Is It Healthy To Hang Out With Your Ex?

The Soul-filled Cafe Presents:
Colette Kenney ~ Relationship Expert & Host of Love Talk

Break My HeartCreative Commons License photo credit: joshwept

Dear Colette,

Within the last month, my live-in boyfriend of 2 1/2 years moved out and I have to say that it is the best thing that could have happened to me. My life has taken an impressive turn for the better and I am on my way again to being the person I use to be; I would even venture to say a new and improved model of my former self. In recent years, I have learned that everything truly does happen for a reason and that everything has a valuable lesson to teach you. I have realized my lessons from this past relationship and have learned a great deal about myself and what I need to work on to have a successful relationship in the future.

I am torn about remaining friends with him. He thinks we should hang out and do stuff together and that we should hang out with our kids as well. I think that hanging out with him may complicate my life and confuse the kids. While we are both single it may work, but once either one of us enters into another relationship, I can’t see the friendship continuing on. As well, we are not together anymore because of differences we could not overcome and/or accept. Does remaining friends benefit anyone? Is it healthy to hang out with your former boyfriend in a friendly capacity?

Thanks again for your amazing gift of great relationship advice!



Sonya, first of all, I want to say congratulations to you for all the immense strides and accomplishments you have made with your Self and your life. You sound like you’ve really got a GREAT outlook on things!

I particularly want to acknowledge you for seeing that “everything truly does happen for a reason and that everything has a valuable lesson to teach you.” You’re one smart cookie Sonya!

Now, let’s get to answering your question:

Is It Healthy To Hang Out With Your Ex?

The thing about your question is… It’s one of those “Should” types of questions. Whether or not you “should” hang out with your ex, is really a matter that only you can decide for yourself. But, there are certainly things for you to consider in making that decision . . .

To help you out, I am asking some of my “Love Talk” experts.

Love Talk Interview with The Passion Consultant, Barry Selby:

Love Talk Interview with Farhana Dhalla:

Love Talk Interview with Mali Apple & Joe Dunn:

Love Talk Interview with Liesel Rigsby:

Love Talk Interview with Stephen Garrett:

*   *   *

Colette Kenney

Dating and relationship counselor Colette Kenney is fiercely committed to helping conscious singles kick to the curb their old bad habits in love, clearing the way for powerful, enlightened, gorgeous soulmate relationships.

In addition to her much-loved private practice, Colette has founded, a growing-like-wildfire online community including such acclaimed love experts as Gay & Kathlyn Hendricks, Arielle Ford and Satyen Raja. Colette is also the creator of The Dating Lounge, a place for conscious singles in Calgary – the beautiful city Colette calls home – to learn and connect in person. If you’re ready for full-on, for-real love, write Colette to book a free relationship coaching consultation.

Visit her website at

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  1. Heather Gray
    May 18, 2011

    Big warm welcome to Colette!  Thank you for putting together this phenomenal line up of expert interviews on the topic: “Is It Healthy To Hang Out With Your Ex?” 

    I’m looking forward to today’s conversation. This is an issue I’ve been struggling with myself  (And already mentioned to Colette, that it was interesting she chose “this topic” — among the so many you could when it comes to “Love Relationships.”    I need to give my greyhound a walk and grab some coffee, but I’ll write in some more thoughts in a moment. 

    And to everyone stopping in — I highly recommend listening to each interview.  I found that it gave me wonderful overall spectrum of wisdom and the sense of it really is up to you in the end to make this type of choice and conclusion for yourself. 

    Love it Colette -and love what you are creating in the world with “LOVE TALK”!! 

    • Colette Kenney
      May 18, 2011

      Hey Heather! So nice to finally see all of these amazing interviews with the experts up in lights on your site :) (It’s an absolutely beautiful site by the way!)

      There is something that Stephen Garret (one of the above experts) said in a previous edition of Love Talk… When I mentioned I had been confused about a decision I had to make, he said, “I will argue with you Colette – you DO know what to do. You just need to get quiet, sink into your heart, and ask the question from that place” 

      That Heather, is precisely what I believe we all need to do. It’s my hugest passion in life, to help guide YOU to YOUR inner knowing. I so love this work! And I know this is a HOT TOPIC :) 

      So I’m looking forward to all the discussion around today!!

      xo Colette 

      • Heather Gray
        May 18, 2011

        You are providing an amazing service Colette!  Love when I see someone living their “soul-filled life” — it’s what lights my fire. 

  2. Heather Gray
    May 18, 2011

    I guess we’ve given people a lot to chew on here.  It’s a bit quiet at the blog today!

    So I’ll take a moment to share some more of my thoughts and my own journey.

    I separated from someone  3 years ago (it’s amazing that it’s been that long, the time has flown) and it was a significant relationship in that we had discussed marriage and children, bought a home together, and did a lot of growth together over the years we spent.  We were definitely in love, and people used to even say to us all the time, “I want a relationship like yours.”  And a large part of our relationship was smooth sailing and wonderful.  But we kept hitting a big road bump around marriage and planning for the future.  I was the one that really wanted to be married, and he felt a lot of resistance to it.

    And even as we were heading into the breakup, I could feel this “cultural pull” to put us into a boxes, like “If a guy won’t ask you to marry you, you have to dump him” or  “as a woman you have to keep your plans to yourself and wait for him to decide”

    But what happened when I finally chose to leave, is that I actually connected with a core part of myself, that just knew it was time to move on.  And I experienced this strange joy that I had never felt before when going thru something so painful as leaving someone you really love.  But I was doing some deep spiritual work around my “purpose” in live and my coaching, had closed some difficult doors around things that were mismatched for my career.  And once I did that, it was like, wham, this relationship is also not a fit or a match (at least as it is right now, I was open to it changing, but knew I needed to give the space to it to change).

    So I drove myself and my belongings back to NYC and began what has been a journey of my heart, and following what is really right for my inner compass in life.  AND the healing has been enormous.  Way more than I knew when I felt that inkling of joy to leave.

    AND — this Colette is where I’d love some input.  I see that there are actually different “parts” of myself that left this relationship.  There was this spiritual leader part of me that knew all was well, I was being guided and all was unfolding perfectly (and maybe even planned for me in just this way).  Then there were parts of me, that were angry and upset.  I was angry at him for things that felt dishonest, or not living up to some imagined ideal I had for him. And I now recognize, that there is a very soft, tender  part (feels like a young child)  that still really loves him and the love he showed me.  (And were angry at the others parts of me that wanted to leave!).

    So when I go thru each of those videos — they seem to resonate with different parts of myself  ) When I listen to the beautiful message of Joe and Mali, that spiritual leader part of me is so in harmony with their profound message of love.  And I appreciate the  messages why “hanging out with my ex” (which we have done over these 3 years, almost as a “what will show up if we get together”?) are not  helpful to moving on.  

    So — I guess I wonder what could have helped me in those first months after leaving to acknowledge all the aspects of myself that were going thru this breakup?  As I found that, sometimes the most painful part of
    leaving this relationship was attempting to not acknowledge the range of
    emotions that were going on inside myself (from joy to deep pain) and
    trying to come up with some sore of conclusion to quickly, versus being
    on the journey.

    And thanks again Colette for putting these videos together for today!  There is something just very refreshing here, of seeing the
    spectrum of voices.

    big love, h

    • Colette Kenney
      May 18, 2011

      Hello Lovely, 
      First Heather, thank you SO much for sharing your story (once again, it is this kind of thing that I ADORE because I just KNOW there are hundreds if not thousands who will read your words and go “Oh man, I know what she’s talking about” Even I did… I heard my story in yours – absolutely!)

      You asked:

      “I guess I wonder what could have helped me in those first months after leaving to acknowledge all the aspects of myself that were going thru this breakup?  As I found that, sometimes the most painful part of leaving this relationship was attempting to not acknowledge the range of  emotions that were going on inside myself (from joy to deep pain) and trying to come up with some sort of conclusion to quickly, versus being
      on the journey.”

      And even in your question Heather, there IS WISDOM! The most painful part of leaving any relationship IS when we attempt “to not acknowledge the range of emotions that are going on” inside of us.

      I LOVE that you highlighted the fact that there were different parts of yourself, your spiritual leader, your angry self, and even your child self. In the work I do, which was taught to me by my mentor Karen Klassen; if you and I had worked together when you were going through this break-up, I would have taken you on a journey to a place where you could connect with all of these parts of yourself (including your true, higher, or inner self – whichever resonates for you). 

      By going within, and supporting all parts of you to feel heard, understood, and acknowledged – there is a knowingness that you come to, which helps you make sense of a seemingly “unsensible” situation.

      I don’t like to use extremes in conversation, but if there is one extreme I am comfortable using, it is that YOU have all the answers you need and going within, is where you find them.

      Much Love,Colette


      • Heather Gray
        May 18, 2011

        Wow — that is exactly what I needed.  So glad to feel honored now for what I felt back then.

        My ex and I worked with a couple who were “relationship coaches” during our breakup phase, and they attempted to have us use “Law of Attraction” and even play a game where we “pretended to be married” — and it really fell flat.  It was glossing  over of the depth of what we were each feeling and needing to present  (that were pretty messy emotions). 

        And funny thing — I just ran into this couple recently and they no longer are doing relationship work.

        I love that you acknowledge the journey Colette!  So happy to be connected with you now.

    • Farhana Dhalla
      May 20, 2011

      Heather, I am so thankful for your reveal.  I could feel the various parts of myself validated with your experience. 
      I remember one of the most profound experiences I had in reconciling the myriad of contradictory thoughts…I was feeling angry… angry at my ex but also angry at myself for experiencing anger. I had been working so hard on my ‘spiritual process’ and felt frustrated at myself for feeling anything other than shanti.

      Then, one day, in a conversation with my step-father he said, “Farhana, anger is on the road to enlightenment’. 

      That was a whammo moment.

      I totally got then that TRUTH is the spiritual process so that meant that to be in truth with how i was feeling and to INCLUDE it was the way to in active engagement with spiritual growth.

      Colette, I love the wisdom of your words. I can read anything you write anytime. You fill the well.


      • Heather Gray
        May 23, 2011

        Thank you Farhana!  It is such a delight to *meet* you! I am looking forward to reading your book (with the awesome title) “Thank You For Leaving Me” 

        I’d love to feature you at the cafe too– I just resonate so much with your message and your energy.

        Let’s chat? 

        much love, Heather

        • Farhana Dhalla
          May 24, 2011

          Oooooh… what fun that will be Heather!  I would love that!

          I’ll DM you my deets and we can connect there…

          PS – I’m really feeling your energy too… and loving it! 


  3. Anonymous
    May 18, 2011

     Hi Heather!  Hi Colette!

    Great to see you here!  Excellent topic, Colette.  

    As a “dating and relationship expert,” I also have an opinion on whether or not it’s healthy to hang out with your ex :)

    NO!  Not if you’re just breaking up and healing.  It’s difficult enough to go through a break-up without having your ex sniffing around to keep you bonded.  If there is any chemistry at all, it’s best to stop seeing your ex and move on.  No one else is going to look good to you after a break up, but the best cure for healing isn’t to continue seeing the one you broke up with.   

    YES … when you’ve both moved on and are in relationhips with other people.  In my opinion, this is the only way to have a “healthy” relationship with your ex.  

    I appreciate the notion that we need to be in higher consciousness and love everyone we’ve ever been in relationship with.  In practical reality, that’s not always possible.  Human emotions come in.  And just because you shared a moment in time with someone special doesn’t mean you have to keep them forever.  They were in your life for a reason and when that lesson is complete, move on.

    That’s my two cents!  

    Have a great day, ladies!  Colette, I look forward to our interview on May 30!

    Love, Cherry

    • Heather Gray
      May 18, 2011

      Thanks for being here Cherry! 

      I so love your straightforward and clean wisdom when it comes to love between men and women.   And you’ve been a tremendous support to me. 

      Thanks for walking your talk and just being your fantastic self.


      • Anonymous
        May 18, 2011

        You’re welcome, Heather!  

        Love you! :)

    • Colette Kenney
      May 18, 2011

      Hi Cherry!! So great to see you here today too! 
      I completely share your sentiments – they resonate with me 100% 

      In the past, before manifesting my soulmate Todd, I held the position that “sure you can remain friends!” and that, I believe is what kept me single, or in-and-out of relationships that just didn’t work for me (or my partner). 

      And that’s because, I hadn’t fully cleared the past…

      Clearing the past doesn’t need to mean, dissolving it completely, but what it does mean, is as you say Cherry: It’s important to make sure the emotions are cleaned up before attempting to maintain a relationship.

      If you still have emotions for any of your ex’s and you try to spend time with them, you are not fully available to any new partner who comes into your life. You can try and fool yourself to think that you are ready for love, but your new partner will feel there is a disconnect. 

      It’s just a felt sense thing. He may not be able to put into words what he’s feeling, but he will definitely feeling like you are not 100% present with him.

      Cherry, I SO look forward to our Love Talk episode on May 30th Too!! Yay :)

      xo Colette

  4. Sue Rasmussen
    May 18, 2011

    Hi, Colette,

    Thanks so much for sharing such rich wisdom on Heather’s blog today! Wow, what a topic!

    I agree with Cherry below…in my experience, once a long-term, committed relationship has ended, I really need plenty of time and space without him to reconnect with myself and the new direction my life is heading.

    And that can take a LOT more time than I’d like to think!

    If my ex was in the picture, the transition process (for me) would be so much more complicated, and take a lot, lot longer.

    And quite frankly, once I’m in the new place of feel really grounded and connected with myself again, I often don’t feel a need or desire to reconnect with him again.

    But that’s just me. :)

    I’m looking forward to hearing what other people bring to the table about this topic!


    • Heather Gray
      May 18, 2011

      Hey Sue, as a side note, I know we have discussed the whole “School of Love” and “School of Service”  (for those who may be interested — these are terms from “Hand Analysis — that you are born into a certain school and have life lessons to take on)

      So for me being “School of Love’ I do think that it has never been so cut and dry. But I am always envious of people who can just get to “yup, time to move on” so easily.  I can see the wisdom of it, and yet it can be difficult for me to be that way. 

      I’ve finally just embraced the fact that my life journey is in many ways through the heart.  And for myself, that sometimes means hanging out longer in the messiness of a break up, so I get the lesson (instead of repeating it).

      • Sue Rasmussen
        May 18, 2011

         Hi, Heather,

        Hmmmm…for me, it’s NEVER “yup, time to move on” and it’s NEVER easy.

        It takes a loooooong time for me to be ready to end a relationship…and that’s only after doing everything possible to save it. And even when it is me making the decision to end it, it’s still really, really tough. Because there is always still lots of love there. :)

        But I have learned that love is not enough of a reason to stay in a relationship that truly isn’t working.

        But easy to leave? No.

        The best book I ever read about relationships and deciding to stay or go was called “Too Good To Leave, Too Bad To Stay”…and that’s because the ‘weighing the pros and cons’ we all seem to go through when deciding whether we should stay in a relationships or not often keep us firmly stuck in limbo.

        And at the end of the day, we are the only ones who know for ourselves what is right for us. :)


        • Heather Gray
          May 18, 2011

          Hey Sue — thanks for writing this.  yes — you are so right. This is not easy for any of us!  

    • Colette Kenney
      May 18, 2011

      Hi Sue, thanks for your comment :)

      I’ll tell you a “funny” story about not being able to keep your ex in the picture after a break-up.

      My last partner, before meeting my Soulmate Todd, was someone who REALLY rocked my world. We had this intensely passionate relationship for a full year, and during that time, I actually got him hired at the company I was contracting to.

      When it came time that we were breaking up, I went into the CEOs office and told him “I’m going to have to leave” he was shocked, didn’t want me to go, and asked “Why?”

      Me being the heart-on-my-sleeve type of girl that I am, told him “because XXX and I are breaking up and I know I just won’t be able to get over that if I have to see him every day.”

      The CEO was really upset, and in fact has thought of me and called me a “flake” ever since, but boy, I tell you, it would have just been way too painful to have to live my life in that energy, watching him do his thing, while we are no longer together. Even though it was me who ended it – it is always still so hard!

      Thanks again for sharing Sue :)
      xo Colette

      • Sue Rasmussen
        May 18, 2011

         Hi, Colette,

        Thanks so much for sharing that experience! I totally get it…and would feel the exact same way.

        For me, creating space after a break-up has everything to do with self-care…knowing that I truly need to get connected with myself again. And being around an ex day in and day out would totally get in the way of that for me!

        Thanks again, Colette!