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Should You Stay Friends After the Relationship Ends? College Women Weigh In

Okay, it’s time to talk about relationships. We’ve all been there: Should you stay friends with your ex after y’all have broken up? Your friends probably tell you to block and delete your ex immediately. Everyone thinks that the answer to this question is black and white – but for you, it doesn’t feel that way.

Maybe you two were friends since high school, or maybe you developed a crazy-amazing bond while in the relationship. Do you want to give up that friendship? But then again, can it survive if you guys aren’t being romantic? Even then, it feels like there’s no way to tell if staying friends will do you more harm than good.

Since we know that the post-breakup vibes can be confusing, we’ve done the heavy lifting for you. Here are what six college women had to say about whether or not to stay friends after a breakup.

“[I don’t think you should stay friends] immediately after. Some healthy distance is necessary. And also, if the relationship didn’t end well, don’t force a friendship.” – Josie, 22, The Savannah College of Art and Design

“If it was a good relationship and you realize that it works better when you’re friends – and you both agree it’s what you want – I don’t see why not. However, it should not be a requirement for you to act like a friend after you break up, you can mutually agree on what’s going to work best.” – Gabriela, 21, University of Puerto Rico

“If so, you both need to be able to be mature about it, especially when the other person starts seeing someone new (because they will).” – Audrey Lent, 23, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

“I don’t think it should be a should you/shouldn’t you situation. It should be more like if you both want to—and are able to be friends without it hurting your mental health—why not? You choose to date someone for a reason, so I’d hope you like them enough to still want to be their friend (assuming things didn’t end poorly). And you shouldn’t feel forced to miss out on a potentially great friendship just because you are exes!” – Haley Creech, 21, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Related: 6 Ways to Feel Romantically Fulfilled Without a SO

“I think you should stay friends if you ended on good terms and if your emotions are healed. In my opinion, it’s better to have a break from the person as soon as the relationship ends, even if it was a considerate break-up. Then when you feel much more healed, you can be friends. But even then, there are some exes who don’t deserve that be it because of the lack of maturity or their toxicity. Either choice is fine as long as you’re not doing it to hurt the other person. And always respect what the other person decides.” – Amanda Jackson, 20, University of Puerto Rico

“It depends on the terms on which it ended. For example, I was cheated on and it took me a lot of time to come to terms with it. I could talk to her because we had been best friends before dating, but it hurt me like hell, so I had to cut that out of my life because it was honestly very toxic.” – Ariana Ríos, 19, University of Puerto Rico Río 

It’s so normal to feel plenty of confusing thoughts at the end of a relationship. You might not be sure in which direction to go. It all depends on who you both are as people. Maybe in high school it felt unthinkable to be friends you’re your ex after a breakup, they basically became an automatic enemy. But now, it’s easy to see that relationships are more multifaceted, especially if your SO was your best friend. Never speaking again might sound awful, or maybe you feel that you don’t need that energy in your life anymore.

In the end, it’s all up to you.

Take a moment for yourself and really analyze the situation. Get some headspace, a new perspective, and if you know that being friends is not for you, that’s fine. If losing your partner seems horrifying, and staying friends won’t impact you negatively, go for it. You have to choose what’s going to make you happy.

Antoinette Luna is a Performance Studies and Comparative Literature major at the UPR. Her passions include writing, reading, and anything crafty. She loves to sew, write, and make things from scratch. DIY is the name of her game. Around campus, she is known as a bubbly young woman who goes by just Luna. Her future goals include traveling, traveling, and more traveling. Outspoken transfeminist, and wannabe activist, she's out to set fires.