Many people will tell you that it’s healthy and mature to remain friends with your ex. Not everyone can do so. But being friends with your ex has some big downsides. In reality, it’s best to remain cordial – but don’t be friends with your ex.
You Won’t Be Motivated to Make New Friends
If you were lucky enough to have a spouse that was also your best friend, you both may feel even more inclined to hold onto that friendship after you divorce. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s better to make a complete break so that you feel a void. You won’t be motivated to cultivate new friendships if you hang onto an old one, even if it’s a bad fit. If you feel like you no longer have a best friend, you’ll be more likely to get out there and make new friends, which is ultimately what you need to do after a divorce.
Don’t Deprive Yourself of Being Alone
After something as awful as a divorce, it’s very therapeutic to take time to be alone. Even after those first few dreadful days, you’ll need to spend time exploring who you are as a single man. As part of a couple, it’s easy to get lost. You may have sacrificed a little part of your identity in order to give yourself completely into that relationship with your ex. There’s a unique, individual inside of you, and you need to be alone in order to rediscover who you are and what you really want. If you don’t remain friends with your ex, you won’t deprive yourself of this introspection. Even if you don’t succumb to a physical relationship with your ex, their continual presence in your life as a friend will keep you from exploring your true self, and figuring out what you want the rest of your life to look like.
You May Get Dumped Again
What’s worse than going through a divorce? Going through a second breakup – with the same person. Don’t be friends with your ex and stay emotionally attached to them or you may feel like you have a good, healthy relationship. So, why end it completely? What usually happens though, is that the ex eventually meets someone new. That someone new is not likely to be thrilled that you’re still in the picture, even if it is platonic. In a bid to please that new person, your ex dumps you as a friend. They may even ghost you, with no explanation why they’re no longer speaking to you. Now you have to go through the pain of rejection all over again, which prolongs your own healing process.
You Could Get Manipulated
If your ex is secretly angry about the divorce, or their motives aren’t entirely pure, you could easily get manipulated by remaining friends with him or her. While posing as your friend, they may intentionally give you bad advice, or keep tabs on you for nefarious purposes. They may even try to wreck your chances with another person. Since you trusted your ex during your marriage and you assume their friendship is genuine, you’ll be less likely to pick up on their actions until it’s too late.
The Perception of Yourself Stays the Same
Everyone you encounter has a certain perception of you, and they use that perception on which to base their interactions with you. For instance, your mother might still see you as a child (even though you’re a grown man), and talk to you as though you don’t know what you’re doing. You can’t do much about a doting parent, but you can do something about the way your ex perceives you. If your ex saw you as something less than who you are, underestimated your potential, or never really “got” you, it’s not doing you any good to continue that relationship in any form, friends or not. You won’t be able to alter their perception of you, and it’s not worth it to try. Worse, their unflattering image of you may stop you from realizing your own true self worth.
You Might Jeopardize Future Romantic Relationships
If you’ve started to move on with a romantic relationship but are still clinging to your ex as a friend, you may unwittingly jeopardize your new romance. Just as your ex’s new romantic partner won’t like you hanging around, neither will your new lover. And the more you try to defend your ex by explaining that you’re just friends, the more likely your new paramour will be to take a walk.