The Only Way Being Friends With Your Ex Will Work

Maressa Brown

jon and kateLately, Jon and Kate Gosselin have been showing and telling the world that despite their reality TV show tabloid drama trainwreck split, they're acting civil with one another again. And thank goodness for that, since it's got to be hard enough raising eight kids when you're happy together, let alone when you've got to exert energy on hating one another! (But hey, there are people who simultaneously co-parent and loathe their ex!)

Interestingly, I'd venture to say that we generally seem to think it'll just be easier to make our exes the enemy. If they're The Bad Guy, then being over the failed relationship feels more like a no-brainer. But to some extent, in certain circumstances, I think leaning on that black-and-white way of thinking is a shame, because there can be awesome perks to staying friends or at least "peaceful" with an ex (as Kate notes she now is with Jon). 

I know, I know, but there are a multitude of reasons you shouldn't, right?

We all know that keeping an ex floating around as a friend can be toxic. You could end up hooking up with them, you might be tempted to forget about why you broke up in the first place and get back together with them or wish you could get back together with them even if they've moved on, you may have trouble moving on yourself because they're still in the picture. Ack! Yes, all of these are possibilities. BUT ... they're also just reasons why an ex can't be a "friend," a faux friend. You know what I'm talkin' about. When you slap that shiny new "friends" label on your busted "ex" package, even though one of you secretly -- or not so secretly -- wants to get back together. Forget that business. If you want to avoid heartbreak and/or hate, it's gotta be genuinely, completely platonic. As in little to no sexual chemistry left. Nada. Zilch. Tank's on empty! He's gotta seem more like a relative. (Except you used to date. Eww.)

Then, if you're both on the same page, there are so many benefits to having that ex as a friend. (No, not those kinds of benefits!) First of all, they know you better than lots of your friends who have always been platonic. Depending on how long you've been together, you probably have some shared experiences and perhaps even still some common interests. You might have social circle overlap, and your friends won't have to suffer through "he said/she said" drama or choose sides. You could even find that you're better off as friends! I know a couple who was divorced 30+ years ago, but both remarried and are best friends. They hang out, chat on the phone, go to the park together. Their (now adult) kids think it's a bit weird, sure, but it also makes things a lot easier at family gatherings!

Confession: Back when I was a single lady, it took me quite some time to figure out how to differentiate between exes-turned-"FILF"s (the friend version of a MILF, if you catch my drift) and exes with the potential to be genuine friends. Truthfully, most guys ended up in the first category. But there was the rare gem who fit oh-so-well into the latter. (Yes, straight ones, too!) In retrospect, I'm grateful I didn't go right for the de-friend option just because the guy was a former flame.

How do you feel about being friends with your exes?

Image via rittyrats/Flickr

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