When you break up with someone and the relationship wasn’t a total garbage fire, it’s so common to think that you two can still be friends. It’s a pretty mature thing to do, actually, especially if you’ve managed to resolve any lingering feels and issues. But transitioning into a platonic relationship with someone you were once romantically involved with is not simple. It also often involves a lot of trial and error, which means you shouldn’t get down on yourself or feel like a terrible human being if one day you realize that your friendship with your ex is holding you back.
Wanting to be friends with an ex is a noble endeavor.
Honestly, if you have a fun, healthy friendship with your ex, good for you. But learning to recognize when a friendly relationship with your ex isn’t working for you and nipping it in the bud is also a sign of higher emotional intelligence.
Breaking up with your ex yet again can be messy AF, but sometimes you just have to do it, even if there are still “good times” and all that stuff. Only you can know how your friendship with an ex is playing out in the rest of your life, but here are some of the signs that it’s time to pull the plug on it.
1You’re still doing ~It~.
We’re no prudes over here and totally understand that there are tons of people out there who can bone their friend and really, truly, honestly not let themselves get all caught up in the emotional part of it.
But ask yourself: Are they the only(ish) person you’ve slept with since breaking up or even in the past few months? Even if it feels unemotional or just like a great way to get laid without too much effort, banging your ex on the regular could be giving you a (very valid, BTW) excuse not to get out there and find some new potential partners. Think about it.
2You’re not dating, yet still make plans together.
All. The. Time. Not actively dating yet hanging out when you’re with friends is one thing. But when you’re calling your ex to grab a bite and some live music on a Saturday night instead of asking another friend or a new crush, it might not be such a great way to move on and move your ex to a healthy zone in your friend landscape.
You and your ex have fun with each other, you know you can inhale a plate of cheese fries without judgement in front of them, and all of that can feel pretty darn safe. It could be that you’re super anxious about meeting new people and falling into the familiar. That is totally fine, but not if you’re in the market for a new relationship. Your ex, even a platonic one, might have to get cut out of your social circle before you can really move on.
3Someone is more into it than the other.
This happens all the time! If you get the idea that your ex might still be swooning over you, or you’re still swooning for them, deep down, this friendship is not what it seems. You deserve to move on from this relationship if that’s what’s best for you. If there’s any inkling of a romance in there, you’re just not being honest with each other.
4One of you gets hurt all the time.
If you two know you’re just friends and try to encourage each other to get out there and date and *do things* without each other, but there’s still a fight or hurt feelings now and again, something is not right. Think about it: Your friend might be a little bummed you’re ditching the crew for a hot date with the person you’ve been crushing on, but they’re not like, mad about it. (If they are, you need to talk about that, btw.)
If your ex who swears up and down that this friendship is just platonic is ALSO making you feel like crap for moving on and making healthy choices, you gotta get out of this friendship. Same goes for if you’re the person laying on the guilt trip once they start to make moves.