Thinking about keeping your ex in your life past their expiry date? Here are 7 reasons why staying friends with your ex just won’t work.
While the sentiment of keeping “something” of your failed relationship alive may seem heartwarming and for the overall greater good, the truth is, making your new friendship a success may be more pain than it’s worth. While a large number of people have tried it at some point or another, you may as well come to terms with the fact that staying friends with your ex just shouldn’t be on the buffet table.
Now, this doesn’t mean “we dated briefly in high-school” ex, but full-on: I’ve seen you naked, orgasming, sad, happy, sick, long-term relationship kind of “together.”
Touching as it is to say that you made the best of a sour situation, it can also be hurtful to watch your ex move on and change.
Why you shouldn’t stay friends with an ex
Need a couple of reasons to stay away from trying to be all buddy-buddy with an ex? We’ll give you 7 good ones.
#1 They’re your ex for a reason. As healthy or cathartic as you think staying friends with your ex is, remember that you are no longer together for a reason. Breaking up, in some ways, can be similar to a death. Drunken Aunt Betty dies? Suddenly nobody wants to talk about what a hard-up slut she used to be. You and your ex move along? Suddenly those qualities that used to make you crazy, or hurt your feelings now don’t seem so bad.
You know why? Because you’re not dealing with them anymore. All the reasons it didn’t work out should definitely beat out the reason to cave in and stay in touch, no matter how much you miss your ex. [Read: 7 ways to resist the urge to call your ex]
#2 They’ve seen you naked. Let’s be honest. Your ex has seen you naked. Aside from say, your parents, carrying on a friendship with someone who has seen you in the buff is usually considered a big no-no. Why? Aren’t we all adults here? Capable and willing to put aside the awkward embarrassment of knowing someone has seen your O-Face?
Unfortunately, no. Being friends with someone who has seen you in your birthday suit can only call for future disaster. At one point or another, you’re going to remember their touch, kiss, passion, dirty make-up sex and that one drunken night you did that thing you swore you’d never do. And who wants to remember the good stuff over someone who screwed you over or lost your interest? Nobody, that’s who.
What’s worse is… you may be tempted to have a repeat session. After all, staying friends is confusing. You’re still hanging out, still seeing movies, still ordering pizza and getting drunk together like you used to. And all this with no touching, no kissing, hand holding will just make your ex all the more tempting. If you had sexual chemistry in your relationship, you will definitely be entering the danger-zone. [Read: 10 surefire ways to stay friends after having sex]
#3 You may become friends with benefits. If reason number two hits home with you, then you may end up being one of the many exes who stay friends only to become the dreaded friends with benefits. This ex may, at one point, have been your best friend and lover, and those highlights aren’t easily forgotten, making your new sessions one giant tease. Those late nights buddying it up post-breakup builds so much sexual tension, one of you is bound to crack. Then you’re dealing with:
The morning after: To call, or not to call
One of you developing feelings for the other again
You being angry
Your ex being jealous
Confusion among your mutual friends… and the list goes on and on.
Becoming friend with benefits is just a one-way stop to never seeing each other again or eventually dating again – and relationship reruns are so yesterday. [Read: 9 brilliant casual relationship tips]
#4 You stay in love. You may try to fight the urge to abhor your ex post-breakup, especially if it’s one of your first serious relationships. You may even try to take the high-road and get over yourself for the sake of this new found “friendship.” After all, why throw away a perfectly good relationship with someone that you once claimed to love? If this was someone you were willing to spend years with, why should all of that bonding go to waste, all because you’re not bumping booties any longer?
While staying friends may sound ideal, the simple fact is: it isn’t good for your psyche. This new, incomplete version of your “relationship” may only leave you frustrated, especially if you weren’t the one who wanted the relationship to end. In fact, instead of taking that much-needed step of hatred, you might actually stay in love with them. What’s fun about that?
Part of getting over someone, like it or not, is hating them. You hate them, cyber-stalk them, resent them, roll your eyes at things you used to find adorable, and then you get so sick of hating them that you just “get over it.” This critical “hatred step” is particularly hard to do when you’re trying to maintain a sunshine-and-lollypops friendship with them. Especially if you’re still in love. [Read: 10 reasons you shouldn’t be in an on-off relationship]
#5 You have to watch your ex move on. Whether or not you’re still in love with your old flame, though let’s face it, this one sucks way more if you are, there will come a point where you have to watch them move on. If you were the one that got dumped, this will be especially hard. If you were the dumper, this one’s still a little awkward – especially if they’d formerly been spending all their time still pining after you. As horrible as it sounds, especially women take no small amount of pleasure in knowing they’re still wanted.
Now you’re in a position where you’re your ex’s buddy, and guess what? Buddies meet new girlfriends and boyfriends. Even if you’re completely over your ex, there’s still that awkwardness that goes along with watching your old lover change and move on – especially if you’re still beside your ex/friend while it’s happening. Think about it, if you’re still friends and they’re now getting married: guess who’s invited? That would be you.
Not to mention if you’re still into your ex, or at least hoping that all these friendly hangs will remind your ex what a cool person you are. Your continued interactions will make it impossible for you to move on with your life. [Read: 8 ways to deal with your ex seeing someone new]
#6 Your new partner will hate them. No one, especially not your new beau, wants to know that you’re still hanging out with your ex. Whether or not you’re the one who broke it off, your new lover won’t be too happy knowing you’re still having play-dates with someone who used to make you come.
This kind of information can be intimidating for new relationships. After all, who wants to compete with all that history, especially at the beginning of the relationship where it’s supposed to be all “ooey-gooey-all-about-youey”, Not: “Hey, wanna double date with my ex and his new girlfriend/boyfriend?” [Read: 9 things you shouldn’t talk about in a new relationship]
#7 You were never really friends. Maybe you started that way, but it was likely brief and soon forgotten, once you entered the throes of a romantic relationship. You may have to face the simple fact that you just weren’t meant to be friends. Having an intimate, physical relationship with someone, to put it simply, makes it easier to put up with their downfalls. Take the oxytocin out of the mix and all you’re left with is someone who either broke your heart, or couldn’t make the cut the first time.
Though laced with good intentions, staying friends with your ex is fraught with complications that might lead to a whole lot of awkwardness, and possibly some lingering traces of heartbreak. Do yourself a favor and shelve your idea of trying to be friends again.
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