Relationships

Love Is Blind: Should Jarrette Being Friends With His Ex Be A Dealbreaker?

By Rachael Killackey··  6 min read
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Of all the juicy material this season of “Love is Blind” has brought to the table, Iyanna and Jarette’s conversation about friendship with exes was one of the most interesting.

While many understand Jarette’s maintaining friendships with some of his exes, Iyanna’s hesitation is also incredibly understandable. Friendships with exes can be delicate and should be thought through. 

Jarette didn’t see any issue with keeping up with some of his exes and keeping gifts from them while being engaged to Iyanna, while she had understandable trust issues and didn’t feel respected by his choice. Exploring what motivates friendship with exes, and whether or not someone’s situation fits into a mold that allows a current relationship to thrive, is crucial when discussing boundaries with exes. 

Is There Ever a Reason To Be Friends with an Ex?

In short, yes – but too many people take this and run with it. While we should always strive to be kind and courteous in our interactions whenever possible, including with exes, that doesn’t mean a friendship is warranted. However, there are a couple of reasons why a friendship with an ex might be non-threatening or warranted.

Frist, if you have social connections beyond your relationship – or perhaps, your relationship even came out of a previous friendship – it can be reasonable to resume a friendship after breaking up, with clear expectations and boundaries.

Or maybe you didn't date very long, or seriously. While some relationships evolve very fast (in which case this situation wouldn’t be where it’s healthy to try and establish a friendship), briefly dating someone and peacefully ending the relationship can result in a friendship because of the lack of significant emotional, physical, and mental investment. One of the hardest things to manage while trying to be friends with an ex is those established bonds – but if they were never established in the first place, it might be easy to work towards a friendship after breaking up, with appropriate boundaries.

What Should Boundaries with an Ex Look Like?

Even if a friendship with an ex is justified, there are several boundaries that should be in place in order for the friendship to remain healthy and your new relationship to thrive. 

Do You Still Have Feelings For Them?

If feelings for an ex remain, it’s not wise to pursue friendship with them. This can result in emotional entanglement being dragged out and the relationship being revisited when it’s not necessary. If the feelings for an ex are still strong, it’s best to take some space and invest in other friendships and wait for the feelings to be resolved before continuing.

Don't Keep Their Gifts or Memories of the Two of You

Anything sentimental – including gifts – shouldn’t be held on to. If you still have items like gifts, letters, or clothing, that’s typically a sign that you haven’t totally let go. If you or a current partner are holding on to old items from an ex, you need to discuss whether or not you’re actually ready to let go of old emotional ties and commit to someone new. 

Holding on to items like gifts, letters, or clothing is typically a sign that you haven’t totally let go.

An Ex Shouldn’t Be Your Best Friend

If communication is constant with an ex, or you’d consider them your “best friend,” that’s another red flag that perhaps you’re too close for comfort. Particularly if you’re trying to pursue a serious relationship with someone else, maintaining a strong emotional connection with an ex can be incredibly hurtful and misleading to your partner. 

When You’re in a Relationship, Communication With Them Is a Pretty Big No-No

Iyanna’s concern about being engaged and Jarette still regularly communicating with exes is incredibly valid. If you or your ex are dating someone new, there should be very little individual communication. There’s a difference between having a reason to reach out – such as offering condolences for a loss or well-wishes for their future – and just “checking in” or “catching up.” The latter two need to be tabled so your current relationship isn’t threatened. 

If You’re on Friendly Terms with an Ex, Your Current Partner Needs To Be Part of That

If an ex is interested in maintaining a friendship with you but is unwelcoming or even cold towards your current partner, that’s a good sign that any friendship needs to be immediately cut off. If someone is genuinely your friend with no strings attached, they want you to be happy and will support your relationship. 

In college, one of my favorite professors shared the story of how an ex introduced her to her husband – and he became good friends with them both, even to the point of being in their wedding party! Authentic support from an ex means respecting boundaries and maintaining them on their end, while also expressing genuine happiness at seeing you happy and never trying to get between you and your partner. 

Authentic support from an ex means respecting boundaries and never trying to get between you and your partner. 

If Your Partner Is Uncomfortable, You Need To Make an Immediate Change

If your partner expresses valid discomfort with any level of your interaction with your ex, you need to communicate and make changes accordingly. Especially if your ex has a history of trust being broken, like Iyanna illustrated, their concern needs to be heard and understood. 

Your partner has a perspective on your interactions with your ex that you don’t have – if they feel like it’s negatively impacting their trust in you and the relationship, that needs to be respected. Especially as the relationship progresses to more and more serious stages – such as engagement or marriage – boundaries need to be even more non-negotiable.

Closing Thoughts

While Jarette and Iyanna ended up saying “I do,” their conversation about boundaries with exes opened an important conversation that many people need to have. If you or your partner interacts with exes, it’s necessary to have open dialogue about whether or not those interactions and friendships are healthy. The most important thing is the person in front of you, and building the strongest foundation possible with them.

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