Should You Stay Friends With Your Ex (If You Want Them Back)?
You miss your ex, don’t you?
I get it. They were the most important person in your life.
You spent all your time together and you feel lost without them around.
“If I can’t have them at least they can still be my friend.”
And deep down you’re also thinking
“Maybe if we stay friends then they’ll start to miss me and want me back.”
Good idea, right?
It’s tempting to think that by being around your ex and having fun together you’re moving towards a relationship. But you’re really doing the opposite.
You’re actually hurting your chances of ever getting them back.
7 Reasons Why Being Friends With Your Ex Is A BAD Idea
1. You’re not giving them a chance to miss you.
You can’t miss someone when they’re still hanging around. Your ex gets to have their cake and eat it too. And in this scenario, you’re the cake.
Do you miss the sun in the middle of July? No, but when it burns out and brings on a nuclear winter, I bet you will.
You need to make your ex feel your absence. When you’re actually gone they’ll have plenty of time to think about how great you are and realize that they screwed up by letting you go.
2. You’re actually helping them get over you
Being friends with your ex is like vaping.
If you’re a hardcore 3 pack a day smoker, you’d probably find it almost impossible to quit cold turkey. To stop the cravings and painful withdrawal, you might use a nicotine patch or a vaporizer to slowly wean yourself off the tobacco (and look super cool doing it).
If you’re still letting your ex be your friend after they dumped you, you’re literally weaning them off of you bit by bit.
They don’t have to continue to be your partner to enjoy your company and all the good things you bring into their life AND they can date other people to get fulfillment that way.
Don’t be their emotional vape. You’ll just end up alone, smelling like weird fake cherry.
3. You’re taking a step backwards
This one is obvious.
It may feel like going from exes to friends is a step forward but remember, you used to be a couple. Like just two months ago (or however long) you were in love, looking into each other’s eyes, and getting down on each other until the break of dawn.
Remember how you’d cuddle as you fell asleep and wake up next to each other in bed? How does that compare to the last time you hung out and watched some terrible Marvel movie in theatres?
Not the same, right?
Going from bf and gf to friends is a serious step backwards in your relationship and you don’t want that.
They need to know that you’re not interested in them as just a friend. You want it all or nothing at all.
You’ll never get what you want if you don’t ask for it and by continuing to be their friend, you’re telling them that this is what you want.
4. You’re letting them get away with it
If your dog took a dump on the carpet and you responded by giving it a treat, would it stop? Hell no.
Your ex isn’t a dog, I hope. But the same is true for bankers, kidnappers, and exes. You can’t negotiate and you have to be merciless.
If your response to being dumped is friendship, they’ll never learn that dumping you was a bad choice. You’ve given them a positive response to a negative action.
You shouldn’t punish your ex, but you also shouldn’t reward them for hurting you. This isn’t 50 shades.
That means don’t be their shoulder to cry on, don’t drive them to the airport, and if you’re still sleeping with them, you’ve gotta stop.
Your friendship is a gift and people who dump you don’t deserve it.
5. You’re making them see you as Just a Friend
I’m not a big believer in the “Friend Zone.” I think being friends is usually great but in this case, it’s a no no. Now that you’ve transitioned to just friends they’re seeing a new side of you. Whereas before they saw you as a lover and a partner, now they’re seeing just friend.
The more they just see you pretending to be their buddy, the more they’ll associate you with friendship.
This can make your relationship fade into a distant memory even faster than if you were apart.
You’re replacing sexy couple memories with friend memories.
6. They don’t feel the same way
You two are in different places. They may actually want to be friends, or maybe they just want to move on from you without losing you. You want them back.
You can’t have a good friendship when you two want such different things. It’s not possible for both of you to get what you want and that’s the hallmark of a bad time for both of you.
You may be having fun now but you’ll just end up feeling bad about yourself and resenting them and your ex will end up feeling weird about making you feel bad and about being pressured to change their feelings. It’s a lose-lose.
7. You’re not really friends
Have you noticed that every time you hangout with your “friend” it’s one on one?
That’s because none of your real friends want to be around this sad state of affairs.
You make people uncomfortable because they know you’re just pretending to be friends with each other when really you’re just trying to avoid letting go.
You’re friends like Kanye and Taylor Swift are friends: you may take a selfie together at award shows but literally everyone is talking shit about you behind your back.
This is time you could be spending with your real friends. You know, the ones who didn’t just reject you romantically and leave you on the floor eating a tub of ice cream in your sweatpants.A Better Way To Get Them Back
Now that we’ve established that friendship isn’t going to get your ex back, what should you do?
1. No Contact
No contact should be your mantra right now.
You need to cut off all contact with your ex for at least a month. Even longer if you dated for a really long time and your breakup was particularly bad.
This means no hangouts, no phone calls, no texts. Don’t even like their instagram posts.
This time off is crucial for getting your ex to come back to you.
First, it gives you the chance to heal. If you went from a relationship right into being friends, you didn’t have a chance to properly get over the relationship.
This time will help you get your mind right, get yourself together emotionally and by doing so, be a more attractive option for your ex after this period is over.
Next, it means you won’t drunk text them at 4 a.m. like an idiot and ruin your second chance before it starts.
You won’t fall into begging and pleading with them to come back and you will just generally have more self respect.
And most importantly this time will give them a chance to miss you. This absence will have them thinking about what they lost when they dumped you.
2. Establish boundaries
If you’re already friends with your ex (whoops!) or you’re still texting all the time, you need to cut it off. Don’t be mean about it but be clear and firm.
Depending on what the situation is you can either tell them you still have feelings and you want them back, or that it’s too hard to move on when you’re still seeing them all the time.
This will make it clear to them what’s at stake. They can’t keep playing with you and expect you to just hang around and keep them company while they look for someone new.
Don’t be a consolation prize!
Lots of people find that after a month apart they’ve moved on and they no longer even want their ex back.
If you still do, you’ll need to contact them to talk and then set up a meeting. Make sure you aren’t “hanging out” but either going on a proper date or sitting down to catch up like real adults.
Coffee can be a great choice for this first meeting. Keep it short and don’t be too buddy-buddy.
The primary purpose here is to remind them you’re around and re-establish yourself as a potential romantic partner.
Let’s get real here for one minute: At the start of this article, I said that your ex was the most important person in your life. That was a lie.
Your ex isn’t the most important person in your life. You are.
You are capable of happiness without them. You need to look at this relationship honestly and decide if it’s worth all this time, effort, and potential heartbreak.
If not, walk away, and find someone new or just get to know yourself
If you decide it is worth it, then congratulations. You must have found someone really special.