Burning Bridges – Is It Possible To Remain Friends With An Ex ?


Regardless of whether it was a long-term thing, the one that got away or just a fleeting experience which despite some signs of great potential failed to get off the ground, break-ups are never easy. It’s easy for outsiders to preach and tell you that it is simply a case of deleting that person’s number, unfollowing them on social media and burning all the photos ever taken of the two of you. But in reality cutting all ties with an ex is far more complex. What happens if you’ve been together long enough to share friends? Just because he was a philandering scumbag should you cease contact with his family members who treated you so well? Or maybe the break-up itself wasn’t all the dramatic – you still think she is a lovely girl, just not YOUR lovely girl. This brings me to the topic of this weeks post. Does there come a point after a break-up when you need to sever all ties with the ex and completely start life over? Or is it possible for some ex couples to remain friends?

In the immediate aftermath of an epic break-up, I think it’s quite natural to maintain some sort of connection with your ex (although letting it slip into a boomerang relationship should be avoided). If it was a serious thing it is likely that your day-to-day affairs are somewhat intertwined. Despite that fact that these seem simple in theory, practical things – like moving house, settling outstanding bills or simply dividing up things the two of you purchased together or returning all those books you nicked from his collection – all take time. Obviously, as civilised human beings we will try to deal with these matters as quickly and painlessly as possible – after all once upon a time we did love this person. Beyond the bureaucracy, I think it’s fair to say that many of us are guilty of holding onto an emotional connection to an ex. Having spent a significant amount it is likely that your ex knows you pretty well and it’s easy to look for comfort in the familiar when you’ve simply had a bad day and need cheering up.

Naturally, if the relationship (and you weren’t just a dirty little secret) was at all healthy the two of you would be likely to have some common connections and similar social circles. This is where things get complicated.  With friends do you divide them up fairly? Is it OK to be immature and force people to choose between the two of you (in some cases this will happen organically anyway)? Or do you try to be mature adults and accept that there will be occasions when your paths are bound to cross? Perhaps at a mutual friend’s birthday party or a wedding? Of course in an ideal world, we’d all be emotionally strong enough to handle such things but the reality is different. I mean, how many of us can honestly say we could maintain our composure after being told by mutual friends that the ex has moved on? Hmm.

When it comes to family, you’d expect things to be more clear cut. His family is HIS and her’s is HER’s. Well in cases where you didn’t get on with you ex’s family and he spent the whole time trying to turn you into a younger version of his mother the solution is straightforward – it’s easy to cut the ties. But what about if you actually got on your ex’s tribe and actually formed solid relationships with them over time? And consider how you’d feel if the shoe was on the other foot and your mother was drinking tea with the ex or your brother and him went out sarging for chicks together?  I guess when it comes to both family and friends you have to deal with things on a case by case basis. You have to decide which relationships are worth maintaining and which ones are nice but not necessarily good for you in the long run. And sometimes you will have to burn bridges, cut all ties and simply whats best for yourself and accept that other people may feel somewhat hurt or judge you for being immature.

So to conclude, I would say having any sort of relationship with an ex, be it platonic or not so much, will likely make it more difficult for you to get on with your life. In more fickle cases where things between the two of you never really got started, it’s totally possible to be friends somewhere down the line but things are a little messier when real feelings for one another are involved. Honestly speaking, I’d say that any good romantic relationship should be based on a solid friendship and obviously over time our significant others get to know us in ways that other people in lives don’t (get your mind out of the gutter!!). Therefore I guess it would only be human to want to prolong the friendship even after romantic relations have long ended. However, whether it’s possible, or more importantly healthy, depends on the individuals involved, their emotional capacity and the nature of the situation. Of course, there are cases where people make things work but for most us staying friends with an ex is a recipe for disaster. So while keeping things civilised is always good remember that if you do choose to burn bridges for the sake of your own sanity it isn’t a crime so don’t let anyone make you feel otherwise. Because sometimes you just have to say screw everyone else and just do what’s best for No.1.

What do you think Rinsers? Can you maintain a healthy friendship with an ex? Are you proof that it is possible? Or do you think it’s best to sever all ties with the past and start afresh if one truly wants to move on with their lives? Answers in the comment section below. 


  1. Hmm! Don’t think there is no right or wrong answer here. I’m still friends with my ex because we share two children, friends and family. I was mature enough to divorce and still maintain a civil relationship, for him, however, it took time to realise I wasn’t his wife anymore so he had NO privileges in my life! In terms of ex-flings, there is one of them I’m still in contact with but we were both mature enough to call it gets and still maintain a friendship of sorts. We don’t hang out, invade each other’s lives. But do still chat from time to time.

    I don’t think being friends with your ex is a recipe for disaster. What is though, is when both parties aren’t mature enough to handle the breakup. Once you walk away from that person everything you had is gone! You have to be mature enough to handle that, if you shared friends, family, children, yes there can be some common ground. But you also have to remember why things ended between you in the first place, one or both of you weren’t satisfied in the relationship.

    I don’t have the same views about abusive relationships though. If you are/were in a toxic relationship, get out and stay out! Whether you share friends, family or children walk away from that person and don’t look back!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey 🙂

      Thanks for your comment. You made a good point about the nature of the relationship. Theoretically speaking there is no harm trying to be friends with a good guy you weren’t compatible with but if it was an unhealthy relationship then holding on would only prolong the pain and suffering.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I say stay away from and EX. Been there tried that it has never ended well. The only EX I have no choice to stay in touch with is the father of my daughter and we rarely speak. I say move on from your past and make new friends while you are at it.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I have had some early romantic break ups in College, but I have never been divorced. In our 47 years of marriage we have had many ups and downs including a bout with severe depression years ago. Through it all we were committed to make it work and are doing well together. My son got divorced a number of years ago, and because they had two children they agreed to work out raising the kids together but separate. That has worked out well for them. They both stayed single and are just now over ten years later are pursuing new serious relationships. Having children changes everything. There are no good solutions in separation, but it is very hard to maintain former friends and relationships after it happens.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The question you asked at the end of your post is a good question…the answer is…it depends on some things…do you have children together if so you will not be totally starting a new because you will always have your children keeping you together , if you are both single with no children then why would you want to stay friends with your ex? It can lead to problems with a new relationship…jealousy, maybe the ex not staying out of your business etc… Depends on the break up if it was a violet one or it was just not working out. When my ex girlfriend and I broke I was in favor of staying friends one we lived right down the street from each other and it was hard not to run into each other. I did help her with shoveling snow etc, but it got to be too much for her because she still was sexually attracted to me. Eventually we moved on and I realize now that not being friends was best for me moving forward because when I met my wife and our relationship took off I was able to be all in with her and not divided.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I guess in a perfect world, all couples who suffered breakups would remain friends forever, but that is far from being realistic. Some relationships end very badly with one or both parties participating in cheating, domestic violence or uncontrollable drug use. If it boils down to those things, it is best to completely sever ties with your ex. Why let someone ruin your life which may result from remaining friends. There is always that temptation to get back together with your ex who treated you like crap.

    On the other hand, sometimes couples just split because of lifestyle changes such as a long distance move or maybe you guys just don’t see eye to eye on a number of things. The mutual respect for one another is still there though. It may not be a bad idea to stay friends and perhaps see what the future holds for both of you. Maybe after a period of time, both of you realize that those differences were just silly things and you are ready to get back together. Perhaps just taking a break from the relationship can help it in the long run and make it even stronger the second time around.

    One of the things that should be strongly considered in remaining friends is how this will affect future relationships. Suppose a couple breaks up and decides to be just friends. Suddenly, the guy or gal starts a new relationship with someone else and there is some jealously involved. How would that affect the friendship? Especially if that new person who your ex is dating is someone you cannot stand!

    I do think you can remain casual friends with your ex and occassionally text each other to say hi, but I personally draw a line with how much of friendship I will have with one of my ex’s. I just don’t think that it is possible to become really close friends with you ex. Casual friends yes, but really close? Probably not such a good idea if there is never a chance of getting back together.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I believe if two people are mature enough and realize it’s just not working romantically, then maybe being friends is best. I was in a relationship just recently. It ended because I felt we moved too fast and a couple months before I broke it off I communicated we needed to slow down. However the man I was in a relationship with didn’t see it that way so I kept going in order to please him. Finally I got to a point where I felt so much pressure that I ended it. We did start talking after about a month and he was hurt because he didn’t see the breakup coming. And I tried to communicate what happened (that we should’ve slowed things down sooner). He didn’t admit it right away but said he couldn’t jump back into a relationship. However he did finally say, we should’ve slowed things down. We tried again this time to take things slow but one day he finally said he was confused about our now situation and it wasn’t working and he couldn’t just be friends. So…we aren’t! The point of my somewhat long story is that sometimes it just not possible especially when both parties don’t agree to it.


    • Hey Kelly. Thanks for reading. Yeah, I think sometimes you can have fond memories, wish someone well but not actually be able to have a friendship with them. It doesn’t necessarily mean it ended badly, just that it was romance or nothing at all. Guess friendship is the same as a relationship – both parties need to participate to make it work.


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