How to Be Friends With Your Ex After Divorce

posted: 04/18/17
by: Katie Morton
Ex partners
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Ending a marriage is painful. Even if you part with your ex on relatively good terms, the end of your marriage means the end of your shared romantic future together. Trying to reconcile those hurt feelings isn't easy, especially when you've spent years with someone you had planned to grow old with.

The upside of ending a marriage is that some ex-couples find they're able to form strong, new relationships with their former spouses once their divorce is over. Just because the marriage didn't work out, doesn't mean all the good feelings need to go away. Learning to forge a friendship with your ex can be a healing process for both of you.

1. Know That Your Kids Are Watching

The saying goes that when a divorced couple has kids it really does mean, "until death do you part." Because of your children, you're going to be bonded for life--for better or for worse. You will both actively be involved in your children's lives, which means working together on schedules, needs, and challenges.

Remind yourself that your children are the product of you and your ex-spouse. You want your children to feel like they're still part of a family and that they still have two parents who love them deeply. It can be challenging to rise above the hurt of divorce, but know that it will mean the world to them.

2. Give Yourself Time to Create a New Relationship

There's a reason people say marriage is hard work...because it is! Living with someone can bring challenges resulting from shared space and daily annoyances. Combine that with romantic expectations, and it's natural for arguments to arise.

When you're divorced, you've ended the day-to-day annoyances, as well as the romantic entanglements, allowing you and your ex to create a new relationship and build a friendship. Some say that after their split, they found that they were able to grow a solid friendship with their ex. The pressures of a relationship were gone, yet the positive traits, which originally brought them together, were still there.

3. Don't Try to Force a Friendship Right Off the Bat

If you're still in the early stages of divorce, then the bruised feelings may be too fresh to try to pursue a friendship. In the early stages of a split, you should focus on taking care of yourself. Getting through the day, processing your feelings, and reaching out to others who can lend an ear will all help. Your goal right now should be building your new life.

You don't have to make irrevocable final decisions on the future of a friendship with your ex-spouse right now. Leave the door open to future friendship, once you're ready to move past the pain of the split. That's a reasonable approach to protecting your feelings, without closing the door on someone who's been a huge part of your life.

4. Some Relationships Should End

When you're divorcing, know that friendship can be a possibility if you both acted with decency and respect for the other person. But, some relationships are simply too toxic to evolve into something better.

If you're ending the marriage because of abuse, emotional anguish, lying, or cheating, then you likely don't have much to hold on to. There's no point in making yourself miserable attempting to try to make something positive out of something negative. Work on finding your own happiness, strength, and inner resolve to get through this challenging time. Once you've been able to process the split, you'll be well on your way to your own independence.


Each ex-couple is different and there's no one-size-fits-all approach to handling relationships. You'll ultimately have to decide whether having your ex as a friend enriches your life in some way. If so, then pursuing a platonic friendship after divorce can be worthwhile.