It's an age old question with so many different answers, backed up with so many justifications. Carrie Bradshaw asked it, many problem pages have tried to reason with the logic behind it, but can you truly ever be friends with an ex?

First of all, it depends on the length of your previous relationship together and the reasons behind the split. If either party cheated, then attempting to be chummy in the aftermath while the other resents you more than Jen did Angelina isn't the smartest idea. Kiss goodbye to to the idea as a recipe for complete disaster.

If it was an amicable break-up, this has the potential to build the strong foundations for friendship- but only if one doesn't still harbour deep-lying feelings for the other. If they do? Well that's just awkward and will leave the subject in question pining and thinking that those normal friendly texts mean a whole lot more than they actually do. If he's liking your picture on Facebook it doesn't mean he wants to rip your clothes off. The unspoken boundaries are already in place, if you cross them only one of you will end up hurt and the friendship will be down the pan.

Personally, I've only stayed friends with people who I've had sex with but never entered into a relationship. It may sound throwaway, but it can actually be a winning formula for a friendship success rate. Contradictory in its premise yes, but a few of my lad mates were once upon a time one night stands and fuck buddies. People who I've liked too much to over-complicate matters by getting into a relationship, but people I can have a laugh with because of a daft drunken liaison or a moment of no-strings lust. Some people may still class men who fall into this category as ex's, but I don't.

Here's why. To me the difference is clear. I can't, and don't want to be, friends with any of my ex boyfriends. I have no desire or wish to be. We've done our talking, laughing, crying, cuddling, love-making and drinking together. We've enjoyed our share of fun and frolics. We've had our time in the sun. Some of them even ended up annoying me senseless. But the night is darkest before the dawn and relationships like that, along with the person you shared them with, belong in the dark, in a closed chapter of your life. Vincent's Dad is, of course, the amicable exception.

One of my ex's cheated on me (only the one to my knowledge) and always tried to maintain communication with me, always on his terms and always when he was at a low ebb. He only wanted friendship, but when somebody has manipulated your feelings so much, he doesn't deserve a reply, let alone an olive branch. Too much time has been wasted already. Cut your losses and move on, definitely don't give them the satisfaction. Delete the text- and his number.

The 'time is a healer' cliche is true, but distance and distraction works like a charm when you're struggling to eat and have used more tissues drying your tears than a 15 year-old boy with Pornhub in his favourites tabs. When what once was a romance to rival Romeo and Juliet turns sour, a monumentally epic earth-shifting love that shakes you to your core and changes your life, sometimes it's just too painful to try and salvage anything from the wreckage.

I've had amicable break-ups too, but once the dust is settled, is there any need for a friendship? Both parties benefit from a clean break, to clear mind and contemplate new beginnings. Some relationships are just moments in time, a few months of dalliance and discovery, with somebody who you know deep down you'll never settle down with but enjoy living in the moment with. Fond memories may remain, but a friendship isn't wholly necessary and often appropriate. I thought I'd met the love the love of my life when I was 15, it really is just a phase you go through when you're young and experiencing puppy love. It takes teen angst, tears and a good 10 years to realise that hindsight is a beautiful thing.

I do have one ex who I remember fondly and wonder how he is doing, but it's not feelings of love. It's more feelings of caring and hoping that he's in a good place now. He had the potential to be the exception to the rule, but he alienated himself and cut himself off from contact. I think it would be wrong to potentially establish the line of contact again: not because I've moved on, but because we were together for quite a few years and our relationship was based on a healthy friendship. I don't think it would be fair to both my partner and myself to try to resurrect contact, no matter how intrigued I may be to him and his family's good health. Think about how I'd feel if my partner did that with an ex - I'd be pretty devastated. No thanks. 

There are so many mind-boggling scenarios that accompany friendships and relationships, but there shouldn't be any rules. I refrain from judging: hell if I would've lived in the right decade I definitely would've been a hippy! Free love for all I say. The ones who are stuck in their ways with their narrow-minded views are the ones who are only envious of the free-spirited, limiting their own happiness. Nobody has a manual when it comes to the rules of attraction, it's fair game- until you get asked the dreaded question when it all goes tits up.

Can we still be friends?


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