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Is Being Friends With My Ex Dumb? Or Does It Mean I'm Mature

We’ve all been there before: You just had a breakup with someone (you thought at one point would be the one), and they say, “I’d like to still be friends.”

Now, in any normal situation — normal being that the breakup was tragic and you’re going to be sobbing in your bed for weeks — you’d already know that this is an awful, awful idea, and you would never want to be friends with them. But is that always the case? Are there ever circumstances in which you should be friends with your ex?

Relationships are complicated, and breakups even more so. And while it’s easy to say that no matter what the case, it’s never smart to be friends with an ex, the reality is that everyone is different, and so are the relationships they’ve shared. For some people, staying friends with an ex might actually be a healthy decision.

Why Do People Stay Friends With Exes?

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Dr. Morgan Anderson, a licensed clinical psychologist tells Betches that there are plenty of reasons why someone may choose to be friends with an ex after a romantic relationship didn’t work. First and foremost, it could be because they started off as friends and realize that maybe they were just better as friends.

“When there’s an existing friendship before romance, you already know you enjoy this person’s company and value them as a friend,” Dr. Anderson says.

In other cases, people might choose to stay friends because it wasn’t a messy breakup at all. Contrary to popular belief (and every experience I’ve ever had), relationships can end in an amicable split, and two people who don’t work out romantically can still share genuine friendship and care.

Sometimes, it has to do with a friend group dynamic. If you’ve decided to date someone in your friend group (been there, don’t recommend) and it doesn’t work out, you two might think that cutting each other out could disrupt the peace within your group.

“So, you may decide to stay friends if it helps keep your friend group together,” she says.

Should I Be Friends With My Ex?

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You might have logistical reasons why being friends with your ex makes sense, but is it really the right decision for you? There’s a lot that goes into figuring out if it’s healthy to have someone from your romantic past stick around in your present.

“It’s healthy to stay friends if you’re truly at a place where there’s no desire to get back together, and you have total acceptance of what happened in the relationship, along with total forgiveness — where you’re not holding onto resentment, animosity, hurt, or pain toward that person,” Dr. Anderson says.

Plus, she explains that boundaries are basically the only way your friendship can thrive. As long as both people understand that you’re just friends and what that’s going to look like, there’s no reason why you can’t share a friendship.

You have to be really honest with yourself about being friends with your ex because it may be an extremely unhealthy decision for both parties.

Dr. Anderson explains that if either person is trying to get back withor worse, get back at — the other person, things will get pretty unhealthy pretty fast. This also includes constantly blurring the lines or getting physical with each other.

“Additionally, it can be unhealthy if the romantic relationship keeps getting discussed, as this signals that you aren’t able to close that chapter of the past,” she says. Reliving the relationship is going to do nothing positive for anyone.

And, of course, eventually, you two will start seeing other people.

“If you’re friends with your ex and start dating someone new, and your ex is unsupportive in some way, that is a sign that the friendship may not be healthy and that you probably haven’t fully healed from the breakup,” Dr. Anderson says.

The truth is that going from a romantic relationship to a strictly-platonic friendship is really fucking hard. You once were intimate with this person in every sense of the word, and it’s hard to navigate what a relationship might look like when all of the romantic elements are taken away.

“Even if you intend to stay friends with your ex, I recommend taking a period of no contact, so you can reset the dynamic of the relationship,” Dr. Anderson says. “It’s also important to note that many people struggle with this, and it’s actually quite rare to successfully stay friends with an ex after dating.” I mean, just look at every character in a TV sitcom. 

Syeda Khaula Saad
Syeda Khaula Saad
Syeda Khaula Saad is a sex & dating writer at Betches despite not remembering the last time she was in a relationship. Just take her word for it.