Relationships: the source of endless happiness and unbearable pain. We have all been through the joys and hardships of these wonderful journeys, and most of us, unfortunately, probably saw more than one through to the end. Even walking down the aisle is no guarantee that you’ll last forever.

When time to say goodbye comes, many couples feel the need to promise to stay good friends. Surely, we have precious memories, shared a lot of love, opened our hearts to someone else we trusted, and became very close to someone we invested a lot of our time, feelings and emotions into.

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Is staying friends with an ex a good idea, though? How will this decision affect our lives and future relationships? Can the myth of the friendly ex be realized?

Dr Janice Levine believes that: “to keep your life moving in a healthy direction, you need to determine exactly where an ex fits into your life, or he’ll continue to affect you and your future relationships”.

Holding back to an ex might feel comfortable. Socializing with him is already part of our safe zone, but it will stop you from finding a new love interest. As Elena Michaels, Ph.D., explains: “if you’re both still single, you may not bother to meet other men because you’re so comfortable with the same safe guy”.

Heidi Muller, a reporter for Cosmopolitan magazine, gives us a few tips on how to know when to keep an ex in our lives or when to give them the boot and start afresh.

Hold On to Him as a Friend If…

  • The sexual chemistry is gone. After a night of drinking, you still wouldn’t sleep with him.
  • Even when you were together, the relationship always felt more brother-and-sister than it did hot-and-heavy.
  • You have no problem hearing about his new girlfriends and would consider setting him up with one of your friends.
  • He’s a great friend to everybody in his life. You know you can talk about anything with him.

 

Booty-Call Him If…

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  • The sex is fantastic, but your feelings don’t run deep.
  • You don’t want to go to dinner or do anything social with him.
  • The day after a booty call, you feel just as good about yourself as you did the night before.
  • If he told you tomorrow that he couldn’t sleep with you anymore, you’d be okay with it

 

Keep Him in Your Cell If…

  • You care enough to keep in touch, but you don’t need to hear about his daily life.
  • He has something to offer like stock tips, career connections or cool friends that you’d rather not lose forever.
  • You don’t feel an emotional pull toward him, nor do you have any urge to sleep with him.
  • You get an occasional pang of regret about the breakup, but after seeing him, it’s clear why he was Mr. Not Quite Right.

 

Cut Him Off If…

  • Just the thought of him with someone else can bring you to tears. Actually, the thought of him alone can, too. You lie to your friends about seeing him or even thinking about him because you know they won’t approve.

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  • You spend so much time obsessing over him that it’s getting in the way of your job, your friendships and even your current relationship.
  • You’ve broken up and gotten back together more than twice or have been on and off for years.(cosmopolitan.com)

 

Being able to stay good friends with an ex is possible only if the relationship was not that intimate and he hasn’t  broken your heart. Under these circumstances, it is also possible to have casual sex with an ex. “Not only are you already comfortable with this person sexually, but also there’s little at stake since the relationship aspect is over,” says Tina Tessina, Ph.D.

However, having been hurt or even abused by a boyfriend will cut your chances short of any future friendship. And that is indeed for the best. Would you really want a guy who has deliberately hurt you, still in your life? Is it a good idea to stay friends with someone you used to date? We say no, but we will leave that decision to you.

 

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Psychologist, world citizen, mother - Effie is one half of the alwaysladies.com founding pair. She can bring to life any party with either a smile, or a strong opinion. If like us you can't get enough of Effie, visit her blog at www.thethinkingmomblog.com

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