Auntie Says, Faye Arcand, Faye E. Arcand

Why Are You Still “Friends” With an Ex?

In the olden days, before smart phones and social media, when a couple broke up—whether dating or married—there’d be resignation or perhaps some tears and name calling. Heck, sometimes big drama would take over as family and friends were informed via telephone, a letter, or in person.

The one thing there wasn’t—was ‘following’—unless done under the name of late night stalking. 

Now we see people announce their breakup on social media and then continue to follow each other’s lives as though they’d never broken up. It’s all too simple. Too pat. And yup, you guessed it, I don’t agree with it.

You know it’s one thing to keep your love letters in a dusty box in the attic but it’s another thing to “like” your ex’s new hairdo or to “comment” on their status. It seems creepy and undone.

If you break up it means that’s it…done…finito…ciao baby…get lost…or good luck. It doesn’t mean you keep them in your life through media– “just because”.

I see several people following their ex’s on Instagram or Facebook and I wonder why. 

Photo by Jack Sparrow on

Why is this acceptable? 

Why is it happening? 

If you’re broken up shouldn’t you unfriend/unfollow/delete?


Am I making a mountain out of a wee molehill? Am I missing the whole point? Are people more mature about breakups than they were before social media?

Idk—but somehow I doubt it. The human spirit is one thing that often stays pretty solid through the changing of societal norms and growth. Feelings are still feelings and I don’t know about you but seeing a guy you dated now with the hottest babe in the city doesn’t exactly thrill me. Why?

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I guess you’ve probably figured out that I think—unless there’s a shared child—maintaining “friendship” status on social media is unacceptable. There’s absolutely no reason an ex should have a window into your private life and continue to share in all that’s going on.  

That is not a break up. Perhaps people stay ‘friends’ just in case? or to keep future options open?

Nope. Not acceptable. Sorry.

If I put myself in the place of someone who’s just started dating someone—the new girl on the scene, so to speak, only to find out that my new guy is still texting his ex or scrolling through her pictures on Instagram—oh, there’d be drama all right—I’d be downright pissed. 

Am I way off base here? Am I the only one?

I don’t think I’m a hugely jealous person, but I could see this being an issue for some…if not overtly, then psychologically. 

If a new partner comes on the scene will we label them as a possessive killjoy if they request no ex’s on social media? Is that an unreasonable request?

Photo by Oleg Magni on

Is this full transparency in the relationship or does it matter? Perhaps I missed the social media etiquette on this one and need to learn tolerance but sorry I’m not sure I can budge on this one.

I think it does matter and I believe a new relationship should start off with as little baggage as possible and that means no ex’s hanging around the house via social media.  

I’d love to know what you think. 

4 thoughts on “Why Are You Still “Friends” With an Ex?”

  1. Hmmm. I’m not only “friends” with my ex, I’m friends with his ex after me!!! It’s too long a story to explain, but through no one’s fault but his own my ex has fallen on very hard times.His last ex does NOT want to be contact with him, but their circumstances were completely different. I bought him a cheap phone and pay the monthy bill, got him a a computer, and send him a food delivery once a month from a food service. Why? No easy answer. We were married for almost 14 years. He was loving stepfather to my son, he is not a bad person, per se, just a terribly irresponsible one. And, me helping him keeps him on the other side of the country. It works. I’d rather ex’s stayed friends than became enemies. Unless there was abuse, betrayal…something unforgivable, there’s no reason to cut someone off just because things ended. Oh… my husband has no issues with this.

    1. Lynn! Thanks so much for the comments. I love that you were able to keep your exes as friends. I’m thinking that you have a very special heart in the care and compassion that you’re demonstrating toward your ex. When I wrote this article I had a much more narrow view on it and people like you have definitely widened it. There is about a 50/50 split opinion on keeping the ex as a friend but it all depends on how you define “friend” and whether or not it is done with respect for others including the new partner. Thanks so much for commenting. It makes me a better thinker and I love to learn others stories.

  2. I’ve known many people who grew back into friendships after a breakup. And, many of them become good friends with the exes significant others. But, those breakups were rarely bad breakups – you know the kind of breakup that is more about just growing apart or not having compatible goals. I have a hard time understanding how someone remains friends after a really bad breakup, such as from infidelity or abusive relationships. “Doing it for the kids” doesn’t seem to me to be the best lesson we can teach our children either. I mean, it’s just not okay to normalize betrayal and/or abuse.

    1. I couldn’t have said it better myself. For some –like you say–grow apart…totally different from bad feelings or less than respectful behaviour. Some feel they have to stay friends because “that’s what you do” and yet are uncomfortable with the idea. It’s a bit twisted and each situation is definitely unique.

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