So your ex wants to be friends...
It’s tempting to stay friends with your ex. Going from being in a relationship to having no contact is hard, and you may think being friends with your ex is going to help. Well, that’s not necessarily true. The bad parts outweigh the benefits when it comes to staying friends with your ex. Here are nine reasons to just say no when the “let’s be friends” conversation comes up.
What are the motivations?
Why does your ex want to be friends? Is it about the emotional connection you once shared that is hard to break? Is it for the possibility of a friends with benefits relationship in the future? Does your boyfriend, girlfriend, former husband, or former wife really just want to guarantee you stay in contact with them? Or maybe to keep things open in case he or she wants a little affair on the side, a romp in the sheets with an old love? The thing is, there is probably some kind of motivation for your ex wanting to be friends. It could be as harmless as genuinely still wanting your company even if you’re no longer in a relationship. But, it could also be harmful to both of you in the long run, especially once you both start dating again. Before you say “yes” when your ex asks you to be friends, make sure you ask “why?”
You broke up for a reason!
Think about it: you didn’t just break up for absolutely no reason. You and your ex are exes because of some issue you had in your relationship. Did one of you have an affair? Was there a clash in your personalities? Was it just not working? The reasons why you broke up are the same reasons you shouldn’t be friends with your ex-boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, or wife! There might be one exception to this rule: did you break up because you were friends before and you think you’d be better off as just friends? Then, okay, maybe you can handle being friends with your ex. But that would be the only reason! Just remember, when your ex asks if you want to be friends, think about why you broke up in the first place. Would whatever went wrong in your relationship affect your friendship? Then you know the answer to the friends question is no!
It's hard to go from "In a Relationship" to "Just Friends".
There are a lot of things that fly in a relationship that definitely don't fly when you’re friends. For example, physical contact might be limited to an occasional hug when you’re friends but can go as far as sex when you’re in a relationship. It can be awkward to find the new dynamic of your relationship when you’re no longer dating, especially if you didn’t really start off as being friends. When you’re in a relationship with someone, there is also a lot of emotional and physical dependence involved that doesn’t translate well to being just friends. You may be used to your ex being the person you go to with everything, but that doesn’t always work when you break up. What if you start dating other people? How would your ex’s new girlfriend or boyfriend feel about you calling at three in the morning to talk because you can’t sleep? The dynamic is totally different between friends as opposed to being in a romantic relationship and the difficulties in making that transition aren’t worth the benefits of being friends with your ex.
Why tempt yourself?
Your ex might have their own motivations for wanting to be friends, but what are your motivations for saying yes? Why might you decide to be friends when he or she asks? If the answer is because you might want to get back together, it’s time to run the other way. Remember: you broke up for a reason. Even if it wasn’t mutual and you still want to be with your ex-boyfriend or girlfriend, try to avoid the temptation. Think about why you want to get back together and then think about all of the reasons it didn’t work the first time. What makes you think this time will be different? It’s better to cut your ex loose rather than hope that they might want to get back together too. If they don’t want to get back together, you’re torturing yourself by being friends and watching them start to move on. If they do, then maybe you can try it out – but give yourself a cooling off period, without the temptation of having your ex as your friend, to figure out if it’s what you both really want.
You can't get over him if you're spending time with him!
If you don’t have any desire to get back together with your ex, then you definitely shouldn’t be friends with them. Spending so much time with your former boyfriend or girlfriend will only keep them on your mind for longer than necessary. How are you supposed to get over them when you can’t get away from them? Again, remember why you broke up. Stay strong! If you want to move on, then you really need to move on. It would definitely be easier to stay close, but then you’d only be using your ex as a crutch and that doesn’t have benefits for either of you. Distancing yourself from your ex is the only way you can really get over them, and being friends is the opposite of distancing yourself.
Is it a friends with benefit thing you want?
One of the reasons for staying friends with an ex is that it provides the opportunity for a purely sexual partnership. You have likely already had a sexual relationship with your ex if you’re considering being friends with benefits, so it doesn’t seem like much of a stretch to take the emotional connection and exclusivity out of the question. It might be fun to entertain a torrid affair with your ex, but can you maintain the appropriate distance? It’s hard enough being friends with benefits without feelings getting in the way when you didn’t just get out of a relationship with each other. Imagine how much harder it would be to keep your feelings at bay when you used to date! And what happens when one of you does decide to date again? If feelings have developed, it would be like breaking up again and no one wants to go through that twice. Even without feelings, you’d have to find a way to transition from in a relationship, to friends with benefits, to just friends. If it’s hard to go from dating to just friends, it’s almost impossible to add a stint as friends with benefits in the mix. If you’re craving intimacy after your relationship ends but you don’t necessarily want another relationship, try safe, casual dating. Then you’ll still get the fun without worrying about falling for your ex again. Once again: you broke up for a reason. Being friends with benefits will only complicate things to a level neither of you needs!
Don't be a placeholder.
If it’s not about sex, then it’s about the other thing that comes with being in a relationship: emotional connection. If your ex wants to be friends, they likely want someone to be emotionally connected to until they meet their future husband or wife. This means you’re basically playing the part of girlfriend or boyfriend without the benefits of an actual relationship. Don’t let yourself become the placeholder! If your ex needs someone to talk to, they probably already have friends they can turn to. Staying friends with you after you’ve broken up is a way to milk the former relationship of all that deep, emotional connection you’d already built. For your own protection, it’s best to say no when your ex asks to be friends, especially if it seems like they want to take advantage of the connection you once shared.
It's not good for you!
It’s best to surround yourself with people who make you happy and who help you be your best self. Can your ex really do that? Can you move beyond the hurt you felt when you broke up and let yourself be friends with someone who betrayed you? It isn’t worth the mental exhaustion you’d have to go through to stay friends with your ex. Even if you did end your relationship amicably, that doesn’t mean you’d have a healthy friendship. The relationship still ended, regardless of the reasons. Moving beyond that isn’t easy for your brain to handle, and it’s even harder when you’re supposed to rely on your ex as a friend. Also, think about the strain hearing about new dating prospects might be. Even if you’re totally over your ex, do you want to hear about his or her new significant other? Or worse, do you want to be there when they become husband and wife? Save your brain the stress and skip the just friends stage.
It'll be harder to find a date with your ex hanging around!
So you’ve accepted that you’re really broken up and you’re ready to put yourself back out there. You land a date with an awesome person and things are going well, until he or she gets fed up with your ex always hanging out with you and they dump you because of it. Think about what it’s like for a guy or girl to be introduced to your friend who also happens to be your ex. All of those things you think about when you see your ex, like that you’ve seen each other naked, are running through your new boyfriend or girlfriend’s head when they’re introduced. How awkward is that? Plus, it’s easy for a new date to feel threatened by an old flame, especially if it was a longer relationship. If you and your ex are so close, what is stopping you from dumping the new person and going back to your ex? If you want to move on and date someone new, keep your ex out of the picture. It’ll be easier on everyone when you start dating again.
Should we stay friends?
These are just nine of the many reasons not to stay friends with your ex. In some circumstances, it may work out, but it is likely that being friends with your ex is going to lead to heartbreak, not a fun affair. When your ex gets in contact with that “let’s be friends,” text, it’s probably for the best that you let them down easy, and ultimately say no.