Myself, and countless numbers of my friends have had this dilemma, and really, the short answer is just “No!” You can never really be friends with an ex, especially not immediately after you break up. Which is always when the notion seems to pop into people’s heads. It will just never work, and here are the top five reasons why.
1 You were never really friends before, so you can’t go back to being friends
Most men will only initiate a friendship with you in the hope of getting closer to you so they can win you over and ultimately, become you’re boyfriend, or at least sleep with you. It’s as simple as that, men are not complicated. So it doesn’t matter how long you were “friends” before, he has always wanted to go out with you, even if you saw him as just a friend, he’s always been waiting in the wings for you.
Breaking up with him but staying friends, just makes him think “oh that’s ok, I’m a sub on the bench”. “Just need to wait until I’m needed, and then we’ll get back together”. It’s kinder to just let him go.
2 You can’t staunch guilt with friendship.
Sometimes when people break up they will say “But I still want to be friends with you”. They don’t really. They are just doing this out of guilt. They feel guilty for breaking you with you, because they can see you are hurt. Nobody wants to hurt the other person, it’s just that this is the inevitability of breaking up with someone.
This is when you will start getting the “how are you”? “What are you up to”? “Mabey we could meet for coffee some time”? texts. This doesn’t mean they are interested in getting back with you. If they still wanted to be your boyfriend, they wouldn’t have broken up with you. This is just guilt. They secretly want to hear that you are fine, so they don’t have to feel guilty about breaking up with you anymore. They may even feel that if they take you out, that they are helping to cheer you up.
This will not cheer you up, and this approach is not helpful. Leave the task of cheering you up to your friends. At least you won’t get confused about their motivation to hang out with you.
3 You will just get back together – then break up a month later
Sometimes people try friendship, but they just end up getting back together because they don’t know how to relate to each other as friends. But, unfortunately, you broke up for a reason. That reason is still there, and getting back together will just be short lived, probably less than a month, and then you will just break up again. Just let them go. If you guys were really meant to be, you wouldn’t have broken up. Truly being in love means obstacles are not obstacles. Even if he was moving to mars or something, and couldn’t get you a visa, if you were really in love this wouldn’t matter.
4 – Future partners will have issues with it
If for some selfish reason you keep your ex waiting in the wings, or worse still, you’re unwittingly being kept in the wings, and you get into a new relationship, your boyfriend will smell a rat and have a problem with it – obviously.
They will wonder are you a bit of a sadist keeping your ex waiting in the wings like this. They will wonder are you going to do this to them when you break up. They will wonder why you need a boyfriend in reserve if you have them. Then they will get jealous, afraid that every argument you have will be an opportunity for this guy to get in there with you.
Or they may feel like they are just a rebound guy to you. That you are just with them because you don’t like being single, but if your ex said the word you would get back with them in an instant, because you are the one being kept in reserve by your ex. No one wants to feel like this, so unless you current boyfriend is spectacularly indifferent, you will eventually find yourself served with an ultimatum – me or him.
5 Sometimes “let’s be friends” just means “no hard feelings”
Sad but true. Some people are glad to see the back of their ex. But they don’t want to look bad, so they say the standard line “I hope we can still be friends”. They have no intention of watching Downton Abbey with you, or of listening to your hopes and dreams. They are however, hoping to avoid death stares from your friends when they are on the bus.