When you break up with someone, you cannot be their friend.
As much as you wish to rescue something from the ashes of a relationship you have put so much of your life and energy into, it won’t happen, according to UK philosopher Alain De Botton.
In four days his video Can Exes be Friends? has already been watched more than a million times.
The video looks at exes through the eyes of an animated monster (the dumper) and balloon (the dumped).
He explains it from both points of view. How the dumper wants to appear ‘nice’ and not appear as a monster by being friendly with their ex. Constantly seeing your ex would be a continuous reminder of your guilt, then again they get to hang out with them and not have to ‘reject all sexual possibilities in their name’.
He also looks at it from the ‘rejected’ party. Which he sees as being constantly reminded of a ‘humiliating demotion’.
“Every sighting of the ex reignites hope. One isn’t acquiring a friend, more an unwitting torturer,” De Botton remarks in the video.
He also called trying to be friends with your ex a ‘catastrophe for both sides’.
The best and most poignant point De Botton makes is how friendship after a failed relationship is used as a way to memorialise the former relationship, when what should be done is to maintain a ‘far more honest state of civil distance.'
Can exes be friends?