Breakups can be rough, especially if you and your ex want to still be friends. It can be hard to know whether you should be friends or just end the relationship.
When to Stay Friends with an Ex
When going through a breakup, there are reasons you should still keep in touch. If you have children together, you should definitely still stay friends."You should stay friends with your ex if you have children," said author Elliot Katz. "Separation is painful for children and it’s even more painful when they don’t see their parents talking to each other. For your children’s wellbeing, parents should remain friends and co-operate with each other."
You should also stay friends if you were friends before you became romantically involved. If you met over a common interest, you can still participate in that interest together and still just remain friends. So, go to that concert together – but just make sure it’s a platonic outing.
When Not to Be Friends with an Ex
While you can stay friends with your ex if the breakup was mutual, be careful if one was the dumper and one was the dumpee. The person who was dumped and insists on being friends may just be looking for a way to get back together.
"You may have to be mindful that your partner isn’t just saying that they want a friendship with you as a covert ploy to eventually get you back into a romantic relationship. But, as long as you are adults who are taking responsibility for yourselves, you shouldn’t need to waste too much time or thought on this.” said relationship expert Jordan Gray
You also shouldn’t stay friends if you feel obligated to keep in touch with your ex. Feel free to have boundaries once you’ve ended your relationship.
"You should just really honor your own sense of self-preservation and feel okay saying to someone: ‘Actually we’re not friends. We’re not going to stay in touch,’” said author and relationship expert Francesca Hogi.
Hogi also notes that it is important to move on and prioritize any new partner over an ex. If you keep wondering what could have been with your old partner, you won’t have time for a new life with a new love.
"If you always have one foot in the ex door, how can you be open to someone new?" asks Hogi."Your partner should not only feel like your priority, they should be your priority. You do have space in your life for your intimate partner and your social life, but make sure that you’re prioritizing your primary partner over your friends, more often than not.”
How to Be Friends with an Ex
You can be friends with an ex, but only through honesty and clearly set boundaries. Make sure that when a relationship ends, you both can move on to find the best relationship that’s right for you.