My Ex Wants to be Friends. What Should I Do?
This is a question I get asked a lot.
It’s very comforting when after a breakup, friends and family come to you and say “I heard about the breakup…” and before they can even get another word in or ask you how you’re doing, you immediately reply “It’s okay! We’re still going to be friends.”
It’s like saying “Yeah, I know I was in the hospital, got awful food poisoning, almost died from eating raw chicken, and crapped blood for two days straight, but it’s okay!! I’m going to just have a taste of raw chicken tonight. Just as an appetizer! No need to worry about me. I’m fine!”
I think that there are a lot of reasons why we hope for and work toward maintaining a friendship with our ex immediately following a breakup, no matter how poorly they treated us.
We don’t want to come across as weak, we don’t want to come across and immature and we’re not quite ready to completely cut everything off. It’s scary and it’s painful. We miss them and we would rather have them as a “friend,” than be alone and feel abandoned, again.
I felt pressure to be friends with exes in the past because I had a serious case of the disease to please. It was also very hard for me to say no. Being friends with an ex (especially an ex that consistently used and disrespected you), immediately following a breakup is impossible. Seriously. You need some emotional and physical distance to heal.
No matter how much you miss him/her or how much you want to keep communicating with your ex, you need time right now.
By accepting your ex’s hand in “friendship,” they don’t get to experience any consequences for what they did and what they put you through. You guys are “friends!”
You being friends with an ex that consistently disrespected and hurt you, translates to him/her that you don’t have any love for yourself. It also, communicates that you have a serious lack of boundaries and self-love.
He will never see it as: “Wow. She’s so mature! She’s so strong! She can be my friend after everything I put her through. I lost a really good thing.” He will just know he got away with it.
To be The One That Got Away, you actually have to get away (and stay away).
Why set aside your value just to engage with someone that can’t even see their own? Why try to qualify yourself for someone whose hurtful actions have already disqualified them?
Oftentimes, they will make you feel like you’re not being “mature” if you don’t want to be friends.
There is nothing weak or immature about having boundaries and you should never feel guilty.
What IS weak and immature, is trying to grow a rose garden out of weeds. This is what trying to be friends with your ex following a breakup is.
So whenever you are faced with “My ex wants to be friends. Should I stay friends with my ex?” Make sure that you are being a good friend to yourself first.
FAQs to Navigate Post-Breakup Relationships
- Q: Can I be friends with my ex right after a breakup? A: While it varies from person to person, it’s usually recommended to allow some time for emotional healing before considering friendship.
- Q: What does it mean if my ex wants to be friends? A: It could mean different things based on context. They might genuinely want to maintain a friendship, or it could be a tactic to avoid responsibility for their actions during the relationship.
- Q: Does being friends with an ex show maturity? A: Maturity is not necessarily related to being friends with an ex. It’s more about how you handle the situation, respecting your boundaries, and prioritizing your emotional well-being.
- Q: Is it immature to decline a friendship with an ex? A: Not at all. Setting boundaries and prioritizing self-care is not a sign of immaturity. It shows self-respect and an understanding of personal emotional needs.
- Q: Can I be friends with an ex who treated me poorly? A: You can, but it’s essential to question if it’s healthy for you. If being around them hurts you or doesn’t allow you to heal, it’s probably not a good idea.
Written By: Natasha Adamo