Being friends with your ex while in a relationship… to do or not to do? That is the question. And it’s a really good one.
There are so many ways to look at this, but ultimately it’s a decision that only you and your significant other can make.
And, since you’re reading this blog post, I’m guessing this may be a problem in your current relationship.
If that’s the case, choosing the wrong answer can destroy your relationship.
So to avoid that, let’s put our feelings on hold for a few and think this thing through.
Here’s the first question…
Is being friends with your ex while in a relationship wrong?
First, I think the important questions isn’t really “is this wrong,” but rather, “is this worth it?”
This is less of a question about whether it’s morally wrong, and more about whether it’s wrong for you and your relationship.
Being friends with your ex while in a relationship isn’t “wrong” per se, but it still may not be worth it. Is being friends with your ex gonna cost you your current relationship?
If so, then you’re essentially making the choice between your past and your future.
Answer these questions:
- Is your relationship with your ex strictly plutonic (meaning there’s absolutely no lingering romantic feelings from either of you and no chance for reconciliation)?
- Are you committed to being completely upfront and honest about your relationship with your current partner?
- Is your current partner genuinely okay with you being friends with your ex?
If the answer to each of those questions is “yes,” then you can go for it. Establish boundaries with your ex and make sure you’re not doing anything that undermines your current relationship.
If however, any of the above statements is false, then I would definitely recommend not remaining friends with your ex.
If you answered “no,” to even one of those questions, it’s a sign that the door is open for your relationship with your ex to cross the line. There’s a high chance that you’ll damage your current relationship by remaining friends with your ex.
Note: This all hinges on the assumption that you genuinely care about your current relationship and you see a future with your current partner. I’m assuming that you’re not just stringing your current partner along as a means of passing the time.
Why do you want to stay friends with your ex?
This is the most important question I could ask you.
Let’s be real. Why is remaining friends with your ex important to you?
Is it just because he’s a great person and you have a lot of good memories together?
Or is there something else there?
-> BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF
If you want to make the right decision, be open, honest, and vulnerable with yourself about your motives.
When you’re truly honest with yourself, you’ll know if your motives are wrong.
What do wrong motives look like?
Here are 3 examples…
- Staying friends with your ex because you’re secretly still in love with them and want to get them back. (By default you’ve made your current boo a placeholder until you get what you really want)
- Keeping your ex around because they still love you or want you. Keeping them around makes you feel desired and strokes your ego.
- Staying friends because it’s comfortable or familiar. Your relationship has just become a force of habit and a place of comfort, but there’s no real substance.
I think many of us as women have experienced at least one of these in our lifetime. It may be hard to admit, but here’s a fact… the truth isn’t always pretty, but it will always set you free.
If you can see yourself in any of these, then your motives aren’t pure and they’re a danger to your current relationship.
If your motives are squeaky clean, let’s move onto the next step…
Have an honest conversation
Personally, I’ve had a couple of really serious (5+ year) relationships and I’m not friends with any of my exes. We may say happy birthday to each other every year, but that’s about as far as it goes.
On the other hand I have a friend I’ve known since I was 8, we “tried dating” 2x when we were younger (the last time was college), but it never went anywhere. We were never in love and didn’t harbor any romantic feelings towards each other.
We’ve maintained our friendship for 20+ years, and it was really important to me that we be able to remain friends.
We’re both married, and both of our spouses were uncomfortable with our friendship at one point (primarily bc of how long we’ve been friends and the fact that we *used to* like each other.)
So we had to put in work with our spouses to make them feel comfortable.
Thankfully neither of us are married to controlling or possessive people – they genuinely trust us, which made it easier. That brings me to my next point…
Are you actively building trust with your partner?
Openness and honesty build trust – the more you and your partner trust each other, the easier it will make things in your relationship.
Ask your partner this question to help you both reach an understanding of what’s important… “What would make you feel comfortable with our friendship?”
Find out what their objections are and if/how you guys can reach a compromise.
For example, if your ex is also in a relationship, try going on a double date and bringing your partner into your friendship.
Finding ways to bring your partner into your friendship with your ex has its benefits. Your partner will be able to see the dynamics of your friendship first hand, which may ease his mind. It gives him a chance to size up your ex and discern his intentions as well.
How will being friends with your ex affect your current relationship?
Now, here’s the big one.
Successful relationships require respect, trust, and sacrifice.
The bottom line is this – If you’re friendship with your ex will cause a rift between you and your current partner, is it worth it?
Is it worth possibly undermining your partner’s trust of you, making him feel insecure in your relationship, or losing the relationship altogether?
If the answer is no, then you know what you’ve gotta do.
As a wife, my relationship with my husband is sacred and it comes first. We love, respect, and trust each other which allows us to be on the same page for most things. But, we’ve both had to create boundaries in some of our friendships, out of respect for each other.
The question to end it all…
If you’re still struggling with what to do, let me ask you this…
If the tables were turned, how would you want your partner to respond?
If your partner was doing something that made you feel as uncomfortable as he currently feels, how do you hope he’d respond?
If you wouldn’t want your partner to disregard your feelings, don’t disregard theirs.
Point. Blank. Period.
Being friends with your ex…
In my experience, sometimes it works… most of the time it won’t.
At the end of the day, what should be most important is your current relationship especially if you are married, engaged, or in a committed relationship.
If your relationship with your boyfriend/fiancé/husband is important enough to you, make decisions that honor it.
How have you managed friendships with your ex? And has remaining friends ever caused an issue in your relationship? Let me know in the comments.
w/ light and love,
Matthew 5:14 – You are the light of the world. And like a city on a hill that cannot be hidden.