Can You Be Friends with the Ex? Yes and No!

by eHarmony Staff

We’re exploring the pros and cons of remaining friends with a former love interest.

When You Can be Friends...

There are certain scenarios where it is possible to have a friendship: Say you pretty much grew up together – and then sort of outgrew each other. You both agreed it was time to part ways, so the breakup was mutual. You took time to develop some independence and are both dating other people.

To Be Friends? In this instance, it is possible. The fact that the breakup and feelings were mutual is a good thing – and the main reason it is possible to forge a new friendship. Just make sure your new partner is ok with the relationship as well - as it is important to consider their feelings.

When You Can be Friends...

Besides a mutual breakup, sometimes two people who already share a great friendship try to see if there is more there - and figure out they are better off as pals. These are the types of situations when it is possible to have a platonic relationship.

According to a poll done by NBC, 48% of people said they were able to have a friendship with the ex. What have your experiences been?

Why You Can't be Friends: They're Moving On, But You Are Not

One of the worst things that can happen to your dating life is staying hung up on someone who doesn't love you. You pine, and they move on. Each new person that comes your way and expresses interest is swiftly blown off, because you are desperately hoping you can rekindle the flame with your ex. If you're still seeing the person regularly, you can't meet someone new because your old love is still in your life - hanging around being your pal and reminding you of how great they are.

Why You Can't be Friends: The Mixed Messages

Friends do things for each other. They call when you're sick. They take you out when you've had a bad day. They give you a gift on your birthday. It is very easy to get mixed signals in the midst of all this kindness, love, and support. It's easy to wonder if feelings have changed. If there is some spark underneath all that effort. "Would she really come over and cook me dinner if she didn't love me and want to be with me?" you might ask. Keeping it all straight can be a full-time job, and distracts you from really moving on.

Why You Can't be Friends: The Romantic Connection

It is hard to turn off romantic feelings. If you've ever been dumped, and agreed to "just be friends," deep down inside you still want to get back together. Each time you get together as friends you're hoping and praying that you'll end up in each other's arms. You may even subtly be pushing things in that direction. If you did the dumping, the knowledge that this person - this new friend - would love to kiss you will always be in the back of your mind waiting for the right moment to lead you exactly where you don't want to go.

Why You Can't Be Friends: The Bottom Line

The common scenario in all of these situations is that one person - or both - may still have some romantic feelings for the other. After a breakup, it's best to have a cooling off period from each other, with little to no communication. Give some time for those emotions to fade - and an opportunity to create new love in your life.

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