Is It Healthy to Be Close Friends With an Ex?

separated couple ask themselves: is it healthy to be friends with your ex?Is it healthy to be close friends with an ex? Separation is tough, but some can’t help but wonder if staying friends afterwards is possible. The short answer is that it depends on your situation — it might work for some but not others. Take your time to review your relationship, especially if the separation included traumatising events or had any abusive or coercive behaviour traits. 

Find out if you’re ready for a friendship with your ex and get tips on making it work.

Do Brits Stay Friends With an Ex?

Only 8% of Brits stayed friends with all their exes, while 37% were friends with some of their previous partners. However, around 51% of people say they aren’t friends with them.

 It can be challenging to navigate the world where your ex exists and you’re no longer a significant part of their life. Staying friends can be tricky if you had a chaotic or painful separation. However, if your marriage ends on good terms and it works for you and your ex, establishing a new friendship with them isn’t impossible.

If you have children together, building a new, clearly defined platonic friendship can be the best foundation for co parenting successfully.

The Advantages of Staying Close Friends With Your Ex-Spouse

Just because other people don’t often stay close friends with their exes doesn’t make your desire for friendship wrong. Here are some excellent reasons for being close friends with your former spouse.

1. It Improves Your Co-Parenting Relationship

Staying close friends with your spouse is particularly beneficial if you have children. This is easiest in cases of shared parental responsibility, in which the parents maintain a 50/50 split of time and responsibilities, but it’s helpful in all co-parenting setups.

 If you’re friends with your ex, you’ll be more likely to maintain an open line of communication and grow your trust in them as a responsible parent. That open communication is just as good for your child as it is for you, as they won’t feel pressure to choose between their parents.

2. It’s Less Stressful

If you’ve had an amicable divorce, staying friends will result in fewer disagreements and awkward moments with family and friends. Ensure there’s no romantic attraction in your platonic relationship, as this might cause you heartbreak in the long run.

3. It Provides Room for Forgiveness

No matter the reason for separation, staying close friends allows you and your ex to forgive each other. Forgiveness doesn’t mean accepting your ex’s harsh behaviour — it’s a conscious choice to release feelings of resentment toward them.

 Remember that forgiveness takes time. It may be a while before you can build a new friendship with your ex.

When Is Staying Friends With an Ex a Good Idea?

Are you still unsure if you’re emotionally ready to stay close friends with your ex? Pay attention to these signs:

Platonic Feelings

Staying friends is ideal if there are no longer romantic feelings involved. It’s normal to not be completely over your past relationship and still move on. Once you acknowledge that you can see new people and that they can do the same, you’ll be on the right path.

Closure and Mutual Support

You can open doors for friendship if enough time has passed and you’ve made peace with the situation. There’s no more resentment and affection — what’s left is just mutual respect for one another.

Tips for a Healthy Relationship With Your Ex

Here’s how to set up a mutually beneficial friendship with your ex-spouse.

1.Set Boundaries

Part of starting a platonic relationship requires setting healthy boundaries, which could be challenging if you’re sentimental. An example would be not prying into each other’s personal lives unless it involves your kids. 

2.Take Small Steps to stay friends with an ex

If you’re planning a family get-together, keep it short and sweet. Consider inviting friends and relatives to make the situation more comfortable for you and your ex.

3.Don’t Think of the “What Ifs”

Try not to reminisce about the good memories and ruminate about what life could have been like if you didn’t separate. That’s why you have boundaries in the first place — it’s to hold you back from ditching your rules and values that will prevent long-term happiness.

4.Avoid Physical Intimacy

Refrain from engaging in any type of physical intimacy. A simple gesture such as holding hands could make things messy. Additionally, if your children find out, they might think you’re getting back together.

An Ex Should Stay an Ex

If staying friends with your ex stops you from moving forward, you might not be ready. If time has passed and you have co-parenting duties, it could be a great idea. Remember, whether to be friends or not is your decision — don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Author Bio

With a personal focus on recovery and growth, Jack Shaw writes to provide actionable steps and wisdom to those in need of some. Jack is the senior Lifestyle editor of Modded Magazine, where he explores topics of mental health, parenting, hobbies and relationships. You can find his works published in Tiny Buddha,, Calmerry and more.

What Next

Joining one of our courses will give you an opportunity to meet with others in a similar situation to you. You will probably find in your small group people with a variety of perspectives about whether dating and ultimately remarriage feels right for them. This is just one of many subjects you will be able to talk about. Visit ‘Find a course‘ for more details.

Other blogs you may like

Why do friends disappear after divorce?

Are you ready to start dating again?

Dating disasters of the recently divorced