With my ex, I don’t have to pretend to be someone more fun or less hysterical.

I recently traveled home for a weekend, and while I was there I met up with my ex. We were high school sweethearts, went on to be college lovers and ended as long-distance exes after I transferred colleges.

A lot of couples part ways after breaking off a relationship, but my ex and I talk about once a week (sometimes more, sometimes less). We update each other on our jobs, our families, our love lives. We give each other advice ranging from protein bars, to how to handle depression.

I’m aware our relationship is an outlier, and in fact, when many people hear about how close we are, they express disbelief and even concern. But I’m so grateful to have someone who knows and accepts me so sincerely. These are the reasons I think it’s great to be friends with your ex.

1. You liked them for a reason.

‘Forest Gump’

At some point, you saw something really special in this person?—?enough to give them all of your time and thoughts. Unless you were GROSSLY deceived, that special person still exists! Just because you’re no longer dating, doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself the happiness they bring you. After all, you enjoy them as a person. After already investing so much love, it seems like such a sad thing to waste.

2. You’ve shared life milestones together.

‘Forest Gump’

My ex and I went to high school together, we moved away from our homes and attended our first few years of college hand-in-hand. He was there for me when my grandma passed away. I was there for him when his brother’s Muscular Dystrophy started to get really horrifying. He played a key role in experiences that have helped shaped me as a person.

3. They already know all of your flaws and your most shameful life mistakes.

‘Forest Gump’

My ex knows nearly everything there is to know about me, from my dysfunctional family background to my shameful freshman-in-college mistakes. So, when I go to him for advice, I don’t have to be anyone but me. He also understands and accepts all the nitty gritty details without judgment—after all, it isn’t his problem any longer.

4.You love their family.

‘Forest Gump’

My ex’s mom would make her life-altering pizza bread when I came over for dinner and stock their fridge with Diet Lipton Green Tea, just because they knew I loved it. As a family, we’d hang and watch ‘Family Guy’, go on trips, and, as if they were my own parents, had a slew of embarrassing photos of me from prom and homecoming dances.

For a long time, I saw these people nearly every day. When I broke up with my ex, I was devastated to think I could be breaking up with his family, too. Now that we’re friends, I get updates on them, I’ll pop in to say hello when I’m in town and I even get a birthday text from his dad every year (he never forgets).

5. They know what it feels like to be inside of you, LITERALLY.

‘Forest Gump’

OK, I don’t mean to sound preachy, and I’m certainly not a religious person, but it still feels like sex is an intimate thing to share with someone, especially when it’s sex made out of love (I’m not talking about the fuckboys in disguise that we don’t count on our “list”).

I mean, physically they COULD NOT get any closer to you. THEY’VE FELT YOUR INSIDES!

6. They’ll give you objective advice.

‘Forest Gump’

Again, they know you’re not perfect and they no longer have to pretend they don’t notice your flaws. You’re just disassociated enough at this point that you no longer make up a huge portion of their identity so any blinders they may have had up while you were in a relationship, are likely down.

I’ve gone to my ex for relationship advice on several occasions (something my boyfriend would hate to hear). He calls me on my shit and tells me when I’m in the wrong, and I need that. It’s not always easy to hear, but it is always extremely helpful and healthful.

7. Staying friends is actually the safer route to finding a sense of closure.

‘Forest Gump’

Clearly, I’m a sentimentalist—so, if I don’t have very clear closure to the end of a romantic relationship, I’m going to ponder what might’ve been from time to time (read: every day for the rest of my life). When someone completely disappears from your world, that takes a long time to make peace with (sometimes you never do). Knowing I’ve got my ex as a pal, I don’t feel that sense of loss—and for those wondering, all of my relationships since have honestly been so much healthier because of it.