Is Being Friends With An Ex Possible? Listen To My Father

Is Being Friends With An Ex Possible?
Photo by: carolinamadruga

The following happened nearly 30 years ago in the heart of Europe …

[me]: “I’m going out…”
[my dad]: “Where are you going to?”
[me]: “I’m going to see Sandra.”
[my dad]: “I thought you two were broken up?”
[me]: “We are. We just want to stay friends.”
[my dad]: “Whaaat? Friends? When you break up, you’re not supposed to see each other ever again. That’s how it was, and that’s how it always will be!”

This was a real conversation after one of my very first breakups. And I kept having it many times as I grew older.

Why do we feel the need to being friends with an Ex after a break-up?

Is a platonic friendship between ex-romantic partners even possible?

Why we want to stay friends

There are many reasons why we usually try to.

Here’s the most popular one:

We want to keep them close because the notion of losing them is unbearable for us.

“Broken up? We’ll see about that. I’m sure they’ll change their mind …”

We are hoping that they will finally come around, and we want to be able to influence the process. Staying friends is the most practical way to do that.

Such behavior typically happens in one of the first phases of the breakup.

What to do if you still have to deal with them?

notfriendsAdditionally, if you also have kids together or work at the same place, it might seem like you are forced to stay friends.

What are you supposed to do? Turn the cold shoulder when they come to see the kids? So why not make your life a little easier, since you have to see each other anyway? Right?

Wrong.

Because staying friends — while it seems like the ethical thing to do — NEVER works as long as one party suffers.

You can’t hope to stay friends if you are still emotionally involved in the relationship.

They WILL treat you as a friend, they will tell you how their new life unfolds, and they won’t spare you the details.

They WILL test you and constantly check whether they still have power over you — playing stupid games that you will lose.

You WILL suffer more than you should, and you will prolong your recovery unnecessarily.

Staying friends after a breakup doesn’t work.

At least, not at the very beginning.

That’s what my failed relationships in the past have taught me, and this is what all of my clients experienced while being in the trenches.

What does science say about being friends with an Ex?

On the other hand, scientific research suggests that the possibility of staying friends with an Ex after a break-up or divorce depends on the amount of “resources” received once broken up:

“Results indicated that participants who received more resources reported higher levels of friendship quality with their former partner. Lack of family or friends’ support, involvement in a new romantic relationship, and the use of neglect as a disengagement strategy were all found to be barriers to friendship quality.” (Personal Relationships Journal)

Another study shows that if there was a friendship before the relationship, then a friendship has a good chance of survival after breaking up:

“Results indicated that being friends prior to romantic involvement was a significant predictor of friendship, both for people who initiated the disengagement and for those who were recipients of partner’s desire for disengagement.” (Journal of Social and Personal Relationships)

It also seems that the quality of the relationship itself is an indicator of how likely a friendship after the dissolution of that relationship is:

“We found that the more satisfied individuals were during the dissolved romance, the more likely they were to remain friends and the more likely they were to engage in friendship maintenance behaviors.” (The Journal of Social Psychology)

Conclusion

So what’s the solution here? Staying friends or not?

The solution to this dilemma is called following the No-Contact Rule.

As you might already know, it’s cutting off contact with your Ex completely while you take time for yourself to heal for a predefined time period of 60 days.

(Why 60 days? Because this is enough time to reach a certain healing stage, after which your Ex cannot sabotage your recovery anymore.)

You inform your Ex about breaking off the contact, you don’t disappear into thin air (no “ghosting”) — this is the ethical way to do it.

And if you still have to deal with your Ex (because of kids or the same workplace), you just follow a set of rules to protect yourself (“Reduced No-Contact”).

And that is it.

Not quite as my father said — “not supposed to see each other ever again” — because, at one point, you will want to see them again to make the final recovery test.

'No-Contact, a field-tested and proven way to move on from your Ex.'Click To Tweet

No-Contact is the quickest way to healing after a breakup or divorce. It’s simply a field-tested and proven fact (not just a theoretical concept).

I know you think that you can’t do it.

Everybody thinks that.

But you will be surprised WHAT you can do if you focus on one goal, which is being emotionally independent.

In our DETOX community, we have quite a few members who thought they could never ever pull it off and they DID it.

It was painful, it was hard, but they did it anyway. And they moved on from their Ex.

You can do it too.

If you are unhappy with the situation as it is, then start your recovery the right way:

We can help you do it, to sail through the turbulent waters of No-Contact and face all the obstacles (there are seven of them).

You don’t have to do it alone because you are NOT alone — we are here for you all the way.

All you have to do is subscribe to my daily newsletter here:

https://lovesagame.com/healing-test

What is your take on this topic? Is it possible to still be friends after a breakup or not? Please let me know in the comment section below.

Your friend and coach,
Eddie Corbano

  • Yes it is possible but very very difficult because we start missing them more and more when we not contact them.Every day Every hour and Every Hour we start thinking of them what they are doing how they are doing ,are they fine or do they still miss us or remember us. It’s just like dieing every second. But somewhere inside us we feel that we should let go. Belive me it is the hardest thing to do or live without them

  • Hey Eddie

    I don’t understand two parts this:

    “Results indicated that participants who received more resources reported higher levels of friendship quality with their former partner. Lack of family or friends’ support, involvement in a new romantic relationship, and the use of neglect as a disengagement strategy were all found to be barriers to friendship quality.” (Personal Relationships Journal)

    So, is it saying that if after a break up you involve yourself in a new romantic relationship there is less chance of being friends with your ex (who dumped you)?

    And two: what exactly is “the use of neglect as a disengagement strategy”?

    thanks, I really like your stuff

  • After 3 years of being totally in love with each other, one day he mentioned he doesn’t have that feeling anymore for me. After a couple days, he trying to text me that he,wants to remain friends. That he,will always love and care for me. His reason was that he need to find himself, travel, carrer, make more money. He,said that we both can’t afford a relationship now. I am 10years older and the age thing was never an issue. Until, he mentioned that he doesn’t want me to be in danger if I have kids. He doesn’t know if he wants them or not maybe 5years from now who knows. Now,he wants to stay friends but hook up when we need each other sexually and still hang out as friends. He doesn’t want to be commitment cause he wants to experience life and mentioned that I have done all the stuff he wants to do in life. He asked for a year for him to find himself and focused on what he needs to do for his future. He initiated texts telling me how he missed me etc. But then he ask me for us to still care of each other when necessary sexually. I don’t know what to say. But if he thinks I’m that stupid enough to just have sex with him after he dumb me, he got it wrong. He mentioned that he wants us to remain friends and promise him that we will. We met the day after 38th his birthday and talked. I needed to talk and hear exactly why he was breaking up. He mentioned he needs a break, be single, focused on his carrer, not financially set for a relationship. Then he mentioned we don’t know what can happen in a year who knows. I’m so torn and hurt about this. Really hurt. He still text me and it’s just less than a month we broke up. I really want to make it work give him his space but not be the hook me up kinda girl he,wants in the meantime he finds himself. Confused, heartbroken, devastating and torn. Am I wrong to still have feelings. I mentioned that I don’t want to be friends and he still texting me . Confused girl.

  • After 3 years of being totally in love with each other, one day he mentioned he doesn’t have that feeling anymore for me. After a couple days, he trying to text me that he,wants to remain friends. That he,will always love and care for me. His reason was that he need to find himself, travel, carrer, make more money. He,said that we both can afford a relationship. I am 10years older and the age thing was never an issue. Until, he mentioned that he doesn’t want me to be in danger if I have kids, he doesn’t know if he wants them or not maybe 5years from now who knows. Now , he wants to stay friends but hook up when we need each other sexually and still hang out as friends. He doesn’t want to be a commitment cause he wants to experience life and mentioned that I have done all the stuff he wants to do in life. He,asked for a year for him to find himself and focused on what he needs to do for his future. He initiated texts telling me how he missed me etc. But then he ask me for us to still care of each other when necessary sexually. I don’t know what to say. But if he thinks I’m that stupid enough to just have sex with him after he dumb me, he got it wrong. He mentioned that he wants us to remain friends and promise him that we will. We met the day after 38th his birthday and talked. I needed to talk and hear exactly why he was breaking up. He mentioned he needs a break, be single, focused on his carrer, not financially set for a relationship. Then he mentioned we don’t know what can happen in a year who knows. I’m so torn and hurt about this. Really hurt. He still text me and it’s just less than a month we broke up. I really want to make it work give him his space but not be the hook me up kinda girl he,wants in the meantime he finds himself. Confused, heartbroken, devastating and torn. Am I wrong to still have feelings. I mentioned that I don’t want to be friends and he still texting me . Confused girl..

  • Delores BJ says:

    Hi, Eddie,
    It’s been 6 wks since my ex-boyfriend of 2 yrs suddenly abandoned me “cold turkey.” Unfortunate truth is that he threatened various times to make it a reality, but I never thought his heart would turn that extremely vicious. Well, it did, and he left for what I believe will become, for good. However, we have communicated a few times because he had to pick up some belongings at my place, although he left some stuff behind. What a game player, because the stuff he left are reminders that relate to us, but he picked up things that do not relate to us in any way. So, I’m now stuck with the rest of his junk.

    We attempted to be “friends,” and our last communication was the other day when I told him exactly how I feel regarding abandonment. I said that my trust has been compromised, and I told him that I would never, ever just walk away from someone I truly felt close to and cared strongly for, no matter what obstacles or difficulties arose. So, why would I expect such treatment of me? I told him that the friends idea won’t work for me. (It would hurt more than help me). For that reason I started the conversation the other day. He told me he enjoyed his new found free, single life (had 2 failed, bitter marriages/divorces, and his 2nd divorce wasn’t official until soon “after” we met, which I didn’t know right away). I ended up saying that the truth finally hit me, and hit hard, and I respect & agree with his decision to remain split. I also said that it’s best for him to not be around me, if he really wants to remain split up, and I wished him luck with his new job he just started and I pray that God help him with the direction he decides to go in life. I said that I need to protect my heart, and I pray for God’s protection of my heart. I told him he can call if he wants, but I wished him the best of luck in his direction. Personally, I believe I surprised him with what I said, because I don’t think he expected me to kind of turn away like that. The result? My ex isn’t calling at all, and he’s avoiding more than ever now. So, what does this all mean?

    I’m not sure what is meant by this whole mess, and I don’t really know what to think of him anymore. It just seems like a vicious game that I’d never be willing to play.

    By the way, both of us are around 60 yrs old, and my history is only one husband I lost to acute leukemia. So, we lived our 31 yrs of marriage til death us do part. And, neither of us ever thought of game playing like this!!!

    With my ex, I feel like I finally acted like Ebenezer Scrooge’s young lover who ended up walking over the bridge alone after trying to get him to go with her, and then wishing him well with the direction he’s chosen in life.

    hope you can respond with your thoughts to this long letter, Eddie.

    Thank-you,
    Delores

  • I am trying to do no-contact but it is extremely difficult when my ex was one of my best friends for 20 years. It was a horrible break up and it’s made even more difficult that I have a small close group of 5 or 6 friends and he is in an integral part of that group. Having seen him at a social setting I know I need no-contact but my friends are annoyed that I won’t attend nights out or events because I know he’ll be there too. While he (and our friends) think we should absolutely be able to be friends, I just can’t see how I can be friends with a guy that treated me badly at the end.

    • Dear Allie,

      listen to your inside. I had kinda the same situation though it was only like 5 years but a lot of mutual friends and venues. Dont listen to your friends at all. I realized back than that I need to get rid off friends who cannot accept that I no longer wanted to see my ex and be friends with her. I stopped visiting the mutual venues just to avoid bumping into her. It does help a lot. I changed the pub and even made new friends. Though I no longer care even if I see her since she cant even look into the eyes and say hello it is quite important for your no contact period to no see her at all even if it means loosing some of your friends or missing on some action. Changing venues works also for you. New people new ideas new beginnings. I know you are not thinking of new beggining at the moment but trust me. There will come a time when all the new contacts and friends will come handy once you are over that dude.

  • I am currently dealing with a breakup. It’s been a little over 4 months. I am 28 and he was the first person I truly feel deeply in love with (we were together for a year and a half). It ended mutually because he is not emotionally ready for a commitment, or any type of romantic relationship. I did no-contact for 30 days in the beginning, but because we work in the same office, I relapsed and have been on an emotional roller coaster these past 2 months. He never ignores me and wants to help me feel better, while I deal with contemplating whether or not I can be friends with him in the future. (I have never wanted to with other exes in the past.) He means that much to me for me to even be thinking about a possible friendship. I finally hit rockbottom last night and this morning by acting desperate and sending him texts and calling, asking to speak so I can apologize and explain my clingy behavior. He finally realized how staying in contact right now is not helping either one of us and said it is best we don’t talk for some time because he was still hurting me. It gives me hope that he didn’t tell me off, so I’m certain there will be time in the future to reconcile for a possible platonic friendship. He’s ignoring me now, but it is for the best. I am not going to be hard on myself because I know I am human and this is the first time I’ve ever loved anyone so deeply. Holding strong and I hope this helps someone going through the same thing now.

    • Going through the same lynn. I fell deeply in love with someone I work with. My partner. We were together for two years.
      We have succeeded many times at work together, we jelled well, we were very close friends.
      It ended mutually. In fact i ended it because i knew he would never fight for this relationship.
      I called him ended it politelty said i needed no contact although we are business partners.
      I have been in severe pain since. I actually feel i have a broken heart. Burning stone on my chest. I cry sporadically all day.
      Seeing him at work is killing me. I took time away. Created mediators for communication at work
      Although i dont want to restore the romance i cant help but yhink if he feels pain? If he ever cared? My low self esteem surficing
      Was i ever anything? Or was it the thrill of suceeding together. We tango well on most fronts but there are reasons this rekationship can never continue
      I feel so let down by him
      I am in so much pain i am in day 11
      I count the days and hope to see him and feel indiiferent

  • Honestly, I don’t believe in maintaining friendships with any of my ex-boyfriends, because I don’t need a constant reminder of why we’re no longer together as a couple. Although I do agree with the no-contact rule, I refuse to allow them back into my life.

    I want the opportunity to move forward.

  • I agree, no contact is the way to go. I’m a 41 year old gay man. I have had two serious relationships. This last one ended 5 months ago. I am a traditionalist, much like Eddies father, once you have broken up you will never see them again. It’s hard to even write that, knowing you will never see that person you once loved with all your heart. Only way to move on!

  • The no contact rule is the best way to go about it. I’ve done it myself.
    I told my ex when she dumped me that I will not stay friends with her now but maybe later. Fast forward to now and I can tell you I have no desire to have any kind of relationship with her at all. I could not care less how she is doing. Why should I? Was she there when she dumped me in the worst possible time? Hell no. Its her life now and its my life now.

    I have all the time in the world now and I am so single I cannot imagine I will need to divide my free time again once a nice girl comes around 🙂 It seems now that I am way better off now being single than when I was with her. I do not have to feel guilty for all her damned feelings anymore which is so awesome. No way in hell she was the right. I can clearly see that now.

    The no contact is very very hard at the very beginning but I did not find a better and more healing tool than the no contact rule. It will set you free.

  • Paul Clarke says:

    When I was dumped after an 8 yr romance,I was like a deer in headlights.
    The first advise I read was Eddie’s web page.
    At the break up I said ‘Our paths will never cross’
    And they do not have to.
    Nearly 2 years later…I am glad I am free,moved on..
    I have no idea what my ex has moved onto and I ask no questions.
    One thing I know is that I am stronger,more confident and more wiser.
    Thanks Eddie,you are a star

  • Listen to Eddie! No Contact is 100% the way to go. 2 months, 6 months, 1 year down the line, you’ll be so happy you made that call!

      • Fetnatilas says:

        Dear all,
        I appologize if my english is not good.
        I am in NC for 21 days already . My story is that I am married but i fell in love with an italian collegue at work and he is 11 years younger than me . He works just opposite to our shop and we can look actoss the hall to each other every day. We went out to date for a month ( it was a weak period between me and my husvand ) . This young man made me feel alive and not lonely again . However, this guy told me that he came here for a mission of 10 months then go back home to continue his study. He told me that he is not looking for some serious relationship here and did not want to have a complicate thought and wanted to live day by day when he was here .
        I thought that he had a feeling for me . But for the third date I told him that i was still married and he was shocked and told me that he had to consider and think about it . Then the next day notmally he should have sent me a sms to ask if i m fine but he didnt send me anyth . The next day, I met him and work and ask why he didnt send me sms , he told me that he was busy .
        I felt sth wrong so that i asked him dud we still go out for a date or we return to be in a friendzone ? He told me “I m sorry but i prefer to be a friend ” Irrmembered that i was really realky sad. I did a NC for one week then broke it then i tried to be friend with him . He is a good guy with good background and good family . Maube he did a right thing . I blamed mystlf to cheat on my husband and fell in love to another guy i admitted that .
        Then during period trying to be his goid friend , i felt deeply bad and sad because when we still have a feeling to someone , we could not be friend . And he was treating me nice and kind as always . The more he was kind to me the more i felt attached to him even more and suffered with tbis toxic feeling and hoped that one day he would like me as before. Then one night I was extremely desoerate about this toxic feeling , i decided to send him a sms explain my alk toxic feeling and also told him that when he was kind to me it made me feel bad and low self worth and if he did not do sth i felt sad too . I told him that from today i will not have a contact with u if it is not ne essary . So untill now it has been 21 days . Intill this day i felt more free to myself , less bope and i respect mysrlf a bit more . However , he works opposite to the other side of the hall so i can see him every day and i afmit that it is really hard for me not to see what he is doing , who he is talking to . It js my obsession and i want to get rid of it . It is really really hard to have NC with someone at work . I decided to change the workplace ( still same company just diffent floor ) and i hope that i can move so that i wont see him again . Because this NC is no all communication but thjs i can still ser the guy . When i ser him my toxic feeling comes up and makes me suffer . He is nice and knows that i shffer so i think that he helps me to move on by respect my choice . One sude it hurts that he does not care me anymore i do NC to him but other side i have to thank him not to contact me so i can really get over him and move on .
        I really want to get over it but i dont want to pressure on myself . I take time , i will get there when the time pass by i guess .
        I think i will do NC for 45 days then if i still have toxic feeling i ll do 60 days u till i get better . Bit i m scared to break NC vety much , bcuz he is so nice guy at work n respect my choice . I do NC is for healing myself . I do it for me becuz I love and respect myself . I dont want to be a sad girl who wait for a guy to cone and say hello and have a stupid hope which not gonna happen .
        But im scared to break the NC rule . It is hard and difficult .

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