Recovering The SelfA Journal of Hope and Healing


Can You Be 'Just Friends' After Dating?

Guest Blogger: Mathew Sullivan

Remember Jerry and Elaine from the Seinfeld Show? When their romantic relationship fizzled, their friendship blossomed. Is that premise just the stuff of comedy, or can a “let’s just be good friends” scenario actually work in real life? The subsequent text shares some insights and issues related to this intriguing question.

Demi and Bruce: Kids in the Mix

In the recent past, Demi Moore and Bruce Willis have appeared to be the poster couple for post-relationship friendships. Socializing together along with their new love interests, this pair has been photographed and well-documented in the press. While nobody really knows for sure how this couple feels about their past relationship or the true level of friendship they share, these two do share children, which can be a great reason to work on maintaining a friendship. Not only can it enhance the kids’ well-being, but it can be quite worthwhile to maintain a genuine friendship with your ex. It honors your past commitment and love instead of burning up its memories at the stake of anger and regret.

A Mutual Parting of the Ways

It often happens that both partners want to end a relationship simply because they aren’t in love anymore or aren’t attracted anymore. Sometimes couples begin to go their own way and they like the new path they’re on all by themselves. In these cases, a genuine friendship can ensue. If a couple can transform their romantic relationship into a friendship without deception, betrayal, disrespect, or cruelty, they have a great chance of building something solid and positive for both. This seems to be the Jerry and Elaine method of friending, but it can work in the real world under many circumstances. A former lover often knows and understands you; some ex’s are ideal fits for the confidant role and there’s no reason your friendship can’t be genuine and lasting under such conditions.

Bad to the Bone

Cheaters, liars, and all-around jerks make wretched companions—so why would you expect them to do any better as friends? Sometimes it’s truly best to end it and bury it deep in the backyard of your mind—metaphorically, of course. It often happens that you can’t go forward with a relationship and you can’t take this person with you as a friend.  Remember, a friend enhances your life. If a person makes you sad, hurts you, or hinders you from more positive pursuits, it’s best to step away and make a clean sweep for the sake of the road ahead.

I Want You to Want Me

That’s not just a song from the eighties—it’s a common sentiment most people have in their lives. If either person in a failed relationship is still singing (or feeling) this tune, a friendship probably won’t work—certainly not right after the breakup. Just as one-sided love affairs don’t work, one-sided friendships don’t either. One person is pining away while pretending to be alright with the friendship situation while the other person senses the truth and feels obliged, uncomfortable, or even annoyed. Unless both parties are comfortable and happy to be friends, the friendship most likely will prove a disappointment.

So, like anything, friendship after romance is really an individual matter. It can work in certain circumstances, but it can also fail miserably. Sometimes it’s really best to cut ties and move on, but each individual has to search their soul in order to find the right path.  Of course, former lovers can make excellent friends and if you are lucky enough to remake your ex into a friend successfully, you will be the richer for it.

About the Author

Mathew Sullivan is a freelance writer and has worked extensively as a relationship counselor. His articles appear in various relationship blogs. He is regular writer at the

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One thought on “Can You Be 'Just Friends' After Dating?”

  1. dating says:

    i think he would be an awesome dad

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