3 Steps How to Stay Friends With Your Ex

friends with your ex

Breakups suck. After crying, screaming and coming to your senses, you realize you may be better off without him, but are you really ready to give up that friendship? I mean, he knows you so well — you should try to stay pals, right?

Our friends at The Frisky examined four reasons we try to stay friends with an ex. Their take — if you’re clinging to an ex, one of you is secretly hoping you’ll rekindle things.

But there has to be some way we can maintain a no-strings friendship with someone who once meant so much. We turned to some of our girlfriends who’ve been there and got their tips on how to make it work … or not.

Be upfront with your feelings — and make sure he is, too

Becoming ‘just friends’ with an ex is a complicated situation, especially when one of you is still carrying a torch for the lost love. “If one person can’t dump the old feelings they have for the other, whether it’s love, hatred, jealousy, resentment or lust, you run into a problem when trying to stay friends,” said Lynne, 21. “Even if you’re able to get along after you break up, the ‘friendship’ itself is not true and genuine because of those leftover feelings.”

Factor in why (and how) you broke up

Sometimes you can be friends — eventually. But when the wound of a huge fight, two-timing or callous dumping is still fresh, the last thing you need is to try to be nice to the person who did that to you. And if you’re the one who broke a heart, don’t expect your guy to want to pal around. If the situation is less dramatic, though, the friendship can often pick up fairly soon.

“I’m speaking from experience because I am going to be going to grad school in another state, while my ex is staying home to work,” says Ashley, 22. “We decided it was best to break up due to the distance but keep our friendship going because our breakup, while hard, was for personal reasons for the both of us, separate from our relationship with each other.”

Figure out why you want to be friends

It’s important to take a step back and weigh the pros and cons of this friendship actually working. Sometimes the reason you want to stay friends isn’t really healthy: You want some sort of validation for all the years you put into the relationship, or you think it’ll make you feel less guilty about moving on, or you’re still hung up on the guy. Sometimes it’s better to say goodbye to the memory altogether than work on a relationship that ultimately holds you back.

“I think you can remain civil and friendly, but being friends in the long run just doesn’t work,” said Tara, 25. “Somewhere down the road both of you will end up in new relationships. When you have had an intimate relationship with a person, the boundaries of the friend zone have been breached and you can’t just go back to pretending like you were never boyfriend and girlfriend, which isn’t fair to your new partners.”

Tell us: Do you think it’s possible to maintain a friendship with an ex? Have you tried it? How did it work out?


  1. I really don’t think you can become friends right away, maybe after time passes, and then again, sometimes it doesn’t work even after a long period of time. I’ve been there recently and have learned that especially when the chemistry and connection were right at the start, it’s hard to have only a friendship with a past love. In reality, and it’s a bit hard in the beginning, even after the two have met others, when you do meet, the connection and chemistry is still there. Over time, it may or may not fade, that is why you have to stay away and pursue different paths and have no connection whatsoever. If it’s in the cards, then it will come back, if not, we live and learn ….. 🙂

  2. I totally agree with you. Besides the word “ex” means out. Obviously, it didn’t work out for a reason. Also, I believe the only way to be friends with an ex is really because you didn’t like that person. I don’t see or believe that two people who really cared or care for someone could look past the romance. It’ll always be there. If there never was romance or strong feelings involved then that’s the only way two people can stay friends after a relationship. I hate all my exes so I wouldn’t try being friends with any of them. As for one of my exes I truly loved I don’t think either of us could just be friends. I don’t think he could look past romance. I could look past the romance but I don’t think he could go through a “friendship” the way I’d want to.

  3. In high school I was able to be friends with most all of my ex’s, but it was more from necessity than the actual want of friendship – our high school was relatively small and therefore one dated others of the same clique, so you became friends with your ex simply to make things more pleasant since you had to see them all the time with mutual friends.

    Now, since then, during and after college I’ve never become friends with any ex’s. Mostly it was bad breakups, but also I just never wanted to remain friends with them. There is one fellow I dated and tried to remain friends with, but it didn’t happen at all. I would call myself “acquiantances” with him now, only because it’s been about 5 years and he’s moved, so if we happen to run into each other on a RARE occaison we can be civil because we (aka he) moved on

  4. […] If you still feel emotionally vulnerable or would like to have a rebound, then reconsider dating before you finalize your divorce. Dating can make you feel even more insecure than you already feel. If your new fling decides to break it off, this could really hurt your feelings. It’s also not nice for your new friend to keep on hearing about your ex. It could make them feel that you are not over your ex. […]