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Can you be friends with your exes?

Whenever a relationship ends, one part of the former pair insists on remaining friends, even if they don’t mean it, they somehow feel necessary to pretend that their now ex-partner will remain in their lives. But can we really be friends with our exes? Should we?

I don’t speak with the Big Ex; he cheated on me and broke my heart. My friends don’t lie to me, they don’t take advantage of me, and they don’t leave me crying on a couch wondering what I’ve done wrong. Sometimes relationships end amicably, sometimes two great people just realize that they don’t belong together and they go on to be great friends who once upon a time used to have hot sweaty naked time together. But more often than not, a break-up happens because of something more severe and at least one person is left with a broken heart and a bruised ego.

A couple of weeks ago I was out with a friend of mine who recently left his partner after two years; I asked him very calmly if he planned on being friends with her in the future or ever getting back together with her. I did this because you never know and what I had to say about this person could not be taken back; I then proceeded to use a four-letter word that happens to start with a ‘c.’ There were some other words that my inner feminist would not approve of, but sometimes you just need to get your feelings out and this self-righteous woman had all of it coming. That’s the most difficult part about being friends with an ex: once you’ve done something really terrible most friends have picked a side and if your behaviour was bad enough, that side likely isn’t yours. How can you ever be friends with someone when everyone who knew you together now thinks that you’re the worst kind of person for one reason or another?

Boyfriend and I are at the point in our relationship where we have a lot of mutual friends. My pals are becoming his and I love that, but if we broke up tomorrow, it’s easy enough to know who would pick my side and who would pick his. After a break-up, terrible things are said, tears are shed and promises are made; but it’s your best friends who hear the absolute worst about your former love and asking them to just forget about all the bad things is asking the impossible.

Maybe the couples who end things happily knowing that they’ve made the right choice can be friends, but there are some things that once said can’t be taken back; there are some things that once done can never be undone and as a result – friendship is impossible. Let’s all stop kidding ourselves and admit that being friends with an ex is almost as bad as sleeping with an ex; it’s never going to end well and someone is almost always going to have unrealistic expectations.

Follow Shannon on Twitter at @Shananigans.

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