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,

  1. Why your ex wants to be friends
  2. If staying friends with your ex will actually work
  3. 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.

Let’s begin!

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,

  1. Emotional Support
  2. Physical Support
  3. 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.

  1. Sometimes It Can Work So Long As Rules Are Redefined
  2. In Most Cases It Won’t Work If You Are Looking To Get Back Together
  3. 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.

Why?

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.

  1. Read my book
  2. Then read this article

Do those things and we’ll work to get you out of the friend zone.

21 thoughts on “My Ex Wants To Be Friends”

  1. Avatar

    Jane

    May 9, 2019 at 1:40 pm

    Hi, Thanks for this and all your helpful articles 🙂

    My ex and I were together for 4 months and broke up just over a month ago. I think he felt that I was not paying him enough attention. Things started to fall apart when I caught him sexting a former FWB. He admitted that he had kept in touch with her throughout our relationship, and met up with her a few times, supposedly as friends. He appeared very remorseful so after about a week I forgave him, but then he said he was no longer sure about our relationship. He said he wanted to give things another try with his ex (a different person to the one he was sexting). So we broke up and I did 30 days NC. He contacted me once during NC. I texted him for the first time after NC last week and he was pleased to hear from me. However he explained that although things hadn’t worked out with his ex, he is now dating the girl he was sexting! I played it cool and said I wished them the best. He also asked if I have a new boyfriend and complimented me by saying I am kind hearted, so at least still seemed somewhat interested.

    I am not sure what to do now. I am trying to get over the breakup and move on but I really miss him and would like to keep the door open to getting back together. I am thinking about going back into NC for another 2-4 weeks to give them time to get out of the honeymoon period. And then after that trying the Being There Method. I think there is a fair chance that things won’t work out with the new girl, and I can see Being There working with him, as he can’t stand being on his own and will want a new person lined up if he leaves her… What do you think of this plan? Any other suggestions?

    Thanks, Jane

    1. Chris Seiter

      Chris Seiter

      May 9, 2019 at 9:18 pm

      I agree that No Contact would be the right medicine for this situation.

  2. Avatar

    Jay

    May 3, 2019 at 1:58 pm

    My ex left me after 12 years love in sudden matter which I screwed up caused stucked on a my msg to her which seen by her sister and her sis asked me to leave her .This is second time problem came.First time problem came her the family repot police.Even my gl punish me being support to her family.She broke my heart with wrds and after 3 days she cried and tell Im sorry for talked in hurt that her family pushed her.After that incident I saw a fb of hers in sudden that she had affair with other guy kind.I shocked.I suspected did their family setup all this to make me forget her.This happend after first problem and that time I was gaved her gap kind a year back and that time she got told me she involved in big trouble been in loneliness without me.But I was all there fr her n she told she gt bp due to that loneliness without me.Swear God i nver hv left her even a day I kept called her tge problem came wgen another gl came in m8ddle and screwed all to crrate problem between us.The truth my gl believed all the gl setup .I was only true to my gl bt that gl talked all kies abt me to make my gl hates me.As I found that I broke my frendship with that gl..Since than even my gl don too much interest on me bt still she talks to me crazily but only when cm to love she will deny that she don like love.Someone changed my gl brain and I suprised after first incident and she changed drasitacally.Than after her sister gt married 2 years later and the bride guy family relative get in.I suspected there.Than second time problem came I came to found out that her younger sis told me that my gl don loves me she was pretend this long and so much lies all that she just been a fren only this long and all she did was a lies just to tc me…I don understand my gl have talked so possive on me secretly this long in scared to her family she cl privately so her family never knws or create problems to us again and at sudden how could she did to me like this as second time problem cms sge totally changed..At first time problem she waver and she support me and calls back cry to me on 3rd day after her family stole her phn and this go on so many years with secret when she strt cl pvt after that..Before second time problem came she gt told me dont msg her sister as her family don likes me talk to my gl.Till one day I msgd her and i screwed up all as her sister saw our msgs n insult me that I was still harrasing my gl kind they thinking this long but they dono my gl still talked this long to me n her sis told that my gl the one launched repot on me bt to me my gl said before that her fmly the one launched repot n she is protecting me from not caught.As I called my gl fr last time and told her sister talking bad on msg to me at that time of my gl asked me don stress don cry that she will talked to her sister settle it fr being rude in msg.Thats it and after she kept 2 hours than she called me and talked so diferent scold me and kept phn.Her sister told her bf have broke her sim.Thats last I talked to my gl.Her sis msgd in rude way that my gl don likes me, she had enough torcher n hopping me to dead this long so she will live happily.Im ftm guy.She did all for me been so possive this long 12 years and never hv missed a cl or never hv stayed without calling me even once.She pick up sudden in one cl wait to talk to me in this all 12years.She been damn crazy for me even so much bruises on her hand for me and if I kept phn in anger she berg n torcher me to pick up and cries like hell in msg n call even she call direct to my dad ask me to answer before all.She will torcher would suicide if I ever kept.I hv test her even in lies that I not interest to talk.A small sign if I show I m avoiding her she will scared and at sudden her voice will becm panic going into tears and scary motion that she fear that she will lost me.She call me every hours of day.And today at sudden after hpnd as this??. She left me after her last call that day She dont even care.She suddenly left me posting fr 2 weeks as she is happy and going on happy on jobs and living happy posting in sexy working dress and makeup??.Im so shocked to ground n brokened like hell.Is she doing this all to make me hate her??.Even she had so many guys as frends and so much comments.Those guys are same her fb frens on 2014 i caught on the fb I mentioned earlier.All stay in her place include I saw her family members in her fb too .God swear she is nt at all that kind of gl.She is homely n she was damn innocent to me, devoted person and hates boys perverts all she damn true only to me.She very much gets anger even a little I pork her abt other guys.She will get that much anger and told she not been raised as that.She dressup low profile very polite and slow and silence.Man,Im getting so nuts to explain here. I thought shes only gl in this world good gl.She took care me as baby and did all for me even how much our relationship been trbl in house still she secretly will call back and ask apologise for being rude once she talked rude in front her family to me in phn press by them.Now how a gl that been so true and promised to me crazy of me that much cried how could left me now without mercy??.Im so confused hell.Last in her msg she sent on her sister messenger a voice note told she never liked me and she have suffered alot cz of me and her sister sent that asked her after I said I want talk to her.Thats last msg of her.Is this her family taught her to talk so?? .But in voice note it sounds someone there bt im so confused if she realy care she would have called me right??. To me sge said she has no high gadget phn .How cm on insta she post damn clear hd pics and videos she is working..When i break truth to her sister at time before her sis msgd on day the problem came I told her sis that what u say is wrg cz my gl still call n talks to me till today .That time I caught her sis told that if she did that than would she knew what will hpnd to her studies.Is she be threatened by family cz my gl.weakness is her studies.??.She crazy of her studies and have high ambition.Even the sis blabered that her dad ask her to msg as that and in another my gl asked msg as that kind in one conversation.Its 2 months ready after she brokeup.She never call not even care when I came to suicide.No any cl to care me also.Not even one wrds.But after 2 months I saw there is a guy comment her on insta as anomously telling I love u baby.Is this she doing this to make me jealous or her sign to me??.But I found this guy msgd her in sayat 4 times.First she replied as fren.The 4th msg i found he told I love you baby and no msg from her replied that.But I found just yday she got write one bio in her insta exact as my bio how I write.I said I love fitness travel and my job with same icon and she too wrote same thing with same icon n loves law her study travel and fitness.Can anyone clear me..I want answer from other gls cz only gls knew abt another gls.Please tell me whats hpng actually with my gl.I will be so thankfull for ur answers.Im so confused with her attitude.My story is the most confusing love story.Sorry for my long explanatiins.Im so confused and now Im living my life single ever in her memories cz she was my true love and last.Tq

  3. Avatar

    Mona

    April 25, 2019 at 5:36 pm

    Dear Chris,

    My ex and I broke up two months ago. I started NC and finished it. We started texting again and sometimes hanging out with our mutual friends since two weeks ago. Everything seems going well. I try to take things slow and build up attraction again. He is really nice and friendly. But I couldn’t tell if he wants me back or is just treating me as a friend. I’ll be very thankful if you can give me some tips about how to differentiate the situation. Thanks a lot!!

    1. Chris Seiter

      Chris Seiter

      April 25, 2019 at 10:18 pm

      Hi Mona…just keep progressing in a slow manner. So long as you are creating little positive moments and memories and allowing them to accumulate over time, you are moving down the right path. It will eventually become more evident what he wants form the relationship, but try not to analyze too much right now

  4. Avatar

    Cookie

    November 24, 2018 at 6:23 am

    My ex broke up with me on the 11th November, rememberence day (won’t forget that date will I)
    We were LDR and had finally met in September after 2 years. (me in England him in Italy) I lost my cat who was my best friend the day before Halloween and was pretty depressed, may have made me sound suicidal. But he broke up with me because I was repeating history by threatening suicide like his first ex, which I wasn’t. But he basically was playing the victim card on me blaming me for the relationship hitting south after we met irl… He was also dumping me for a girl in Italy who had been dropping hints for the past 6 months and confessed to him 2 days before he dumped me. He then asked to be friends (I flipped and told him to f*** off) which my mum told me to apologise for swearing, and after I did I started NC, well nearly on the 3rd week and nothing from him… Been hitting the gym and planning to get a new cat. Should I even bother to try being friends again and work back to getting him or is he a lost cause for what he’s done?

  5. Avatar

    Mal

    October 3, 2018 at 6:16 pm

    hi Chris just a quick question so my ex and i reconnected in August after i did a month of NC (2nd NC) after he told me he was not interested in dating me. we have been meeting up quite a bit lately in the last 2 weeks or so..about once or twice a week mainly going to the gym together with some dinners as well. it’s been confusing because he has been outrageously flirting with a lot of sexual innuendo but on the other hand he tells me about his sexual exploits with other women after me and also mentions sources of tension that women he is dating. each time I try to change the subject as quickly as possible. he also called himself the other day as the idiot i once dated to which i just laughed and said yea just a bit of an idiot. when i told him that I was the happiest ive ever been with or without a man he kept insisting that I eventually will need a relationship. it’s totally baffling me because I’m trying to do the being there method but it’s hard when he keeps doing this. any advice?

    1. Chris Seiter

      Chris Seiter

      October 5, 2018 at 2:27 am

      Hi Mai!

      Guys can be baffling! If he is acting rudely or insensitively, you can ask him to stop and then cease communicating if he doesn’t

  6. Avatar

    Fenya

    September 30, 2018 at 1:58 pm

    Hi again Chris.

    He hasn’t asked for space, but said he would give me space if I needed it. He wants to be friends. But then again, he hasn’t contacted me. So am I still on the right course on the NC?

    1. Chris Seiter

      Chris Seiter

      September 30, 2018 at 4:26 pm

      I think so Fenya. This business about just being a friend might suggest he really doesn’t know what he wants yet and that is where NC can help.

  7. Avatar

    Miss Sasparilla

    September 29, 2018 at 7:06 pm

    Me again! Just wanted to add that this guy drives two hours to come and see me as we live in different cities. We’re both in our early 40’s, and get on so well but when we broke up he said he felt no passion for me. I don’t think I’m unattractive, I have a few admirers… I’m thinking if he could see me in a new light it might help. I know he’s on a dating site so he’s trying to meet women but still comes over to hang out with me and hugs me all the time and touches my arm when he talks to me. I don’t want anyone else Chris, help!

    1. Chris Seiter

      Chris Seiter

      September 30, 2018 at 5:36 am

      Honestly, you will get so much more out of my 485 page eBook (Pro), than you will here in this forum as I am stretched so thin!

  8. Avatar

    Amy

    September 29, 2018 at 8:18 am

    Hey Chris,
    I successfully did NC for 2 months, initiated contact twice both had positive results although second time he stopped replying as a means of ending the convo first (he beat me) I have this strange feeling that he was following a similar guide. I ended the relationship of 1.2 years, he is 23 and I’m 26 and it was a drama free break up – I was unhappy because he wasn’t standing up to his parents for us and realised that maybe he didn’t want to..
    Anyway saw him in person at an event and he was so friendly gave me a long hug and kiss on the cheek asking how I was.
    A week later I messaged suggesting a meet up for coffee and walk in his favourite park. He very keenly agreed even suggested that night but I wanted time to prepare so I said Saturday instead. He didn’t reply to confirm until Friday 2am (2 days later). So today we saw eachother and got along pretty quickly because we started out as friends and have same mutual group of friends etc. He turned coffee into a sit down brunch then a walk in the park. During this walk we discussed our situation and I explained all the wonderful things ive done during our break but how although I don’t need him in my life I still realised after this time how I want to be with him. He told me during this time he hadn’t really had the chance to think about it and wasn’t sure what he wanted admitting that he was very confused when we broke up because there were many people influencing him. He said he cared about me alot and does miss me but he has so much going on so can’t think about us. So we agreed to be friends, but I said to him that if we do go back to friends I am moving on and not looking back again so I will take any opportunity that comes my way. He said I don’t ever want to see you upset because i can’t step up so I don’t want to hold you back from moving on either. It was the most bittersweet date, I stayed strong until i was alone again. Chris, is this it? Is friends all we will ever be? Is there something I can do or is it all based on pure fate now 🙁 I am so heart broken.

    1. Chris Seiter

      Chris Seiter

      September 30, 2018 at 5:38 am

      Hi Amy!

      Ummmm. I don;t believe in fate. I think its better to have a plan and try to influence the future. Take a look at my program and decide if you want to invest in it to help yourself!

  9. Avatar

    Miss Sasparilla

    September 29, 2018 at 3:53 am

    Thank you so much for replying!
    Yeah I agree he wants it all his own way. I’ve been hoping that he’s been visiting and making himself useful around the house because he misses me. His behaviour really confuses me. The last time he visited he was looking around my bedroom when I was busy in the kitchen and commenting on a few new lamps and things that I’d put in there. I was thinking maybe he was looking for evidence of another man in my life! He always stays for hours and seems happy to spend time with me but I’ll have to accept that doesn’t mean he wants to try again at being in a relationship. Men are really strange Chris, I can’t figure them out!

    1. Chris Seiter

      Chris Seiter

      September 29, 2018 at 4:03 am

      Hello again Miss S!

      That’s a good guess. A little jealousy can go long ways. I know. I know. Men are stupid strange sometimes. But us guys think women are strange and can’t figure them out….the way they think and process things! Just know, inside every guy is the desire to chase and to be aroused. There is leverage there. Acting coy and friendly, but just out of their reach makes attracts the guy. And many men like it when there ego is stroked but not in an obvious way. Makes them feel valued and they will gravitate to that.

  10. Avatar

    Fenya

    September 28, 2018 at 11:18 am

    Hi Chris,

    My ex broke up because of long distance and because he thinks he can’t be here for me and can’t make me happy. We didn’t really have any drama in our relationship, it was very mature and loving. So we ended on good terms even though I didn’t agree to his decision. He wanted to stay friends, and we had a bit contact 3 weeks after the break up, but I started no contact (without warning him). He had birthday the day after I initiated no contact – I don’t know if that’s the right decision not to wish him happy birthday. Anyway, am I doing this right? Is no contact the right thing? When he broke up he said he understood if I needed space, which I didn’t really respond to. So I’m not sure if the reason he doesn’t contact me is because he thinks I’m a bitch for not wishing him a happy birthday, or because he figured out I need space. So should I just stay in no contact?

    1. Chris Seiter

      Chris Seiter

      September 29, 2018 at 3:52 am

      Hi Fenya!

      If he is asking for space, then yes, NC is the right medicine. But practice and do the things I teach in my program so you can get the most out of it.

    2. Chris Seiter

      Chris Seiter

      September 29, 2018 at 3:52 am

      Hi Fenya!

      If he is asking for space, then yes, NC is the right medicine. But practice and do the things I teach in my program so you can get the most out of it.

  11. Avatar

    Miss Sasparilla

    September 27, 2018 at 5:12 am

    Hi Chris!
    My ex cheated and we broke up a year ago. We’d been together for two years and had lived together for five months. After the break up we didn’t speak for a couple of months but then I initiated contact and
    after messaging for a while we met up. Since then we’ve had friendly meet ups and days out about once a month, and he is really into giving me big hugs! Seems so pleased to see me! After a really amazing day out recently I went to kiss him and he kissed me back. He then went cold on me the next day and said we couldn’t hang out anymore if I wanted to be more than friends…
    Jump forward and after six weeks of not meeting up he’s been back to visit me the last two weekends and mentions ideas for future meet ups. How do I get the hell out of this friend zone?

    1. Chris Seiter

      Chris Seiter

      September 28, 2018 at 3:07 am

      Hello Miss!

      Quite a name you have there!

      So this ex of yours doesn’t seem to have his head screwed on right. He seems to want everything his way. But relationships that are successful don’t work that way. I think you consider telling him this off/on is not for you and if he wants your friendship and love, he needs to be steady. You have already been thru enough with this one. You have many other paths you can walk in life and find what you want.

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