According to recent Canadian research, staying friends with an ex could not only prevent you from developing new relationships but it could “damage the foundation” of any new bonds you may form.
Psychologist and relationships expert Anna Hudson says mulling over your past relationships is a sure-fire way to put off potential love interests, while staying friends with your ex could "rot your new relationship from the core”.
Hudson says it’s important to analyse why you wish to keep your ex in the picture. “If the relationship ended on a positive note, you may be inclined to think that given a second chance it could work, which often leads you to romanticising your previous relationship which will, ultimately, affect any new relationships negatively.”
She adds that very few men will be comfortable with their girlfriends being buddy-buddy with their exes, as it’s just a reminder of the intimacy you shared with that person. The survey further indicates that thoughts of an ex often decrease the quality of new relationships, and problems in the relationship lead you to think of your ex more positively.
Hudson recommends contemplating the following factors when attempting to stay friends with an ex:
- After being intimate can you ever go back to just being friends? Certain situations, songs or movies may trigger emotions or bring up memories of things that you shared with your ex. Furthermore, you won’t be able to confide in an ex the way you do with a friend. Would you be able to share details of your current relationship with your ex?
- Your partner is very likely to feel uncomfortable with you being in close contact with your ex, as chances are that either of you will still have feelings for the other. Jealousy is bound to be a problem so communication is key.
- Let go of previous issues. Punishing your new partner for the mistakes of your previous boyfriends is a big mistake and will drive your new love interest away. It’s advisable to deal with the issues from your relationship and break up before jumping into something new. Also, while speaking about your previous relationships helps open up the lines of communication, obsessing about your ex will drive your new partner away.
Sometimes it’s important to remind yourself why your ex is, after all, your ex. If they treated you badly when you were together, they are likely to make poor friends too. “Sometimes, it is better to let go of the past, to truly move forward,” says Hudson.