Your Ex Wants to Be Friends? 15 Questions You Need to Ask Yourself
So, your ex wants to be friends. That sounds innocent enough, right? Well, it may not be that simple. It’s time to ask yourself–what do you want?
Your ex wants to be friends. It seems like a nice way to move on, doesn’t it? Why not be friends? You know each other well and even though the relationship did not work out, it doesn’t mean you wouldn’t be better as friends.
But, it is not always that easy. Sure, being friends that used to date is totally possible, but it does not always work out.
Everything from your history to possible jealousy and even leftover chemistry can get in the way of a potential friendship as well as other future relationships. Deciding to remain friends with an ex brings up a lot to think about.
Your ex wants to be friends, why?
There are a lot of reasons your ex wants to be friends. Do they simply want to stay in your life? Or do they want to keep track of you? Do they miss you? Or maybe you work together or share a group of friends and it just makes sense?
I know it seems like you’re assuming the worst, but before agreeing to be friends with your ex, try to think about their motivation. Or better yet, just ask them. [Read: Why you shouldn’t seek closure after a breakup]
Before agreeing to be friends with an ex because it seems harmless, have a chat. Is it really in both of your best interest to remain friends? Should you take some time apart first so that the break up isn’t so fresh? You broke up because it was what was best for you both.
Maybe you will be better as friends and the romance is what pushed you apart, but it could be worse. Having a friend you have a romantic history with can be insightful, but it can also be iffy. Will it be awkward to introduce a new person to them? Will they be jealous? Or will you?
There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to an ex that wants to be friends. It works for some but not for others. Some say if you can’t be friends with your exes, there is something wrong with you. Others say it means you can’t let go. But in the end, you need to do what is right for you.
Every relationship is different so is every friendship, whether with an ex or not.
Your ex wants to be friends, but do you?
Why not? That is the first thing that may have crossed your mind, especially if you ended on good terms without cheating or a big blowout. But what if you didn’t? What if you don’t trust your ex? Will that go away if you are just platonic friends?
so your ex wants to be friends and they made a move towards friendship with you. But what if they were controlling? What if you cannot stand them? What if being friends will reignite old feelings or pain? These are questions you want to ask yourself before deciding whether or not to be friends with your ex.
#1 Do you trust them? This is a big one. Sure, you can be polite and cordial to your ex without trusting them, but can you be friends with someone you don’t trust? You might think, they cheated on you, but as friends that doesn’t really matter. It does though.
Someone who cheats is a liar and liars do not pick and choose who they lie to, they lie to everyone. [Read: How to move on from the damage of someone cheating on you]
#2 Are there still feelings? This is where I make a line. Sure, some people can go straight from dating to friends, but in my experience, there needs to be a break in between. Without that time to move on and get used to not having that person in your life, going directly into a friendship can blur that line.
It can prevent you both from moving on and keep that door open for something to happen in the future. [Read: 12 reasons why the no contact rule always works]
#3 Have you moved on? Thinking this is the same as #2? I promise, it isn’t. You can have no feelings for your ex but still be burdened by the end of the relationship. You might not have an interest in them romantically, but if you are still on the rebound or bitter from the breakup, that friendship will be tainted.
As I said, take some time before being friends if you really want to. [Read: 13 essentials you need to move on from heartbreak]
#4 Do you hold a grudge? We would all like to believe that we can forgive and forget and are above holding grudges, but we are imperfect. Even if you don’t think you held a grudge against your ex for whatever they may have done, reintroducing them into your life, even as a friend, can stir up that anger.
That can manifest in giving them bad advice, being a bad friend, or even self-sabotaging your own life.
#5 Are you still hurt? If you are coming off a breakup with this person, being friends will only keep those wounds open. Seeing them and talking to them regularly will prevent you from moving forward. It will keep you in their world.
Whether that is their intention or not, your ex wants to be friends to remain in your life for one reason or another. If that reason makes things harder for you, it isn’t worth it. [Read: 7 reasons why staying friends with an ex just doesn’t work]
#6 Can you feel comfortable around them? Is it weird to be friends with someone that saw you naked? Will you ever be able to treat them as a friend after such intimate or passionate moments?
I have tried to be friends with an ex. We got along great in just about every sense. And if we had never dated I’m sure we would be great friends. But we both could not shake our past when we were around each other. It made being friends impossible.
#7 Will they stop you from moving on? When your ex wants to be friends, I am not accusing your ex of trying to hold you back from a future with someone else. But being around an ex can make you hold off on dating. Whether it is due to awkwardness, feelings, or pain, being friends with an ex can postpone your future.
Will you be able to vent about a date around them? Or will you feel weird introducing them to your new boo? [Read: The post-breakup questions you should be asking yourself]
#8 Have you had time apart? This is a big one, maybe the biggest of them all. Do you know how they say time heals all wounds? Well, that is true. It could mean you don’t talk to your ex for two weeks or even two years before returning to each other’s lives as friends.
It will depend on your relationship, how it ended, etc. But without that time to adapt to life without them as your romantic partner and face them as your ex, a friendship is nearly impossible to form right off the cusp of a breakup, no matter how friendly.
#9 Are they jealous? Are you? Jealousy truly is a monster. Even if you are not a jealous person, you may have been on Facebook and noticed your ex from high school is married. Without trying, you get a bitter taste in your mouth. You don’t think about this person and really are happy for them, but you can’t help that tinge of jealousy that creeps up.
Now imagine that on a bigger scale. Your ex from a few months ago is at your dinner party. They are telling you about the new person they’re dating or maybe they brought them along. Even though you no longer harbor feelings for them, that uncontrollable jealousy can get in the way of friendship. [Read: 12 reasons why the no contact rule always works]
#10 What do your other friends think? If you can’t sort out what to do, confide in your friends. They know you best and what that relationship did to you. You complained to them about your ex. They consoled you during the breakup.
If they don’t think being friends with your ex is a good idea, trust them. They are looking out for your best interest. They can tell you if this friendship is bad for your emotional wellbeing.
#11 Do you check up on them? If you check your ex’s social media, location, or ask around about what they are up to, being friends is not the best idea. You are clearly still hung up on them in one way or another. Becoming friends will only make your intrigue worse.
You either need more time to move on from the relationship before trying to be friends or just shouldn’t be.
#12 Will this friendship add to your life? Think about this for real. You always hear people say get rid of the negative people in your life. Well, is that what you did when you broke up with them? Do you really want them in your life in another form?
Will being their friend make you appreciate what you learned from the relationship. Will it give you insight into how you can be a better partner in the future? [Read: The signs you have shitty friends and need new ones]
#13 Will this friendship make things harder? This is something I have seen with my own eyes. My best friend is one of the nicest, most caring people, so when her dysfunctional ex wanted to be friends with her she agreed because she didn’t want him to feel abandoned. But, that is not her job.
She had no responsibility for his feelings, yet she tried to make a friendship work. He would call and just as often as he did as her boyfriend. He questioned her about what she posted on social media. He asked her if she was dating and would tell her he was going on tons of dates to make her jealous.
He very clearly wanted to be friends with her to try to get her back as his girlfriend. If this is what you see happening in your future as friends with your ex, run the opposite direction. [Read: 15 subtle signs your ex wants you back but won’t admit it]
#14 Does it make sense? You do not need to be best friends with your ex. Being friends, though, might make sense. If you work together you may need to maintain a friendship for the sake of your career. If you share a friend group, your ex wanting to be friends for the sake of the group makes sense.
You do not need to chat every day, but if you can be friends to the point where being in the same room together is tolerable, you may be able to ease into that smoothly.
#15 Is it worth trying? Now that you have considered the pros and cons of saying yes when your ex wants to be friends, think about the effort it will take. Will it be smooth sailing and just like two acquaintances being polite? If so, go for it.
But if you foresee drama, arguments, intense awkwardness, or even a repeat of your failed relationship you may want to say thank you, next.
How to be friends with your ex
If you have come to the conclusion that being friends with your ex is totally cool for you, then congratulations. Before saying yes, be sure you and your ex are on the same page.
Are you going to be friends that hang out in groups? Are you going to vent to each other about dating? Are you going to talk every day? Figuring this out now will prevent a lot of confusion later on. [Read: How to be friends with your ex without any complications]
How to tell your ex you do not want to be friends
The awkwardness of telling an ex you do not want to be friends is why so many people say yes and suffer for it later. You do not have any obligation to your ex. You do not need to mend their broken heart or protect their feelings. That sounds mean, sure, but you went through the break up already.
It is your chance to move on and be happy without them in your life.
Your ex wants to be friends, well, good for them. But you don’t have to. It’s okay to think about what you want and need.