The possibility of staying friends with your ex has been debated forever. Is friendship possible after a relationship? Can I and should I stay friends with my ex? These are all the questions we have all asked ourself and the people around us but the right answer seems impossible to find.

Well, I can tell you one thing and that is that friendship with your ex can be the best or the worst idea of your life. It all depends on different factors, starting from the reasons why you want this friendship to happen.

A friendship between two people who were in a relationship can only happen if you and your ex had a civilized break-up. If your break-up was painful or if it involved cheating or lying, I will tell it to you straight: you can forget about ever being friends with your ex.

There are times when it’s OK to be friends with your ex. Sometimes, people simply outgrow each other or they mutually conclude that they shouldn’t stay together anymore. Sometimes, you still want your ex to be a part of your life, but you don’t feel attracted to him in the same way you used to or you can’t imagine being romantically involved with him anymore. Sometimes you two still care for each other deeply but you both are very well aware that you can’t function as a couple. And that is more than all right. After all, this person has been a huge part of your life for a long period of time and it is perfectly normal that you are having a hard time cutting him off for good overnight. The two of you weren’t just love partnersyou were also friends and you started seeing him as your family and as a part of you. But if you and your ex decide you will be friends after the break-up has happened, the most important thing is that both of you want the same thing. The worst thing that can happen is that you or your ex still have unresolved feelings for the other and that being friends is just a mask. Being friends with your ex requires that both of you expect the same things from this friendship. You both need to be clear about your feelings for each other and you need to be certain that you don’t love each other romantically anymore.

After this, the two of you need to set up some terms of this friendship. You can’t expect to be best friends with your ex, because that involves talking to each other about your love life and that is never a good idea. Do you two plan on hanging out on a regular basis or do you just want to stay in touch? Also, you need to understand that sooner or later one or both of you will have someone new in your life and that there is no place for jealousy in this case. Plus you need to think about the future. How will your new boyfriend react to this friendship? You need to understand that many people wouldn’t be comfortable with the idea that their partner is  still close to their ex and you shouldn’t allow your ex to ruin your new relationship. What would you do if he asked you to choose between a relationship with him and the friendship with your ex? These are all the questions both you and your ex have to answer and have to agree on if you want to have a successful friendship.

If you plan on being friends with your ex, you need to understand that this friendship can rarely function right after the relationship has ended. You both probably need some time to get over each other and to get your emotions sorted out. Being friends in this post-break-up period of your life is unlikely to be possible, because at least one of you will probably see this is a chance to get back together.

On the other hand, you also need to be aware of the fact that being friends with your ex can also be bad for you. You need to make sure that his motives are clear as well. You don’t want him to keep you around just so he could keep his options open or because he is not ready to accept the break-up.

Staying friends with your ex can prevent you from moving on with your life and it can give you false hope of getting back together with him, even without you being aware of it. As long as you have him in your life, you are subconsciously holding on to him and it is possible that you haven’t actually accepted the break-up and that is one of the worst things you can do to yourself.

Either way, the choice is yours. And whatever you choose to do, you need to be aware of what you are getting yourself into and you need to make sure the other person is perfectly aware of it as well.