Staying friends after things don't work out?


What does it mean? Is it a good idea? Is it doable? Please share your thoughts!


I don’t think so - this is just my opinion - even thought my husband and I don’t get a long now if he really did break us up (like he wants to) I would pretty much never want to see him again - he has made no secret of wanting to find someone else to marry and it sickens me that he would promise me forever and then do it to someone else! What woman would marry someone who already promised till death do you part to someone else? How is that going to show my son good catholic values? Staying friends? Never, I would want nothing to do with him. He’s obviously been influenced by non-christian things already. That is really sad considerering how catholic his family is with several being priests and nuns!


I think it depends on the relationship before the break up, how the break up happened, your personalities, etc. I had two ‘boyfriends’ in my early teens (yeah, I know, too young ). I’m still good friends with one of them, and haven’t spoken to the other guy in years, and I don’t want to. You’d probably have to have a cooling off period, at the very least, until you were able to be just friends again.


It depends.

Two boyfriends i have dated, i have not had any contact with after the break-up. We started as boyfriend/girlfriend and were never friends to begin with. I didn’t want there be any grey area about the relationship. I might be willing to talk to them now after a year but whats the point? We’ve all moved on.

Now there are two guys who i tested the waters of dating with. We decided not to date and they are two of my closest guys friends.


I agree with this. What is the point. Plus it is unfair for the next man you date to have ex’s contact you.


I have to ex’s - an ex who I had a wedding with, and an ex I was engaged to. :slight_smile:

The first one, we were high school sweethearts who had a wedding when we shouldn’t have. I left him, it was never valid to begin with. We don’t hold any hard feelings for each other, but I am not interested in continuing a relationship or friendship with him. We just don’t have anything in common, we never did. No bitterness, just a parting of ways, and I’m ok with that.

The second one is a guy I work with (in the same corporation, but not on the same team or even in the same city). We dated for about 4 years and were engaged to be married. He broke up with me six months prior to the wedding - and I am quite grateful for this in hindsight. We remain friends (we are both married to others now). We both still work for the same company, so we IM maybe once a month if even that (usually when I have a technical question I know he can answer for me), and once in a rare while we have lunch in the cafeteria if I have a meeting in his building, and we just talk about family and work - never anything too personal, we just don’t go there any more, it would not be appropriate. I don’t have any attraction to him any longer, if I did I would not even consider going near him.

So - I think it really depends on the situation, each is unique and really has to be worked out based on that uniqueness.



I guess it depends on how close a friendship you might want, how long and deep the relationship was when you were dating, and how things were between you when you broke up. If you had only casually dated, and if you include your current spouses/significant others in the friendship, it might work out fine as long as you have appropriate boundaries, meaning you put your current partner first. But if you were heavily involved or married, it’s best to keep your distance. It will likely cause more problems than it’s worth. Of course, if you were married and had children together, you have to be somewhat friendly as you co-parent them. It’s interesting that sometimes people are far better friends once they are divorced than they were while they were married. :shrug:


I’m still friends with my ex. I’m not going to lie, it’s hard (but it’s only been two weeks, maybe I just need time) but we’ve been best friends for so long, I wouldn’t want him not to be a friend. Plus, his family and mine are best friends and they told me if I didn’t end up with their son, I was still like a daughter to them no matter what. We were together for awhile, but distance and religious difference killed it. It’s hard because I do miss him in a romantic sense, but I find myself moving on and we still talk, so it’s all good. For me, it’s just a matter of time and prayer before we’re completely back to normal (that is, before we were dating).


Depends how it ended. I don’t think ex-spouses can be friends. If you can maintain civility and friendship at all, you should stay married, especially if there are children. I think most marriages that end do so with so much betrayal and violation of vows and promises and insults to dignity that any friendship is impossible.

But dating is a different thing. There is no commitment on the altar of God. Everyone goes into a dating relationship plunging into the unknown. They know THIS MIGHT BE IT. Or it might not work. I think mature people should be able to back away from a situation that would not work in the end and be mature about it and be able to be civil. That’s the purpose of dating. To find out if that person will work for you.

And here I give warning: Be very wary of the kind of person who announces they are not friends with any of their exes!! Read between the lines here. It means that they ended the situation, or it was ended based on so many bad choices and so much abusiveness and lack of forgiveness and hurt feelings that no friendship is possible ever. If it happens in all the situations and someone’s exes wouldn’t take their phone calls, it’s a very bad sign.

You may think you’re special. But eventually you will be the next person thrown under the bus.

That is a person who can only end a relationship by burning it to the ground.

Beware. Be very wary.


Depends on the situation.

I only had one ex-boyfriend and the breakup was completed unexpected and very harsh. When he finally contacted me three months later, I’d moved on and met my wonderful husband. :love: There was no point in staying in contact, so I asked him not too. I think he e-mailed me twice after that, but since then he’s respected my wishes.


People who say it’s not always a good idea make a good point. Liberanos also makes a good point.

I think the pressure to remain friends actively and purposefully with all exes on principle is not a good thing. It implies some kind of continuation, ambiguity, whatever. Sometimes there’s a reason to stay friends, sometimes not really. Sometimes one may wish to stay friends but more in the honorary sense than any active contact - considering the person a friend but not seeking much company.

On the other hand, a trend to cut off all exes and consider them enemies is also worrying. Merely not staying friends without particular incentive (such as having been friends long before) is hardly a worrying sign, but ex wars… well. Anyway, I wouldn’t like to make any generalisations - there’s not enough solid ground for those here.


Is anyone here advocating making the ex’s into enemies? I have not read that.


I don’t think he was but i know first hand that some of my girlfriends hold such bitterness towards their ex’s that it’s like they are enemies. They will not go to restuarants that they might run into their ex’s at or areas of town or even visit places that they went on dates. Unless you have a restraining order against the person then you should let the past be the past and not worry about the he said she said or he/she is so mean etc… I mean it is not the end of the world that the relationship didn’t work out.

I may not see my exes anymore but it doesn’t mean that i don’t wish them the best and that God protects them. They were great guys just not the man that i am meant to spend the rest of my life with.


Beckers, that’s what I’m talking about. How one regards an ex and how one behaves toward a person during and after a breakup is a character issue. One can learn a lot from that.

If you valued a person so much you dated them and wanted to maybe make a life with them, but find you don’t have as much in common as you hoped, does that person lose their intrinsic value? If a couple decides not to stay romantic, but just to be friends, that is a sign of health and emotional maturity. The other should be regarded with the same respect as before.

I have met people who are still very friendly and well-respected by their ex girl and boy friends. And they are delightful people.

And then there are those who must demonize everyone they once claimed to love, and have a string of enemies across town. Bad sign. Back away slowly.

Oh… and I’m a She. :smiley:


and then there is most in the middle - that have no contact with ex’s and leave them in the past - do not bring them up in conversation and have no contact with them. Let each live life without further contact.

New relationships seldom mix with old ex’s. They can on occasion - but it is probably not the norm.


" When shes gone she’s gone"

Paul McCartney


You have exes?:hmmm:


I could not possibly DISAGREE with you more. It’s a sign of selfishness, immaturity, a worldly value system, and an inability to move on with their lives. Now, that does NOT mean they should be enemies. They should part on friendly terms, and get all necessary apologies out of the way, but then NEVER SPEAK AGAIN. No email, no myspace, no phone conversations. Nothing! Make a clean break. Sever all ties.

Why? God has prepared ONE special person for us. When we meet that person, our hearts should be 100% free to love that person all the way. We shouldn’t enter with baggage, and yes ladies, ex-boyfriends who are still part of your life constitute BAGGAGE in the eyes of the new man you meet.

Why do people stay in touch with exes? Some may have fooled themselves to believe otherwise, but the biggest reason is to keep the possibility open of maybe getting back together with that person someday. That mentality shows a lack of willingness to FULLY give their hearts to the one that they are currently with.

I’ve seen far too many marriages destroyed and families torn apart because either the husband or the wife stayed in touch with an ex, and during a time of what may have been a comparatively minor marital spat, that ex suddenly started looking REALLY attractive, and was more than willing to jump on in and selfishly ruin the lives of the children of that marriage, and possibly the children of the ex’s marriage, too.

It is not a matter of “depends on the person.” It is not a matter of, “depends on how serious the relationship was,” especially since often exes have a very different perspective as to how serious the relationship was. It is a simple matter of, are you willing to give your FULL heart to the one that God has chosen for you, or are you so insecure in your new relationship or marriage that you need that security blanket of an ex in your life?

The entire concept of dating is a relatively new phenomenon, that has its origins in courting. It has become such a regular part of our culture, that we don’t bother to take a step back and look at whether it is actually beneficial to our society. The entire concept(although not deemed “sinful,” by the Church) is still intrinsically flawed. ALL romantic relationships need to be entered into with the attitude of marriage as the goal. Once you realize that the person you are involved with is not “the one,” then you need to RESPECTFULLY end all ties completely with that person.

If you honestly believe that you are “just friends” with an ex, and that the ex feels the same way, then you have deceived yourself. Even if you may feel, “fine,” with it, don’t pretend to know what your ex is truly feeling.


Did you get this advice from a teeny bopper magazine??? Again, I could not possibly DISAGREE with you more. That is the type of thinking that leads to poor choices of who to become romantically involved with.

A person who has severed all ties with all exes is the exact type of person that will make a fully devoted future spouse for the right person. I consider it to be a non-negotiable REQUIREMENT that anyone who expects to get romantically involved with me has severed all ties with all exes.

Yes, I have severed all ties with all my exes. I parted on friendly terms with them, but made it clear that we are not keeping in touch. I specified that it is NOT because I am mad at them, but that the next person I get involved with deserves my full romantic attention, without competition from anyone else. When an ex knows that such an attitude and such devotion is what I showed to her when we were together, she totally understands, respects, and appreciates my stance on that, even if it is difficult for her to fully let me go.

Furthermore, we are called to love our neighbor as ourselves. It would not be fair to any new man that any ex-girlfriend of mine meets for me to still be in touch with her. We are all entitled to one person in life. Only if that person dies are we entitled to another, and that “another” must be someone who is single. We have no right to encroach our presence onto the new relationship of an ex. Such behavior is selfish and shows an outright lack of charity.

In essence, we can not fully appreciate the promised land if our heart is still back in Egypt. We need to leave Egypt behind, and never look back, other than to remember whatever lessons we may have learned in Egypt, that will make us a better person when we experience the promised land. If we are in the wilderness, then we need to look FORWARD to the promised land, not back to Egypt. As lonely as those 40 years in the desert may feel, the promised land is worth the wait.


As others have said, it depends.

First of all, it depends on what you mean by ‘friend’.

Some people call anyone they occasionally talk to, IM, email, phone, work with, eat a meal with, give a ride to, offer advice to etc, a friend. Now I agree friends do those things together but so do mere acquaintances. Some 'ex’es can be friendly acquaintances but not really friends.

And things also depend on where the two people want to go with new relationships. If at least one of the two isn’t ready to let go of the relationship and/or begrudges the other a new relationship then a ‘friendship’ is probably not only impossible but the attempt to have one would be destructive.

If a new partner of an ‘ex’ has a problem with the the former partner then (regardless of whether or not the new partner is being reasonable) a continued friendship with the ex is going to be destructive.

There are people who manage to remain friends after a break-up but they are the rare ones who had the correct kind of break-up, have the correct type of temperments, and have the correct new relationships (or lack there-of).

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