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Why Does My Ex Want to Be Friends? The Guide to Make Up Your Mind

Being friends with your ex is not a decision to be entered into lightly. Before making up your mind ask yourself, why does my ex want to be friends?

why does my ex want to be friends

I do not want to imply that your ex has poor intentions when it comes to being your friend, but they are your ex for a reason. If you find yourself wondering ‘why does my ex want to be friends’ after receiving a text from them, here’s what you need to think about.

Before deciding whether or not you even want to be friends with your ex, let’s look at the reason why your ex might want to be friends in the first place.

I’m sorry but I will be saying that a lot in this post. You and your ex broke up for a reason and when they want to be friends, that is something to remind yourself.

I am not saying it is impossible to be friends with your ex. But I am also not saying that it is a good idea. Being friends with your ex can be complicated. It can make feelings resurface. It can make you slow to move on. And it can cause jealousy and pettiness. [Read: Helpful questions to ask yourself if you ex wants to be friends]

Ask your ex why they want to be friends

Before even trying to figure it out, a great way to answer the question, why does my ex want to be friends, is to ask them straight up. Sure, they might lie, but they might not.

So, before you try to read between the lines and weigh your options, take the easy and straight forward route.

When your ex tells you that they want to be friends, ask them why. If they get defensive and say they are just trying to be nice, that is not a good sign. If they say they miss you or accuse you of being mean, also, not a good sign.

Their answer, no matter how cryptic, can give you a lot of clues into why your ex wants to be friends. 

Why does my ex want to be friends?

I don’t know your ex, but I also don’t know you. I can’t tell you the exact reason why your ex wants to be friends without that information.

But, what I can do is clue you into some of the reasons your ex may want to be friends. From there, you will have to make your own diagnosis based on your history with them. Then you can decide if it is a good idea for you or not.

#1 To fool around. Yes, it isn’t great, but this is a super common reason an ex would want to stay friends. This is someone you know. This is someone you have been with before. Even though the relationship didn’t work out it, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some benefits.

A lot of people find it more comfortable and easy to hook up with an ex than to meet someone new and start things from scratch, especially if they don’t want something serious. If you are into that, great. But this can prevent you from moving on, stir up old feelings, and cause a lot of tension.

Of course, you are still attracted to your ex, but is that a good enough reason to stay friends? [Read: Is having sex with your ex a good idea?]

#2 To stay in your life.  This can be good or bad. Some exes just want to stay attached. Maybe you had a mutual breakup and are on good terms. Being friends may be a great way to get the best of each other.

But sometimes an ex wants to be friends to keep tabs on you. They want to know if you are dating, or still in love with them. Exes do not always have the most upstanding intentions. [Read: Can you actually make friendship after a breakup work?]

#3 To get back together. This is a very like reason someone would want to be friends with their ex. By remaining in each other’s lives, you maintain a connection. You may rely on each other for the same things you did while you were together. And from there, things may fall back into place.

But, this is not always a good thing. If your relationship was dysfunctional, holding onto that connection can be damaging. Getting back together may be the worst thing for you.

#4 To control you. Yes, this is a real gem of a reason to be friends with an ex. And if you know your relationship felt suffocating, being friends with this person will likely be the same. Being friends with an ex that wants to control you is pretty much the same as dating them only you have no reason to put up with it, not that you ever did.

#5 To keep things drama-free in the friend group. This is a pretty decent reason to want to be friends with an ex. If you share a friend group or work together, remaining friends, even just on the surface, is the mature thing to do. This does not mean you have to be besties, but being polite to each other is all you need.

If this would benefit both of your and your mutual friends, it is probably a good idea. [Read: 12 reasons why the no contact rule always works]

#6 To be nice. Sounds good, right? An ex being nice, how could that go wrong? Well, sometimes when your ex breaks up with you, they offer to be friends so that it softens the blow. They think they owe you friendship because they hurt you.

This can be fine if you are going to talk every once in a while, but if you want to talk everyday, this will only cause more tension and resentment. Talking to your ex everyday halts the recovery after a breakup and prevents you from moving on.

#7 For companionship. Maybe they really just want your friendship. I have an ex that was toxic. Our relationship was beyond dysfunctional. But without the romance and jealousy, our friendship actually works. We have a lot in common, and it just makes sense.

If you can actually let go of the relationship aspect and just be friends, this can be a solid friendship between two people that really know each other.

#8 For comfort. Depending on how long you were dating, your ex may want to be friends because they are comfortable with you. You are used to seeing each other and talking every day and suddenly cutting that off is a huge change.

Remaining friends with an ex for comfort is human nature. We all want to be around the people we are used to being around. It is hard to adapt to a new life without that routine. But, this adds to the risk of falling back into an unhealthy relationship

#9 Because you were friends first. If your relationship was built on a foundation of friendship first, you may be able to ease back into that with time. This will only work if you both want to be friends and feel you can get over the romance.

If this is the case, your ex will most likely tell you the truth and say they miss your friendship and how things used to be. If you agree you can work at it.

#10 They want advice. I have had multiple exes reach out to me under the guise of friendship when in fact, they just wanted advice. They wanted to know what they did wrong or how they can impress someone new. That stings a bit, but I get it.

Your ex is someone that saw you through hard times and got close to you. They can open your eyes to things you may not have seen and offer a lot of insight, especially if you have both moved on. Otherwise, petty revenge can make things worse.

The other problem with this reason for being friends with an ex is that it is essentially a lie. If you want advice from an ex, just say so. You may agree to be friends with this person, they will ask for your advice, and then only reach out when they need something. [Read: The keys to stop caring about someone who hurt you]

#11 For practical reasons. Say you bought a home together or invested in something together. It may not be easy to be friends with an ex, but if you know you will need to see each other and be cordial for things like this, just do it.

This can be anything from having kids together to paying for your partner’s parent’s assisted living. These things will have to be sorted out, and if you are friends it will make it all so much easier.

[Read: 7 reasons why staying friends with an ex just doesn’t work]

When asking yourself, why does my ex want to be friends, these are the most common reasons. Which do you think it is? And is it a good one?

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Samantha Ann
My name is Samantha Ann. I am 28 years old. It was always my dream to become an advice columnist, so after years of off and online dating and eventually finding...