Psychologists Highlight 7 Reasons Why Staying Friends With an Ex Is a Bad Idea

If you had any doubts about whether or not to stay friends with your ex, this study, led by psychologists, will help you better understand why it’s not such a good idea to stay friends with an ex.

We at Bright Side wanted to help you better understand the downside of remaining friends with your former partner, and we wanted to share these professional insights with you.

1. You can’t just suddenly turn off feelings.

According to Nina Atwood, a famous author, people usually remain friends with their exes because they don’t want to end things harshly and face a life without a person who’s meant so much to them. People assume that remaining friends with an ex will make it easier and soften the blow of the breakup, but that’s where they’re wrong.

It’s natural to not want to entirely lose such an important person in your life, but hanging out with them after the break up will virtually make it impossible to erase the feelings you have for them. Once you start feeling comfortable in each other’s company again, you’ll let down your guard and those romantic feelings may come back, bubbling under the surface once again.

2. It will be harder for you to move on.

Being around your ex all the time will make it harder for you to get rid of feelings of loss and regret. In other words, you will probably experience mixed feelings that will make the moving on process much more difficult for you. After a breakup, people need time to heal and just reflect on the relationship, and that will become much more difficult if they’re in the company of their ex all the time.

Sometimes after a breakup, you can’t see things clearly and you need to give yourself time to recuperate and better understand the things that happened to you, and having your ex in your life will make things harder than they already are.

3. Your ex might still be in love with you.

When a couple breaks up, it’s usually not a mutual decision. Most of the time, someone gets dumped in the relationship, and it’s usually the person that gets dumped that wants to get back together. That’s not necessarily the case, but either way, one might hope to reignite the fire of the romantic relationship once again because they still have feelings for the other.

Let’s be honest, the chemistry between the 2 of you is there, even though it might be burned out at the moment. But going out together and having a drink or 2 will definitely mix things up, and it may leave the other person with a false sense of hope of getting back together, which will never end well.

4. It may lead to an on-again-off-again relationship.

After a breakup, there will always be that lingering feeling that will make you question whether you made the right decision about breaking up with a person. And hanging out with your ex will make you all the more confused about it. The fact that you were physically attracted to one another in the first place will definitely lead to an on-again-off-again relationship.

An on-again-off-again relationship usually means that one of the partners is highly unsure whether they want to be together or not. Just keep in mind that if someone truly wants to be with you, breaking up would never even be an option.

5. Hanging out as friends will be painful.

Let’s face it, no one likes to be watching from the first row when their ex is finding a new love and starting a new romantic relationship. But if you choose to remain friends with the person you were once romantic with, be prepared to deal with these kinds of situations that will always be awkward and painful to watch.

As much as we don’t want to admit it, it hurts watching our previous partner moving on and find new love. It really sucks seeing them be in love with someone else, and whether you’d like to play it cool or not, it hurts to see your ex doing better than you.

6. There isn’t really an upside to being friends.

Unless you have kids or are otherwise bound to spend time together, there really isn’t a good enough reason to be friends with your ex. After all, there really isn’t an upside to being close to someone you chose to end a relationship with.

Even if you think it’s the mature and grown-up thing to do after a breakup, the far better solution would be to cut ties with that person and just go your own separate ways. Remaining close with them would eventually bring unresolved issues back and you’d risk getting hurt over and over again.

7. It will prevent you from being open to new relationships.

After one relationship ends, you should let yourself have the necessary space to mend from the breakup and eventually get back out there in the dating world. But hanging out with your ex won’t do you much good, and it will definitely be weird for your potential partners.

Imagine having to explain to your new partner, that you are spending a lot of time with your ex. They’ll probably think that you’re still hung-up on them and that you’re not ready for something real. That’s a definite red flag and a deal-breaker for many suitable potential partners.

As much as we don’t want to admit it, we’d be fooling ourselves if we thought that being friends with an ex could work. Sure, there are rare cases where it’s possible, but the general idea is that you should definitely avoid being friends with your former romantic partner.

What do you think about the whole being-friends-with-your-ex dilemma? Do you agree that we should cut our exes out of our lives or do you really think that it’s possible to remain friends? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

Illustrated by Daniil Shubin for