Sometimes divorced partners can be friends – depending on the circumstances. Here are some guidelines for friendships with ex-wives and ex-husbands.
Children may be the reason ex-wives and ex-husbands stay in touch with ex-husbands or ex-wives, but can divorced partners actually be friends? Yes, in certain circumstances — but sometimes staying friends after divorce is harmful for everyone.
Here’s how to survive a separation and divorce (without repeated calls to your divorce lawyer or mediator!).
Take Kim, for instance. This ex-wife spends alot of time with Brian, her ex-husband. In fact, they often discuss her relationship with her current live-in boyfriend. Nothing is off limits – not even discussions about physical intimacy – though her ex-husband draws the line at spending the night at their house.
Kim is having trouble letting go of her ex-husband – and is flirting with an emotional affair. In this case, it may not be healthy for divorced partners to be friends.
Can Divorced Partners Be Friends?
Is spending time with the ex-husband harmful or helpful to Kim and her children? Even a divorce lawyer can’t say for sure because depends on several factors: trust, personality, comfort level, motivation, and so on. Each situation is different.
Here are a few guidelines to help sort out whether divorced partners can be friends with ex-wives or ex-husbands (here, “spending time” means one-on-one visits for lunch, dinner, movies, walks, telephone conversations, etc.)
It’s Harmful for Divorced Partners to be Friends When They:
- Aren’t “over” the ex and still struggle with intimate feelings.
- Want to re-establish an intimate relationship with the ex-wife or ex-husband.
- Are with a current partner who isn’t comfortable with it.
- Have sex with the ex-husband or ex-wife.
- Are more honest and authentic with the ex than your divorced partner (this is emotional intimacy).
- Often turn to the ex-husband or ex-wife for advice and help.
- Are abused by the ex-wife or ex-husband.
- Fight with the divorced partner.
- Have unresolved feelings, emotions, and conflicts about the divorced husband or wife.
10. Haven’t established new friendships since separating from the divorced partner.
If you’re wondering if you can be friends with your ex-husband or ex-wife, ask what your motivation for spending time with your divorced partner is. If you have healthy reasons, then spending time with your divorced partner may not be harmful.
It’s Helpful for Ex-Wives and Ex-Husbands to be Friends When They:
- Can be with the ex-husband or ex-wife and the current partner at the same time.
- Have children with the divorced partner and share the responsibilities of raising them.
- Had a strong friendship with the divorced partner when together, which is naturally continuing.
- Have a platonic, nonsexual relationship with the ex-husband or ex-wife.
- Are supported by the current partner.
- Have appropriate boundaries that the divorced partner is comfortable with.
Divorced Partners Can Be Friends if Trust Exists
Spending time with your ex-husband or ex-wife could raise issues of trust and jealousy in the current relationship. It may be a constant reminder to your partner that you did love this person, even if it was long ago, and you shared intimate moments with them. If your partner isn’t comfortable with this, then maybe it’s time to let go of your ex-husband or ex-wife. After all, who’s more important: your ex-spouse or your current partner?
If you can set healthy boundaries in love, then it’s easier to be friends with an ex-partner.
Divorced Partners Can Be Friends if Your Current Partner is Included
The ideal way to spend time with your ex-wife or ex-husband is by involving your current partner. Once your partner sees the innocence in your friendship, her or she may be more supportive. Divorced partners can be friends when the relationship is open and healthy.
Of course, if your ex-partner abuses you or your children, it’s never a good idea to spend time together! Also, make sure it’s not a fear of intimacy with your current partner that’s driving you to your divorced partner. Maybe you think divorced partners can be friends because you’re afraid — not because you sincerely want to be friend with your ex-spouse.
If you don’t think divorced partners can be friends, read How to Deal With Your Husband’s Toxic Ex-Wife.