Once an ex, always an ex. That's what they say but does that mean saying goodbye forever? Breakups happen for many reasons and leave us with the decision to be friends or not to be friends. Being friends with an ex is fine when there is mutual respect and a clear understanding of what both people want out of the friendship.
A friendship should be treated as such, it's a completely different bond than a relationship and should never get in the way of moving on. However, sometimes it's not the best idea, there are risks involved. Jealousy, anger and disappoint could get in the way of the friendship.
Here are some pros and cons of staying friends with an ex...
Comfort: Having an ex around could come in handy, maybe he/she was the only one that could help you remember your password to your email or other accounts, helped you study for your exams or prepped you for that exciting job interview.
I had my first serious relationship at 22, I was just getting situated in a new city, didn't have many friends yet in NYC, so it was good to still have my ex in the same zip code in case something unexpected happened. He was literally listed as my emergency contact for every form I had to fill out for work and graduate school.
Dating Advice: Just because you weren't compatible with an ex, doesn't mean your personality, lifestyle, goals and so on won't be a perfect match with someone else. An ex could help decide what type of singles you'll be a better fit with. They know the type of person you are, the things you like and the things you don't like.
Hanging Out: There's no harm with going out, having a good time and enjoying the company of an ex, especially if you had a common interest or hobby that you don't share with any of your other friends. Exes are great for those times when you're still single but need a date for a special occasion like a wedding or work event.
Second Chances: Couples break up for many reasons but some issues can be resolved. Staying in contact and building a friendship could help build trust, an open heart for forgiveness and a second chance at the relationship.
Co-parenting: Some breakups aren't just between two people, there's a family involved. Having a friendship with your ex could make co-parenting decisions easier.
Being Friends With Your Ex: Expectations Vs. Reality
Jealousy: Dating new people allows growth and new experiences, keeping a jealous ex around might not be a good idea when they can't accept the fact that you're moving on.
Becoming Too Comfortable: It's easy to fall back into the arms of an ex because of loneliness. This could be avoided by respecting the friendship; keeping things strictly in the friend zone. Getting out, meeting new singles while doing activities you enjoy and encouraging your ex to do the same could make your friendship more ideal.
Anger: Some people are just better off as friends and not meant to be anything more. It could get frustrating when you compare your friendship with your ex to the relationship you once had with one another. You might think, how can we be great friends but not work out in a relationship.
Multiple Chances: If you're not compatible with someone that rarely changes. Being friends without having a sense of boundaries could easily turn into a constant cycle of a on-again/off-again relationship.
Disappointments: There may be things an ex did when you were in a relationship that they won't do as a friend like texting you everyday, giving you a ride to work, cooking dinner, etc.. This might be hard to adjust to and cause the friendship to end.