What to Do if Your Ex Wants to Be Friends

In order to stay friends with an ex, it's important to have given yourself time to mourn the breakup. That way, both people are clear about their feelings for each other.
What to Do if Your Ex Wants to Be Friends

Last update: 15 February, 2019

When a relationship ends, the whole “we can still be friends” idea causes lots of doubt. Although you try to be mature, you know being friends isn’t the best idea. What do you do if your ex wants to be friends?

Considering that this is a very common situation, we want to approach it in depth from several points of view.

No matter how bad the relationship was, there will always be one person more hurt than the other. Although there are mixed feelings, someone usually wants to stay friends to try to recover the lost love.

Although there are cases where both people can be on good terms, most of the time it’s best to take distance and time. That way, no one will have false illusions or still suffer.

My Ex Wants to Be Friends – Why?

Woman wondering why her ex wants to be friends.

Whenever there’s a breakup, two things can happen. Sometimes, you fight with your ex and cannot understand each other. On the other hand, sometimes you’re lucky enough to build a healthy relationship without one person pretending to recover.

The latter would be ideal when you’ve gone through a lot together. However, in general, it’s difficult for both people to agree and end as friends.

Wanting a friendship when there has been another type of emotional and sexual bond doesn’t work in most cases. Almost always, there’s someone who deep down wants to stay close to try to win back the other.

In fact, this situation can be very tense. Generally, there are feelings of insecurity and jealousy. These arise from not wanting to be with the other person anymore in an intimate relationship.

Why Does My Ex Want to Stay Friends?

Sometimes, there isn’t a bad intention. Maybe s/he simply wants to get things right because you didn’t understand each other as a couple.

However, it’s almost always an excuse to keep the other close. Sometimes it’s for selfish reasons. On the contrary, sometimes it’s because s/he may want to rebuild what he already lost.

Is it a good idea?

It all depends on the circumstances.  If you don’t feel the same way for the other personit’s better to move on. That way, you won’t create false illusions from a supposed friendship.

If you have strong feelings and are the one who wants to fix things, talk openly about your intentions. You could end up suffering more than if you walked away after the breakup if your ex wants to be friends.

Is it Possible to Be Friends With an Ex?

Sometimes it's better to walk away, even if your ex wants to be friends.

Therefore, the healthiest thing is to let things end. Although you both agree to just be friends, it’s important to let time heal the wounds that remain after the breakup.

If your ex wants to be friends, s/he may try to take advantage of the friendship to try and rekindle old flames. However, it’s better to know what the other’s real intentions are to not make more mistakes.

Keep in mind that some exes use friendship to continue manipulating the other person. Sometimes, they may want to continue having sexual contact even though they’re no longer in love.

Therefore, it’s better to take some time to reflect on your situation before making a decision. Since you know how the person is, you can get an idea of what s/he really wants.

Remember: You’re in Control

Breakups are hard, and sometimes it prolongs the pain when your ex wants to be friends afterward.

You don’t have to be friends with your ex, even if s/he asks you to be. After reflecting, if you decide it’s better to have space, talk to him and tell him or her why.

Sometimes, even if it hurts, it’s better to accept that things are over. Sometimes, being around can be more harmful than having distance. Take time, think about your priorities, and give yourself the chance to meet new people.

Every breakup must go through the grieving process so that you can cool down and find new opportunities. If you let your ex stay clingy through a friendship, you can end up hurting both of you.

Time always ends up with the last word. The challenge is to overcome the experience, heal your wounds and free yourself from anger, guilt, and fear. In the future, maybe you can be civil, even if you don’t end up being friends.

  • Clark, E. M., Fernandez, P., Harris, A. L., Hasan, M., & Votaw, K. B. (2017). The aftermath: Friendship after romantic relationship termination. In The psychology of friendship BT – ItemValueImpl ( label = Título de publicación value = [The psychology of friendship] blockName = text mnemonic = pub mnemonicSearchType = ExactMatch template = null ).
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