Should You Be Friends With Your Partner's Ex? Here's What Experts Say
Relationships are tricky, but they get even trickier when they end. Dynamics vary, of course, but one thing that's almost always hard to achieve is managing to be friends with an ex. People move on, and when they do, new people are added into the mix and dynamics can get even more complicated. If your partner and their ex are in the same group of friends, should you be friends with your partner's ex? It can be awkward AF, but if your partner is on good terms with their ex, and their ex is someone they still have to see on the reg, it might be in your best interests to try and make nice.
"If your partner is friends with their ex, it would make sense that you would embrace this person as a friend, as well," psychotherapist and relationship expert Denise Limongello tells Elite Daily. "If this person is an integral part of your romantic partner's life, then it would seem necessary not only to accept this person but also to trust that any romantic feelings between them are over and completely in the past." After all, trust is incredibly important in a relationship and plays a big role in how you two move forward.
Your partner could have countless reasons for wanting to be friends with their ex, none of which may have anything to do with their past relationship. Maybe they were friends before they started dating, and when they broke up, they wanted to continue that friendship. "Romantic feelings are so far buried in the past that a friendship feels both possible and also natural," Limongello says. Whatever the reason for them wanting to keep a friendship going, if your partner is bringing you into their friendship with their ex, that's a good sign they're strictly friends who just happen to have history.
If you've decided to embrace being friends with bae's ex, Limongello recommends trying to have a friendship with their ex outside of your partner's friendship with them. "A great way to get started on that is to invite this person to lunch or coffee or any activity where you might be able to spend time, alone, together, getting to know each other so that you might have a friendship of your own," she says. "You might be pleasantly surprised to discover that you understand why your ex didn't want to lose this person as a friend just because they didn't make it as a couple."
And while cultivating your own friendship with the ex may help you feel more comfortable with your partner being friends with them, breakup coach and host of the breakup BOOST podcast Trina Leckie warns not to get too close. "I think things could get a little sticky if suddenly you become close friends," she tells Elite Daily. "It could create drama down the road and jealousy issues could arise, even if things seem to be totally fine in the beginning." She also recommends not becoming too friendly with the ex if their breakup is still pretty new. Maybe your partner is over their ex, but the ex may not be over them, especially if the breakup wasn't mutual. Keep them close! Just not too close.
If the breakup is still fresh, you may be a little more hesitant about your partner being friends with their ex — even if they both say they're over each other. So, you may not exactly want to be friends with someone who could still be pining for your bae, which is totally understandable. "You have a right to process these feelings with your partner," Limongello states. Explain to them why you're feeling the way that you are and hope that they will hear you out, comfort you, and if it's really bothering you, maybe take a bit of a step back from their ex — at least for a little while.
However, if you have no problem trying to be friends with your partner's ex, make sure there are lines between what you do and don't talk about, Leckie advises. "Steer clear of being gossipy or comparing notes," she says. "Don’t vent about your partner to their ex. Communicate to your partner if at any time you are uncomfortable with the situation." Bae should respect if something makes you uncomfortable and try to work something out to fix it, where you won't feel as uncomfortable, and your partner still gets to keep their friend. Compromise, people. And the last bit of advice? "Don’t compare yourself to them or feel intimidated — they broke up for a reason," Leckie says.