Setting Boundaries When You Are Friends With An Ex

Friendship with ex

Breaking up with someone could be difficult.

It’s not just because you would have to put an end to a committed relationship, but that a lot of other things could be affected by the breakup.

Things could get really awkward between your ex and you, it could even put a strain on work if you work together. More so, their friends may start to dislike you while mutual friends could be forced to pick sides.

Some couples who end on good terms decide to remain friends instead, but a friendship with an ex might have its difficulties especially when either or both partners are still trying to get over the breakup.

It is likely for emotions such as jealously as well as anger to arise and ruin a friendship with your ex, and therefore, there might be a need to set certain boundaries for being friends with an ex.

Yes, ex lovers can remain friends, even best friends if they want, but under certain conditions which includes being emotionally mature enough to put the past behind them and support each other.


Problems that might need boundaries

There are certain problems which could be encountered, and they may pose a challenge to a friendship with your ex

It is important to have these in mind, to be able to identify and deal with them if they arise.

1. Jealousy in the friendship

It might be not as easy as it seems to maintain a friendship with an ex when you still have feelings for them, especially when your ex begins to go out with someone else.

An ex moving on faster than you could also get you all worked up.

You can’t always eliminate the feeling of jealously especially if you or your partner still have feelings for the each other, but you can  make an attempt to take care of the feeling.

It could become a problem to a successful friendship when the jealousy is not controlled, as an insecure ex could make attempts to sabotage the new relationship of a previous partner out of the feelings of jealousy.


2. Expectations and anger

Think about the extra care and extra attention you enjoyed from your ex when you were still dating, all these might change when you break up, and even though you return as friends, it might not completely be the same way.

It might also be difficult adjusting to the idea that you are no longer entitled to their feelings, extra care, and uninterrupted attention.

You could have problems with them when they start treating you differently from how they did in the relationship or reduce the amount of attention that they normally give you.

You might continue to have certain expectations from them because that was the part of them you were used to before your relationship with them came to an end, and since they have already begun treating you a little less special than they used to, that could make you really angry.


3. Unhealthy Competition.

After a breakup, ex lovers may want to see who moves on first. The idea that one person has to win the breakup is quite common among ex lovers as they make attempts to tear each other apart.

However, this competition could get out of hand that it becomes an unhealthy one, with each person trying to get the other jealous or making attempts to spite the other person despite agreeing to be just friends.


4. Intimacy and infidelity

These ex lovers could find themselves in situations where they might feel tempted to hook up. This may become a problem when they are already in relationships with some other person, it could also make things a bit more complicated between the two of them and confuse the friendship further.


5. Mixed signals

When one partner wants a different thing, they could find themselves reading certain signals differently.

It is also possible that someone could use the friendship as a means of getting certain favors from their ex who wants to get back together, constantly sending them mixed signals to keep their hopes high as well as confuse them, only to end up disappointing them when they are ready to move on.


Setting boundaries for being friends with an ex

The first step in setting boundaries for a successful friendship with an ex is to make sure you are both on the same page, you should ensure that the both of you want the same thing and not expecting something else out of it.

It becomes harder to respect the set boundaries if one person decides to remain friends with an ex but with the hope of getting them back, and it might be disappointing to them if things does go as planned.

If you or your ex are unable to cope with being just friends, choosing to remain close friends might not be the right option for you. You might end up being disappointed in the end

Secondly, it’ll be helpful to Identify problems that could come up.

When your ex reaches out to you, you know what could be a problem if you had to become friends with them, identify them first of all and personally figure out ways to that you could avoid them

Discuss your boundaries with your ex once you’ve identified what might be a problem. Be direct and polite as you do so.

You could discuss the possibility of hooking up with each other especially if you are in a relationship, and measures that should be put in place if it happens to be a problem. Talk about how you would feel if one of you decide to move on and talk about expectations

Finally, you have respect their own boundaries.

It not only requires you to talk about your own boundaries, your ex could have their as well. Take time to also talk about what they may not be cool with  and try as much as possible to respect their own boundaries


The importance of setting boundaries for a friendship with an ex

1. To work towards an ideal friendship

Certain moments could ignite the feelings you both once for one another and this could be a problem You or your ex might already be in a new relationship.

Even if you aren’t together, intimacy could stir up some feelings, it could make you feel like you’re getting back together and it could make you feel a little bit confused.

If these feelings aren’t shared between the both of you, it ruins the friendship you started with each other.

if there’s going to  be a problem with hooking up  then there should be boundaries if you or your ex are unable to handle

This could be helpful in ensuring that you could have an ideal friendship with your ex,


2. To get rid of the mixed signals and mind games

It’ll be unfair leading your ex on and making them feel like you want to get back together or making them feel like one moment you want them and the next moment, you do not.

Emotional boundaries should be set in a friendship with your ex. If it’s a friendship that you want, then it should strictly be a friendship,Stop playing those games entirely.

If some point you want to get back together, there is no problem communicating your intentions clearly,

However, if you confused, you should talk it out with someone you can rely on,


3. To have more reasonable expectations

Once the relationship is over, you’d have to reorient yourself that you are no longer together and understand not to expect asides from friendly gestures, the same treatment you got from them when you were together. Setting boundaries could help with this by making it known to an ex what to expect from the friendship and what they shouldn’t expect.


4. To support each other

As you remain friends with your ex, there is the possibility that your ex would move on and start seeing other people,this could feel like a problem if you are not yet in a relationship or that you are still in love with your ex. You shouldn’t try to get into a relationship only to make them feel jealous and No matter how you feel about their new relationship, it might not be in your place to interfere.You shouldn’t confront their new partners and try to stay on your own lane when it comes to their new relationship.



You could have problems being friends with an ex if you haven’t really gotten over the breakup, and respecting their boundaries might be a lot harder for you since you still have feelings for them as what they do could affect you in one manner or the other.

There are certain ways to help you move on from your ex after a breakup before you get into a new relationship or maybe simply forget about them,

They could help get rid of those feelings and then you would be ready to be friends with them without much problem

Contact with your ex especially immediately after breaking up could make it more difficult to move on, it opens the wounds which are trying to heal. Here’s where the concept of no contact might be helpful. You could spend some time away from your ex, not out of spite, but because you don’t want them to be on your mind

You could get busy, try out new activities or be focused on work, all these serve as a distraction and might help you move on faster, you simply are trying to ignore your emotions for the time being

Getting support If you feel like you need someone to talk to, you can reach out to someone who’ll be supportive; friends or a family member, and they could help you get through the breakup.

That the relationship didn’t work doesn’t mean that your ex wasn’t a good person, and so they might be deserving of another chance, although as a friend.