After a breakup, it’s not uncommon for the dumper to suggest being friends. At first, it seems like a saving grace. Perhaps it’s an opportunity to rekindle lost love. Unfortunately, it isn’t.
Years ago, I was in the same situation and my ex wanted to be friends.
I jumped at the opportunity. It was her idea to end our relationship and I felt like the average dumpee – confused, hurt, afraid and desperate.
To my dismay, being friends was the opposite of what I thought it to be.
Instead of being an opportunity to rekindle our romance, it turned into an ugly situation that created a lot of bad feelings, unnecessary drama and more rejection.
If I could turn back time, I would have never agreed to be friends. Thankfully, the lessons learned from that experience have followed me since and I have avoided making the same mistake ever again.
With that being said, I like to discuss all the reasons why you should decline your ex’s offer to be friends.
Reasons why you shouldn’t be friends with your ex
Being friends with someone you shared a romantic relationship with for a significant amount of time is extremely hard to pull off. The adjustments required are far too tedious, especially after breaking up recently.
During this time, chances are such that you will be highly emotional and erratic.
It becomes increasingly difficult to interpret your ex’s actions and words properly. This sets you up to act in ways that create more drama, rejection and anger.
Rather than win back your ex, you’ll behave in ways that drive him or her away.
Far too often does the dumpee assume that he or she has control over their emotions only to fall apart.
Given that you are going through the loss of a romantic partner, the 5 stages of grief actually apply to you.
Denial has a way of making us act in a manner that is not conducive to a healthy interaction or friendship. Furthermore, when you reach the stage of bargaining, you are going to feel a desire to get back what you lost.
This will motivate you to act desperate, needy, erratic, temperamental and clingy. You’ll want to do anything it takes to get your ex back.
All of which are damaging to the attraction.
I would be so bold as to say that this is the most effective way of driving an ex into the arms of someone else.
Another reason why it’s not a good idea to accept your ex’s proposal to be friends is that you’re settling for something you don’t want.
Your ex just made the decision to end the relationship, right? They made that decision despite knowing that you would do anything to work through your issues.
So, why should you continue doing what your ex suggests? What could you possibly gain from remaining friends with your ex?
Sure, they may not leave your life but that means you are downgrading from a high priority romantic partner to just a friend. You would be signing yourself up to watch your ex get over you and find someone else.
How is that any good for you?
That’s going to hurt like crazy. You’re going to feel undervalued – as if you’re not good enough for a relationship when you know you are.
Why does your ex want to be friends?
I’m willing to bet that by the time you’re done reading this section, you won’t need any more convincing to not be friends with your ex.
The main reason your ex, the dumper, wants to be friends is so that he or she doesn’t have to suffer much inconvenience while they work on moving past the relationship and finding someone else.
Not having you around is an inconvenience. You may ask, how so? Well, it attaches consequences to their decision.
Rather than easily demote you from lover to buddy, the have to experience the gift of silence from you. In other words, they will be forced to feel separation anxiety, loss, confusion, pain, uncertainty and fear.
Another reason why your ex wants to be friends is to keep you as a backup so if things don’t work out well during their stint as a single person, they can just get back with you.
To be frank – you’ve become a good second option.
I don’t know about you but the idea of being someone’s backup plan or second option is demeaning.
Agreeing to be friends after knowing this is an effective way of destroying your self-worth, confidence and dignity is ludicrous and foolish.
And guess what, not only will you view yourself as a lesser being but so will your ex.
What can I do when my ex wants to be friends?
Simply reject their offer to be friends and explain your reasoning. I would say something along these lines –
“Being just friends doesn’t work for me. If you change your mind about us, you can get in contact but right now I need to focus on myself and moving on.”
This type of response leaves the door open for him or her to come back if that’s what you desire.
It’s also quite respectful and to the point. Which is more than enough when it comes to this sort of situation.
You don’t need to be investing tons of time and effort explaining yourself to someone who doesn’t have any interest in being together.
The most important thing you can do is what follows this message – initiating no contact.
Trust me when I tell you that the power of silence is not something to be overlooked.
No contact is a consequence your ex has to face for breaking up with you as well as the risk of you moving on and finding someone else.
They may act as if they don’t care. Heck, most dumpers will wish you luck in moving on and meeting someone else.
But, that’s because, during that time, they’re reeling off the power and high that comes from ending a relationship.
When they come back down to earth, that’s when shit hits the fan.
During those quiet days when they have nothing to do or when they’re feeling lonely and there’s no great prospective partner in their life, that’s when it will hit them the most.
Even when they face rejection or ghosting from other people, they’ll think about the solid relationship they ended.
Rather than being an emotional platonic pillow who helps them get through this stuff until they find someone else and ghost you, do no contact and focus on moving on!
Will my ex forget about me?
Absolutely not. You remember all of the people you were in a relationship with, right? So do I, so do most people.
It would be incredibly strange if your ex forgets about you.
To me, that indicates your ex didn’t actually love you as much as you thought. Which in my opinion means that he or she did you a favor by ending the relationship.
Rejecting friendship with an ex doesn’t undo all those months and years of memories as a couple.
If anything, by not being friends, the first memories your ex is going to recall are those that you both experienced together as a couple.
That’s when they usually come back looking for your attention or for comfort.
When is it okay to be friends?
If both of you have moved on from each other and there are no residual feelings, then it’s okay to be friends.
As long as enough time has elapsed since the breakup, your ex isn’t toxic for your health and happiness, you’ve moved on and you actually find value in being friends, then you can.
It is imperative that you prioritize self-preservation, particularly when it comes to breakups and exes.
I repeat, your number one objective must be to do what’s best for you. Forget about what your ex thinks right now, think about you.
What serves your life in a positive way? What helps you grow into a better person and a better partner?
Weigh all your pros and cons before making a decision of this nature. I hate to see someone who was once a contributor to happiness become a contributor to pain, suffering and unhappiness.
I get that you miss your ex at times but don’t sign yourself up for so much of suffering just to have them in your life.
At this point, I hope that I’ve given you enough information on why it’s a bad idea to be friends with your ex.
Please consider all the factors in this article before making a decision. And before you go, head over to the comment section below to share your experiences on being friends with an ex.