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If you’ve broken up with bae, you might likely think that’s the end of your time with the person. After all, there’s probably a pretty big reason why you broke up, right? That’s normally the case in most relationships. But after some time a part to let the heart feel, people sometimes find themselves reconnecting with their exes. They might have no intention of getting back together, yet they might be considering continuing a friendship with their ex.

If you’re in a similar situation and wondering whether it’s a good thing to do, I’ve got some food for thought. Even if you’re not in the situation and are wondering whether people can really be friends with their exes, listen up.

Real talk: Can people ever really be friends with exes?

If you’ve recently broken up with your boyfriend/girlfriend, you’re probably doubting that this is possible. But, there are people who can genuinely be friends with their exes. It might take some time a part and some work, but it can happen. Just look at the number of couples on the internet who go viral for their cordial co-parenting. You likely don’t have a kid or any other major baggage involved with your ex, but kid or not kid, the situations show that people can be friends with their exes if both parties are open to it.

Becoming friends is also something that some former couples might naturally do if they were friends before things turned romantic.

Won’t it be nothing but awkwardness?

Not necessarily. Yes, there will be a bit of a transition period as you and your ex change out of being baes to being friends, but in time that will go away. Remember: Both of you are in control of the situation which means that you have the power to make it less awkward.

What if one us wants to be friends in the hopes of getting back together?

That could be a reason why one party is doing it, which is why it’s always a good idea to set some ground rules about what type of friendship this is. i.e. Is it strictly a friendship, a friends with benefits thing, or what. Of course, even if people say these things, the heart can sometimes take control. If you find that you’re struggling with old romantic feeling with your ex and being around him/her makes it worse, you might need some more time a part or consider hanging around more in groups where things are more chill.

After hearing this, is it really a good idea to become friends with an ex?

It’s really a personal decision and there’s no right or wrong answer. The answer will likely change depending on why and how you broke up, whether you were friends before, and whether you hang around the same group of people now. You’ll also want to consider the fact that your ex is probably someone who knows you very well. He/she might even have seen sides of you that you don’t show other people. You might like the idea of having someone you’re that close with in your life again who you can talk to abut specific things. And your ex might feel the same way.

Are there any times you should NOT be friends with an ex?

Again, it’s a personal call. There are so many variables to consider that are unique to you. Don’t feel that you need to decide whether to be friends with an ex right away. You will likely need to go through a grieving period and spend some time away from your ex before you can decide what to do about a friendship, if anything. Note that your ex may or may not feel the same. Or, he/she might take longer to heal.

If you were cheated on, your ex was schemer/liar, or a bad influence on you, you will want to seriously consider whether you still want someone like that in your life or whether you’re better off without him/her.

Do we have to discuss the breakup to become friends?

If you feel like there was unfinished business when you two split up, you might feel like there’s a white elephant in the room whenever you hang out. Some couples-turned-friends might find it healing to discuss it as it could help them get closure and start a new chapter. If you cannot discuss the split, it might lead to problems later.

Do you have any tips for being friends with exes?

To build on what I was talking about the breakup, you have to be careful about harping on the past. While it can be good to talk about why you split up, how you’ve changed, and how you hope to move passed it, you don’t want to keep bringing up negative things from the past. That’s not the right kind of attitude to build a friendship on. Focus on the good times.

On that note, you shouldn’t expect your ex to change completely now that your friends. He/she will likely still have the same little quirks you found irksome before and he/she definitely isn’t going to change them now that you’re not a couple.

Watch out when one or both of you start dating again. You might think that you’re cool with your ex-turned-friend dating, but seeing him/her with a new SO for the first time might hit you harder than expected. It’s normal and should go away with time by reminding yourself that you are friends with your ex. There might also be a bit of jealously at first with the new SO seeing your friendship with your ex, but that should dissipate quickly after you make it clear you’re in the friend zone.

Remember, if it feels good to have your ex in your life again as a friend, that’s an amazing thing. You two could end up forming a great bond for life.

Are you friends with any of your exes? Would you ever consider it? Let us know in the comments!

You can follow the author, Heather Cichowski, on Twitter.

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