Can You Ever Be Just Friends With An Ex?

If you’re of dating age, chances are you’ve racked up an ex or two. Whether the ex was a regular booty call or a long-term partner in a relationship, many of us have people we’ve been emotionally and physically intimate with in the past. This prior closeness engenders strong emotion, and they say love and hate are two sides of the same coin. Are you friends with any of your exes? Is it even possible? Can you ever be just friends with an ex?  

5 Reasons Why You Can’t Be Just Friends With An Ex

Can You Ever Be Just Friends With An Ex?

There’s still an attraction

If you’re still attracted to them, or they’re still attracted to you, it can be extremely difficult if not impossible to keep the relationship platonic – strictly in friendship territory. When we are romantically or sexually attracted to someone it’s human nature to pursue it, which can put pressure on the other person and on any budding friendship.  

They’re emotionally damaging/toxic 

Unfortunately, emotionally damaging people do exist and plenty of them end up in the ‘ex’ zone of our lives – for that very reason. If you have an ex who is simply toxic, who causes you emotional pain, who is an unhealthy facet of your life, it really isn’t beneficial to stay in touch or try to maintain a friendship with that person.  

You’re too far apart geographically 

Although yes, the internet does exist, it can be difficult to keep the level of closeness you previously had with an ex – even in a friendship – if there’s a lot of distance between you. Close friends usually enjoy being able to meet up fairly regularly, and I’ve personally experienced the waning of a friendship over the years simply because we moved far apart from one another. 

One or both of you have moved on  

You just might not want your ex in your life any more, for whatever reason, even as a friend. And that’s totally fine, it’s your choice after all. If you’ve moved on in your life, and you’re in a different place now, then remaining in touch with your ex, even as just friends, might not be a viable or constructive idea.   

There’s a new partner on the scene 

Can You Ever Be Just Friends With An Ex?

When new sexual and/or romantic relationships flourish, it makes it all the more difficult to remain friends with an ex. If you or they have a new partner in their life, you might find your relationship – as it was, or as it is now – relegated to history. Perhaps you feel a friendship with your ex is inappropriate if you’re dating someone new. Or maybe their new partner isn’t too impressed by them staying in touch with/being friends with their ex, or is threatened in some way by your friendship.  

When You Definitely Can Be Just Friends With An Ex 

They say time is a healer, and there is some truth in that statement. When time has passed, and the heat from the relationship split friction has cooled, becoming friends with your ex might be possible for you.  

Can You Ever Be Just Friends With An Ex?

I didn’t used to think it was possible, at all – then bang on cue life came along, smacked my arse and showed me how narrow-minded I was. I’m now friends with an ex – my ex-husband, of all people, and I never thought friendship would blossom from divorce – so I have personal experience of becoming just friends with an ex. It took several years (and being in relationships with other people in the meantime) for us. This might not be your experience; just explaining how it happened for me.  

There are other exes I feel sure I will never be friends with. This is because I feel they’re unhealthy for me to have in my life, they’re toxic, emotionally damaging or physically dangerous. Some have moved far away and we’re simply not in touch any more. And there are exes who wouldn’t want to be friends with me in any case, of course.  

Can You Ever Be Just Friends With An Ex?

…Should You Sex Your Ex? 

Relationships are rarely static, in my admittedly limited experience. Friendships transform from casual acquaintances to a fiercely loyal bond to perhaps drifting apart again over time and through different circumstances. It’s the same with sexual/romantic relationships, because how we connect with other people is dependent on a number of factors. Our own life experiences, communication, misunderstandings, the impact of other people, geographical moves and more.  

Can You Ever Be Just Friends With An Ex?If there’s a residual attraction between you and your ex, there may come a time when the subject of rekindling the romance arises. As I mentioned earlier, it’s human nature to pursue an attraction. Although re-connecting as romantic partners might be discussed in the course of a rational conversation between two sober people in broad daylight, often this isn’t the case. Romantic attraction means sexual attraction for a lot of people, and when our lust is ignited it can lead us to make impulsive decisions which we may later sorely regret. Even  more so if our inhibitions are lowered through the use of alcohol or other drugs.  

Related: If you’re wondering should you ever have sex with an ex, this article by Mel MacFarlane of Voluptasse is extremely helpful. 

Can You Ever Be Just Friends With An Ex? 

Although there’s plenty of reasons why it might not be possible or beneficial for you to be friends with your ex, there are also reasons why it could be a distinct possibility either now or in the future.  

As with so many emotional issues, especially when it comes to sex and relationships, what’s right for you won’t be confirmed by scouring the internet for answers. I can only guide with my personal opinions and limited life experience.  

I would advise seriously, and soberly sitting down and thinking about why you want to be friends with your ex. Is it because romantic feelings and sexual attraction has dissipated but you still like the person and feel able to be friends? Or are they putting pressure on you to stay in touch? Are you secretly hoping you’ll get back together – or do you suspect they harbour that hope?  


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