Is It A Mistake to Stay In Contact With Your Ex As Friends?

Question: There is no such thing as friends with an ex. I just don’t believe it’s possible to stay in contact with someone you still have feelings for. What’s the point?

Yangki’s Answer: There is such a thing as friends with an ex. It happens more often than most people realize.

That said, I do admit that it’s quite rare in today’s relationship environment for exes to part ways with little animosity or indifference.

  1. One or both exes get upset that the ‘romantic relationship’ ended and sever all ties because they can’t hold two conflicting strong emotions of love and loss at the same time.
  2. One or both exes respond to a break-up so negatively (neediness, drama, anger, revenge etc) that it’s impossible to want to remain in contact. Just too much damage.
  3. There was no friendship in the relationship to begin with. They were romantic lovers but not friends. When the romance (the feeling of being IN love) dies, there is nothing else left but hurt feelings, anger and resentment. It’s hard to transition from a romantic relationship to a platonic one if there was no friendship to begin with.

People with good relationship skills cultivate and nurture both romance and friendship. Friendship helps them weather the rough patches, navigate hurt emotions, and maintain an emotional connection long after the romance dies out. That ‘friendship’ usually provides a foundation for a “new relationship. The “new” relationship could be a “platonic” relationship or it could be “romantic” relationship.

In my experience over the years, people who remained “friends” with their ex end up getting back together more often than people who have no “friendship” on which to build the new relationship on. It doesn’t mean you can’t get back your ex if you are not “friends” with them, it just means, it’s a lot harder to build on where there is no foundation. You first have to build a foundation, then build the new relationship.

This why I advice my clients, keep the friendship and use it as a foundation on which to build a new relationship. See: 3 Reasons Staying Friends With Your Ex Is Good For Getting Back Together

Note, there is a difference between a “friendship” as a foundation and the “friend-zone” or “just friends”.  You should never offer to be “just friends”. But if an ex offers to be friends for a start, make sure you have a friendship and are not “friend-zoned”.

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