Exes Staying Friends: Yay or Nay?

She walks into the room, her eyes scan the area and suddenly land on him. There might be an instantaneous spark or there might not be. It might be something that grows into a crush from mild fondness or even mild loathing. There is a fine line between love and hate after all.

Speaking of which, after the hazy dreamy lovey-dovey stage of a relationship cools off and you’ve come back from the honeymoon then the real work starts. Working through relationships can result in a stronger bond because of how much you’ve been through, or can crash and burn. So the question stands: after a break-up can exes ever stay friends?

We met in sixth form and were friends at first. For the first month or so, I wasn’t really sure how I felt until we were hanging out in a group and he put his head on my shoulder. Then boom, I had a crush.

Fast-forward two-and-a-half-years and after growing apart and doing it long distance for way too long the time had come to call it quits.

We both wanted to move on. But it’s difficult when this person is someone you trust and they know you personally, so we decided to give this whole ‘exes can be mates’ thing a shot. This is what he aka Sebastian Londono, 19, Liverpool University, had to say:

So do you think exes can be friends, or would the result be messy?

“I think it depends on the relationship. If they were best friends then they can be friends because then they can spend time together without sex. But if there was a lot of fighting then it’ll be messy. One good thing there, is there’s no chance of the two getting back together.”

Is maintaining the friendship hard?

“I can’t really judge about maintaining the friendship because I live far away from her so there’s not much interaction. Also, I struggle to keep friends with anyone, so the fact that I’m still friends with her is good.”

What’s the best and weirdest part of staying friends with an ex?

“There are no direct advantages to staying friends with an ex. Maybe the fact that I can ask about relationship advice is one thing because she knows my biggest flaws.”

“The weirdest part is that I don’t usually spend time with someone I’ve ‘been with,’ and the fact that everyone I know always thinks that just because I’m going to see her it means we must be together.”

Would you recommend staying friends to someone else?

“It’s not really something that should be decided. It should feel natural. So if he or she is a really good friend then keep them as a friend but if they’re not then I would say it’s healthy to just move on like with other friends.”

The interview gives unexpected insights. Maybe there are no advantages to staying friends. After all, this person knows you well so they’re armed with the knowledge that can hurt you and you’re constantly treading on thin ice. But if the two of you are mature enough to accept that it’s the end and can try to move forward without malicious intent, then maybe it can be done.

If there’s any advice I can give, it’s that distance really helps. Putting some space between you and an ex can give you the space to move on, and you do need the space, before being able to consider friendship.

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