When is it OK to be friends with an ex?

Diaz and Timberlake: An exception to the rule

Justin Timberlake and Cameron Diaz have been famously complimentary toward each other in the press despite having dated and broken up. Rumors have even circulated that the two have spent some time together recently. While Timberlake remains devoted to his fiancee Jessica Biel, the two seem to have remained friends. Often when people end a relationship they say, “Let’s be friends.” It makes sense. You’ve been the most important people in each other’s lives for a long time, maybe even years. It’s hard to make that clean break — it can feel like a gaping hole in your life. So you decide to continue to be a part of each other’s life. But staying connected isn’t always easy or the best choice. So when, if ever, is it OK to be friends with your ex?

Couples rarely break up on equal footing. Instead, one person might be eager to get away while the other wishes to continue to be together. That’s where it gets tricky. If you are on the side of hoping for more with that person, you run the risk of putting yourself in a position where you remain attached, and don’t allow yourself the possibility of meeting someone new who might be better able to fulfill your needs. If staying connected was a problem while you were dating, imagine how hard it will be to get their attention now. You may just be setting yourself up for frustration and disappointment which, ultimately, might make you feel more empty and sad. If you remain focused on your ex, it could hold you back from finding your future.

The rule of thumb, generally, is this: It probably isn’t such a good idea to try to be friends unless neither one of you holds any hope to be with the other romantically. And calling after years of not talking? Maybe there are still good feelings remaining, and enough time has gone by that they can really be friends.

— Relationship expert Dr. Jane Greer is creator of “Shrink Wrap” – national commentary on what we can learn from celebrity relationships – and host of “Let’s Talk Sex” at Healthylife.net. Her book, “What About Me? Stop Selfishness From Ruining Your Relationship,” is available nationwide.

Metro does not endorse the opinions of the author, or any opinions expressed on its pages.


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