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Love and Relationships: How to Be Friends with Your Ex

“Lets just be friends” impossible? Maybe not.


An interview with Zoe Saldana came out recently in an issue of Marie Claire magazine in which she spoke about what it means to be an ex. In it, she makes it clear that an ex is supposed to be someone who you keep in the past who has no part of your future. But what if you truly want to be a friend with your ex? While it’s not always the best idea, especially when things end badly, there are people who would rather be amicable than to burn bridges.

I have a very special circumstance with my ex. He is my brother-in-law’s friend and also happens to be the godfather to my nephew. We dated for four years, so there was obviously a lot of friendship and trust built up over time. We ended up breaking up two years ago, and at first we had a hard time remaining friends. We have become more friendly over time, and although we have moved on, we remain on good terms. Here are some tips on remaining friends with an ex.

1. Use the term friend loosely.

Yes, you read that correctly. While it is completely possible to be in a new relationship and be amicable with an ex, do not expect to become BFFs. Being a friend with your ex is more like having a well-liked acquaintance about whom you may or may not know intimate details. Don’t have expectations of being in contact all the time or hanging out. That’s setting yourself up for disaster.

2. Be honest with your significant other.

If you are currently in a relationship, hiding your ex from your new boo is a bad hit, my friend. If your new relationship ends up becoming long term, shit will eventually hit the fan if you have secret friendships. So, as difficult as it may be, you need to let your new love know that you still talk to your ex now and then. If new boo doesn’t like it (honestly, do you blame him/her?), then you need to explain the circumstances and have a discussion. At the end of the day, your current boyfriend/girlfriend’s opinion should matter, and the two of you need to be on the same page.

3. Tell your family and friends to let it go.

There is no way in hell you can be friends with your ex if your family and friends are constantly rooting for you to get back together. Tell them straight up that you are just friends and it is not going to happen. It’s super annoying and it makes it harder for you to move on, anyway.

4. Stop being bitter.

Yes, things may have been rough in your relationship, but if you legitimately built a friendship with that person, you need to let go of the bullshit. I’m not saying you need to forget about any turmoil, but remember, you’re no longer in an intimate relationship. If you were ever truly friends with this person, there’s no need to be bitter if you didn’t end on bad terms. You are not romantically involved, so there shouldn’t be any pressure. Just be cool and catch up every now and then. Don’t hold grudges, or seriously, why are you even trying to keep in contact?

5. Don’t play the jealous card.

Ugh, this makes me mad. Why are you trying to be friends with this person if all you want to do is make him or her jealous of your current circumstances? That’s not friendship, that’s called being petty. Either be his/her friend and be real, or be true exes and play the game. Trying to make someone jealous is not conducive to actual friendship.

6. If you still have strong feelings, just don’t do it.

This is the most important advice I can give to you. If you still have strong feelings for your ex, do not try to be friends. I’m telling you like it is, because if either of you has no intention of getting back together, you are going to end up hurt. You may be under the impression that being friends will make things easier. Um, no. You are digging yourself into a hole if you try to be friends with someone when your feelings are still strong. Take the time to think about what went wrong in your relationship and assess your own feelings. Once you feel like your feelings won’t get in the way of being a friend, then by all means go for it. But until that point, you will need to keep your distance or face potential heartbreak.

While it is clearly not easy to move on and also remain amicable with someone from your past, it can be done in a healthy, mature way. Just make sure you’re remaining friends for the right reasons and that everyone understands what your friendship means.

What are your thoughts? Have you ever been friends with an ex? Let us know in the comments section below!


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