Sometimes it’s great when an ex wants to be friends but mostly it’s not. Maybe you want nothing to do with your ex anymore – it’s over – or maybe you want to be much more than friends with your ex.
Whatever your feelings, you need to know why your ex wants to be friends before you agree to be friends. As you will see, their reason may not be as innocent as you think.
If you still care for your ex you could be setting yourself up to get used and hurt. If you don’t, you could be setting yourself up for a whole lot of trouble by giving your ex false hopes or allowing them into your life, as “your friend.”
So, to help you make up your mind about whether or not it is a good idea to be friends with your ex here are possible reasons why they think it is.
To make sure you identify the real reason, be very honest about your ex – what type of person they are. Is it really possible your ex still cares for you, are they possibly vengeful and spiteful, or is your ex stringing you along?
One of the more harmless reasons why an ex wants to be friends is they think it is a kinder, gentler way to end your relationship. They have had a hard time deciding to break up and an even harder time doing it. They feel guilty about hurting you and want to do what they can to make you feel good about yourself. In practice, being downgraded from lover to friend – “You’re a great person and I’d like to stay friends” – can be more of an insult than a comfort.
Another possibility is that your ex wants to be friends because it makes life easier. You still mix with the same people, hang out at the same places, and so on. They don’t want you to cramp their style by getting get jealous, angry or creating a scene. In other words, by asking you to be friends your ex is basically asking you to guarantee you’ll “act nice.” That way they won’t have to hide out and miss out on the action.
It’s possible your ex wants to be friends because they still love you. If it has been a while since you broke up you may be thinking quite the opposite – that wanting to be friends is a sign they have finally accepted the break up. Don’t be fooled. It’s more likely a sign they want you back. Remember, it can take time for a hurt and angry ex who still loves you to realize they need some kind of contact – such as being friends – to have a chance of winning you back.
If your ex ended the relationship, they may want to be friends to keep their options open. They want to try life without you but keep you “on ice” as a back up option if it doesn’t work out. One of the biggest dangers is that they don’t necessarily intend to get back together. They may only be interested in stringing you along for sex. Either way, this brand of “friendship” will usually include a healthy dose of flirtation designed to keep you interested and available.
Sometimes an ex wants to be friends to keep tabs on you. They don’t want you anymore but they’re not happy with the idea of you being with someone else. This is not because they still care but because they are vain, selfish and controlling, and afraid of looking a fool if you quickly meet someone new and better than them. As “your friend,” they can be where you are and perhaps say or do things behind your back to spoil your chances with someone new.
As you can see, when an ex wants to be friends there are good reasons to think very carefully about whether or not it is a good idea.
Remember, there is no obligation to be friends with an ex. If you decide it is not a good idea, it does not mean you are choosing to be enemies. You can be civilized and polite without giving your ex the privileges that come with friendship. This is why, when an ex wants to be friends, you need to wonder why this is not enough – what they are hoping to gain.