Friends with an ex: do's and don'ts

Friends with an ex: do's and don'ts

By Stephanie Haase Friday, July 5, 2013 - 07:30
Being friends with your ex can be fun and rewarding or a recipe for disaster. There are no fool-proof guidelines to becoming and staying friends with an ex – but this week's do's and don'ts does come pretty close!


  • Give it time If you have just broken up recently, it's a good idea to give your ex and yourself some time to get over each other before you even consider being friends. Break-ups happen for a reason, and both of you will need time to heal and get over any anger or disappointment you have. There are no real guidelines as too how long you should wait until you get in touch with your ex again, but six months seems like a reasonable period. But rather wait a bit longer than try to jump at an attempt too early. And remember: you can't force friendship. Sometimes a break up is so painful there’s no realistic chance of ever being friends – that’s something only you can judge.
  • Try it, it may be worth it Chances are you spent a good chunk of your life with your ex. You share the same interests, friends and hobbies. You have a lot in common and that's a great starting point for a friendship. So if you parted amicably or you think you can get over the reasons for your break-up, trying to be friends can be very rewarding. But be picky, too. If you know that the differences between you while dating were too big, the same might happen in a friendship. It's not worth getting hurt twice!
  • Include your new partner That doesn't mean your new partner should be right next to you every time you talk to or see your ex. But a major reason for jealousy is your partner still being cosy with their ex. So if you are still friends with your ex, it's a good idea to be honest about it to your new partner. Tell them that you are just friends, share your plans of meeting your ex, and maybe introduce them. Doing all this will save you, your ex and your new partner a lot of headaches and maybe even fights.


  • Treat it like a real relationship You need to realize that you are no longer in a relationship, so don't treat your friendship the same way as the relationship. That means no flirting, no cuddling, no late-night cute text messages. Because that will make it much more difficult to keep clear boundaries and rules. It's all too easy to fall back into old patterns with your ex. This is especially dangerous if you’re in a new relationship.
  • Get jealous Let's face it, when you see your ex with a new partner it always hurts a bit. But you are only truly over an ex when you can be happy for them. That includes being happy when they have a new partner. Nobody wants you to be over the moon of course, but if you are feeling very jealous, it may be a sign that you are not really over your ex and maybe there are some feelings left. And if that's the case, being friends might not be the best idea.
  • Have sex with the ex Well, you can have sex with the ex. But just remember that it can get very awkward! If neither of you is in a relationship, it might seem like a good idea to have sex with your ex – you know each other, you know what the other likes, and so on. But having sex might complicate your friendship. Even if you’re sure of your feelings, can you be sure that your ex doesn't get his or her hopes up again? And if either of you is in a relationship, sex and cheating will jeopardize it. So before you get too cosy between the sheets, consider the consequences!

Have you got a tip to add to the list? A bad or good experienc of being friends with an ex? Leave a comment here or on Facebook.

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