Exes. Can’t live with ’em, can’t live without — well, actually, we can probably live without most of them. When couples break up, it’s common for them to say they’ll try to still be friends. But can you really be friends with an ex? Honestly, it depends. Here are four types of exes that might be worth trying to stay friends with, and four types that we’re all probably better off leaving on read.
1. Friends: the one that wasn’t really a relationship
Maybe you just went on a couple dates or were more friends-with-benefits. Neither one of you were that serious about it and things aren’t awkward when you run into each other or hang with mutual friends. No hard feelings.
2. Not friends: the one you’re still in love with
Some people can make it work, but serious exes always seem to be difficult to remain friends with. If you still have feelings for each other, it’s easy to start hooking up again. It can also get super awkward if one of you starts dating someone else.
3. Friends: the one that was just better off as a friend
Neither of you did anything wrong — the spark just wasn’t there. You guys can still hang and have fun, NBD. Things just feel more comfortable with them as a pal.
4. Not friends: the one who cheated on you
Maybe some people can forgive and forget, but cheating is pretty unforgivable in our books. “We can still be friends”? Nahhh. Boy, bye.
5. Friends: the one you dated forever ago
Maybe you took each other to homecoming in high school. Maybe you hooked up freshman year and just now ran into each other again. If enough time has passed for both of you to heal and move on, things might just work.
6. Not friends: the one you had a super toxic relationship with
You might have been one of those on and off couples. Maybe both of you cheated. Maybe you fought all the time. Maybe they were even abusive. If someone didn’t respect us while we were dating, we don’t trust them to treat us right as a friend. (Looking at you, Justin and Selena.)
7. Friends: the one you had a mutual breakup with
There wasn’t a huge fallout or anything, you just sort of both knew things weren’t going to work out. Sometimes you just outgrow each other, and that’s totally okay.
8. Not friends: the one you were super serious about
If you catch yourself still listening to Katy Perry’s “The One That Got Away” and thinking of them, it’s probably safe to say you won’t ever be able to see them as just a friend. It’s really, really difficult to maintain a totally platonic relationship with someone you once thought you’d marry.
None of these are one size fits all rules. Some exes can overcome the past and end up being really good friends. If you’re able to stay pals with an ex, more power to you. But if you can’t stay friends? That’s totally fine too. Relationships are messy, and they don’t always end the way we’d like them to. It’s sad, but sometimes the person who was once your everything is just better off not being in your life anymore. *Plays “Shout out to My Ex” again*