I’m Married, But I Want To Stay Friends With My Ex. What Should I Do?

Most married couples dated other people before they met one another. Sometimes, exes remain friends, and other times, they lose touch, only to reconnect down the road. Regardless of the scenario, if you’re married, should you keep or rekindle a friendship with an ex?

If you’re unsure whether this friendship is the right move for your marriage, then you’re probably feeling ambivalent about the possibility. There are some important factors to consider before jumping right in. Let’s talk through some questions you can ask yourself to make the best decision for you and your spouse.

Are Old Feelings Being Stirred Up?

Let’s say you reconnected with an ex somehow. Maybe you ran into them in town or got a friend request or message on social media. How did you feel when you saw or heard from them?

It’s important to pay close attention to your feelings in this situation. After all, if you didn’t feel some sense of old attachment or past feelings getting stirred up, you might not be considering a friendship. Carefully sort through what you’re experiencing, and be honest with yourself. For example, are you feeling confused or nostalgic?

Will You Feel Comfortable Telling Your Spouse About the Friendship?

Next, you need to ask yourself whether you’d feel comfortable telling your spouse about this newfound friendship. How will your husband or wife feel about your reconnection with an ex? How might it potentially affect your marriage? Is it possible to make your marriage and the commitment you’ve made to your spouse part of that reconnection, or do you feel the need to keep marriage separate from a relationship with your ex?

If you don’t think your spouse would feel comfortable with this friendship, it’s not healthy for your marriage. No matter how much you might want to be friends with this ex again, you’ll need to think through the possible, very real consequences of bringing them into your life. Take some time to consider the repercussions. Will they be worth it?

Why Is This Friendship Important to You?

There’s nothing wrong with fondly remembering the time you spent with someone in the past, whether that’s a friend or an ex. But it’s crucial to ask yourself why bringing this particular relationship back into your life is important to you. If it stirs up old feelings that are best left alone, and if it’s not something you can share with your spouse, what good does it do?

As you start answering this question, you might find that there are unmet expectations or needs you need to address in your marriage. Consider seeking a licensed counselor or trusted pastor to help you unpack your emotions. If you feel extra help is needed for your relationship–and if your spouse is willing–couples counseling could help, too.

It’s Time to Refocus on Your Marriage

By now, you might have realized that your marriage should be your top priority, beyond any other friendship or relationship. You and your spouse exchanged vows to love, cherish, and be faithful to one another. That means putting any relationships that could pose a threat to your marriage in check.

Ready to deepen your bond and refocus on your relationship with your spouse? Our book, Strengthen Your Marriage, can help you start taking steps in the right direction. Learn more and order your copy here.

Has an ex ever tried to reconnect with you after years without contact? What did you and your spouse do to prioritize and protect your marriage? Share your stories in the comments.


  • Nadia Martin says:

    I have been friendly with all of my husband’s exes which are the mothers of his 3 children. I am friends with the 3rd one. I don’t mind my husband speaking to her but he does have some sort of attachment to her. It does bother me sometimes. and other times it doesn’t. I guess its something to work thru.

  • Annie says:

    I think this response is as varied as the the day is long. It depends on the three individuals, their goals, motivations, trust levels, honesty in feelings and in communication, past level of intimacy,
    I think one can mislead one’s self in looking at a past relationship and how they feel about it. Is it nostalgia or warm fuzzies? It all should boil down to the top priority going to the current marriage and how the spouse feels and honesty, honesty, honesty along with cherishing your spouse and their emotions regardless of self. It might not make sense to you but honor your spouse and your relationship .

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