Can you be friends with your ex?

Dear Losers,

Can you be friends with an ex? [Christine, 18]

Dear Reader,

Yes. Friends with ben-e-fits! (Cue obnoxious laughter)

I’m kidding. Honestly, it depends on SO many things.

1. What this ex-boyfriend wants from you.

2. How long and seriously you dated.


3. How psycho he is – or you are.

If your answers to questions 1 through 3 sound a lot like:

1. He still wants to date me.

2. We dated the first 3 seasons of Teen Mom.


3. He’s psycho. And so am I.

Then no, you probably can’t. You should probably stay far away from each other.  Or communicate through a Plexiglas wall.

Some people have strong and unyielding opinions on this topic. They will say, No, never! Sell his stuff on Ebay and pretend he never existed!

Others will say, Of COURSE you can! Stay his friend so you won’t feel bad keeping that Tiffanys necklace!

But it really depends on the relationship. Some people can pull off staying friends with their exes with great style. They make it look easy. Other people get fire in their eyes at the mere mention of their ex.

The problem is a lot of people want to stay friends because it’s hard to break up. You dated for awhile and then all of the sudden you never speak? Then he puts you on Facebook limited profile view? Then he doesn’t even acknowledge your presence at school?? Um, RUDE! You did NOT sign up for this!

It’s a strange and stressful transition.

And to make matters more confusing,  during the break up, one or both parties actually utters the words, I think we are better off as friends.  Sometimes they mean it. Other times, they heard someone say it in a movie and thought, Cool! So that’s what people say in breakups! (As they pull out a notepad)

But don’t panic. Staying friends can work, depending on your maturity level. I saw these people on The Today Show – two of them were a couple, and the other woman was his ex-wife, and they told Al Roker,“We’re all best friends!”

Wt$@*%!  Wow.  How modern and yet also, very Sister Wives of you!

Then there is everyone else.

Some exes will pull the friend card just to keep trying to get back together with you. They’ll spell your name in fire on your front lawn and when you ask them to politely put it out and go away, they yell,

“ But I thought we were FRIENDS!!! YOU JERK! ”

Then you yell back,

” FRIENDS don’t makeout with FRIENDS, JERK! ” (Window slam.) (Window open.) ” Okay, well some do.  But I DON’T! ” (Second window slam.)

Sadly, the “I thought we were friends” threat (and arson) works on some people. How many times have you heard a girl say, I know, but I feel bad! And we said we’d stay friends and always be there for each other.

Yes. That’s very sweet. But he’s watching you on Google Earth. He wrote you a poem and even tea stained it and burned the edges to make it look antique.


He doesn’t want to be your friend. So stop letting him hold you hostage for it.

As strange as it sounds, when it comes to the opposite sex, love is not always a solid foundation for a friendship. So figure out what works for you and your ex. You have to do what is healthy for you and your future relationships. If he’s still in love with you, or you’re still in love with him, you might want to wait until things cool down. Then, if you want to be friends, great. If you don’t, that’s okay too.

And it doesn’t mean you can’t be friendly. Yes, some exes are hostile. But some high-five, or text you on your birthday. And others become creepy besties like that threesome on the Today Show.


Photo credits: Elle Magazine, No Strings Attached

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About the Author,

real. college. love. really smart people.