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Should You Still Be Friends with Your Ex?

Updated: Jan 9, 2020

by Nurul Izzah. |

Breakups can be one of the most painful experiences in our lives because we’ve lost that special someone whom we’ve spent years sharing intimate moments. At first, we all tell ourselves that we’re going to be just fine but eventually, the loneliness hits you a week later because you remembered that you used to spend your free time texting that person. During this period, we start thinking about whether we should stay in contact with them or not.

Sometimes, after a breakup, we’d tell them niceties such as “We can still be friends” or “I still want to see you.” We genuinely mean them because we still care about them. Let’s all admit it, it’s unthinkable for a relationship to suddenly shift from deep intimacy to complete strangers after a single declaration.

It’s not wrong wanting to stay friends with your ex but you must realize that there’s a catch—both of you must be willing to admit that you both don’t work as a couple. In other words, you’ll have to get over your ex completely if you want to get back together as friends. Frankly, getting over someone is no easy task. Some might take months or even years. Don’t blame yourself, it’s a completely normal process every couple goes through after a breakup.

Here are the things you should keep in mind if you want to keep in touch with your ex:

1. Giving space matters

Of course, you can’t simply jump into a friendship as nothing happened. Although you have resolved matters between both of you, the feelings can still remain. Therefore, if they need space, you should respect that and they should do the same to you too. The amount of time needed to heal depends on the person so it’s definitely not a good idea to force a friendship on someone who hasn’t fully moved on.

2. Moving on from the past

A breakup means moving on from the past. There’s no point in being friends if either one of you is still hung up on it. If you can’t seem to let go of a grudge or an intimate feeling you both once shared, put some distance. If you still feel overly jealous of seeing your ex meeting another, it’s clear as day that you’re not over them.

3. Mind your boundaries

In a relationship, we share all kinds of things with our partner. However, you don’t share everything with friends. Transitioning from romance to friendship means there should definitely be a change in the parameters of the relationship. Sometimes, we get ahead of ourselves with the naïve thinking that “we used to be this close” but that could give the impression that you’re not over them or you’re giving them false hope.

4. Be honest

You should ask yourself why do you still want to be friends with your ex. Are you sincere in keeping the friendship? If you’re thinking of keeping them around just in case you can’t find someone better, all the more the reason you should not consider having this friendship. Staying friends should be a way of moving on, and if you quietly have ulterior motives, this is clearly not the best method for you.

To put it simply, it really is entirely up to you whether you’d like to stay friends with your ex or not. You know yourself better, so you should make the best decision for yourself. Also, if your ex still wants to be friends with you even though you’re not over them, you have the right to say “no”. Maybe you need more time but always remember that you are your number one priority. A breakup is painful enough but getting into a situation where one of you clings to the past could spell “self-destruction.”

Don’t worry, heartbreak is not the end of the world. One day, you’ll find the right person who you’ll be happy with for the rest of your life.

You may find out more about Nurul Izzah on her Instagram too.

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