Sometimes when a romantic relationship ends, you don't want to end all contact with your ex. Although you may never again embrace in a loving hug and may never again feel deeply connected while there are many other aspects to your past romantic relationship that may be worth preserving.
Friendship with an ex after a long-term romantic relationship has ended is definitely worth pursuing if you can both handle it. But sometimes friendship isn't possible because one or both parties are deeply hurt and deep down still have romantic feelings for the other person.
Psychologytoday.com offers eight examples of the kind of dehumanisation, devaluing and disrespect that immediately should lead you to cut all contact with your ex (or limit contact to the extent that it is practically possible).
1. When asked whether you are still together, your ex proudly and triumphantly replies that you are not—without even a hint to hurt or sadness. Then he sends the female questioner a flirtatious smile that suggests that he is open to anything with her. He does this right in front of you without scruples.
2. Your ex prefers hours and hours on end to be in the company of people that even he has admitted are toxic individuals to helping you out when you really need it. When you kindly ask him to accompany you for 10 minutes, he gives you five if you are lucky. Later you find him spending all night in the company of people he used to think were wicked, pernicious and virulent.
3. Your ex has already dated about 15 or more people within the two months that have transpired since your breakup, and he is not shy about telling you in details about his many dates while locking his face into a twisted expression that clearly and loudly states just how little he respects you and your feelings.
4. Your ex has subtle or not so subtle double standards. He feels perfectly entitled to date and be sexually involved with anyone still breathing. Yet he feels betrayed if you even as much as briefly entertain the idea of finding a new boyfriend.
5. Your ex continually makes it clear to you how little you mean to him, either in words or action, and how little he cares about your feelings. For example, he might refer to you as ‘pathetic,’ ‘needy,’ or ‘a stalker’ in subtle ways despite your alleged friendship being his idea.
6. Your ex has blocked you or unfriended you on Facebook. Or he has changed his relationship status to ‘single’ without letting you know about it and coordinating with you like true adults. You find out about this change only because of the big red broken heart that is temporarily displayed on your timeline on Facebook and because your Facebook friends are frantically emailing or messaging you to inquire about it.
7. Although you and your ex are supposed to be friends, which may even have been his suggestion, he doesn't treat you like a friend. When you are out with his ‘true’ friends, you find him buying them cigarettes and drinks (or whatever their poison is) while ignoring your needs, purposely treating you differently from the way he treats his ‘true’ friends. He might even treat people he formerly considered vindictive, begrudging and morose in this positive and giving way, and yet ignore your needs entirely.
8. Although your ex suggested that you should be friends, he doesn't want to have any real conversations with you. He might even present it as if he just needs a quiet moment. But beware: when other people show up—people who might be complete strangers to him, he immediately engages in extended conversations with them, because it wasn't the conversation he didn't want to have. It was your company and contribution to his life that he despised.