General Question

shortysith's avatar

Is it really possible to stay friends with an ex?

Asked by shortysith (688points) May 6th, 2009

Ok here’s the deal. My current guy I am seeing knows my ex boyfriend (that is a whole other topic!). Anyhow, I have always been friends with my ex’s..or have at least tried. I am currently being patient and keeping in contact with this recent ex because he was extremely important to me (I broke up with him), and I feel that with time we could be good friends again (and he also would like that). My flame maintains he doesn’t speak to his ex’s, and doesn’t want to. He thinks that is the only way for people to really “move on”. Note, he is not in any way trying to get me to stop talking to my ex…but is merely pointing out his perspective. This leaves me asking…what do you all think? Can you really be friends with an ex, and is it a good idea?

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24 Answers

casheroo's avatar

Yes, you can be friends with an ex. I do think it can take time though. But, even if things ended poorly, just give it time. It took my one ex over seven years before he would talk to me (he messaged me on facebook) Another ex, it took less than six months, but longer for us to develop a true friendship.
How long has it been since you and your ex broke up?

Dog's avatar

Yes, with mutual respect and consideration it is very possible.

aviona's avatar

For me it takes time. I always want to try and rush into the whole friendship things but for me personally it doesn’t work. But my breakups have always been pretty rough. I am now friends with all of my exes except the most recent (it’s been 3 months since the breakup). But then again we also live 500 miles apart now.

My “first love” and I are especially excellent friends and were before we started dating. He’s a year older than me, so it’s very big brother, little sister type of friendship. And I love him. But then again, it’s been like 3 year since we broke up.

So, in short, over time, for me.

Jude's avatar

Yep, but, give it time before you even try. Just in case there are some residual feelings there (on, say, one partner’s part)— you don’t want to create confusion.

Lothloriengaladriel's avatar

If there’s an understanding but from my own experience, someone will probably end up hurt.

Knotmyday's avatar

Yes, as long as you’re sleeping with his brother or best friend. You can be all “Why are you being so weird about it? Come on, show little maturity!”

Or just not effing worry about it, move on, and get a life of your own.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

The transition of lover to friend is a hard one to overcome. Not everyone can handle it.

If you were friends before, then have sex, you’re never the same friends as you were before the sex.

cwilbur's avatar

You need to both be healed from the breakup before you try, and that usually means six months to a year of no contact. If you see each other before you’re both healed, you’ll just pick at the wounds, and it will take longer to heal as a result.

MrGV's avatar

Once an Ex forever a stranger. This is what a real men do.

charliecompany34's avatar

yeah it’s possible, but you ain’t gettin it no more. fuggitaboutit.

SuperMouse's avatar

Since my ex is the father of my children I really have no choice, but yes I think it is possible.

cak's avatar

Sure, it takes time to move past the initial hurt, but yes, it can happen. Don’t try it before you move past the issues that led to the breakup and don’t try to be the ex – without sex. It’s friends only or nothing. Anything else will just muddy the waters.

Disc2021's avatar

@cwilbur I completely agree.

I think it’s definitely possible, but it’s very difficult and most of the time worth too much effort.

chicadelplaya's avatar

I personally have a hard time doing it, but that’s because I also have a difficult time letting go. I think it can be done after a certain amount of time. However, if you are still very physically and sexually attracted to one another, it will be so hard to “just be friends”. Just the way it is.

Jack79's avatar

I can, and I have, though usually this is because the ex started off by being a good friend, then we had a fling which didn’t last, then went back to being friends. Or, in one particular case, the flame just wasn’t there any more, but we still had a lot of respect for each other, so we kept in touch.

It is possible but it is not that common, because in most cases one of the two people involved (not necessarily the one who broke up) may want to get back together again, which complicates things. In my case it was always the girl that wanted to get back, and it was my refusal that eventually helped the relationship move on to that different level. It’s always tricky though, which is why your boyfriend is mostly right.

TechScott's avatar

I’d have to so no. I have been on a pleasant speaking relationship with my ex for nearly 25 years but we’re not friends. We raised a daughter together and stuck strictly to our agreement to never criticize or bash the other with our daughter around and I respect her but friends, no. I think if you truly loved your ex, being friends in the strict sense is near impossible. Most folks that I know the have their ex’s as friends are just holding on hoping that their ex will fall in love with them again.

reverie's avatar

As people are friends with ex-boyfriends and ex-girlfriends, then yes, it’s absolutely possible.

What’s impossible is to judge how possible it may be for people in any individual case. A successful friendship between two former partners depends on a large number of factors, such as how you both feel and behave, what the relationship was like, how the break-up was, whether you were friends beforehand… and that’s just scratching the surface of a pile of possible variables. There’s no black-and-white way of knowing whether a friendship will work – it’s a highly complex situation.

The personal experiences of other peoples successful or failed friendships with ex-partners isn’t going to give you any clues as to how your situation will turn out.

The only thing I would recommend is examining your feelings about why you want the friendship, and what your reasons are for wanting this person in your life. I’d implore your ex to do the same, and when you’ve both given it thought then you can decide what is most sensible for you both.

ru2bz46's avatar

I spent last New Year’s with my first wife/best friend. Yes, it’s possible.

ccbatx's avatar

I believe it is possible. As long as all the feelings are in the past, and there isn’t anymore that needs to be said or done, then it’s 100% possible. If you’re happy, and your ex is happy, and there aren’t any expectations, then there is no reason you shouldn’t be friends. I mean think about it. You were once mildly attracted to that person, and whether that attraction suddenly went away or just faded, you guys could be great friends, you just need to have full closure with everything that happened in the past, and so does he, I think anyway.

punkrockworld's avatar

I don’t think it’s possible and therefore find it a bad idea.

ru2bz46's avatar

@punkrockworld You don’t think it’s a good idea? Have you ever tried it?

punkrockworld's avatar

yes I have, and it’s just too hard because there are always still feelings. Those could be negative feelings or still love feelings and it just never works. Trust me on this one. Unless one of you became gay. That’s a whole different story.

ru2bz46's avatar

@punkrockworld I’m best friends with my first wife. I’m on friendly terms with another ex, and my estranged second wife and I get along great (we just can’t be married). It just depends on your ability to let go of any problems you had that caused you to break up. There’s something about that intimacy line; once you cross it, you suddenly have the ability to push each other’s buttons. Get back on the friendship side of that line, let go, and friendship is entirely possible.

tanay2035's avatar

It depends on your post breakup relationship., that is the way in which you broke up.

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