Eleven Women Share Advice for Staying Friends with Exes


Olivia Lucero

Parting ways with a significant other is like losing your best friend. You spend the entirety of your relationship sharing interests, dislikes, and secrets with one another. They’re the first person you want to vent to about how someone in the office totally threw out your leftovers without asking. And when you discover the latest trendy city hotspot, they’re who you want to go with.

That all changes when you’re no longer together. Your built-in best friend is gone. You start having to do a lot of things solo or reconnecting and rebuilding friendships that have been lukewarm since you got cuffed. This makes you desperately crave the comfort of that friendship with your ex.

But can exes really be friends? 11 Menders share their thoughts on staying friends with an ex.

Only if you don’t get triggered…

“I have always believed that love doesn’t necessarily go away once you are broken up…It will always be a little weird at first, and new boundaries need to be put in place, but I am still friends with some of my exes who I care deeply about as beautiful souls that I was lucky to cross paths with at some point on this adventure. If you find yourself stalking your ex on social media and getting triggered, then I highly suggest to stop following them. Only positive vibes.”

Rachelle Tratt, Creator of The Neshama Project & Yoga Teacher

It all banks on maturity…

“I think it depends on the maturity of both people. I do think it’s possible, though. I am very close friends with some of the people that I have dated. Then there are some I just don’t keep in touch with, while there are a couple in which there was a friendship but when they came into a new romantic relationship their partner wasn’t comfortable with the friendship so it became distant. That definitely sucks.”

Mary Shenouda, Founder of Phat Fudge

Not when the breakup was one-sided…

“This is hard. I would love to say that yes, exes can be friends, but unless it was really amicable and both people were really done, that is really hard for people to do because it is typically one-sided. Especially if you want to move on and you want your next partner to feel comfortable, because that invested time you have in the other person and that closeness with them doesn’t really go away. You can not talk to someone for 10 years, but you knew so much about them that it is definitely not just a friendship. I don’t think it’s possible, but who knows.”

Éva Goicochea, Founder of Maude

Some can be lifelong friends…

“I do think that some exes can be friends. I stay in touch with a few exes and I consider them lifelong friends. I still even talk to the brother of an ex. He’s like a little brother to me and I love him.”

Aurielle Sayeh, Writer & DJ

It’s not worth the problems…

“Honestly, it really depends on the situation. Every once in a while it can work, but I’ve seen it cause more problems than it’s often worth.”

Daniela Tempesta, Therapist

It’s definitely possible…

“I’m friends with my first ex. Just him. I saw him last week and he’s still with the girl he broke up with me for. Apparently, they’re doing fine, and I’m happy for them. I still give him shit for dumping me when we hang out. Having an intimate relationship with someone and then backpedaling from there is weird and hard, but definitely possible.”

Lena Fayre, Singer

Sometimes it’s too soon…

“There is definitely a “too soon” zone, and I recently found myself in one such zone. On a recent trip to New York, I was excited to visit with an ex from last year, thinking we would have a great time as friends since we had so much in common when it came to music and food. We both seemed happy with our current situations, so I assumed that it would be a natural meeting of two old friends, which we never really were. What I neglected to realize is that a year is pretty recent when you’re talking about a healing timeline. It was a really awkward visit. He was nice and took me to a café he thought I’d like, showed me his favorite kitschy bar and we ate 99 cent pizza. During the latter two outings, we were accompanied by his roommate, which eased the tension, but the time we spent alone was filled with a palpable awkward strain that, if it had a voice, would say, ‘Why are you doing this to yourselves? You don’t know how to treat each other.'” “Needless to say, it was a mistake, one that I was surprised I made. Aren’t we supposed to be a little wiser in our late twenties? Not sages by any means, but at least wise to obviously damaging traps that are sure to be a one-way ticket to Bummersville? Usually, I would beat myself up for a misstep like that, but this time I chose right away to forgive myself. I guess we’re always learning. If wisdom hasn’t entirely arrived in my late twenties, I’ll settle for a readiness to forgive.”

Vanessa Labi, Style Blogger on Babesicle

Only when your feelings are neutral…

“I think it depends how long you’ve been with the person. You just have to let enough time pass. I think it can be problematic if you’re still single and you’re searching. As long as you’re at a neutral place inside.”

Patricia Echeverria, Founder of Creative Futures

Romantic history doesn’t just disappear…

“You know, I’ve tried. I’m on amicable terms with a most of my exes, and even better terms with their families…it’s funny how that works out. But you can’t erase that shared romantic history. I think that makes it hard to get back to a true, honest, hang-up free friendship.”

Juliana Richer, Musician

There’s a difference between friends and friend-ly…

“I think exes can be friend-ly… and generally it’s a good idea to get or at least feel on good terms to heal. Can they be friends? Only if one is not really giving someone new a chance, or if you never really developed feelings for them in the first place. But if it was a real partnership, no – out of respect for the new potential partner. It’s hard to compete with months or years of intimacy. It’s hard to see those inside jokes and that closeness your partner still has with someone they loved, but maybe that’s just me. I personally can and like to catch up every once in a while with an ex, but bottom line is I want them to be happy, and that means me getting out of the way and letting go of wanting them in my life so that I can grow something with someone else, and they can too. It’s important to leave an empty space in your heart and life, trusting it’s making room for something better.”

Leanne Mai-ly, Founder of VAUTE

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