Can you be friends with an ex?

28 Mar

Dear Losers,

Can you be friends with an ex?

Christine, 18

Dear Reader,

Yes. Friends with ben-e-fits! (Cue obnoxious laughter)

GQ Magazine April 2009

I’m kidding. Honestly, it depends on SO many things.

1. What this ex-boyfriend wants from you.

2. How long and seriously you dated.


3. How psycho he is, or you are.

If your answers to questions 1 through 3 sound a lot like,

1. He still wants to date me.

2. We dated the first 3 seasons of Teen Mom.


3. He’s psycho. And so am I.

Then no, you probably can’t. You should probably stay far away from each other.  Or communicate through a plexiglass wall.

Some people have strong and unyielding opinions on this topic. They will say, “No, never! Sell his stuff on ebay and pretend he never existed!”

Others will say, “Of COURSE you can! Stay his friend so you won’t feel bad keeping that Tiffany’s necklace!”

But it really depends on the relationship. Some people can pull off staying friends with their exes with great style. They make it look easy.  Other people get fire in their eyes at the mere mention of their ex.

The problem is a lot of people want to stay friends because it’s hard to break up. You dated for awhile and then all of the sudden you never speak? Then he puts you on Facebook limited profile view? Then he doesn’t even acknowledge your presence at school?? Um, RUDE! You did NOT sign up for this!

It’s a strange and stressful transition.

And to make matters more confusing,  during the break up, one or both parties actually utters the words, I think we are better off as friends.  Sometimes they mean it. Other times, they heard someone say it in a movie and thought, Cool! So that’s what people say in breakups! (As they pull out a notepad)

No Strings Attached 2011

But don’t panic. Staying friends can work, depending on your maturity level. I saw these people on The Today Show – two of them were a couple, and the other woman was his ex-wife, and they told Al Roker,

“We’re all best friends!”

Wt$@*%!  Wow.  How modern and yet also, very Sister Wives of you.

Then there is everyone else.

Some exes will pull the friend card just to keep trying to get back together with you. They’ll spell your name in fire on your front lawn and when you ask them to politely put it out and go away, they yell,

“But I thought we were FRIENDS!!! YOU JERK!”

Then you yell back,

“FRIENDS don’t makeout with FRIENDS, JERK!” (Window slam.) (Window open.)  “Okay, well some do.  But I DON’T!” (Second window slam.)

Sadly, the “I thought we were friends” threat (and arson) works on some people. How many times have you heard a girl say,

“I know, but I feel bad! And we said we’d stay friends and always be there for each other.”

Yes. That’s very sweet. But he’s watching you on Google Earth. He wrote you a poem and even tea stained it and burned the edges to make it look antique.


He doesn’t want to be your friend. So stop letting him hold you hostage for it.

As strange as it sounds, when it comes to the opposite sex, love is not always a solid foundation for a friendship. So figure out what works for you and your ex. You have to do what is healthy for you and your future relationships. If he’s still in love with you, or you’re still in love with him, you might want to wait until things cool down. Then, if you want to be friends, great. If you don’t, that’s okay too.

And it doesn’t mean you can’t be friendly. Yes, some exes are hostile. But some high-five, or text you on your birthday.

Elle Magazine

And others become besties like that trio on The Today Show.


6 Responses to “Can you be friends with an ex?”

  1. Valerie March 28, 2011 at 2:15 pm #

    Great post as always!

    I’ve definitely gotten extremes on this. One of my exes (who cheated on me with my former best friend, yay!) tried to pull the best friend card on me several times, then did a 180 and decided to start trashing me and even deleted me from Facebook. Then I had the ex who was initially clingy, then got ahold of himself after some time apart and became one of my close friends. Although I wouldn’t consider him my best friend, it’s nice to have a friend who knows you differently than the rest of your friends (as in, he knows what you are like in a relationship) and we can still talk about things but I think we’re more honest with each other now because we aren’t together. We were actually helping each other out with relationship stuff yesterday. I definitely wouldn’t go on any double dates with him any time soon, but he’s good to have around as a friend.

    I think this definitely has to be answered on a case-by-case basis, though. Some exes are crazy!

  2. Don March 29, 2011 at 9:27 am #

    I think it’s possible for former lovers to be friends…but some time has to lapse. I’m friends with two of the three people who broke my heart into a million pieces. The third is just a fool so there’s no need to be friends with him but the first two are beautiful people. I’m happy to still see in both of them (one a her and one a him) the things that made me love each of them in the first place. For her, she was my first love love…23 years ago. For him, he was my first man love…12 years ago.

    It’s possible with the right person. Have faith you youngsters. Oh yeah, and choose wisely. That helps. 🙂

  3. Stop Being a Loser March 30, 2011 at 6:03 pm #

    So agreed. It depends on the ex, and how you are feeling. Thanks for commenting Valerie and Don!!! You guys are awesome. 🙂

  4. Kember September 1, 2011 at 7:52 pm #

    I was friends with my ex and would mess around and now we are dating again. So I would say you can be but it can end up crazy and confussing

  5. Missing Your Ex March 31, 2012 at 7:26 pm #

    I think you can not be friends with an ex, unless it is someone that you knew for a long time before you started dating.
    That being said, I think it is possbile to make up with your ex after a long time, if that’s what you’re after…


  1. Is there a way to hint to a guy you’ve dated that you’re no longer interested? « Stop Being a Loser - September 9, 2011

    […] Can you be friends with an ex? […]

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