At some point, nearly every woman will have to decide if a breakup means that ties are completely severed with her ex or if they are going to remain friends. Whether your ex is an ex-boyfriend, ex-husband, or somewhere in between, trying to remain friends with your ex is a recipe for disaster. Of course, if you have a child with your ex, you will still see your ex from time to time and you will need to remain civil to one another, but I would still caution against a true friendship with your ex.
The problem with trying to remain friends with your ex is that one of you (or possibly both) has a hidden agenda. It doesn’t matter who broke up with whom or whether you are trying to remain friends out of concern for the other person or for purely selfish reasons. Either the person asking for the friendship, the person agreeing to it, or perhaps both are entering this situation because they want to leave the door open for a future relationship with their ex. To illustrate this, here are the typical scenarios for remaining friends:
1. I Don’t Want to Breakup So I’ll Wait it Out As a “Friend”
You’re in for heartache if your motive is to use friendship as a way to get your ex back. The problem is, your ex almost certainly knows how you still feel about him. You’ve now set yourself up to be his free insurance policy against loneliness. You’ll most likely hear from him when he’s having problems with the new woman in his life or when he’s between women.
2. I’m Sure I Want to Breakup, But Just in Case …
This is the flip side of the previous scenario. In this one, you feel fairly confident that you want to breakup, but there is that little nagging feeling that maybe you’re doing the wrong thing. In this case you’re the one who would like a little insurance that if that cute guy that you’ve met or hope to meet doesn’t work out, then you’ll still have a shot at the ex that is pining away for you. Sounds like you’re being very unfair to the other person, doesn’t it? There’s a good reason why it sounds that way.
3. I Don’t Want to Hurt Him
Some women genuinely feel sorry for the guy that they are breaking up with, and they feel like it is an easier let down if they offer to remain friends. You may think that you’re being nice, but you’re giving him false hope by doing this. He won’t bother to meet other women when he’s busy trying to win you back by being a good friend to you. It’s better for him if you make a clean break rather than offering a friendship option that he doesn’t want, anyway.
4. We’re Best Friends, Why Should a Breakup End That?
This is one that you’ll hear a lot from those on again, off again, on again couples. You may have been best friends, but there was also physical attraction there. You can never go back to being just friends once there’s been a physical relationship. This is why these couples so often end up in a loop of breaking up and getting back together.
As you can see, no matter how great it sounds to be friends with your ex it is filled with problems. At best, it is not realistic, and at worst, it is emotionally unhealthy. This is not to say that you should go out of your way to be mean and bitter towards your ex, but even a period of bitterness is preferable to hanging on to the false hope that a friendship with an ex will develop into something more.