Can You Really Have Close Friendships With Your Exes?

I used to be quite close with most of my exes even after our relationships ended, simply because I saw no reason not to. To be honest, when I was younger, especially in my 20s, I wasn’t even sure if I was serious about any of those relationships. I was still trying to figure myself out, you know? Fortunately, most of the breakups occurred at the right time, with mutual agreement. Even though there were some hurtful moments, they were never unforgivable, which allowed us to maintain positive friendships after things ended.

Having an ex as a best friend.

The ex-boyfriend I was closest to was the one who I had a long-distance relationship with, for 2.5 years. Our bond was strong, and I must admit, I do miss him sometimes—not in a romantic way, but rather because we shared a deep friendship. When I entered a new relationship with someone after him, he was there for me, lending an empathetic ear and providing support because my mental health was deteriorating due to the toxic environment I was facing in the new relationship.

I can genuinely say that he is a great person, and I hold no negative feelings towards him. If anything, I take full responsibility for our relationship not working out, as I made the decision to end it due to the distance and compatibility.

Ex-boyfriend vs. Boyfriend.

The person I was with at the time wasn’t comfortable with me maintaining a close friendship with my ex either. Well, it’s understandable to me now why he felt that way. If the situation were reversed, I can’t deny that I wouldn’t have been comfortable either. Looking back, I realize that I wasn’t wise enough to understand what the underlying problem was. At that moment, I resisted and fought back, questioning why it was an issue. I thought,

“If he trusted me enough, why should it bother him?”

Reflecting on it now, I can admit that even though I needed my ex for moral support, regardless of how toxic my boyfriend was at the time, he was right. Over time, I’ve come to understand things better. It all boils down to the fundamental principle of respect. While maintaining friendships with exes is not inherently wrong, it’s important to find a balance that respects your present relationship’s boundaries.

What’s The Wrong Part About It?

The presence of an ex in your life, especially if you share a close friendship, can potentially create discomfort in your present relationship because your ex was someone you were once romantically involved with. This comes from concerns about the past connection and the possibility of unresolved feelings or rekindling romance.

When there is an excessive level of interaction and an overflow of personal sharing with an ex, things can become quite tricky to navigate. It can trigger feelings of insecurity, and jealousy, or even raise concerns about potential romantic or emotional entanglement for your partner.

Set Boundaries.

It’s natural for some of us to have fond memories and a desire to maintain connections with our exes. However, it’s crucial to be mindful of how these interactions might impact our present relationship. Often, these interactions can cause hurt and build insecurities for our current partners, as well as the new partners of our exes.

Remember, your present relationship should always remain a priority. If the need arises to cut off contact for the sake of a new relationship, exes who respect boundaries and demonstrate maturity would understand and respect that decision, refraining from bothering you. If they continue to disregard boundaries despite your efforts, it’s important to recognize that the issue extends beyond the friendship itself.

Speaking from my own experiences, most of my exes still follow me on social media like Facebook and Instagram, but our actual interactions are minimal. The one ex who was once really close to me has chosen to cut off contact, and I’m absolutely fine with it. I fully understand and respect that decision, especially for the sake of his new relationship. It’s important to respect the boundaries set by others for healthier relationships.

Every now and then, some of my exes would reach out to check on me—send cheerful messages for the new year, my birthday, or other special occasions. While our interactions are very minimal, these gestures are appreciated, and they typically occur only once or twice a year, depending on the occasion. We never have phone calls, engage in continuous texting, or even meet up. 

If you have a close friendship with your ex, it’s important to consider scaling back the frequency or depth of your interactions with them in order to prioritize the well-being of your present relationship and ensure that everyone involved feels comfortable and secure.

Ask yourself if it’s truly 100% friendship.

Take a moment for self-reflection and consider whether the friendship you maintain with your ex is genuinely rooted in a purely platonic connection or if there are unresolved feelings that may complicate matters. Sometimes one of you might still have some feelings and secretly hope for a potential for something more than just friends again in the future. Just something to consider, you know?

Being honest with yourself about your emotional state will provide you with the clarity and integrity needed to navigate this situation. By gaining a deeper understanding of your motivations and intentions, you can ensure that your actions align with the nature of the relationship you genuinely seek.

The Conclusion & My View. 

The journey of maintaining relationships with exes is a complex one that requires introspection, empathy, and open communication. It’s important to recognize the potential discomfort it can create in present relationships and to respect the boundaries of our partners. If your partner feels uneasy about your connections with exes, it becomes necessary to let go of those connections and forge ahead. Respecting your partner’s concerns means prioritizing the present and future of the relationship.

Remember, each situation is unique, and finding compromises that work for everyone involved is crucial. Through honesty, integrity, and a commitment to personal growth, we can navigate these situations with grace and cultivate stronger connections in our lives.

Personally, I’m not a fan of keeping close friendships with exes anymore. So, that means I wouldn’t be comfortable with my partner having a close friendship with his ex, especially if his ex continues to initiate contact and discuss personal matters. Such behavior is inappropriate, and if my partner entertains it, I take it as disrespectful to my emotions. Things like following each other on social media and occasional well-wishing; like birthday greetings and Eve’s celebrations—would be acceptable. I can tolerate it as long it is very minimal, I’m fully aware of it and there are boundaries. However, beyond that, it would be a matter of either my partner moving forward with me or considering going back to his ex. Period. 


So, yeah, having a close friendship with an ex is a big NO for me. 🚩 I’m not going to sacrifice myself again and my peace for a man’s comfortability, as if his comfortability is more important than mine. 

X, Hani. 


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