Does your ex want to be friends with you after a breakup?
Then you’re in the right place.
Today we are going to be tackling three of the biggest questions that my clients seem to have when they find themselves in this situation,
- Why your ex wants to be friends
- If staying friends with your ex will actually work
- What to do if your ex wants to be friends but you want more
Perhaps the best part about all of this is that everything I’m going to talk about today has been backed up by research or my own personal experience helping couples after a breakup.
Why Your Ex Wants To Be Friends With You After A Breakup
Before I actually start diving in and answering this question I’d like to lecture for a little bit.
There seems to be a very big misconception out there by how human beings operate.
People seem to be enthralled with this idea that true love conquers all.
They seem to believe that love somehow makes human beings selfless.
Human beings are a lot of things but one thing they aren’t is selfless.
Sure, every once in a while you’ll hear about a story a mother throwing herself in front of a bus to save her children but those kinds of people are in the minority. Most of us operate with one single mantra,
What’s in it for me?
We are ruled by our own self interest.
I say this not to be controversial but to help you understand why your ex wants to be friends with you after a breakup.
You see, I’ve been doing this for almost 7 years now and I’ve seen a lot in my time.
I have a coaching practice.
I have written a best selling book.
And well over 20 million men and women have visited my websites and a good segment of them have asked me questions.
After going through all of that I can confidently say that there are three primary reasons for why an ex would want to remain friends with you after a breakup and all of them have to do with their own self interest.
The Three Reasons Your Ex Really Wants To Be Friends With You
The three reasons are relatively straightforward,
- Emotional Support
- Physical Support
- As A Holdover For Their Next Relationship
I’d like to take a quick second and expand on each of these reasons for a moment.
Why Your Ex Would Want To Be Friends With You For Emotional Support
People respond to breakups in many different ways.
Some will jump into bed with the first person they can find (see rebound relationships.) Others will avoid you like the plague.
And then you will have the people who want to “remain friends.”
But here’s the problem with that.
You often find that this kind of friendship is one sided.
It’s all about them unloading “how they feel” onto you and you making them feel better.
In essence, they are using you for emotional support and it makes total sense seeing as how they just went through a breakup.
After all, who better to understand them than the person they went through a breakup with?
Why Would Your Ex Want To Be Friends With You For Physical Support?
Friends with benefits shouldn’t be that hard to grasp, should it?
As I stated above, everyone responds to breakups in a different way.
In this case, your ex will want to remain friends with you because they believe they can get you in bed.
Want to know the most bizarre part?
According to a poll done on breakups by the Associated Press 36% of people have admitted to having sex with an ex at least one time,
Oh, and you may also notice another interesting question asked in the poll,
“How many of you have personally ever stayed friends with an ex after a breakup?”
According to the poll 51% of people have,
Staying friends and sleeping with exes is a lot more common than you think.
Why Would An Ex Want To Stay Friends With You As A Holdover For Their Next Relationship?
I believe we call this the dreaded friend zone.
People are appalled when I say what I’m about to say but quite frankly I don’t believe there is any other way to look at it.
When someone breaks up with you it’s essentially the same thing as having them admit,
I think I can do better than you
In other words, they believe they can find someone else.
The funny part is that we have a tendency to build these big ideas and feelings up in our heads and when it comes time to actually execute or experience them we find that it’s a little more difficult than we thought.
Where do we come running when this happens?
Yep, you guessed it!
Right back to the person we are comfortable with.
Will Staying Friends With Your Ex Actually Work?
I have three main thoughts I’d like to discuss with regards to this question.
- Sometimes It Can Work So Long As Rules Are Redefined
- In Most Cases It Won’t Work If You Are Looking To Get Back Together
- The One Case Where It Is Actually Recommended
Let me unpack these three insights for you.
Sometimes Being Friends Can Work As Long As Rules Are Redefined
Let’s assume for a moment that you aren’t anything like my clients and you aren’t trying to win your ex back.
You are simply looking to remain friends with them and that’s it.
I believe this kind of arrangement can work assuming both of you are getting something out of the relationship, support.
Above I believe I made a pretty strong case that human beings are very self interested creatures and most of the time when an ex wants to be friends with you it’s because it serves them in some way.
As long as you aren’t getting used and you aren’t sleeping together I have seen certain exes successfully remain friends.
However, let me point out the proverbial fly in the ointment, it’s going to complicate things.
Assuming you do start dating someone else I haven’t met many people that are cool with their girlfriends or boyfriends being friends with their ex.
More on that in a second.
For Most People Being Friends Won’t Work If You Are Looking To Get Back Together
I’ve said it many times and have even written a book about it.
Getting your ex back requires you to position yourself properly and the timing has to be right
Often when you become friends with your ex you are placing yourself in a position of weakness.
It’s not impossible to get your ex back if you have friend zoned yourself but it makes life a lot more difficult.
Consider for a moment the stories you hear online like this,
Where a couple goes from “friends to lovers.”
The one common theme you see in those stories is the fact that it took time before one person was “ready to date.”
By purposefully putting yourself in the “friend zone” you are adding more time to your sentence.
In other words, it’s going to take longer to see success.
There Is One Case Where Purposefully Friend Zoning Yourself Is Recommended
Now, before I move on I do want to say that there is one specific case where I believe putting yourself in the friend zone is the smartest thing you can do.
Care to take a guess at what situation that is?
If your ex is dating someone new
I call it, “the being there method” and it’s something I’ve talked a lot about on this website and have even filmed a few videos over it,
The premise is pretty simple.
By purposefully putting yourself in the friend zone you will indirectly intimidate the new person your ex is with without actually doing anything wrong.
What To Do If Your Ex Wants To Be Friends But You Want More
Consider for a moment the types of conversations you have with the different people in your life.
You are going to have one type of conversation with your boss.
You’ll have another type with a stranger.
Another with your friends and family.
You’ll probably have a different one altogether with your lover.
What separates these people from having these different conversations?
In my opinion, trust.
If you could establish a clear hierarchy it’d probably look something like this,
Notice how the conversation opens up with people who hold coveted places in your life.
It all has to do with trust.
Generally speaking the more you trust the person the more powerful the conversation can be.
Here is perhaps the coolest part about this concept.
Every person will have a different hierarchy.
For some people their family may be more trusted than their friends.
For other their best friends may hold the top position.
It’s unique to each person.
However, I think one thing we can universally agree on is that if you are in the friend zone you have some work to do before you can be trusted enough to have powerful conversations that are meaningful enough for your ex to consider you a lover again.
How do you do that?
By doing earning trust via the conversations you have,
Each time you have a conversation with your ex you need to take a look at this scale and slowly move up it until you get to the sharing feelings bit.
Now, some of you may be looking at this scale and wanting a deeper explanation.
I have two recommendation if that’s you.
Do those things and we’ll work to get you out of the friend zone.