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Why Does My Ex Want To Be Friends? 10 Reasons You Won’t Believe

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When an ex reaches out with a desire to be friends, it can feel like a safety line has been thrown to you. It gives you hope and fuels your desire to reconcile or it leaves you confused and uncertain of what to do. In this article, I’m going to share my thoughts on the following question: Why does my ex want to be friends? 

I’ve been through enough breakups and coached enough people to understand the mindset of those who try to be friends with an ex. Some of which may surprise you while others may leave you feeling pleasant and comforted.

Here’s a list of all the possible reasons why your ex wants to be friends.

  1. They feel lonely.
  2. They feel guilty.
  3. They want to keep you as a backup plan.
  4. They miss you.
  5. You were both friends before dating.
  6. They are codependent.
  7. They want to be intimate with you.
  8. They regret dumping you.
  9. They want to have a cordial relationship with you for the kids.
  10. They want free attention and affection.

Below, we are going to examine each of these reasons in more detail to decide on whether your ex has good intentions for wanting to be your friend or not. 

We’ll also discuss whether you should be friends with your ex as well as ways to avoid being friend-zoned by your ex if you desire to win them back.

Reasons Why Your Ex Wants To Be Friends

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1. They feel lonely

If finding a suitable partner was so easy, most people would be in healthy relationships by the time they were old enough to be considered adults.

But, that’s not the case. In fact, with a staggering rate of approximately 50% of all marriages ending in divorce, it’s not surprising that a lot of people are single and battling with feelings of loneliness.

Let’s say that your ex dumped you. It’s probable and fair for us to assume he or she thought that it wouldn’t be so difficult to find someone better than you or more suitable to date.

Even if there are better-suited people, there’s no guarantee that your ex will stumble upon these people within their time frame nor is there any guarantee that those people will be interested in your ex.

When reality hits, an ex who did not have a realistic vision of life and dating will experience a great deal of pain and suffering in the form of loneliness, anxiety, depression and so on.

Naturally, to cope, their mind is going to search for the last time they felt good, comfortable and happy.

If that ends up being when they were in a relationship with you, the temptation to have you around will be overwhelming.

In this case, it may be enough to make them suggest friendship but it may not be enough for them to admit that they made a mistake and want another chance.

To put it bluntly, friendship is a way for them to escape the loneliness that is unbearable at this moment in time. 

Related post: Why your avoidant ex wants to be friends

If you would like a step-by-step explanation on how to get an ex back or to re-attract someone who lost interest, grab a copy of my ebook called Reconcile. I put this guide together for serious students of the game who want to cut through the fluff and get results in their love life. Click Here To Check It Out! 

2. They feel guilty

If you take the time to examine the average couple as an outsider, you would be surprised to discover that the dumper does not walk away unscathed. 

In fact, I can attest to this because I’ve walked away from some people in my life and there have been times when I experienced a severe amount of guilt for hurting someone I cared about and who cared about me.

As you get older, it’s harder to evade responsibility for your actions. 

It’s twice as hard to pretend like our actions do not have consequences and an effect on others. 

Your ex may no longer want to be in a relationship with you but it does not automatically mean that he or she does not care about you enough to not feel guilt and sorrow for the loss and for hurting you.

They may feel an intense desire to ease your pain by offering friendship and in the process of doing so, ease some of their own guilt. 

3. They want to keep you as a backup plan

Of all the reasons why your ex wants to be friends, I suppose this is the one that rubs me the wrong way because it’s unfair and inconsiderate.

Have you noticed how some people want to make life-altering decisions without actually experiencing the changes that come with it?

They’ll say and do whatever they can to prevent much discomfort, even if it’s not the morally correct thing to do.

I don’t want to live like that and neither do I want to surround myself with people who would.

These types of people will string you along and dangle a carrot in front of you in the form of friendship while they seek out new people.

If they find someone better, you’ll be nothing but a friend despite your investment and effort towards getting them back.

If they can’t find someone better, they may come back to you or they’ll use you for attention and affection until they can survive on their own.

This is unhealthy and unwise for you.

Related post: 5 Reasons why ignoring your ex is powerful

4. They miss you

Whether you’re the dumper or dumpee, there’s no way that you get away from a relationship without suffering from some degree of loss and grief.

This is someone with who you shared a life, even if it was for a brief amount of time.

That connection, bond and shared experiences can’t be forgotten easily and when you lose the essence of what keeps you together, it’s natural to miss your ex.

Even if you have no intention of getting back together, you’re still going to feel the loss and emptiness that’s shaped perfectly in their form. 

Hence, the desire to be friends stems from missing you and your ex is hoping to still remain connected with you to some degree. 

Related post: Does silence make a man miss you

5. You were both friends before dating

As much as the friendzone is a popular topic of discussion, we should not be fooled into believing that relationships cannot be derived through friendship.

There have been many instances when two people who had no interest in each other developed a friendship that was honest, real, fun and genuine.

They share countless memories and experiences with each other until suddenly, one or both of them start to feel a stronger sense of connectivity to the other.

In time, these feelings of friendship morph and develop into feelings of romantic love. When romantic love ends, that doesn’t mean the friendship has to end as well.

Some couples can transition into friendship after a breakup with ease and end up being instrumental in helping each other heal.

6. They are codependent

If you do a quick Google search on what is codependency, you will find that it is defined as a cyclical relationship in which one person needs the other person and that person needs to be needed.

They start to rely on each other for their sense of wellbeing and purpose. But, this unhealthy form of dependency can create a great deal of pain, resentment, anger and suffering.

It’s toxic when left untreated and unattended.

Chances are such that if you were in a codependent relationship, it would feel like you’re losing a limb to break up.

That need for your ex or the need to be needed may influence your ex to want friendship despite knowing that the relationship is over and beyond help. 

7. They want to be intimate with you

The human mind seems to be designed to yearn and desire that which it doesn’t have or has lost which it deems of value.

Notice how a child who seems disinterested in a certain toy suddenly cries and begs for it when that toy is taken away from him or her?

We just assume that these behavioral tendencies or reactions to loss automatically change with age but I don’t think that’s necessarily the case.

I think when we lose something we care about, we react from our emotional core and that may encourage us to seek out what we lost despite the cost of doing so.

In this case, your ex may want to have sex to ease the pain of that loss and desire or to experience the feeling of comfort and closeness after splitting.

Surprisingly, even couples who break up due to infidelity experience a similar desire in the form of trauma bonding. 

8. They regret dumping you

There have been times in my life when I experienced regret for either rejecting or leaving someone for the wrong reasons.

And there have been people who have felt that way regarding me.

I also coach many people, some of which contact me for help to win back their ex because they regret dumping their ex.

This could very well be the case with your ex, especially if he or she is texting you all the time, talking about the past, hinting at a relationship and vocalizing regret.

They may want to be friends as a way of slowly earning back your trust while also avoiding the humiliation of rejection if you choose to cut them off altogether.

Related post: Why is my ex checking up on me?

9. They want to have a cordial relationship with you for the kids

Whether you were married or just in a serious relationship, if kids are involved, there’s no such thing as just you and your partner.

As much as the relationship exists between the two of you, the effects of that relationship or the fallout affect the kids involved.

I’m sure that neither of you wants to hurt or scare the kids which is probably why your ex wants to be friends.

It would make things so much easier on you, them and the kids. 

10. They want free attention and affection

I’m not a fan of people who use others for attention and affection but it’s something that happens a lot.

Unfortunately, a lot of us have the capacity to escape our own suffering or fulfill our own desires for love and adoration without paying attention to the effects it may have on the other person. 

There have been times in my life when I’ve done something like this for a short period of time and regretted it.

Your ex may know that you’re going to be loving and attentive which is why they encourage friendship despite leaving the relationship.

It can even make it easier for them to move on because you’re giving them all this free attention and affection.

Related post: Is he using me?

Should You Be Friends With Your Ex?

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Scroll through my archive and you’ll find countless articles on why you shouldn’t be friends with your ex.

But, my stance has changed over time. 

I am of the opinion that if two people accept the breakup and do not intend on getting back together, being friends who support each other in healing and moving on can be beneficial and wholesome.

When it comes to deciding on whether you should be friends with your ex, you should consider the following factors. 

  • A willingness to be respectful.
  • Drawing healthy boundaries.
  • A lack of desire to reconcile.
  • A lack of unresolved feelings.
  • If your ex is a good person.
  • If it serves you to be friends with your ex.
  • If it will affect your ability to move on or to find someone else.

By examining all of these factors honestly, you should gain a better understanding of whether you can be friends with your ex or not.

Now, if your desire is to reconcile or to simply end this chapter off completely because it causes you a great deal of grief, anxiety and pain, then I would advise you to not be friends with your ex. 

Related post: Why is my ex texting me after dumping me?

How To Avoid Getting Friend Zoned By Your Ex

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Given that your ex has expressed an interest in being friends and you absolutely do not want to be anything other than romantically involved with him or her, this is what you have to do to avoid the friend zone and to maximize the likelihood of a reconciliation between the two of you.

Don’t agree to be friends

It’s silly and counterproductive to accept friendship when your heart wants more. Doing so will only make you feel demeaned and severely desperate or insecure because you’re not being authentic to your feelings. 

Also, you’re exposing yourself to the possibility of watching your ex move on and date other people which will hurt you. 

Avoid this unnecessary punishment and be prepared to walk away from him or her. 

State how you feel and what you want

When you are turning down your ex’s offer to be friends, do so by also emphasizing what you want. 

This is how you are to negotiate. 

Simply state that you’re unable to be friends with him or her because you’re only interested in continuing a romantic relationship. 

If they change their mind about this, you’d be more than happy to pick things up and see where things go. 

Saying this is powerful, straightforward and most importantly, it’s honest. 

Even if they never reach out again, they will respect you for having the courage to state what you want and being congruent with your words.

Initiate no contact 

When your ex is firmly grounded in breaking up and not trying again, it is your duty to walk away, especially if you made it clear to him or her that you aren’t interested in anything other than a romantic relationship with them. 

No contact is important in this case because it creates space and time apart to make your ex miss you and consider the possibility of reconciling. It also helps you to move.

Related post: 5 Signs the no contact rule is working

Don’t chase or beg 

When people are faced with loss, they don’t jump to the stage of acceptance immediately. 

In fact, they’ll bounce between denial and negotiation for some time before moving into the next stage of grief. 

It’s possible that you will feel strongly about expressing your desperate desire to be with him or her. 

Don’t do this. 

It’s unattractive and also demeaning. 

Someone who respects themselves will not resort to this behavior for an extended period of time if they have done nothing to cause the relationship to end. 

Make yourself more desirable

When your ex decided to end the relationship, they proceeded because they have a new impression of you that doesn’t meet the standard of the partner that they want. 

So, what can you do? 

Words alone won’t change this impression but taking action may.

The best form of action to re-attract an ex is to walk away but also, to improve yourself. 

Work on your physical, mental and emotional health during this time and improve other areas of your life.

Do not become their dating coach or advisor

This may seem harsh to say but it’s no longer your responsibility to be an emotional support system for an ex who is actively trying to move on from you to be with someone else. 

Unless you have zero interest in reconciling, there’s no reason for you to be a part of this. 

Date other people or be by yourself 

What happens to some people who fixate on getting an ex back is that they stop living and make this objective their primary purpose in life. 

It’s too damaging and painful to live like this. 

You’re never going to behave in an attractive, confident and authentic manner when you have placed a ridiculous expectation and amount of pressure on yourself. 

For this reason, I encourage you to spend some time by yourself after the breakup to work through your emotions and then start dating other people. 

Knowing that there’s a world of people out there and some who would be interested in getting to know you will be comforting and a source of confidence when you do interact with your ex. 

Related post: How to cope with a broken heart

In Conclusion

Trust me when I tell you that I completely understand how tempting it is to accept an offer for friendship from an ex you miss dearly. But, it’s not in your best interest to do something that isn’t serving your true interests.

A friendship that isn’t based on sincerity will only amount to suffering and emotional torture. 

You’ll constantly feel overlooked, desperate for attention and affection from your ex as well as upset that your ex is treating you like a friend.

If you don’t want to reconcile and there’s genuinely a desire for friendship from both of you, then there’s really no reason not to have a good ex as a friend in your life.

With that being said, I hope this article on why does my ex want to be friends provided you with the answers you were looking for. If you have any questions or thoughts that you would like to share with me, please do so by visiting the comment section below.

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