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Why exes can never be ‘just friends’

“We’re just friends…”

I can’t tell you how many times I have heard someone use this sentence in reference to their ex-lover.

It’s sickening, to say the least. 

The concept of remaining friends with an ex-lover has become a hot topic of debate in today’s dating scene. I don’t recall our parents ever talking about still being friends with people they dated in their younger years, and if we’re being honest, no holds barred, social media and the evolvement of technology have a lot to do with how young people nowadays make excuses to still remain friends with their former lovers.

Some argue that it’s a mature and evolved way to handle the end of a romantic connection, while others insist that it’s a recipe for disaster. I’m among the others.

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For one, it goes without saying just how exes struggle to maintain a platonic relationship because of the lingering emotional baggage that often accompanies a breakup. After investing time and energy in a romantic connection, severing those ties can be emotionally wrenching and though both parties may claim to have moved on, it’s hard to completely erase the memories and deep feelings that were once shared. Consequently, the ghost of romantic intimacy can taint the foundation of their friendship, leading to confusion and potential heartache.

When exes attempt to be “Just friends”, jealousy may foster when one or both parties enter new romantic relationships. It’s human nature to compare and feel a sense of possessiveness over someone with whom you once shared an intimate bond. Watching an ex-lover embrace a new love interest can ignite a whirlwind of emotions, ranging from envy to anger, and can severely strain the friendship.

Let’s not forget the perils of nostalgia. Nostalgia can be a tempting siren, beckoning exes to return to a familiar and comfortable emotional space. As they reminisce about the good times, it becomes easy to forget the reasons behind their breakup.

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However, living in the past can hinder personal growth and prevent individuals from pursuing healthier relationships. Exes can become trapped in a never-ending loop of nostalgia, inhibiting their ability to move on.

And last but certainly not least, the boundaries of a post-breakup friendship can be like walking through a minefield. Actions and words that were once seen as affectionate gestures can now be misinterpreted as a rekindling of romantic interest. This ambiguity can lead to mixed signals and misunderstanding, potentially causing emotional havoc for both parties.

While the idea of remaining friends with an ex-lover might sound appealing in theory, the realities of such relationships are far more complex than they initially seem. Instead of striving to preserve a friendship with an ex, you might find it more beneficial to focus on healing and self-discovery before attempting to forge a new bond. 

Also read: How bad sex can ruin even the perfect romance