Should you really be friends with your ex?

By Priya Alika

Breaking up with someone is brutal, because it’s essentially losing your best friend. You no longer have a built-in plan for weekends: it’s like somebody blew a massive hole in your social life.

That’s why it’s so tempting to “stay friends” with an ex-boyfriend. You want to hang on to whatever piece of them you can. But is that always what’s best? Read on for some tips on how to navigate friendships with an ex – and whether you should at all. 

You need time away from them first  

Have you just broken up with someone? Definitely delete their number, unfollow them on Facebook, and unfollow them on every single social media app. NO EXCEPTIONS to this rule, sorry sis. You need time to get over them, and you can’t do that if you’re constantly looking at their IG grid at 2 AM, or texting with them.

You can’t fall out of love with someone if you don’t have space away from them: that’s just how it works. So if a guy breaks up with you but still wants you to go to brunch with him on Sundays, tell him no: you need to forget he exists for a few months. You can hang out after an appropriate amount of time has passed, and you no longer feel weepy when you think of waking up without them. 

Ask yourself if you’re jealous of who they’re dating 

This is the time to be painfully honest with yourself. Do you secretly pine over your ex? Do you find yourself stalking their new partner online? Do you bite your tongue when you see your ex kissing his girlfriend at dinner? Do you ever think “What if we got back together?” 

Well, then, you’re not over them. And that’s perfectly fine – there’s no rule that you have to get over someone in X amount of time. But if you’re not over someone, be kind to yourself. Be kind to your fragile heart (who else will be?) Don’t put yourself in social situations where you have to hang out with your ex and his current girlfriend. Avoid their invitations. Stay home instead and watch The Great British Bake-Off. Knit a sweater for your cat. Literally anything is better and less pathetic than being consumed of jealousy because you’re friends with your ex. 

Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries 

It’s late, you’re hanging out with your ex, and you’re both drunk. Would it be so bad to hook up with him one last time? Or maybe you can just cuddle until you fall asleep. Maybe you can tell him how much you miss him…is that really so bad? 

YES. This is the worst possible idea, sis. Do not blur the lines of your friendship: you’re only making it harder for yourself. Hooking up with an ex is like eating cheese when you have a lactose intolerance – it’s the easiest thing to do, but will likely leave you in terrible pain afterward. 

Why are you still friends with your ex? Presumably because he’s funny, or sweet, or the life of the party. You’re still friends with your ex because, on some level, you care about him. Great! Here’s the good news. You can still have all of that – as a friend

Put him in that Platonic Box in your mind. Tell yourself “I am no longer interested in seeing this person naked.” Don’t do non-friendly things with them, like cuddling or sleepovers. It’s all too easy to fall into a weird half-relationship that will keep both of you from moving on as you should. Instead, if you insist on remaining friends, maintain rigid boundaries, and you’ll have one more enriching friendship in your life. Good luck, girl.


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