Breakups affect people in all sorts of ways and happen for different reasons (and seasons!): Some have a hard time and experience a decline in mental health, while others feel empowered and free. Others still might wonder why they wanted to move on in the first place. Lesli Doares, a couples consultant and author of Blueprint for a Lasting Marriage: How to Create Your Happily Ever After With More Intention, Less Work, says that your ability to keep an ex in your life depends on the reason for your breakup.

“It’s okay to date an ex again if what caused the split is no longer an issue,” Lesli says. “This requires a clear understanding (and agreement) about why the relationship ended and how that situation has resolved itself.”

young unhappy couple

The circumstances of your split can vary widely. In some cases, a breakup can be mutual — and when this happens, Lesli says there’s hope for a friendship in the future. If you both know that you aren’t good for each other romantically and there aren’t any hard feelings left over from your relationship, it might be safe to keep your ex in your life if you feel like their friendship will benefit you.

This line between romance and friendship is blurry. While an amicable breakup can lead to a healthy friendship, it’s tempting to keep an ex in your life as a way to get them back if you still have feelings for them. “This is rarely successful and just leads to more hurt and a longer recovery,” Lesli says.

Lesli also cautions against reaching out to an ex when you feel alone or vulnerable. Although having that person back in your life might give you temporary relief, it’s highly unlikely that that person will be back for good.

Have you kept an ex in your life? Tweet us your tips @BritandCo!

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