Katharine McPhee: Can You Stay Friends With an Ex?

05/17/2015 10:41 am ET | Updated May 15, 2016

Katharine McPhee's divorce from ex-husband Nick Cokas may have been messy, but the two seem friendlier than ever. They were spotted getting breakfast together last week, and Nick even caressed her face during the meal. They have remained amicable since the split, which raises the question: is it possible to continue to be friends with an ex?

There are several things to consider when trying to decide if it is a good idea to be your former partner's pal. The first is to think about how your relationship ended and if there are any lingering issues. If there is still a lot of anger and resentment between you, and you continue to be at odds sorting out the logistics of your new lives and what that means, then you might not be ready to be friends yet. In other words, if you are still trying to iron out the difficult details of dealing with kids, sorting through your things, sharing friends, and deciding how to deal with family events, the likelihood that these complications will raise your already brewing frustration level is pretty high. If the "we" world that was dismantled is still requiring a lot of directions and maps to navigate through, and the journey hasn't been smooth or easy, it is probably too soon. With that in mind, trying to stay close at this time might only serve to fuel the negative energy and keep the anger going.

Along the same lines, if you are still feeling upset, bitter, and blame your ex for what has happened between you, then you will probably need time to heal and deal with those feelings before embarking on a new phase of your relationship. If this is the case, don't pressure yourself. Give yourself the time and space you need to process these emotions, so that there is the chance that you can get to a more peaceful point in the future and you will be able to be sociable with each other.

Finally, if you or your ex is now involved with a new person, that person's feeling should also be taken into consideration. If it makes them uncomfortable, or they would rather you didn't maintain a connection with your former spouse, that will probably have an effect on your decision to try to remain friends and to what extent.

Sometimes the viability of maintaining a friendship goes back to how your relationship began. If you were friends before you were romantic with each other, it might feel natural to fall back into that pattern. The bottom line is that being friends with an ex works for some people and not for others. At the very least though, once things settle down, the goal of being friendly is a good one so that you can work together and not have to divide cleanly into separate camps.

Hopefully Katharine and Nick can continue to stay on good terms with each other while still experiencing new happenings and new loves in each of their lives.

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