6 Conditions That Must Exist For You To Be Friends With Your Ex

It's possible.

Last updated on Mar 02, 2023

smiling exes who are able to be friends Svitlana Sokolova / Shutterstock

Recently, a very good friend of mine — who also happens to be an ex-boyfriend — showed me a tweet that popped up on his feed. It said something along the lines of, "If you're friends with your ex, you were never really in love."

We had a good chuckle about it.

He and I dated for a couple of years in high school, and yes, we were in love. First loves, in fact. Our relationship was pretty serious — maybe not Noah and Allie's next-level sh*t, but serious all the same.


And now, we are in our early 20s and total chums. We talk regularly about everything from mundane stuff like the 1,000-calorie burger he had for lunch (I. KNOW.) to why, exactly, we are able to be friends after a pretty intense relationship.

Can you be friends with your ex?

Yes. You can be friends with your ex, but only under the right mix of pretty specific conditions.

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1. It's been a long time since the relationship ended.

Facts are facts — there's no way you can be buddies with a previous partner a week after you call it quits. Probably not even six months.

Of course, it all depends on just how significant the relationship was. If it was a brief fling, it'll take much less time. If you were both head over heels, you'll (most likely) have to hold out a couple of years before either of you are ready to try shifting gears.

RELATED: How To Focus On Yourself After A Breakup

2. You've found love with someone else.

This is not entirely essential, but it certainly helps to shed any lingering feelings. If you've happened upon a worthwhile relationship with another person, it's a hell of a lot easier to give friendship a go with your ex.


Think about it — if the experiences you had with this person are the most recent romantic memories you have, you just won't be ready.

3. You've exhausted all possibilities of a future relationship.

When my friend and I dated, we split upward of 12 (!) times: Ahh, high school. Couldn't live with each other; couldn't live without. We did everything in our power to salvage our admittedly dramatic affair, but it simply wasn't meant to be — a fact we now acknowledge and accept.

And in the process of all those breakups, we totally exhausted the possibility of getting back together in the future. It's almost laughable how hard we tried and, in turn, how epically we failed.

Make no mistake; if there's room for a potential reuniting somewhere down the line, it'll be extra, extra difficult to be pals.


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4. Neither one of you is a jerk.

There's a jerk or two in my past whom I would never even consider chatting up — the idea is actually kind of nauseating (if you've ever dated a d-bag, you'll know what I'm talking about).

My friend, on the other hand, was and is a good guy, so I don't feel the least bit ashamed of our relationship.

5. You have a good connection.

Obviously, there has to have been some sort of spark between the two of you for companionship even to be plausible — otherwise, it'll fall awkwardly flat.

I once dated a guy who was kind of a lame punk, and the idea of becoming chummy with him is so... meh.


If, during your relationship, you were able to discuss deep sh*t like the concept of fate or what "eternity" means, the greater the potential friend.

6. You've both wholeheartedly moved on.

The overarching theme of my advice is this — you must move on before you declare this person your new best friend. Period.

True, you'll always have fond recollections of your relationship past. But leave them there, in your mind, where they exist nice and pretty. Friendship — and a good one, at that — is just as meaningful.


RELATED: 10 Signs You're Definitely Not Over Your Ex

Ashley Paige is a writer and former Assistant Editor at Popsugar.