Should I stay friends with them after the break up or not? is a question many ask after ending the relationship, is it healthy or a road to hell? I believe it depends on the circumstances; if the break up was it mutual, was it because of violence, cheating, addiction, personality or falling out of love? Some reasons cut way deep that even the name of that person brings back the bad memories. If she/he cheated on you with a friend or sister/brother there is no way in hot fire or super cold water that you will remain friends with them anytime soon, that cuts deep. Would you remain friends with an ex?
Maggie says he wasted her time after years of dating with no clear path for the relationship, she left him and called her resentful but she was never speaking to him especially now that he married that girl after just a year of them dating. The time she wasted on him is not something she can recover and staying friends only brings out the worst in her, so NO.
Frank says when he loves, he puts all in the relationship for it to work, he will compromise where necessary, go out of his way to make her happy but when he’s done with the relationship he is done. No hatred but just a closed chapter, he feels he did everything there is for the relationship to work, was a friend, a brother, father, husband, spouse, confidant; he gave all he could have given to many people to this one person. Shared all with her as a friend would, defended her as a brother would, protected her as a father would, loved and nurtured as a husband, listened as a confidant… there is nothing more to give after breakup he says. Sometimes you have to close one door, and close it fully, if you want another door to open.
Research shows that on average, exes tend to have low standard relationships (friendships) as they may not be genuine with their advise or intentions, they are less emotionally supportive, less helpful, less trusting, and less concerned about the other person’s happiness. This is especially true, if the breakup wasn’t mutual. If one cheated constantly in the relationship its highly doubtful that the other will be happy for them, that kind of betrayal and disrespect does not heal that fast.
History shows a tendency to go back to the ex for sexual favours in case you remain friends, this is unhealthy especially if one is not yet over the ex, it hinders one from moving on. If your ex is still in love with you and you don’t feel the same way, the best thing you can do for them is to let them go. Spending time with them might make you feel good about yourself (we all like the attention) but it could be painful and confusing for them, especially if it gives them false hope. Even if you make it clear that you just want to be friends, it may not be clear enough to your ex, we tend to see what we want to see, and rest assured they will be on high alert for any sign of returned affection. Your best bet in this situation is probably to minimise contact and let your ex move on.
Sometimes we harbour the notion that they may change after the break up that they will stop drinking too much, they can now value us more after they know how hard it is to live without us, they will stop cheating that they will learn from their mistakes and eventually grow into the kind of partner we want. With hope for reconciliation, we think that by staying friends you’re able to keep them in your life and maybe even help them make changes and motivate them to improve but if your ex senses that it won’t be so hard to win you back, they may be more focused on trying to prove that they have changed than on making real changes, and you may be setting yourself up for more heartache. They may pretend to change but upon rekindling the love affair they go back to their old ways.
While many insist it’s not something they would do others say it’s actually healthy, a healing process; sometimes we appreciate people more when we are not expecting anything from them, as friends with this ex you are not expecting any calls or dates or financial assistance or emotional back up because he/she is just a friend thus, we may appreciate them more for the small things they do as opposed to expecting more as a girlfriend/boyfriend and getting less.
Can you really just be friends with an ex? Yes. If neither of you has ulterior motives or if your friendship doesn’t interfere in any way with your current relationship, the best test is whether you’re comfortable hanging out with your current partner and your ex together, and whether your ex’s partner is comfortable with you, it could very well work.
For some people being friends with the ex is a healing formula, we befriend them to find out what went wrong and how best we can improve in the new relationship. Sylvia who is friends with the ex says she never knew this side of him while they were dating, he was so closed off and stingy but now that they are just friends he is free with her, takes her out even pays some of her bill in case she is in a fix, calls her often to check on her admitting that he lost a fine jewel. Sylvia now in a happy relationship says, it’s partly because of the ex who made her see that their breakup wasn’t about something she did or didn’t do but because he didn’t realise what he had until he lost her that she is confident in this new relationship with no insecurities or resentment.
There also cases where you have to see them every day maybe you share a work place its best to remain cordial for your own sake. Being friendly with an ex is not bad, you can remain friendly with no animosity but not day to day close friends as it at times hinders one to move on, always feels like you have a backup plan when the new relationship doesn’t work out you have your ex’s shoulder to cry on.
There is also the occasional harmless check up on the ex, just remaining face book friends can give you a window into your ex’s life. A recent survey shows 85% admitting to checking up on an ex’s wall from time to time and 17% said they did it once a week but are happy in their respective relationships so no need to be close friends, (this however tends to increase anxiety and jealousy for some who are not yet over their exes). Some exes have gone as far as attending the others wedding because they have moved on entirely and are so happy in their current relation and grateful it ended with this person(ex)
Staying friends with an ex maybe unhealthy for many reasons but with clear boundaries and motives, it can work out harmlessly.