It is a common dilemma that many people face. Should they be friends with their exes? This depends on many factors including how the relationship went, to what extent they got along, and if it all ended on a friendly note. In the end, there are no clear or general boundaries for all people who want to stay friends with their exes.
However, here’s a list of boundaries that you can start with if you’re in that situation already. In this case, or if you’re thinking of doing something like that you can start with setting the boundaries listed below straight away, hit the ground, and get going.
Things to consider before setting your boundaries:
Before we get to the boundaries list, here are a few factors to consider if you want to set your own list of these and keep things peaceful.
Consider each one carefully, when deciding whether or not to maintain a friendship with an ex-lover:
– The type of breakup.
– Whether or not you still have feelings for your ex.
– How often you were friends with your ex before the breakup.
– Whether or not your current partner approves of you being friends with your ex.
5 Boundaries for staying friends with your ex:
You need to know that if you are friends with your ex, there will be some awkwardness and tension in the relationship. But, if that is your last and final choice, then it is your choice in the end.
Indeed, there are some people that think that it is acceptable to keep in touch with an ex-partner, while others think that it’s best to cut off all contact for at least a few months. It can be difficult to know how long you should wait before contacting your ex again because there are many factors involved, and there is no one-size-fits-all answer.
In the end, if your choice is to pursue a friendship with your ex, then give it a go, try it out and see if it works, but think about putting boundaries like the ones listed below first. This is for the best and to keep things civil, peaceful, and happy.
1) No drama:
It is not uncommon for people to have a hard time when they break up with their partners. They may feel a sense of emptiness and sadness, but these feelings are natural and will eventually go away with time. If you decide to become friends straight away after the break-up, then it is important that you both understand that you have new roles in each other lives.
You are no longer romantic partners, so telling each other off or what to do or trying to get involved in each other’s personal business will only lead to more drama. Understand your new roles as friends in each other’s lives and embrace these roles, by being supportive, understanding, and giving space to one another when needed.
Sometimes, not being friends with your ex on social media should be considered. This can lead to unnecessary drama and make it difficult for both parties to move on.
2) No competition:
Staying friends with an ex comes at a cost, you may find yourself competing for things like having better-looking partners, than each other. Or, doing better in your careers or lives, in general, to prove to one another that they were wrong to end the relationship or that you’re doing better without them and you’re unaffected by the breakup.
However, this can be very unhealthy and toxic. It can lead to envy, jealousy, and resentment on both sides, which can make it difficult to stay friends with an ex.
It is important to remember that while you may have been friends before, this person is now your ex-partner and you need to respect their skills, their capabilities, potential, and their identity. Don’t forget that trying to prove that they’re not good enough is contradictory, as you once thought they’re good enough to date at least.
3) No physical intimacy ever:
Setting boundaries with an ex is important, especially if you want to stay friends with them. It is very recommended that you clearly explain that there will be no physical intimacy involved. It’s important because it shows that you respect yourself and that you don’t give a chance to people after a break-up, to still get rewarded in that way and without having any obligations towards you.
At least, when your ex was your partner they were obligated to respect the relationship, not cheat on you and treat you as a priority, among many other duties or roles that a significant other should have. However, breaking up with them only to still be physical with them, beats the point and sounds like a silly arrangement where they get to eat cake without paying for it.
In the end, if that’s your choice then it is your life but try to consider carefully before you do something like this, as this could stop you from moving on. It could also contribute to getting your heart broken again and again when you see that your ex has no obligations towards you but is still sharing your bed.
If your ex is the one asking to be intimate after the relationship has ended, then you should never feel obligated to do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable or does not align with your values or morals.
4) No mention of your past relationship:
Another boundary that needs to be set is not talking about the past too much. It is important that both parties talk about what they want out of their friendship in the future and what they want out of each other’s lives, but reminiscing about the past should be avoided at all costs.
If you are still really close to your ex and are both single, then it may be okay for the two of you to hang out occasionally and even remember your old good memories. Not the bad ones. However, if they have moved on and have a new partner, then it may be inappropriate as they may feel like they need to choose between their old partner or their new one. Or, their partner may think it’s not a smart or good thing for them to still be so close to you.
Either way and even if your ex who became your friend, happens to have a cool new partner that doesn’t mind your friendship, then it is better that you never mention the past in their presence. Mentioning the past in any way or how their new partner used to be yours can be very clumsy, even when done unintentionally. It can create a lot of tension or even an altercation.
5) No grudges held or hard feelings:
If you are still in contact with an ex or trying to stay friends, then you should avoid discussing the old relationship or anything related to it. You should also not mention how one or the other messed up by doing this or that or blame one another for the breakup.
You should never find reasons as to why the relationship didn’t work or who’s fault it was. You both should also avoid going over your past relationship together as a form of nostalgia. If it doesn’t work, then it will only lead to arguments and more sadness; and in this case, then you should avoid seeing each other in person altogether.
It’s understandable that you would want to stay friends with your ex. You’ve been through a lot together and it might seem like a waste to just cut all ties. But, if you’re not over them, or they’re not over you then it can be really hard to stay friends. If one of you has regrets or feels like the relationship should not have ended then chances are grudges will be held and ruin it all.
It is up to each individual person and their circumstances, in the end, to set the boundaries they see fit, add or remove a few from the list.
However, we don’t recommend living under the same roof with an ex or staying in the same accommodation after a breakup even if you decide to stay friends, check out this article to see why. And, if you’re wondering if you should even date someone who lives under the same roof as their ex, then check out this article instead.