i’ve been thinking a lot about this topic. i have some ex boyfriends that i’m friends with…and some that i don’t speak to at all.

i’ve always had a hard time with the concept of being so close to someone and then basically turning back into strangers. that just feels weird to me. just thinking about someone being out in this world knowing all of these intimate things about you but not being in . or not being able to laugh at those inside jokes. i know that sometimes it just works out that way, but i have a hard time grasping it. and no, this isn’t about anyone specific…i actually think this about multiple people. i also know that people come into our lives at different times for a reason, and they teach us things about ourselves, and give us a new path in life. but sometimes it just freaks me out how you can be SO CLOSE and then SO NOT. it’s true, there are days i do wish we were still friends.

do you deal with this? random thought, i know…


Add your own

    Lola says:

    You articulated this incredibly well. I’m dealing with it right now and it’s the weirdest feeling to be honest.
    In my case I still have some with my ex (we have a dog and sometimes he takes it for the weekend) but it’s all so… artificially polite, you know? We talk to each other the way we talk to people we just met, with that sort of polite detachment. I don’t regret the break up but it does freak me out, like you said.

    Dylan says:

    Amen. Also going through this. It’s a weird balance and it leaves me feeling super vulnerable. And at the end of a long day they are usually the ones you need to talk to. Life is interesting, but thanks for posting. It’s nice to know there are people out in the world handling a similar situation.

    Szandra says:

    Yes, I totally feel this. It is an interesting world we live in. I find it can be very difficult, when as human beings we crave attachment, but we are also, in contrast expected to act with loving detachment.

    Nice post. Thanks for sharing!

    P.S. This is my first time commenting on your blog 🙂

    Moonlight says:

    Totally feel this. Good to know others feel this way, too. Nothing to add on the subject…

    Pauline says:

    Very well said. I have had this feeling for exes of course, but more recently for a friend who’s no longer in my life.
    It’s been several years since we last spoke even though we shared so much together.
    I do wish we were still friends but the changes that went on I just couldn’t take. It still hurts to this day such a big disappointment, but you can’t force things to unroll the way you want.
    Part of it I think, is just giving yourself time to grieve, accept the way it turned out and eventually those feeling will just fade.

    bri says:

    totally understand the friend side too. i just try to think of all the good times, even though it’s hard.

    Allyson says:

    YES. It’s so hard for me. I genuinely deep-down miss some exes (most recent one the most of course). That said, I genuinely know that there’s no way I could shut my heart off to meet and fall for another guy with Him still in my life. A very, very weird part of romantic relationships. Think about it, how are normal friendships able to truly fade away while romantic ones SO cannot. People are weird.

    Josie says:

    I don’t have anything to add. Just that this really hit me in a way I wasn’t expecting.

    Genevieve says:

    Omg this is me. Right now. In this moment. I know you’re not speaking about anyone in particular, but I am. It’s so hard, and I am still in love with him. I cry.

    bridget says:

    I’m so sorry you’re going through this. That’s the hardest thing.

    Kristi says:

    Ugh. Yes! And not even ex boyfriends but also ex best friends. It is so weird that people come and go, and it’s hard when you have something that triggers a positive memory or inside joke but it feels like they are on another planet now and the past almost wasn’t real. Totally agree with all of this.

    lindsay t says:

    All the freaking time. And I wish I didn’t. Esp because some of those exes are bad news. Who needs to be friends with bad news? It’s a weird and unique ache. Thanks for your random thoughts thoughts – makes mine feel normal.

    Danielle says:

    OH yes. And not just with boyfriends. But when other close relationships end. It’s weird and uncomfortable and surreal when you think of what was.

    Kristin says:

    Ugh yes. I just broke up with my boyfriend of 2 years after a semi-dramatic event. We were incredibly close. He already wants to be friends and is always checking in to see how I’m doing. I’m in no way ready for that. But I wonder if friendship is possible down the road? Or if it’s it’s too hard to be friends after you’ve had all of those feelings. I really don’t know. I guess we’ll see in a year or two from now. Sigh – relationships are confusing sometimes. I hope you find peace with yours. Xx

    LJ says:

    In some ways, I feel like the ex boyfriends I’ve stayed friends with are the ones that I should never have really dated at all – just always stayed friends. We’ve managed to stay friends because the love relationship was always secondary to our liking each other – the ones I’ve felt passionate true love for – it’s been harder to keep up the friendship. Love you for talking about this – there’s no one way to navigate the end of a romantic relationship.

    bri says:

    i think you are def right about this one…

    Karen Agreda says:

    I also think it’s weird. I also think that sometimes people just don’t make good matches but it doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate them as a person.

    Sarah says:

    Oh this is so interesting. One of my best friends has a history of staying very close to exes and the other bestie has a strict cut off exes forever policy. I fall in the middle, I like to stay friendly with exes, as in, part on good terms, say hi how are you if I run into them. But as horribly painful as I felt it was to imagine not being in my first love’s life, to not share the little jokes and closeness we had enjoyed, to not be a part of his family gatherings, now years later, while we stayed friendly, when I run into him anymore I’m happy to say hey and move on immediately. Now I feel like it’s been forever since I’ve met someone who I’ve shared real intimacy with, and so it doesn’t really hurt as much to let go, which is kind of sad, if thankfully not as agonizing. Sometimes it does end up seeming like staying friends is avoiding moving on.

    Carly says:

    I think this exact thought ALL the time and talk about how weird this is with all my friends.

    Anonymous says:


    Susie says:

    I literally just told this to my fiance. I’m just glad we are able to have these kinds of conversations.

    Audra says:

    This post resonates so much with me right now. I broke up with my most recent ex 2 weeks ago, and even though I know it was the right decision, it’s been so difficult for me to cope with not having him in my life moving forward. He’s made it clear we can’t be friends. I have an ex from before who I still talk to occasionally, although we don’t hang out. Coincidentally, that was one reason for my break up…recent ex was extremely jealous that I still talked to previous ex. It’s so hard to cut people out of your life that you’ve had deep connections with. I guess sometimes it’s for the best, but I agree that it feels so strange. It’s helpful to know I’m not the only one who struggles with this.

    I totally relate with this. Not even with just ex boyfriends, but even old best friends. It sucks.

    Antonella says:

    Actually for me it’s quite the opposite. I have a record of not leaving a relationship quick enough if it doesn’t work. I always try to see the best in it and make it work, so when it ends I feel that the only way to really move on is to cut myself completely from any interaction with my ex. If I meet him in the street I greet him obvs., but I wouldn’t want anything more going on. I’m all for having a solitary mourning and then go on with my life.

    KiKi says:

    I feel this SO MUCH. My most recent ex and I were together for six years, lived together for two. He was the person that I thought was my forever and he knows more about me than any other person walking this planet, but there came a point when I had to acknowledge it just wasn’t working and he had no intentions of building a future together. I tried to be friends after the fact, and the city I live in is so small, so I would run into him constantly and we would stop and chat and hug, etc. Unfortunately, the friendship couldn’t last, because I ran into him and his new girlfriend shortly after we broke up, and I was so heartbroken that I couldn’t stay friends with him.

    I think that it’s been easier for me to stay friends with the exes that didn’t mean as much to me; I won’t ever be able to be friends with my recent ex, though, and I just had to decide to be a little selfish and not maintain that friendship for the sake of my own well-being. I’ve come to terms with being okay with that, but I definitely feel the absence from time to time, especially when I see something that reminds me of him, like a funny meme or photos on the NASA Instagram (he’s really into space) and knowing that we can’t speak.

    I think sometimes we have a fear of people forgetting us, because all we really have in life is our legacy, our experiences, and the relationships we cultivate; there’s a sort of fragility that exists in terminating intimate relationships, and there’s always a lingering fear that if we become strangers again, then perhaps we are forgotten and maybe those experiences didn’t mean anything. It does sometimes help to reflect on the good times, and I do sometimes questions why we *really* can’t be friends, but I have to remind myself that he also made an active choice not to be in my life, too, and we’re not bad people for it–we’re just humans trying to cope with failing at something we put so much work into. All of this really makes me rethink social constructs and the ebb-and-flow of all interpersonal relationships, as well as re-examine the choices I’ve made in life in a positive light, despite the uncertainty that comes with them sometimes. Regardless of us becoming strangers, I don’t have any regrets, but I have to admit it’s all really weird if you think about it.

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