“My ex wants to be friends. What should I do?”
This is a question I get asked a lot.
It’s very comforting when after a breakup, friends and family come to you and say “I heard about the breakup…” and before they can even get another word in or ask you how you’re doing, you immediately reply “It’s okay. We’re still going to be friends.”
It’s like saying “Yeah, I know I was in the hospital, got awful food poisoning, almost died from eating sushi and crapped blood for 2 days straight, but it’s okay!! I’m going to try to just have a taste of sushi tonight. Just as an appetizer! No need to worry about me. I’m fine!”
I think that there are a lot of reasons why we hope for and work toward maintaining a friendship with our ex immediately following a breakup (no matter how poorly they treated us).
We don’t want to come across as weak, we don’t want to come across and immature and we’re not quite ready to completely cut everything off. It’s scary and it’s painful. We miss them and we would rather have them as a “friend,” than be alone and feel abandoned, again.
I felt pressure to be friends with exes in the past because I had a serious case of the disease to please. It was also very hard for me to say no. Being friends with an ex (especially an ex that consistently used and disrespected you), immediately following a breakup is impossible. Seriously. You need some emotional and physical distance.
No matter how much you miss him or how much you want to keep communicating with your ex, you need time right now.
If you agree to be friends with your ex, it translates to him that he must not be THAT bad of a person because if he were really THAT bad and if he treated you THAT poorly, there’s no way you would acknowledge him, let alone be so eager to maintain a “friendship.”
So, by you accepting his “friendship,” he doesn’t get to experience any consequences for what he did and what he put you through. You guys are “friends!”
You being friends with an ex who consistently disrespected and hurt you, translates to him/her that you don’t have any love for yourself. It also communicates that you have a serious lack of boundaries & self-love.
He will never see it as “Wow, she’s so mature! She’s so strong. She can be my friend after all I put her through. I lost a really good thing.” He will just know he got away with it. Do you want to be the one that got away? Cut him off. Don’t play the happy-fakey-friendship game.
If you treat someone like sh*t in a relationship, they’re not going to want to be your friend after the breakup. And it’s common sense that if you were with someone who was unable to treat you with respect as a romantic partner, they’re not going to be that awesome of a “friend.”
Why set aside your value just to engage with someone that can’t even see their own?
Often times, they will make you feel like you’re not being “mature” if you don’t want to be friends.
There is nothing weak or immature about having boundaries and you should never feel guilty.
What IS weak and immature, is trying to grow a rose garden out of weeds. This is what trying to be friends with your ex following a breakup is.
So whenever you are faced with “My ex wants to be friends. Should I stay friends with my ex?” Make sure that you are being a good friend to yourself first.
+ If you need further and more personalized help with your breakup, please look into working with me here.