from ‘Never Tear us Apart’ to ‘I’ll Be There For You’. Can you and your ex eventually be… friends?

It’s a question that has been hotly debated since the beginning of time. Let’s meet the teams, shall we?

Team NO: Uhh being friends with your ex is a recipe for disaster. You ended your relationship for a reason. Do you really think your next partner will be okay with you being friends with your ex? It’s so suspicious! Plus, one person will always be hoping to rekindle the romance. #Breakupandbreakaway.

Team YES: Friendship is built on trust, mutual respect for one another and common ground. If you ended your relationship on good terms, you and your ex could have all the elements for a perfect friendship! As long as both people are on the same page, it can definitely work. You’d also want to hope that your new partner would trust you enough to know that you ended the relationship for a reason and you are just friends. #Fromflingtofriends.

Both teams offer fair points. Personally though, I gotta say I am on Team YES.

I have maintained a friendship with my high-school boyfriend. We have been friends for seven years, dating for around two years when we were between the ages of sixteen and eighteen. Since breaking up back in 2014, we have maintained a really amazing friendship. He has met my (now) boyfriend, celebrated my 21st with me and I still consider him to be one of my closest friends.

Of course, this has been met with criticism. A lot of people just don’t get it, going as far as to say that it is disrespectful to my current boyfriend (who has absolutely no issue with it because he trusts me).

Here’s the thing though. Our breakup was amicable. We dated when we were SIXTEEN. We were babies! Furthermore, our relationship had grown out of a friendship that was established long before we dated.

In losing a boyfriend, I gained a friend that already knew everything about me.

I am not saying being friends with an ex is without its challenges. It can be super awkward to establish boundaries, especially at the beginning. But as long as communication is kept open and both people are on the same page, I really don’t see what the big deal is.

Considering this, it is equally as important to know when NOT to be friends with an ex. If the relationship didn’t end well or your ex has expressed a desire to rekindle your romance, it probably isn’t the best idea to stay friends. You don’t want to lead them on.

Or if you are staying friends with the hope of it eventuating into something more, it might be time to re-evaluate your motives for staying friends.

Obviously staying friends with an ex can be a touchy subject and each person will hold their own unique view based on their personal experiences. If you have an interesting story about staying friends with an ex (or not) I would love to hear it!

xo Caitlin

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