Can You Ever Truly Be Friends With An Ex?

Life & Love | Gerren Keith Gaynor | 12/31/2013 | 11:45 AM EST

Having a friendship with your former love can be challenging.

It’s the age-old question in dating 101: can you be friends with your ex? While the easy answer to this of course is yes, considering it is possible, it’s typically easier said than done.

Most breakups end in disaster, or at the very least, both parties left with some kind of resentment towards the other. Even if you’re able to move on from the breakup, going from lovers to friends doesn’t exactly happen over night. It can be difficult, even a little awkward transitioning from one to the other. Many problems can arise from befriending your ex, particularly someone holding on to what used to be and, whether or not they want to admit it, having a desire to get that old thing back.

This can be especially true for the person who was broken up with. Oftentimes, when you’re heartbroken, your immediate reaction is to want to fix what’s broken. This person could go to great lengths in trying to win back their ex’s heart, which is why “friendships” between exes can get quite messy. While one person may legitimately be over it, the other could still be holding on, using the newfound friendship as an excuse to cling to the person they still love. Others simply never know where to draw the line and continue to have sex with their ex long after the demise of the relationship - which isn’t necessarily healthy.

Friendships between exes, however, can work if there’s enough time that has lapsed since the breakup, with the understanding that what once was is no longer. It needs to be made very clear where each person stands. You need time to adjust to a life of singlehood, and more importantly, life with that person no longer in your least in the capacity of a sexual relationship.

In the case that one person is in a new relationship, being friends with your ex can be all the more perplexing. For some, befriending your ex is a deal breaker, and sometimes being friends just isn’t worth ruining a potentially great relationship with someone else. For others, there are no grey areas; once the relationship has ended, the ex is out of their lives for good.

Ultimately, there is no wrong or right answer. Making the decision to be friends with an ex is one that is personal. But no matter the decision, it’s important that it’s respected.

Do you believe that exes can co-exist as friends after a breakup?

(Photo: Hero Images/Getty Images)

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