WE'RE NOT FRIENDS OR ENEMIES. JUST STRANGERS WITH SOME MEMORIES.
Being friends with exes, there's no universal rule. Research has shown that maintaining contact with exes is pretty common, but the motives for wanting to maintain contact should be thought out carefully. I've personally never had any desire to remain friends, there's a reason why I walked away and that reason still exists. It's not that I'm bitter, it's not that I can't handle it, I don't have beef or ill feelings towards any of the guys. But by the time I'm done with the relationship, I have zero interest. I feel like they've served their purpose, and life goes on.
When I'm investing time and effort with anyone, I'd like to see if there's real value there. My friends are the people I turn to when I want to have chit chats about current affairs, work, family, TV shows, dating, sex, reminiscing the old days, etc. Having great friendships is enjoyable, effortless, there's mutual respect and each individual holds a important place in my heart. With that said, the thought of exchanging these kind of conversations with exes and sharing my personal business with them doesn't appeal to me in the slightest.
I'D RATHER NOT.
Let's be honest here, one person is always a little more invested in the relationship than the other, and when we breakup we have our egos challenged. These situations are never easy or pleasant to deal with on either side, the whole process is excruciating and exhausting. No matter what people say, it's a challenge to go from being loved up to no contact but I simply couldn't think of anything worse than resorting to that cliché response of "let's be friends" for the sake of softening the blow. Offering friendship while the other party still has feelings for you is giving them false hope... and sadly some exes will really clutch at the straws. In addition to this I've always been someone who prefers to start a new relationship with a clean slate; meaning no drama or baggage pulled in from the past. Hovering exes can be quite off-putting for a new partner, and it doesn't always set the tone for a great start. For example, I once dated a guy who remained friends with his ex, and she would occasionally reconnect with him to ask questions about me 😒. I mean, come on... how am I supposed to feel about that? Your "friend" is now keeping tabs on you? Girl bye. Whether it's for the occasional ego boost, to feel a sense of control, because you still haven't let go — remaining friends with an ex can be tricky to navigate, especially if the breakup is recent.
Letting your partner hang out one-on-one with a person they've previously had sexual and emotional history with.
Your partner getting calls/texts from their ex them at crazy hours of the morning for a chat.
Your partner getting sent birthday gifts and cards to the door from their ex.
How would you feel about the above? Okay perhaps I've used some overstated examples here but it does happen! And I know exactly where I stand in those scenarios. Also if your relationship started off romantically charged to begin with, is there a friendship to transition back to? Don't get me wrong if I bump into an ex now, I’ll be civil but it'll never be: "let's go for a coffee" or "let's hang out sometime". However I do want to highlight that I think there are circumstances where staying on talking terms is necessary, ie. if you have kids together. You'd have some sort of friendship or at least a form of communication because it's probably the right thing to do regardless of whether feelings of hurt are involved.
THE WORD “FRIEND”
Ultimately there is no right or wrong answer, I'm just voicing my thoughts and opinions. It's a choice you make as an individual. I believe there is a difference between "being on good terms" and "being friends". If neither party has ulterior motives, and if the friendship doesn't interrupt your current relationship then it may work but I've personally never heard of any success stories thus far. Either way, it's important to have boundaries in place. If you choose to stay friends with an ex, it might be worth asking some important questions like.
What are my motivations here?
Is this friendship truly feasible?
Can you be truly honest with each other?
Is this friendship fair to your current partner (if you have one)?
Is this friendship interfering with/delaying my recovery and emotional well-being?
Another thing to consider is: what is the dynamic is like when you're hanging out with your ex and their new partner? Every individual is entitled to choose their own friends and live the way they feel comfortable. But things like this may have the ability to cause friction and frustration, so clear communication and understanding plays a vital role. Being entirely open and honest with each other will help relieve any worries/concerns as well as set the expectations early on.