So You Think You Can Be Friends With Your Ex?

Post-breakup friendships are the stickiest of all possible situations. Before befriending an ex boyfriend or girlfriend, understand the risks involved... and how being friends after the breakup can be counterproductive to getting your ex back.

Stay Friends With Ex
Can you really be friends after a breakup?

So you broke up... and your boyfriend or girlfriend placed their hand gently over yours and told you:

"There's no reason why we can't still be friends..."

As unorthodox as this sounds, it's one of the more common ways for someone to break things off. And even more unbelievably? Most people accept their ex's offer to stay friends after the breakup, thinking it will somehow help them get their boyfriend or girlfriend back.

The reason for this is simple: there are two sides to every breakup. On one side is the person who does the dumping: this is the person with all the control. On the other is the dumpee: the person who still wants to hang on to the relationship.

Seizing back power is one of the first things you need to do after someone breaks up with you. There are techniques for regaining control you need to learn, before you're able to make a single move in your exboyfriend or exgirlfriend's direction.

In short, the person getting dumped still wants to see and talk to the person who's breaking up with them. Staying friends is one way of doing that - at least temporarily - which is why people in this situation jump at the chance to stay in touch.

Staying Friends After The Breakup - Myths vs. Reality

"Great", you think. "If I can stay friends with my ex, I can remain in their daily life. I still get to talk to them, email them, text them, and know what they're up to. I even get to see them from time to time. And if I stick around long enough, I can prove myself to my ex... and they'll eventually realize they still love me and want me back".

The problem with that logic is actually quite simple. By agreeing to be friends with your former boyfriend or girlfriend, your ex already has you. There's no real reason for them to take you back, because they're getting everything they want from you as a friend.

What do I mean by this? Think about it. Communication, check. Emails, phone calls, a shoulder to cry on, check. Your ex has virtually all the benefits of your past relationship, minus the intimacy and sex... and in some cases, some people think it's okay to throw those in too.

In the meantime, your boyfriend or girlfriend is officially single. They have the freedom to date other people, go anywhere they want, and do anything their little heart desires. You can say NOTHING to them about this, because you're not dating them anymore. You're nothing but the platonic 'friend' they call when they're tired, bored, or need someone to bounce ideas off of.

Getting Past Friendship - Transitioning From Friends to Lovers

One of the more common questions asked: "How do you go from being friends with your ex back to being lovers again?" And the answer to that question is pretty simple: you don't.

Sure, there will be exceptions to every rule. But for 95% of all cases, it's nearly impossible to make the transition from friendship back to romance. The longer you stay friends with your ex, the further removed you are from their romatic feelings. The emotional bonds he or she had while dating you will slowly fade away, until they see you as nothing but someone to call upon (or not call upon) whenever they need a FRIEND.

Your best bet? Refusing to be friends with your ex. Sound hard? It's really not. Whether you've already started being friends or not, you turn to your ex and say:

"You know what? Friends doesn't work for me. I care about you way too much to pretend to be your 'friend'."

You're refusing to be friends here, but more importantly, you're refusing to be demoted. "Let's be friends" is certainly a demotion: you go from being someone very important and vital in their life to being nothing more than a casual, platonic acquaintance.

"Either I'm your boyfriend/girlfriend, or I'm not. But I can't do some half-assed relationship, because truthfully, I still have feelings for you."

This isn't so much an ultimatum as it is the stark, naked truth. You're letting your ex know that if they don't want all of you, they can't have ANY of you. They're not going to reap the benefits of companionship and a shoulder to cry on without giving you something in return. And 'friendship' is a poor consolation prize for when you really want to be dating this person again... especially when you inevitably have to watch them go out and date other people.

Never accept friendship when you want an actual relationship with someone. It's really that cut and dry. Friendship is NOT what you want, so there's absolutely no reason to settle for it.

Getting Your Ex Back After The Breakup

Want your boyfriend or girlfriend back? Then go out and get them. Friendship is never the answer; it only delays the breakup and ends up hurting you even more. By being honest with yourself (and your ex), you can start being proactive about what you really want to do, which is get back together with your ex.



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4 Comments

Get Exboyfriend Back    said on 09-22-2011

Being friends with an ex is what people agree to when they're not sure what else to do. It takes guts to pull away and tell your boyfriend you can't see him anymore, even as "just friends". But that's exactly what you've gotta do if you want him to take you seriously.

Get Your Ex Back    said on 09-13-2011

There's no way a breakup can be mutual... there's always one person who's still in love with the other. The only totally simultaneous (and mutual) breakup in existence happened on Seinfeld. ;)

Sherry    said on 09-13-2011

You CAN be friends, but only if the breakup is mutual. You need to be able to be happy for each other, or it won't work.

Big Mike    said on 09-13-2011

This is good advice! I tried to be friends with my ex but it was a nightmare. We fought more than when we were going out, especially once she started seeing some other guy.

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