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Show ALL Forums  > Broken Hearts  > Q&A: When is it OK to be friends with an ex?      Home login  
Joined: 2/13/2007
Msg: 1
Q&A: When is it OK to be friends with an ex?Page 1 of 2    (1, 2)
I get asked this question a lot. After spending some time pondering the question, here are my thoughts.

If you have moved on emotionally and there is some benefit to being friends with your ex, then I think that's fine. If you can look at them and not being reminded of having your heart broken, you're over them. If you can date someone new and not be reminded of things you did with your ex, you're over them. If you can think of them in the throws of passion with someone else and it doesn't bother you, you're over them.

If any of the above does not apply, then I don't see any reason to be friends with your ex. I also believe exs are selfish. They want you to be their friend for several reasons.

1. They want an easy way to relieve their guilt. Being your buddy eases any tension and they don't have to feel guilty ("See, he/she's doing fine!")
2. They want you around as a backup plan in case all their other love interest fall through. If you like accepting table scraps of attention from the people you love, then this option is for you.
3. You meet some emotional or physical need for your ex that isn't being met by the one they're with now. This is the worst of them all because you are really just being used. Your exs needs are being met by you while your needs go unmet. Fair? I think not.

I can think of a million reasons to not be friends with an ex but only you can really decide that. My best suggestion is to read the first paragraph a few times. If none of those apply to you, it's best to keep your ex out of your life. After all, if they're the one who walked away you are under no obligation to let them back into your life. You owe them nothing.

Personally I've never stayed friends with exs. Either the ones that dumped me or the ones that I have dumped simply because it makes it easier to move on with someone new when you "throw out the old trash", so to speak.

Joined: 12/20/2008
Msg: 2
Q&A: When is it OK to be friends with an ex?
Posted: 1/30/2009 9:46:55 AM
Thank you for starting this thread. I have mentioned this subject a few times on another. I have had more than one relationship get snagged on the hooks of an ex (theirs). One thing to add to the reasons they keep in contact is they like to demonstrate their power (or try to) to "get you back". They know your new boyfriend/girlfriend, they have their special little language they will always try to invoke. They will try to call the person back to some memory. They are trouble makers whether they intend to be or not. Yes, they are selfish.

Now, people attach guilt to the person who wants to keep their relationship clean. I have been called jealous, insecure, etc.: hogwash. It' is because I get over the person and get healthy again.

Someone very close to me had this happen just yesterday. Her guy had been texting an ex with suggestive, flirty messages. Why?

I believe people who keep ex's in their lives aren't really ready for the real thing. For something permanent. It is an absolute guarantee you can get out of the relationship if your ex is communicating with you. I had a GUY teach me this. He said, when I gave him my ex call (I used to indulge my vanity with calling ex's) that he was involved with someone, it was just beginning, he wanted to give it a chance. He told me keeping in touch with old flames just pollutes your future. My respect went up for him so much, I decided to live the rest of my life not indulging that practice any more.

My last boyfriend - 2 1/2 years - was actually asking relationship advice from an ex!
Now he's an ex. The ex doesn't really want to see you happy, after all, you didn't make it with them, so why should you with someone new.

I was actually written to by a guy on POF who said if I was this rulesy about things, no guy would want to write to me. I say, "great!" I hope this filter works. I hope it filters out people who will be hurting me.

This comment (no guys will want to write to me) when I wrote that I do have a rule, If you have been naked with them (an ex), no contact until we see what is in the future for us. I don't want my guy in contact with a woman he has slept with, period. Too rulesy, I call it healthy boundaries.
Joined: 4/5/2008
Msg: 3
Q&A: When is it OK to be friends with an ex?
Posted: 1/30/2009 10:26:25 AM
I have a whole different perspective in regards to my ex. I believe your original question was when do you feel you are ready to be friends with your ex, correct?

For me it didn't happen until about a year after we had divorced. Initially I was angry at him because of all of the legal issues we had to work through.
When this resolved itself, we were both ready to get on with our lives.

I don't harbor any hopes of getting back together with him, or sending him flirty messages.
Right now we are both involved in other relationships and it has been three years since our divorce.

It really befuddles me how someone cannot be friends with their ex. Hell, for twenty years he was the one friend I knew I could count on, and nothing has changed. He is still a good friend.
We both realized that we were looking for other things out of life.
I appreciate and value my friendship with him. I hope he feels the same.

I have been told that this relationship is not NORMAL. You know what I have to say about that statement? THANK YOU!!!
Joined: 12/20/2008
Msg: 4
Q&A: When is it OK to be friends with an ex?
Posted: 1/30/2009 11:08:28 AM
It says on your profile, you have children. A 20 year marriage, I may be foolishly assuming your children are with this man. This is a very important exception.

However, if you fall into the "he's my best friend" category with an ex husband, you probably gave up your marriage before you should have. Keeping your ex husband as your best friend (I have been in a relationship with someone who had this relationship) simply means, there will not be room for the new relationship to be the best friend.

I'm not trying to lay down unreasonable ideals here. Sometimes, the love is just not over. I can guarantee, as you two enjoy this close, intimate relationship, minus your marital status, the people you date and are in serious relationships will feel, at some point, like it is too crowded. I think you already know what I mean. I DON'T want someone's ex wife giving relationship advice regarding me and my guy. I don't want my life and experience with this man discussed with her. I don't think I am being unreasonable, and I know, for a fact, ex's do this.

That is not to say a friendly relationship, when there are kids between you, isn't a great idea. I am mostly talking about people who drag around relationships/friends, they were only in for several months or a few years, no marriage involved. I have a girlfriend who is seeking to be "friends" with someone she dated for three months. She got physically involved and now - I think - it's about damage control. This is in lieu of taking things at a pace that is sound.

It's a little creepy when you're in a special moment with a guy and his exwife/best friend calls. I do acknowledge there is a distinct difference.
Joined: 9/6/2008
Msg: 5
view profile
Q&A: When is it OK to be friends with an ex?
Posted: 1/30/2009 11:55:29 AM
I am best friend with my ex we just could not see eye to eye on a number of things.It has worked out fine ,It does not bother him if I see other men and it does not bother me if he sees other women.Although we are older 67 and 69 I guess we are more experienced in the ways of life.We broke up with no hard feelings and still remained friends that was 2 years ago .I guess to each his own way of thinking and whether you think you can handle it or not.In our case it was a mutual agreement.I guess if we had been hurt we may not have stayed friends.
Joined: 4/5/2008
Msg: 6
Q&A: When is it OK to be friends with an ex?
Posted: 1/30/2009 12:54:05 PM
Yes you are correct when you state that my ex is the father of my two wonderful children.
It was for this reason that we stayed married as long as we did.
I have to smile when you say that I must have given up on my marriage before I should have. That is truly funny to me for I remained for twenty years and at the end, yes, we have chosen to remain friends.

I harbor no ill will for him, and I only wish him happiness and hope that he finds the one true love I was unable to give him.
In fact, I helped him write his profile here on POF.... it may be an unusual concept for you but it works wonderfully for us.

I am currently involved in a magical relationship with another man., and he knows that my ex and I are friends. He is very open minded and happy that I can see past the pain of divorce and realize that, in the end, my ex and I are friends first and foremost.

The one statement you made that I really take offense to is the "you two enjoy this close, INTIMATE, relationship..."
No dear we do not share an intimate friendship. This is where most folks go off track.

So, I choose to remain positive and loving towards a man whom I consider my friend.
I am sorry if you have so many people in your life that you cannot value a rare friendship and discount it so frivolously.
I do wish you well, and I know that there will be tons of folks who will never get this...
it is beyond their scope of understanding.
Good luck.
Joined: 12/20/2008
Msg: 7
Q&A: When is it OK to be friends with an ex?
Posted: 1/30/2009 1:45:04 PM
When I say intimate, I refer to all things non physical that have to do with access to your thoughts, heart, soul. That is intimacy. The physical part is an expression of the love and intimacy two people have built. I was not implying a physical act.

You are speaking from the point of view of the two ex partners. I am surprised you took offense, I began my comments with the exception of people who have been married (other poster included on the ex husband group)and have children together. I clarified my comments explaining that many of these people who keep their ex's in their lives after a few months or a couple of years.

I am giving this view to you from the new person who hopes to have a relationship. You said your ex was your best friend. Wouldn't the man who is with you want to have that role should you proceed into a marriage? I'm not talking about older people who want to date the rest of their lives.

I respect you both (posters) for having such wonderful relationships with ex husbands.
Again, not talking about that, and I don't think the OP was either. You should be commended on keeping things nice with kids you share.
 James Bottomtooth III
Joined: 5/19/2008
Msg: 8
Q&A: When is it OK to be friends with an ex?
Posted: 1/30/2009 2:20:53 PM

...When is it OK to be friends with an ex?....

When you are both adult enough to deal with it.
Joined: 4/5/2008
Msg: 9
Q&A: When is it OK to be friends with an ex?
Posted: 1/30/2009 2:58:11 PM
Ahhh raceme.... I was a bit too hasty in my reply. For this I apologize.
Joined: 12/6/2008
Msg: 10
view profile
Q&A: When is it OK to be friends with an ex?
Posted: 1/30/2009 4:45:27 PM
When is it ok to be friends with your ex?????
When there is respect, and no expectations of each other.
Joined: 12/20/2008
Msg: 11
Q&A: When is it OK to be friends with an ex?
Posted: 1/30/2009 5:04:49 PM
No worries, Principerro. I wish my ex-husband would have had the attitude you and yours share. It would have made finishing raising the kids easier for the kids.

I was making earlier comments about how ex girlfriends and boyfriends just call to see how you're doing and start flirting - trying to see if you still have anything for them. They don't ever intend to do harm, so they say. I don't know. I just went through this one again, my best friend, too. I suppose my seemingly unmovable position is because I have always let them have their way. I am learning it's a red flag, for me.
Joined: 11/30/2008
Msg: 12
Q&A: When is it OK to be friends with an ex?
Posted: 1/30/2009 6:52:13 PM
I am on cordial terms with an ex boyfriend. I remained friends with another ex lover who has since died from cancer and I was able to be with him near the end. My way of making amends, I guess. Two other men broke up with me and when a door is slammed in my face, I don't go back for more, that's when I can be very, very cold. No further contact. My Leo pride. I don't have children with anyone so that is not an issue.
Joined: 3/30/2008
Msg: 13
Q&A: When is it OK to be friends with an ex?
Posted: 2/9/2009 11:59:09 AM
Hmmm...not disagreeing with your "test" at all...but not quite sure it is so black and white.

I stay "friends" with nearly ALL of my exxes. (boyfriends, not husband...only have one of those!) By this, it usually means we are civil. We still email or IM most likely...we can share social circles if that is the case.

I am still friends with one ex who was THE great love for me. We have shared about 7 years together, four of which were romantic.

Neither one of us wants to SEE the other in the throes of passion with someone else, but we wish the other nothing but happiness. It's just something you do not want to THINK ABOUT or VISUALIZE. Kinda like...well, I wish nothing but a healthy sexual relationship on my kids, as well...but I certainly do not need to envision such! LOL

The other ones are kinda iffy for me, as well. I mean....sometimes something else is going to remind me of my is not an just happens. I am sometimes reminded of an ex I DESPISE as well...but I am sooo over him. LOL

The only one I CAN to look at him and not be reminded of my heartbreak. But THAT is about forgiveness. :) And we CAN be friends...but we just have to be SMART about such. We CAN fool ourselves into thinking we can be more, as well.
Joined: 3/6/2009
Msg: 14
Q&A: When is it OK to be friends with an ex?
Posted: 5/9/2009 7:40:05 PM
Answer is never.
Joined: 10/6/2006
Msg: 15
Q&A: When is it OK to be friends with an ex?
Posted: 5/9/2009 10:16:04 PM
It's helpful when a child's involved, but over all it just doesn't seem to work. Someone always seems to want to get back together in some form or another.
Joined: 3/30/2008
Msg: 16
Q&A: When is it OK to be friends with an ex?
Posted: 5/10/2009 8:03:01 AM
Bklynrebel...I know that Leo pride, all too well!

I just think it is wrong to lump ALL exxes or even "most" into one category. Even in my profile, I state (or used to...hella! I change it up so often!) that I stay friends with nearly ALL of my "exxes."

Most certainly, some, might have ulterior motives...but essentially they have decided that having one another in our lives as a friend, is better than a relationship that is not going to work, or not at all. Not just for children's sakes, either...I am actually NOT friends with my my children are grown.

Sometimes it is a matter of just waiting a healthy amount of TIME before embarking on said friendship. I needed a couple of years to get to a point of being able to be a friend with my great love...without it restarting the cycle of healing, all over again. Now, he can come by to catch up, for a meal, chit chat on the phone, and yes...even reminensce...without my (or his) having to start the healing process all over.
Joined: 7/11/2008
Msg: 17
Q&A: When is it OK to be friends with an ex?
Posted: 5/10/2009 8:15:19 PM
I have not remained friends with the majority of my exes save for four. One of them, we were friends since we were 3 yrs old so the friendship was always there first. The other three, the relationship ended mutually on good amicable terms, mind you, it took 6 months at the very least to almost 2 years of no contact so that we both could feel like normal people again.
Joined: 12/23/2008
Msg: 18
view profile
Q&A: When is it OK to be friends with an ex?
Posted: 5/11/2009 11:08:42 AM
My Vietnamese ex contacted me out of the blue after 2 years. Said she felt bad about not returning my calls, wanted to hang out...blah blah blah...I wasn't seeing anyone at the time and felt exceedingly lonely, so I said "sure" and we started hanging out...

Quickly, the old temptations to be MORE than JUST friends quickly surfaced and we were all over each other like hot sheets. The same old problems kept resurfacing, like me becoming too emotionally needy and her being emotionally disconnected...wanted me around because I helped her feel beautiful when she was feeling old...ECH...not enough foundation there for long-lasting MUTUAL happiness. We eventually grew tired of each other (again) and drifted apart. She'll probably call me again in two more years...
 Uncle Fist
Joined: 12/18/2006
Msg: 19
Q&A: When is it OK to be friends with an ex?
Posted: 5/11/2009 2:12:35 PM
I'm still friends with most of the women I've dated. In fact, most of my female friends are people I have some kind of history with.

Personally, if I'm going to be friends with a female, I'd rather it be somebody I've already dated. That way all the sexual tension has been explored and dispelled. There's no wondering, "What if?"
Joined: 2/8/2004
Msg: 20
Q&A: When is it OK to be friends with an ex?
Posted: 5/11/2009 2:34:53 PM
WHEN is it okay? Basically, when you BOTH (not just you) don't think about each other anymore...
1. When you're tipsy at the bar, and meeting a guy or gal isn't formulating that nite, you don't get internally emotional, missing your ex at all. He or she doesn't come to your mind.

2. When thinking about the opposite sex (guys and girls), thoughts of your ex don't come to mind. You think about person #1 or person #2 you recently met at a social event who you thought was cute. When doing so, your ex doesn't even register in your thoughts, even for comparison purposes.

3. You don't have a jolt of emotion on any level any time a peer out of the blue says something about your ex ("Remember when [so-and-so] and you were...").

4. When thoughts of your ex are on the same level as thoughts of another ex from 10 years ago. In other words, it's ancient history, when it comes to your mindset & emotions.

5. You really wouldn't mind seeing them make out with someone else in front of you at the bar.

When you pass these tests, yep, it's cool to be friends with your ex! Otherwise, (sigh) drama...
Joined: 3/29/2009
Msg: 21
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Q&A: When is it OK to be friends with an ex?
Posted: 5/11/2009 4:46:41 PM
It is OK IF during the relationship your mate was respectful, compassionate, kind and not abusive. If not, having a happy ending by becoming friends post relationship is not possible because if the foundation of friendship was not present prior to the ending of the relationship, it will not be possible to establish it afterwards.
Joined: 7/16/2008
Msg: 22
Q&A: When is it OK to be friends with an ex?
Posted: 5/11/2009 4:56:15 PM
This is interesting. My stbx (soon to be ex) and I are very close friends. How close? I'm wife #3; and introduced him to wife #2 ... but, we're friends. The friendship (I believe) was the weak link in our marriage, because friends sometimes tend to take advantage of a friendship. You'll say and do things in front of friends because you can, but once you become a spouse, the things that friends may pass off as funny or okay, may be hurtful and/or presumptuous. Anyway, our divorce will be final shortly, and I see no reason why our friendship should not survive this change in our lives. However, realistically, I know that we will never be the same in any way again.

But, bottom line, if the two are mature, respectful, and open enough to grow and move on, that's wonderful. I can't guaranty that we will, but I'm praying we'll always be friends. However, the key is finding someone new in your life that will accept that friendship and not be intimidated by it. If he or she is secure and confident in your relationship, it should be fine.
Joined: 1/15/2009
Msg: 23
Q&A: When is it OK to be friends with an ex?
Posted: 5/11/2009 5:29:28 PM
OP if there's children involve, for their sake, its important to remain civil at all times if you can with your ex.

Other than that, I see no reason to remain friends with an ex if you had a long history together.

I've only remained friends with a guy whom I met here and dated briefly.
Joined: 2/13/2007
Msg: 24
Q&A: When is it OK to be friends with an ex?
Posted: 5/11/2009 5:47:02 PM
Agreed. If you have children together, be as cordial as you can when you are together in front of the kids, but there's NOTHING that says you have to be friends with an ex, even if you do have kids.
Joined: 7/1/2011
Msg: 25
Q&A: When is it OK to be friends with an ex?
Posted: 1/24/2012 6:53:05 PM
I totally agree. So many people think you have to be friends with a ex husband or wife just because you have kids. But in the long run all your doing is hurting your kids by giving them false hope of you getting back together. I think you should remain civil but not friendly.
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