written by: Jessica Wilson

You meet and there is an instant mutual chemistry.  A whirlwind romance ensues with multiple dates each week, endless texting during the day, and long late night conversations.  What started off as exciting and romantic suddenly turns serious as feelings develop and a real connection is formed. You move into an exclusive relationship and everything is great… until it no longer is.  There seems to be a change in the connection that you had in the beginning.  Maybe it is you, maybe it is them, but all you know is that the relationship that you share is no longer working.  You hang on for a bit longer, because you care about each other so much and can’t imagine your life without each other.  But, in the end, you know you were not really meant to be in a romantic relationship with each other any longer.

You decide to break up and it hurts so badly because you still care and don’t want to just remove each other from your lives altogether.  It just feels so permanent and unnecessary.  But the fact is, you are now exes.  Can you remain friends?

Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on how you look at it, the answer to this question is not as easy as a simple yes or no.  When trying to decide whether or not to remain friends with your ex there are a few key factors to consider.  Once you can clearly answer each of the below questions, you should be better equipped to determine, based on your own situation, if you and your ex can remain friends.

Why did you break up?

Breakups can be hard, no matter the reason behind them.  If your breakup was due to realizing long-term romantic incompatibility, differences in future plans, or anything else that was not necessarily negative, then a friendship may be possible.  If your breakup was due to something painful such as infidelity, deceit, or any other hurtful behavior then it may be best for the two of you to go your separate ways.  Which brings us to the next question…

Do either of you have negative feelings towards the other?

There is only one answer to this question, yes or no.  If the answer is no, then a friendship may indeed be possible.  If the answer is yes, then you will not be able to be friends, at least not in the immediate future until whatever reason behind the negativity is resolved.

Do either of you still have romantic feelings for the other or want to get back together?

If there is one person that is completely out of the relationship, while the other still wants in, this is definitely a case where it would not be wise to remain friends.  All this will do is bring confusion and hurt feelings, especially once the other person starts dating again.  It would be best to go your separate ways in this situation.

Were you ever actually just friends?

This might seem like an odd question, but with the prevalence of online dating it is very much valid.  In today’s world, the first time you might meet someone is on a date and right from the beginning it is a romantic endeavor.  There is never a time when you would have had a strictly platonic relationship, so you have no idea how each of you would behave in that type of setting.  If you are willing to find out, and put forth the effort into building a different kind of relationship with this person, then go for it.  If this seems like too much work and makes you tired just thinking about it, then you already know your answer.

Now, if you started off as great friends and then moved into a romantic relationship, this is a completely different story!  You already know how the friendship could potentially turn out, so it is up to you if you want that type of relationship again.

And last, but not least…

Does this person add value to your life?

This is probably the question that is hardest to answer, but most necessary.  Why do you want to remain friends with a person you are no longer romantically linked?  Is it because you feel bad that the relationship ended?  Do you just not want to feel like all of the time and effort you put into the relationship wasn’t worth it?  If these are the only reasons you have, you should not remain friends.  This is not to say that they are not a good person, but they just do not have any real place in your life.  Now, if it is because they help you grow as a person, are a positive influence in your life, or have any other substantial impact in your life, then you absolutely should consider remaining friends. Conversely, if all they do is seem to bring you down or add drama to your life where there would otherwise be none, you should remove this person from your life.

As you can see, the answer to whether or not you should remain friends with your ex is not always an easy one.  But in most cases, if you ask yourself the above questions, you can make the right choice for your situation.  But remember, no matter what decision you decide to go with, there are two people involved in the decision and the other person may not feel the same as you.

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