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Friends with an ex: do’s and don’ts

By Steph Haase September 20, 01:06 pm
Being friends with someone you know very well can be fun and feel comfortable. But beware – old feelings and jealousy can get in the way.

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 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 experience of being friends with an ex? Leave a comment here or on Facebook.

Did you learn something new?

Tue, 12/03/2013 - 12:38 pm
on Sunday i break up with boy friend,he will came home drunken and he started fighting what should i do because am still love him,i want an advice.plz help me
Hi Vivian, what you should do is up to you. Has he ever hurt you? And how much does it bother you? Have you talked to him about this, and what does he have to say for himself? Especially if it happens a lot and he brushes it off, this could be a problem. Talk to him and ask him to change something. If he doesn't, or if he has ever hurt you, you should consider leaving him for good. Yes, this does hurt, but what you really want is a guy who loves you, and respects you, and treats you well, right?
Thu, 04/24/2014 - 09:33 pm
I broke up with ma boyfrnd sme months bck...n nw he's dating ma frnd...and also insists on us been friends..which i dnt llike....thats not all..he is still holding up some of ma stuff which he seems like he doesnt want to hand over and i really want them back what should i do?...
Hi Leslie, that's a tricky situation. Try to get your stuff back by being nice to him. And then, once you have it, you don't need to be friends with him, if you don't want to. It might be difficult because of your friend, but in the end, if you want to be friends with someone or not, is your decision. Good luck!
Hi Charles, money can play a huge role in a relationship and can also cause problems. Quarreling about money is awkward for many of us, but it still happens all the time. When you are married or in a serious relationship, you should at some point sit down with your partner and discuss each others finances and the way you spend money. If one of you is a saver and the other is a spender, you will run into an argument sooner than later. Talk about your savings, your debts and your goals, both for the short term and for the long term. If your partner wants you two to save for a house while you want to travel with your hard-earned cash, you will clash. As with all other relationship issues, good communication is the key. Be open and clear and give your partner room to do the same thing.
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