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Lovers Then Friends: Is it Healthy to Remain Friends with Your Ex?

Updated: Jun 15, 2022

What originated this Post:

I'm watching the show "Seinfeld" on Netflix as the show is rumored as being timeless, so my curiosity led me to test this theory, but that is another post when I finish. The characters Jerry and Elaine used to date and later became good friends. So far they relapsed sexually in one episode that ended up short-lived because Elaine wanted a real relationship. They have chemistry even though they claim the label "friends".

What is the indelible tie between you and the Ex?

According to, "one 2000 study, found that friendships between exes were more likely to have negative qualities, and less likely to have positive ones, than cross-sex platonic friendships." As explained above, the chemistry between you the ex may potentially never leave. also mentioned that after taking the time to heal from the break-up, exes could become platonic.

Realistically, in some romantic relationships, the couple might have been better friends than lovers. Can you think of any romantic relationships that ruined a good friendship? I certainly can, like had it not went further, it would never be a problem to remain friends. With time, maybe you and the ex can pick the friendship back up without the second thought of rekindling. Also, the memories could be funny stories, and considering rekindling is never thought about.

With any relationship, boundaries are important. If single or in a relationship, one should be careful to put measures in place to maintain a healthy friendship. Not setting healthy boundaries at the start of this newfound friendship can possibly present the following two problems:

1. You and the EX rekindle

Although you and so and so broke up for whatever reason, the reason you connected in the first place may re-flicker the flame. It may not be a bad thing if single. However, if you are involved with someone, it could be dangerous ground. A simple disagreement with your spouse could unexpectedly re-ignite the flame. Sometimes things happen so fast; they force you to think of the consequences later.

Whether you are single or not, this slip-up causes you to redefine the relationship. Maybe it was just a bad idea to hook up or it was a bad idea to break up. Or maybe your spouse was right when they warned you that your ex still had feelings. This idea leads to my next point.

2. Your Spouse Warns You about Your EX still having Feelers

When a spouse is uncomfortable with the "Ex turn bestie" situation, they are labeled as insecure. That may also be the case, but then, they could be right. Some people have suggested that if the spouse is uncomfortable with the relationship, the friendship must end. Then I've heard others state their mate should trust them, and they can be friends with whomever they see fit. Which stance do you take?

If you respect your spouse's wishes

Basically, this is a simple resolve. You cut off all ties with your Ex and maybe just wish them an annual "Happy Birthday" or "Merry Christmas" on Facebook. Or is that still cheating?

You keep in communication with your Ex:

This choice may leave some initial tension in your relationship until your spouse gets comfortable with this person. OR some people chose to keep the friendship and not share it with your spouse. Personally, I think keeping it from your spouse may lead to some issues in the future, and maybe it's best to rip the band-aid and let them know. Keeping it a secret could also give your Ex the wrong idea and they may think they have a little gateway to creep back in. Another scenario is you keep this "double life" and you have peace in your relationship and while keeping your friend.

Really only you know what a person means to you. The ultimate decision of hiring or firing someone in your life is up to you. Just be sure to determine if keeping this relationship is at the expense of your spouse's feelings.

What are your thoughts about being friends with an Ex? Have you ever experienced any problems with your spouse pertaining to an Ex?

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