“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?
Often times, 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.
+ If you need further and more personalized help with your breakup, please look into working with me here.