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Friends with Ex: Is It a Good Idea to Stay and Will It Work?

by eharmony Editorial Team - October 19, 2021

Are you in a situation where you have no more feelings for your ex but your ex wants a friendship to blossom? You are surprised at this move made by them, but you have no clue if it is a good idea or a bad one and this has made you anxious. Is being friends with an ex even worth it? Will staying friends with an ex, work when you have no intentions to get back together? Here are some great suggestions by experts at eharmony.

4 Reasons why should not be friends with an ex

When you have an ex who wants to be friends, the very first step is to figure out what exactly do you want? Can you be friends with someone you love? Are you ready to keep a strictly platonic relationship? Can you handle the transition successfully and ride that emotional roller coaster? Here are 4 good reasons you should cut all ties.

1. Feelings can still exist

If you have recently parted ways, being friends with an ex will only do more damage than good. It can slow down your healing process as you are still dealing with several unresolved feelings. Your relationship ended because it wasn’t working. Why would you want to expend energy on a friendship that can turn out to be stressful too?

Even if you are cool about all this, it can still hurt to see your partner move on and have a good life -you can’t just suddenly turn off feelings.

2. It leads to an on-again/off-again relationship

It is normal to feel lonely after a break-up and this feeling won’t last forever. But, if you continue to be friends and hang out with your ex, it can lead to the on-off-relationship rollercoaster, which will eventually put you in the trenches of heartbreak!

3. Staying friends with an ex can lead to hopes of getting back together

Your break-up would have been a mutual decision or may not. But, being friends with an ex means risking the chances where one will have hopes of getting back together.

For example, going out together and having a drink can mix things up, and it may leave your ex with a false sense of hope of reigniting the relationship. Staying in a platonic relationship because you feel bad for them will make them suffer even more in the long run.

4. It will block you from moving on in life

Being around your ex will prevent you from meeting other people. You are likely to turn down a potentially perfect partner just because you are still holding on to old feelings. You will probably experience mixed feelings that will make the moving on process harder for you.

Staying friends with an ex – 4 signs you are ready to be friends

If your heart no longer flutters on seeing your ex, you have a chance to maintain the friendship. Here are some signs that it will work:

  1. Your break-up wasn’t too messy: If enough time has passed since the break-up or if your break-up wasn’t too messy, then you can hope for “calm after the storm”. If the reason for the break-up did not involve major deal-breakers like cheating or abuse, you can still be around them.
  2. You have no resentment and you have embraced forgiveness: The positive signs: You no longer have any bitter feelings and time has healed the wounds. You have clearly moved on and are happy with your present life. If you two broke up gracefully, salvaging a friendship seems pretty possible.
  3. Both of you are clear communicators and are ready to form a healthy boundary: If you two had great communication when you were together, then you can look forward to a meaningful friendship. If you have been friends earlier and can still have fun together while respecting each other’s boundaries that implies you both are emotionally mature and a platonic connection will work.
  4. You have already moved on, but you miss the friendship you shared: Being friends with your ex isn’t always a recipe for disaster – if you have already found someone else and you are thinking of staying friends with your ex just because you value the friendship; then it is a good sign. If there is mutual respect, a solid friendship is definitely in the realm of possibility.

5 useful tips for being friends with an ex

First, ensure you two are on the same page. Second, stop referring to them as your ex! Here’s how to set up boundaries for being friends with an ex:

#1: Don’t rush – Wait until the feelings have subsided

Give enough time to grieve the break-up – Focus on your hobbies and spend time with friends and family. Keep the distance and don’t stay in contact with your ex in the first time.

#2: When you do meet, keep the conversation light

Avoid talking about your new relationship or do not bring up aspects of your past relationship. Also, the place you meet is important. Make non-romantic plans and meet in public or with other common friends.

#3: Clarify your intentions and be a genuine friend with your ex

Be prepared to face situations like they introduce their new partner. You should learn to be optimistic to have an honest friendship. If you still feel attracted to this person then you shouldn’t be friends in the first place.

#4: Do not invade your ex’s personal boundaries

Don’t be obsessed with them – like stalking them on social media, keeping tabs on them, or using friends to find out who they’re dating. Setting clear boundaries and giving enough space will help in forming a healthy friendship.

#5: Don’t flirt and know when to back off

You can be nice to your ex but you can’t flirt. Dress appropriately. Do not try to get intimate or try to get back to your ex. If they’re getting too attached and old patterns start to repeat, then don’t force a platonic relationship.

Be optimistic – You will eventually find both love and friendship

Even if there’s not too much history between you, there can be some awkwardness. And being friends with an ex can be more difficult than you think. Even after the dust has settled it is not always easy to wipe off all the memories and just be friends. If you can’t stop thinking about someone who has clearly moved on, then it’s high time you prioritize your life. Eharmony can be your savior – it is a good starting point to look for compatible singles whose outlook on life and goals align with yours. Join today and find someone who matches your values and beliefs. Enjoy the dating journey!

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