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Ex'es why can't they be friends?


Natkat
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I saw a random buzzfeed video a few days ago about being friend with your ex.

 

In the comment field below there where comment comparing being friend with your ex with dog poop and such.

I honestly never understood why people cant be friend with their ex'es. Like yes. If they did something extremly terrible, 

if they were abusive, and such then I understand why its best to break off the toxic relationship and never see the person ever again. However sometimes people just break up for such simple reason that one or both no longer are in love with each other, or that they dont quit fit together. 

My parents are pretty good friends even after they broke up, I dont know why they broke up but I think its because they dont fit together and are too different. I never thought about this but I noticed as I grew older that this is actually quit unusual that my parents would stay friends like that and most people assume they arnt on friendly terms with each other due to them not being a couple.

 

any thoughts? 

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I have 3 exes. One is my best friend. It's a slightly different situation because we were close friends before dating, it wasn't working after 3 months so we broke up and not long after were back to being friends. 

The next I broke up with 2 and a half years ago after she left the country and long distance wasn't working/I was aro af and didn't know it. She's only recently come back and we haven't talked properly. But I've seen her a few times as we're both in the same circles and I really hope we can be good friends. 

So yeah, I think being friends with exes is totally a thing. It just depends on why and how the relationship broke down. 

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Guest Apple Cake

Oh my god, I've always had this same question. This is the reason why I kind of fear being in a romantic relationship. What if I someday have a crush in a close friend? What if I tell them? What if they feel the same and we start dating? What if it doesn't work and we break up, changing a perfect friendship forever? Oh no

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This reminds me of a comic I read. It does require a bit of back story so bare with me.

 

So one of the main characters of the story makes videos on the internet which are fairly popular. He decides to reveal that he has broken up with his girlfriend in one of the videos, but mentions that they are still friends after the break up (they were good friends before they were in a romantic relationship). Now here's the bit I don't get. People in the comic who watch the videos and don't know the main character, think that because he's still friends with his ex-girlfriend, then he must be gay. I just don't understand the logic behind this.

 

TL:DR Character in story remains friends with his ex-girlfriend, minor characters think he's gay because of this. I don't get why.

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As someone who is not friends with any of their exes, I've learned that people will come and go in your life and they don't always go due to bad feelings. Sometimes, even if there's no animosity between 2 people after they break up, there's also not anything left to hold them together. Also, a lot of times people need to take a significant amount of time away from each other in order to adjust to no longer being in a relationship. Habits die hard and being around someone they have established relationship patterns/roles with when they are no longer in that type of relationship can be very confusing and it's easy to slip back into those behaviors even if they're no longer appropriate for the type of relationship they have but once they spend enough time away from each other they find they either have no reason or desire to include that other person in their life again.

 

Sometimes you just have nothing left to say to someone and nothing left to experience with them; their time in your life has reached it's natural end.

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10 hours ago, Zemaddog said:

TL:DR Character in story remains friends with his ex-girlfriend, minor characters think he's gay because of this. I don't get why.

... do you by chance read EGS.

 

Anyway I've heard lots of theories. Many people want to not see their ex for a bit to avoid the hurt, even if you ended on a good note. After that period, plenty of people realise that the only reason they spent time together was the all consuming passion and attention, and they actually have no other reason to see each other.

 

If you were friends before dating, I wouldn't worry so much. You had other things to base your relationship off, which are most likely still there. I wanted to continue seeing my ex after we broke up so that a. my brain would get used to the current state of things, and make sure I worked out what was acceptable platonic conduct and b. she's a cool person and I value her existence.

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I think failed romantic relationship have the potential to put a strain on a friendship that not everyone is willing to put up with. My best friend is an ex, and I will admit that we did have some awkwardness for a while. Didn't talk much for about a year, and then for another year, we talked, but dealt with the awkward elephant in the room that was his romantic attraction. Still, we stuck it out, and he let his romantic feelings fade so he could replace them with an even stronger friendship.

 

There really needs to be a perfect storm of patience, trust, and respect on both sides for a post-breakup friendship to work out in most situations, so I can understand why some people might let go of the friendship as well. Still, maintaining a friendship after a breakup is far from impossible, so I wish people didn't treat it as such.

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Being friends with an ex is possible only if both ex-partners are emotionally on the same page, and at peace with each other. Otherwise, if one or both are at war, or one is still in love and not the other, it's asking for trouble.

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I have one ex and we were friends until I realized that the friendship was unhealthy as well as the romantic relationship. I was happy to be friends with her - and pretty relieved - but I think that's because I'm romance repulsed, and I don't know what it's like to be alloromantic and break up with someone.

I've nearly stopped trying to relate to alloromantic people tbh

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My ex and I are friends again, but it took us several months (and him getting a new girlfriend) to get over the awkwardness. I think it depends on your relationship before you started dating and the circumstances of the break up. We were good friends before we started dating and see each other at band stuff at least 4 days a week, so it was hard for us to really ignore each other, and easy to find something to talk about (by ourselves or in a group) to work back to being friends. Also, our break up wasn't the best ever, but I told him that I liked him as a person but didn't have romantic feelings for him anymore (haha I was aro) and that I would still like to be friends. He was upset, but there wasn't a big fight or cheating or anything that would cause us to not like each other as people. I get why in certain situations it would be weird to be friends with an ex, and I certainly know that it takes time, but if you had enough in common to date, shouldn't you have enough in common to stay friends? It just seems weird as a general rule and not as a situational thing. 

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my best friend recently had a messy breakup with her girlfriend (also a friend of mine) and they've been using me as a telephone - 'go tell lindsey this' 'well tell her that' etc. its really hard for me to do this? i just want them to be friends again? and i understand that there are raw emotions on both ends and that maybe they dont want to have to be reminded of the Bad Stuff that happened between them but its really hard for me to grasp??? just TALK to each other i dont have the time to ferry messages back and forth and besides youll get over each other easier that way

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I would not say that being friends with an ex is impossible, I know cases where ex's are in fact very close friends.

On the other hand, I have had one boyfriend, and I cannot be friends with him, I just don't want him in my life at all. I think the reason for that is that our romantic relationship (which I didn't want in the first place) ruined my (formerly very strong) feelings for him and actually wore me down a great deal. I feel I am still bitter towards this experience and regret it. I am not mad at him, to be sure. Still, I completely broke off with him, including de-friending him on Facebook.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Yes!!! I never understood why people who experience romantic attraction are so sad after a breakup, I was always like "but we can be friends, what's wrong with that?". I have 2 exes and I am not exactly friends with them, but that's because they keep the distance I suppose. The first one is still in love with me but he tries to hide it, and he even keeps the faith that one day I will suddenly start to like guys and date him again. I still talk to him and consider him "my friend", but it's really uncomfortable being around him knowing his feelings for me. This particular guy makes me realize how powerful romantic attraction is for some people, and helps me to figure out the intensity of the feeling altough I can't feel it.

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Hi thanks for all the comments. 

 

I just want to say sure I understand why you wont be friend with your ex if you had bad experience and I also understand the "normal reason" like you just grew apart and such. that happens.

 

The reason I made this thread is because I feel there is like a hidden "norm" that you are "supposed" to hate your ex that is the normal thing to do. If you dont then its some kind of exection like "yeah we are exes but we are still friends". 

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 3.6.2016 at 0:02 AM, Natkat said:

The reason I made this thread is because I feel there is like a hidden "norm" that you are "supposed" to hate your ex that is the normal thing to do. If you dont then its some kind of exection like "yeah we are exes but we are still friends". 

 

Here's a fun story, that kind off underlines this: 

 

When my brother and I went to Australia, to stay with one of our former exchange students family, we met this ex-couple and traveled sometime with them. 

Their story was, that they won the trip as a couple and had to go work&travel to maintain it. Along the line, they got into constant arguments and finally split up. As expected, their first impulse was to leave and never ever see or talk to the other ever again. Which @Natkat say's is the "hidden norm". They didn't just want some time of, they wanted to hate each others guts and never see their faces again. Put alas, they were in a foreign country and simply had to work together, so after some time, they put aside their differences and did just that. Well, turns out they worked really well together without all that romance and relationship and future marriage drama going on and they became best friends and good travel buddies. Not sure if they are still friends, but if it wasn't for the situation they were in, they would've probably just followed "the norm"(tm), which would've been such a waste, cause they were awesome and fun as a team =D 

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I know for me, my only romantic relationship was awful.  I had a squish on the guy, but I wasn't really attracted to him, which made things very awkward between us.  I was repulsed by a lot of the romantic gestures, but for a while I went along with them because that's what I was "supposed" to do.  I would even have panic attacks sometimes before dates because I was worried I would have to kiss him or hold his hand.  When I broke up with him, I told him I wanted to be friends, because before he asked me to be his girlfriend we had a pretty awesome friendship.  But when the time came to actually be his friend, I just couldn't.  Seeing him brought about too many bad memories, so (although it made me feel like a complete jerk) I just ghosted him.

 

I think the reason a lot of people find it hard to be friends with their exes is that for them to have broken up, there might have been hard feelings or awkwardness.  But if there isn't any of that, then I don't know why people wouldn't want to be friends with their exes.  Maybe I just don't get it, but it seems silly to me.

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  • 1 year later...

I don't really get why generally you can't be friends. if something bad happened, then of course you probably shouldn't be friends. The only reason I see that friendship doesn't happen is that if they broke up because they are too different yet stayed friends it would be too easy to 'relapse' into a relationship again. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

My thought is that romantic relationships are very different from friendships. Most people who've been romantically attracted to me had no interest in being friends ones they realized romance was off the table. I imagine that people who've ended a relationship might feel similarly.

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my ex and I met in grade 5 and he kind of drifted into my friend group in grade 9/10.  we started dating at the end of grade 11.  my first and so far only relationship.  I entered it not identifying as aro--honestly, trying to prove to myself that I wasn't, and though I was attracted to him platonically and sexually, this attempt was, in retrospect, a part of my reason for dating him.  by our semi-anniversary, i'd started to identify as aro but hadn't told anyone, and on that day, I told him.  he'd actually heard of aromanticism before I had and was understanding and accommodating.  we tried to make more of a friends with benefits thing work but broke it off 2 months later.  I apologized in case he felt that i'd wasted his time and said i'd understand if he didn't want to remain friends.  I didn't--don't--understand how people who enjoy each other's company spending time together was a waste, nor how our excuse for a romantic relationship could change our pre-existing platonic attraction after its end, but I get that allos feel differently about this stuff, that's kind of the point.  he didn't begrudge me, at least not externally--like me, I think he was trying to understand the other's feelings--and we remained friends.  we (and the rest of our old friend group) are now in second year university and don't see much of each other, but yes, we're still friends.  

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  • 2 months later...

I think that there is definitely a 'normal expectation' that you should hate or discontinue any kind of friendly relationship with an ex. In my opinion, it stems as a kind of 'cultural touchstone' - a relatable experience that is used as a joke in movies, or to bond with someone else 'Ugh, exes, amirite??'. So to some extent, I think there is some kind of social pressure to break all ties with an ex - even if it was an amicable breakup. I also think that many alloromantic people have strange beliefs about relationships, and they don't really know how to have them - they kinda just bumble around and read articles and search google for answers on how to be a better romantic person. 

 

If a relationship - even just a distant, friendly one is even the slightest bit toxic or unhealthy, then it should definitely be broken off. I do not have any contact with two of my exes for that reason (and unfriended a longish-term friend-with-benefits when our relationship got too weird and stressful). I am still friends with my most recent ex however, and I think that's primarily because we were very good friends before we started dating. Unfortunately, our platonic relationship will probably never be the way it once was, because too much has happened in the meantime. He is a /very/ romantic person, and I feel a need to keep some physical/emotional distance between us, because he has a tendency to slip back into romantic love at the slightest provocation, and any encouragement (no matter how platonically-intended) could really hurt him, and our friendship. I think it comes down to knowing your ex, and knowing if/when you become a toxic presence in their life (even if you don't mean to), and how to (gently) remove yourself from their life to avoid any harm. It sucks to not have that same closeness with someone, and it really sucks to have to pull away if its in their best interests (but contrary to your own feelings). But to me, this is way more preferable to actively remaining a painful presence in someone's life. 

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