Is It Okay To Stay Close With Your Ex When You’re In A New Relationship?

You’re not together anymore, but you’ve gone from partners to pals and you’re close with your ex now because your relationship works so much better on a platonic level. They might even be your best friend. But what happens when you get into a new relationship? Do you have to ditch your ex? Here’s what you should know about trying to balance the two relationships.

  1. Of course you can be friends. No one should ever tell you that you can’t be friends with your ex. If you guys have an amazing friendship, why would you ever want to get rid of it? It’s just not fair on you to have to do that. However, there are some things to consider when you get in another relationship.
  2. You need to be sure it’s over. Are you sure that you have zero feelings for your ex? Are you completely, 100% over them? This has to be the case before you stay friends with them and step into a new romantic relationship, otherwise, it’s guaranteed to cause problems for you and your love life.
  3. You need to check his feelings. You might know that you’d never ever want to get back together with your ex, but where’s he at? If he’s the one lingering around your new relationship in the hope that he can get you back, then that’s going to cause problems. You’ll have to talk to him about your new relationship and make it clear that you’re only going to be friends, nothing more.
  4. You might need to pull back. Maybe you and your ex are so close, you call each other for hours every day or spend all weekend together. While this is fun and might not have any romantic notions tied to it, you might need to scale back your friendship when your new boyfriend comes along, otherwise, it could feel like you’re not making your new guy enough of a priority.
  5. You need to set some ex-boyfriend boundaries. Similarly, if you’re going to stay friends with your ex, you’re going to need some boundaries. Can they still call you at three in the morning? Um, probably not. Can you guys still flirt with each other? Even though you say that’s completely harmless, your BF might not think so and it’s probably not fair on him to do that.
  6. You have to consider your boyfriend and his feelings. It might feel like a mission, but you’re going to have to be open with your boyfriend and totally transparent about your friendship with your ex. You can’t hide it from your boyfriend, or it can make the situation awkward and dodgy.
  7. But you need boundaries with your boyfriend too! Just because you have a man in your life, it doesn’t mean you can now let him determine everything, like who you talk to and who you push out of your life. If your boyfriend says that he doesn’t want you to be mates with your ex, you don’t have to – and shouldn’t – listen to him. He’s not the boss of you. As long as you show him that you and your ex are purely platonic, there’s no reason for you to have to shuffle your social circle for your relationship. The two can, and should, co-exist.
  8. You might not be ready. If your previous relationship didn’t end that long ago, it might be too soon for you to be friends with your ex. Even if it doesn’t feel like you’re rushing into a new romantic relationship, being friends with an ex isn’t something you should jump into without any serious thought. You might need to press pause on that friendship for a while until it feels right and you’re comfortable with it (and you’re over your ex, obvs).
  9. You shouldn’t do it to get revenge. Here’s another scenario in which you should cut ties with your ex instead of trying to be friends with them while dating someone new: deep down in your gut you know you’re only trying to be friends with them because you’re hoping to make them angry or jealous. You’re not only being disrespectful to your boyfriend in this scenario but hurting your ex too. It’s just not a game worth playing.
  10. Ask yourself if friendship is even possible. If you’re confused about whether or not you can stay good friends with an ex when you move on with your love life, here’s something to chew on: ask yourself if you and your ex could ever even be friends. If there was no care, respect, and trust when you were dating, such as because he was toxic and hurt you, then what friendship can you even expect with this person? It’s just not worth having them in your support circle if they don’t know the meaning of support.
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.