Can Exes Be Friends?

It’s a qualm as old as time—can you stay friends with someone who used to be such a big part of your life? There’s always a mix of answers when this question is raised because everyone handles love and loss in different ways. While some hold onto what’s salvageable in the fire, others turn their heel and walk away.

To fuel this age old debate, we asked 15 Singaporean girls if they could be friends with an ex, and here’s what they said.

Depends on how you guys started out

If you guys start out as good friends, there’s a stronger foundation; so even if the relationship ends, there’s still something to fall back on. But if you jump into the relationship head first, there’s nothing left to grasp onto when the relationship ends. Personally, I don’t think I can be friends with any of my exes.
Felise, 21

Maybe, but it’s hard to be truly platonic

I’ve tried being “friends” with my exes, but it’s hard to convert your relationship to one that’s truly platonic due to your history. It’s not worth the time, effort, or the possibility of you breaking your heart all over again.
Emma, 19

I think it’s possible if both parties can handle their emotions well as there’s a risk you might dig up ‘old’ feelings. There’s often that sense of comfort/familiarity—I mean, how can you “un-see” someone’s intimate parts. So if you’re strong enough to not act upon those feelings, go for it.

It’s also a good reflection of your own mindset; if you can lay down the negativity and be kind to someone who hurt you, you’re actually being friends with yourself. It shows that people can do shit to you, but you can still take control of your own happiness.
Chev, 24

No, feelings will be too messy

I personally can’t be friends with my exes. I find it weird to be friends with someone I shared an intimate history with. The feelings are just too jumbled up together and impossible to untangle. Moreover, I wouldn’t want my partner to feel insecure about it so I’d rather avoid it.
Peps, 21

Personally, no. It’s like having to wear my dress as a top when the only reason I got it in the first place was because I loved it as a dress.
Lynn, 22

I’d say from experience that it’s a firm no. I’ve tried to be friends with one of my exes but it didn’t work out because he got bitter when I tried to move on. My other ex and I tried to be friends but ended up having a very messy and drawn out break up that made things much worse, so long story short, hell no.
Emily, 26

Yes, we know what’s best for each other

I think exes can definitely be friends although it will be awkward in the beginning. I became friends with one of my exes he’s the one who made me realise that sometimes it could be a case of “right person, wrong time”.
Alexis, 20

I’m friends with most of my ex-boyfriends except the one who cheated and another who ran away with my money. We feel comfortable talking about anything and we know what’s best for each other. It’s kind of like we’re best friends. Some of the men I date are uncomfortable with that, but I’m happy as it is.
Ashley, 28

Maybe, unless he did something unforgivable

I think it’s possible but it depends on why the couple split. If my ex did something unforgivable, then I’ll definitely cut off contact. However, if the break was for more mature reasons such as fundamental incompatibility or distance then I guess it’s still possible.
Hui Zhi, 19

Just ‘hi-bye’ acquaintances

I’m not friends with any of my exes though I’m on civil terms with most; I’d say ‘hi’ to them if I ran into them (besides the cheaters, hi Zac). We’ll also occasionally ‘like’ each other’s Instagram posts but that definitely took time. To completely get over my exes, I tend to cut them out of my life completely.
Jaclyn, 23

I think that exes can be acquaintances, but not friends. It may affect your next relationship because it’ll seem like you’re not starting over on a clean slate. I’d definitely give a friendly wave or hug if I see my ex around, but I won’t make an effort to stay connected or remain friends.
Jenny, 19

Yes, only if no party is bitter

I think exes can be friends only when both parties have forgiven each other. It becomes messy when one party is bitter, even if the other party is cordial and friendly.
Ying, 19

Maybe, but only with time

My boyfriend and I got back together because we failed at being just friends. Exes can be friends, but only with time. I think you should give each other space when you just break up and not cling on to the hope of being friends immediately—give it a year or two.
Chelsea, 23

I think you can be friends if enough time has passed after the breakup and if both parties treasure the friendship enough. But if you’re capable of being friends with your ex after a few weeks, you’re in denial.
Sam, 22

I think exes can definitely be friends, provided both parties are willing and fully over each other. Even if it’s a clean break up, I’d need some time to recalibrate the relationship from romantic to platonic.

The reason I don’t believe in antagonising exes is because you should respect the feelings and intimacy you guys once shared. If you both loved each other so much, surely that counts for something.
Sneha, 19

Friends With Exes

You can try to forget history, but you can’t erase it. Time does soften the blow, and while that’s enough for some exes, others simply find it easier to move on and cut their losses. Whatever path you choose to follow, just do what’s best for you and everything will turn out okay.

Cover image: Source