Should You Stay Friends With Your Exes?

Couple Using LaptopIf you’re even bitten by a poisonous reptile, it’s always best if you can safely capture it or keep tabs on it so that you can tell the doctors exactly what it was that bit you and they can find the right antitoxin. Some feel that exes should be kept around for much the same reason—you can’t know how badly and in what way they messed you up without observing them from a safe distance and seeing how they interact with others. One has to wonder, though, what constitutes a safe distance from an ex?

Then there are those people who genuinely part on “good terms.” They seem to actually like their exes and keep them around as friends. On the surface, this seems like a horrendous idea, but it turns out that there can actually be some merit to it.

What can your ex tell you about yourself?

If you ever wanted someone to point out your faults, who could do it better than an ex? A friendly ex is a great tool for self-assessment, especially when you apply it to a dating situation. Just go to your ex and ask “What the heck is wrong with me?” You’d better have a notepad ready.

An ex can also tell you some of the good things about yourself; the things that attracted them to you in the first place. It can be a bit of an ego boost and also tell you what to accentuate when you go on your next date. An ex can also be brutally honest about things like clothing and hair, helping you to look your best, or at least not look your worst, when you go on a date. That’s a pretty good friend to have, wouldn’t you say?

What can an ex tell you about your current and future relationships?

An ex is the world’s foremost expert on what you do to screw up your relationships. They can tell you not only what you tend to do wrong, but also how your partner is likely to react to it.

An ex knows what you look like when you’re happy, and what you look like when you’re sad or ticked off. He or she can give you a good, semi-objective assessment of how your current relationship is going. Be careful, though. If your ex is spiteful, or if they maybe want to get back together with you, they may have ulterior motives coloring what they tell you.

Will a friendship with an ex sabotage future relationships?

A lot depends on how things ended with your ex. If you end with complete, bitter hatred for each other, why would you ever want to see them again, much less have a friendship with them? Of course, they’re going to do everything they can to sabotage future relationships if they don’t like you. Conversely, if they like you too much it can be a problem, too—they might consciously or subconsciously try to break up your relationships because, deep down, they want you back.

Even if there are no ulterior motives, hanging out with your ex can cause problems. Even the most open-minded of people will tend to get a little irritated and nervous when they find out that their boyfriend or girlfriend is hanging out with their ex. Inevitably, you will be forced to choose between your new love and your ex, assuming that your new love doesn’t just go ahead and make the choice for you by dumping you and moving on to someone with less baggage.

Can an ex be a friend with benefits?

Did you ever break up with someone and really, really miss having sex with them? Wouldn’t it be great if you could figure out a way to lose the horrible, poisonous relationship but somehow keep the sex? Welcome to the “Friends with Benefits” zone.

There are a number of reasons why a friends with benefits relationship is challenging, and they only get more powerful when the friend is your ex. Sex can take any relationship and give it a false sense of intimacy and connection, but if that intimacy actually existed at one time, it is ridiculously easy for one or both partners to fall back in love, or at least fool themselves into believing that they have. Exes also have plenty of history to draw on for arguments, so the potential for short-circuiting a sex session with a fight is always there.

Having an ex as a friend with benefits does have, well, benefits. Exes tend to know what pushes our buttons in a good way, if you know what I mean. There is a level of sexual familiarity that exists with an ex that it might take weeks, months, or years to build with someone new. And if there are any feelings of unresolved anger, who better to have rough, angry sex with than an ex?

An ex can be a valuable friend as a sounding board, an objective pair of eyes, and a general expert on how you handle relationships, assuming you can get past whatever issues caused you to break up in the first place. You might even be able to have an ex be a friend with benefits, if the relationship is friendly enough.