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Ditch the 'Let's Be Friends' ThingStaying friends with your ex after you’ve decided to file for divorce is usually a bad idea. While it sounds good on paper, far too much can go wrong, causing more harm than good in the long run. Considering that in 80 percent of marriages the decision to file is only wanted by one party, attempting to maintain a true “friendship” usually instills false hope. Here are four reasons why you should knock off the “let’s be friends” mentality.

Living In The Past

The bigger role that your ex plays in your life — as a “true” friend would — the harder it will be for you to truly move on from the past. New significant others will always feel uncomfortable with your closeness, even if they swear up-and-down to the contrary. Filing divorce papers signifies a break from the past, and if you’re still trying to reconcile that part of your life with the present and future, then you will probably fail.

Confusing Your Ex

Going back to the statistic showing that in 80 percent of divorce cases, only one spouse usually wants to end the marriage, it’s easy to see how “let’s be friends” can confuse a mentally anguished ex and offer them hope where none really exists. Eventually, the truth will out, and at that point, opportunity for conflict increases.

Confusing Your Children

If children are involved — especially young children — staying friends after you’ve filed the divorce forms will only serve to further confuse them and, as with your ex, instill false hope that “maybe there’s a chance” you will change your mind. It’s best to make the new relationship between you and your ex clear, and staying friends clouds that possibility.

You Probably Don’t Mean It

A friend is someone you confide in and lean on in times of support. You cannot have a true friendship without that level of closeness. You can have pleasant acquaintanceships, and those are completely doable and even preferable for divorcees who must still coexist for the sake of co-parenting, but they are not friendships. Chances are, what you really want, is a functional relationship with your ex that nurtures and strengthens the child. You can have that without masquerading it as friendship.

What do you think about trying to maintain a true friendship with your ex — bad idea, or are there circumstances where it’s possible?

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