As a breakup coach, one of the most common questions my clients will ask me is:
“Should I be friends with my ex?”
On this page, I’ll be answering that question once and for all. In fact, I’ll be explaining several things, including:
- When you should and shouldn’t be friends with an ex
- Whether being friends with your ex can help you get back together
- Why friendly relations can make it harder to get over your ex
- The real reason your ex wants to stay friends after breaking up
- How to safely escape your ex’s “friend zone”
Let’s get started!
Being Friends With Your Ex: Is It A Good Idea?
You’re in the midst of a breakup, and you’re going through a whirlwind of emotions. How will you be able to survive daily life without your ex? You’ve become so accustomed to having them by your side.
And then, out of the blue, your ex says…
“But I still want to be friends.”
‘Great’, you think to yourself. ‘At least I’ll still be able to have my ex around when I’m missing them like crazy. That should help me get through this,’ you say to yourself, nodding in agreement at your ex’s suggestion that you keep the friendship alive.
But is it really such a good idea? Is the “friend zone” a place you want to be?
Probably not, to be perfectly honest.
Being friends with your ex is actually almost always a bad idea and a recipe for additional (and unnecessary) heartache.
I’ll explain why in a moment, but first, let me quickly explain why so many people end up getting stuck in their ex’s “friend zone”…
Why Being Friends Is So Tempting
Here’s the reason so many people get stuck in the “friend zone” after a breakup, and end up suffering the negative consequences: at first, it seems like a great idea.
Your ex is giving you an option that allows you to maintain contact with the person you’ve loved for some time and, in theory, this will allow you to move on gently and slowly without the intense feelings of loneliness that often accompany a breakup.
After all, if you can slowly wean yourself off those romantic feelings rather than going “cold turkey” and shutting down all contact with your ex, isn’t that a better option?
The problem is that even though it often seems like a perfect compromise, being friends usually provides very little comfort and actually makes the process of moving on longer and more difficult – and complicated – than it needs to be.
So even though it may sound like a brilliant idea at first, entering into the “friend zone” with your ex is actually just going to make things more painful and more drawn out.
Scenario #1: You’re Done with Your Ex & Want to Move On
If you’re the one who initiated the breakup, or if you’ve come to realize that a permanent separation from your ex is wise, then being “friends” is unwise for one simple reason: it will cause at least one of you unnecessary emotional turmoil and heartache that can be avoided.
Think about it this way: your relationship is over, and among other things you hope to move on and begin a new love life with someone else. Whether or not that happens immediately doesn’t really change things, because the best way to move on from someone is to completely remove them from your life.
Which of the following options is going to be less painful and less difficult to handle:
- You let your ex go his or her own way and do your best to avoid learning what they are up to, who they’re dating, etc.
- You actively communicate with your ex and constantly remind yourself of what used to be between you. You learn about their new romantic partners, hear about their sexual escapades, etc.
Obviously the former option will make the entire breakup process less painful on an emotional level, and will help you move on more quickly.
By keeping your ex in your life as a friend, you’re basically allowing yourself to constantly be tempted by reminding yourself of the past… and you’re also opening yourself up to potentially painful knowledge about your ex’s new love life.
In other words, if you want to survive the breakup and move on as quickly as possible, entering the “friend zone” with your ex is pretty much always counterproductive.
Scenario #2: You Want To Get Back Together With Your Ex
If the breakup with your ex happened against your will and you’re trying to get back together with them, then “friendship” is even worse.
To begin with, you’ll face all the problems I mentioned above: the experience will be more painful, and it will take longer for you to get over your ex.
To begin with, there are always certain situations where it’s not possible to get your ex back. Thankfully, this isn’t actually very common, and most relationships can be salvaged.
But, some breakups will be permanent, no matter how long or how hard you try to get back together. If you’re unlucky enough to fall into this category, then all you’re achieving by agreeing to be friends with your ex after the breakup is increasing your emotional suffering and making the process of moving on more difficult than it needs to be.
There are a few other huge problems with agreeing to be friends with your ex if you want to win them back:
Problem #1: Being friends won’t give your a chance to develop feelings of nostalgia and to miss you as much as if you aren’t around.
As I explained in my article on how to get your ex back, one of the key ingredients to repairing a relationship is allowing enough time to pass that your ex begins to miss you like crazy.
And how do you make someone miss you? Simple: disappear from their life suddenly and completely, shutting down all lines of communication. By maintaining a friendship with your ex, it’s impossible to really effectively disappear from their radar, and therefore for them miss you.
Problem #2: It gives complete control of the situation to your ex.
Another key to winning back your ex is to make it clear that you are still equals, even if they decided to break up with you. You need to make it known that you’re not a pushover and that if your ex isn’t interested in a romantic relationship, then they’re cut from your life altogether.
Problem #3: By staying friends with your ex, you serve as a “safety net” while they look for someone new.
Do you want to be your ex’s confidante while they tell you about their new lover(s)? Do you want to be the backup quarterback in case things don’t work out with the new romance they’re pursing? Of course not.
You have to make it absolutely clear to your ex that if they choose to break up with you, they’re on their own and they can’t come running back to you if they find the single life less fun than they’d imagined it would be.
By stating in no uncertain terms that you’re not going to be sticking around when your ex decides to bail on your relationship, you’re telling them that you’re not wiling to be their “plan b”; you have dignity and pride and are worth being someone’s “number 1”.
Add these three things together, and the supposed “advantages” to being friends with your ex after a breakup seem much less appealing.
In reality, there really isn’t any scenario in which being friends after a breakup is a good idea.
Saying ‘No’ To Being Friends
If I’ve managed to convince you that being friends with your ex is an awful idea, then you may be wondering how to go about saying ‘no’ to your ex when they suggest friendship after your breakup. That can be especially tricky if you’re looking for a way to win them back and start fresh with your them in the future.
I recommend saying something like:
“I don’t think it’s a good idea for either of us to be friends right now. I was interested in being your [boyfriend/girlfriend] but I don’t really think being friends is going to be good for either of us. No hard feelings, though, and I wish you all the best.”
Saying that makes a clear stand on the issue without slinging any mud or closing the door to a possible future reconciliation.
You want to make sure there’s no ambiguity or confusion over the issue, but you also want to be polite and diplomatic so as not to start any unnecessary conflicts.
Escaping From Your Ex’s Friend Zone
If you’ve already agreed to being friends with your ex and you need help escaping the “friend zone,” you should head over to my website and watch the free video that I’ve posted there. The video will give you some more advice on how to proceed with your ex and how to escape the friend zone (without shutting them out of your life permanently).
Click here to watch my free video now. (I’ve posted one version for men, and one for women… just click the button to select your gender, and you’ll be able to watch the full how-to video for free.)
Generally speaking, you want to quickly but subtly reduce the amount of time you spend with your ex (including calls and texts) to zero. For most people, you won’t need more than 1-2 weeks to achieve this, but you also want to be careful not to upset your ex or look suspicious when doing so.
Accidentally Being “Friendzoned”
Sometimes, you may find yourself already friends with your ex, even though there weren’t any explicit discussions about it.
Perhaps you and your ex simply kept speaking daily after you broke up, and you feared the idea of losing them completely, so you always replied to his or her texts and agreed when they suggested hanging out.
If that’s the case for you, and you can see that you’ve clearly become ‘friends’ since your breakup even though you never actually spoke about it, then it’s time to begin backing out of that situation.
You can’t rush it, because moving too quickly will set off alarm bells in your ex’s mind.
Begin by taking longer to reply to their messages, and start being “too busy” to hang out when your ex wants to get together. Make sure you “already have plans with a friend” if your ex proposes doing something together, and don’t be afraid to ignore their calls once in a while.
Maximize Your Odds Of Getting Back Together
It’s often difficult to handle your ex when they want to be friends and you want to be lovers, and you need to tread carefully. That’s why I dedicated an entire section of my #1 best-selling guide to getting your ex back, The Ex Factor, to this topic.
Click here to claim your copy of my comprehensive program (which is backed by a 60-day money-back guarantee) and learn more about the proven tactics that over 100,000 of my clients have used to get a fresh start with their ex.
Best of luck avoiding the dreaded “friend zone”! I welcome any questions or comments, so please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section at the bottom of this page.