12 Reasons It’s OK to Stay Friends With An Ex
Are you toying with the idea of staying friends with your ex?
Isn’t it ironic how quickly a long-term relationship can move into the past tense? Then, you both are branded with the dreaded ex- prefix. Even though you’ve parted ways as a couple, staying friends with your former mate can be mutually beneficial.
Twelve Reasons to Stay Friends When You Breakup
They say that breaking up is hard to do, but not every couple parts on bad terms. Sometimes, things don’t work out. Other times, you both realize you’re better as friends than lovers. Here are several reasons why it’s essential to maintain a friendship even after the relationship is over.
1. You Both Share Memories
One of the most challenging things about a breakup is that you’ve so much time and love invested in each other. The longer you’ve been with your ex, the more notable moments you’ll remember. Even in a tumultuous relationship, a few heartfelt memories might resurface.
Staying friends with your ex means that you can reminisce together without the guilt. You should realize that there was a time when you were in love, and it made you better people. After an amicable split, neither of you will spend time destroying pictures or other mementos of your past life as a couple.
2. When Children are Involved
When parents in a committed relationship break up or divorce, it can be especially devastating for the children. A study published by the Linacre Quarterly states that parental divorce can be detrimental to their kids’ physical and mental health. They will develop a feeling of profound loss, especially when away from the non-custodial parent.
However, you, your mate, and your children will all suffer if you try to stay together “for the kids’ sake.” Children are more intuitive than most adults think, and they instinctively feel the barrier between their parents. If the pretend relationship continues, it will eventually implode, and everyone could be hurt even more.
If it’s time to call it quits, that’s the best decision for everyone involved. Breakups and divorce are still painful losses, but doing them civilly can ease some of the hurt. If remaining friends with your ex is asking too much, be the adults and try to remain civil for the children.
3. You Know the Skeletons in Each Other’s Closet
Using an ex’s dirt for blackmail is the classic plot of most exes. If you had an amicable parting of ways with your mate, you would hope that they would be above such treachery. You are a better person than to stoop so low, too.
However, it’s better to err on the side of caution and keep the past buried. Of course, this doesn’t include any criminal act or abuse. It’s just staying confidential about embarrassing moments or information that neither of you would want to be publicized.
You’ve seen each other at your best and worst, so staying friends may be a good idea. It doesn’t mean you are going to be besties. You will be respectful of each other and only speak positive things or nothing at all.
4. You Have a Long History of Friendship
Did you fall in love with your high school sweetheart or someone from a beloved family? Perhaps you were besties long before you ever noticed a romantic spark. Must you discard years of friendship and memories because you weren’t meant to be a couple?
Unless the relationship was toxic and abusive, there’s nothing wrong with staying friends. For some couples who break up or divorce, the word “friends” makes them feel uncomfortable. However, it’s acceptable and even encouraged for those who still feel a positive connection from the past.
What about your mutual friends? The worse thing either of you could do is to force these friends to pick a side. Not only does it put them in an awkward position, but everyone loses in the end. By keeping on friendly terms, your mutual pals will continue to be comfortable in social situations.
5. You Have Each Other’s Backs
Just because you can’t be a couple anymore doesn’t mean you hate each other. Many people have a more profound and positive relationship when it’s platonic. Staying friends means that although you’re not lovers, you still have their best interests at heart.
In an emergency or times of despair, you would “be there” for each other. You both look out for the other and don’t talk bad behind their back. Even when you are dating different people, you both can count on each other.
6. You Still Understand Each Other
Other than physical attraction, one thing that drew you together in the first place was mutual understanding. After those countless conversations on dates and the whispered pillow talks long into the night, you “get” each other. They are just as patient and forgiving of your quirks as you are of theirs.
Who else would understand how much you hate tomatoes but can’t eat fries without ranch dressing? Maybe you still sleep with a fan because they could do without one. You both know what makes each other tick, and remaining friends won’t change that.
7. You’re Both Free of Resentment
Some couples break up because the relationship isn’t working for them anymore. However, mistakes and other hurtful situations can tear people apart. Neither of you benefits by holding grudges.
If you lose yourself in bitterness from a past relationship, you’re the one who pays the most. An article published by the Mayo Clinic says that holding a grudge can undermine you physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. You may feel justified as you forge each link of bitterness, but they eventually become shackles that bind you from future happiness.
Forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself. It neither excuses nor erases past hurts. But when you forgive each other and go on, you’ll be free of the burden of resentment. Staying friends may not be an option, but you can still be on civil terms.
8. No More Hiding in Public
After you’ve experienced a breakup or divorce, your anxiety levels may peak when you start seeing other people again. Not only do you feel uneasy about your ex seeing you, but you may see them with another person. These are normal feelings, but you can’t let them impede your healing and future relationships.
Your first step to moving on is the realization that you’re both free to see other people. Of course, it will be a bit confusing and hurtful at first. Neither of you will feel the urge to hide by remaining friends if you see each other with another lover.
9. It May Help Future Relationships
Have you ever had an exit interview? When you resign and take another job, many companies request these interviews to understand your views. It sheds light on what may have gone wrong and how they can be a better employer to their employees.
Perhaps you and your ex had extensive conversations about what didn’t work in your relationship. Instead of playing the blame game, you may have mutually decided to go separate ways. However, these conversations helped you see your shortcomings and things you need to change for future relationships.
10. You Both Feel Like Your Time Wasn’t Wasted
If your broken relationship was abusive and toxic, you could still be proud that you are a strong survivor. When your breakup or divorce was amicable, neither of you will feel like your love was useless. Also, you will feel that you gained valuable insight and emotional maturity.
Plus, you both put your hearts on the line for love. In the immortal advice of Alfred Lord Tennyson, it’s better to have loved and lost instead of never loving. It’s his way of saying that love is worth it, and you won’t live with the “what ifs” of love undone.
11. Some Bridges Aren’t Meant to Be Burned
Staying friends with your ex doesn’t mean that you are texting and seeing each other every day as in the past. You probably won’t have your pictures together hanging on the wall or your social media pages. However, you can keep in contact occasionally when needed.
During your relationship, you probably created close relationships with each other’s family and friends. You may have broken up or divorced your ex, but you still have these people you love. Who knows when your paths may cross in the future, and you don’t want to stand helplessly at a burned bridge.
12. There’s Nothing to Argue About Now
Many people make better friends than mates, which may be the case with you and your ex. When you were together, perhaps you bickered constantly about finances and other relationship issues. Now that you’re apart with separate lives and resources, these sore subjects may be moot points.
In a relationship, you may have been at each other’s throats constantly. As ex-partners who are staying friends, you might laugh and enjoy each other’s company again. Your past relationship may also help you not to make the same mistakes again with future lovers.
Final Thoughts on Life Lessons from Remaining Friends With Your Ex
After a breakup or divorce, staying friends doesn’t mean everything is swept under the carpet and you’re lovers again. As mature adults, you both try to maintain civility and mutual respect. When you can do that, you both walk away as better people.