Okay, let’s be clear here: wondering how to be friends with your ex after a breakup doesn’t necessarily mean you want to get back together. Sure, being friends might make it easier to be a couple again. However, if you genuinely want to be friends with your ex, you should have only friendship in mind (at least at first). Worry about the other stuff later.
Whether she wants to be friends after a breakup or you genuinely still want her in your life, this is the guide for you. We’ll teach you the 10 steps for how you can be friends with your ex without making things awkward or combative.
She Wants to Be Friends After the Breakup
Okay, so let’s say you’re okay with not being in contact with your ex anymore. That’s normal. But what if she’s the one who wants to stay friends with you. Does it seem bitter to say no? Or should you say yes so you won’t hurt her feelings?
The first thing to do is to ask yourself whether you’re ready to be friends with your ex-girlfriend. Does the idea of being just friends excite you? Or does the reality of seeing but not being with her sound painful? How about the very possible scenario where you see her with another guy?
You might also want to ask yourself “why does my ex-girlfriend want to be friends?” What is she getting out of it?
Yes, it’s true she might be proposing a friendship to test the waters for getting back together. But you need to make this decision assuming that she has no intention of being intimate with you again.
You can go ahead and ask her why she wants to be friends too.
If you feel ready to continue being friends with your ex-girlfriend, go ahead and tell her that. Just set clear boundaries between the two of you, as explained above.
If it still feels too painful to see your ex-girlfriend on a non-romantic basis, do not hesitate to tell her that. It’s not weak for you to do this. If she has any emotional intelligence at all, she’ll understand your decision.
Also, if she was using friendship to mask her attempts to get back together, she’ll have no choice but to admit it at this point.
My Ex-Girlfriend Dumped Me But Wants to Be Friends
The advice above applies whether you dumped her or if she dumped you. However, if your ex-girlfriend dumped you and now wants to be friends, you need to take an extra-close and sincere look at your heart.
In this situation, it’s common that you’ll try to trick yourself into believing it’s OK to be friends with your ex when you’re actually desperate to get back together with her. On top of that, if you feel a little twinge of vindictiveness in there, you might want to be friends with her again to exact revenge on her for breaking up with you. Neither approach is healthy, and it's a clear sign that you're still reeling from the breakup.
Do not accept her offer of friendship if your heart is still hurting! This will only lead to a ton of emotional complications later on. It’s much better to be honest about how you feel and tell her you’re not ready.
How to Be Friends with Your Ex After Your Breakup
Of the relationships I’ve been in over the years, I’m still friends with every single one of those women. In today’s article, I’m going to cover the things I do to make this possible each time, even with women who told me they aren’t friends with any of their previous partners.
A lot of it is about being in the right headspace: having the confidence to move forward alone before approaching a friendship with her.
Confidence can be a difficult thing for a lot of us but it’s something we should all work toward. If it’s a particularly weak point for you, do yourself a favor and take a look at our online dating course. Led by dating expert Hayley Quinn, it covers everything from improving your self-confidence to learning how to find, approach and attract women.
Once you’ve improved your confidence, it’s time to dive into the specifics of how to be friends with your ex.
Get yourself to a place where you’re okay with the relationship
It’s normal to go through a low period when you break up with a girl and after the breakup. Whether you’re bitter, upset or just plain sad, give yourself the time to work through this. It’s okay to have these feelings, just make sure you’re out the other side before you try for a friendship.
There are two reasons for this. Firstly, when you’re in this low period, you’re far from the best version of yourself. There’ll be undertones of sadness or negativity that just aren’t pleasant to be around.
Second, your motivations could be all wrong. More about that in my next point.
So, to start things off right, take some time to work on yourself. Cut contact with her for a while if you need to. This is one of the hardest things to do, especially if you broke up with someone you lived with. Once you feel like you’re genuinely over the breakup, you’re good to start working on the friendship.
Do it for the right reasons
Don’t allow yourself to look at being "friends" as a doorway to mending your relationship with her. It will just take you longer to get over the breakup. Instead, do it because you care about her and still want her in your life.
To be successful in learning how to be friends with an ex you need to be okay with being just friends. This is not the time to make your ex fall in love with you again.
If you only want it to serve ulterior motives, this will become apparent at one point or another. You aren’t sincerely happy just being her friend and this will present more struggles than any friendship can handle.
For example, think about the first time she mentions dating someone else. What about the first time you see an Instagram photo of her and her new boyfriend? Ouch.
How to be friends with your ex: begin with a text
Once you’re ready to start building a friendship, reach out to her in text. It gives you both the ability to think things through before responding. Text communication also means you’re asking less from her initially. If you can't stop thinking about your ex, this is the way to go.
Unlike a phone call or sitting down face to face, she can reply when she’s ready and available. This lowers the pressure of the situation overall and allows for a more constructive back-and-forth.
Keep your communication positive and constructive
You may still be feeling some sadness around the breakup and that’s okay. Until you’ve established a friendship with your ex though, it’s best to avoid bringing that negativity up. You don't want to jump right into talking about when you broke up and why.
You want the conversation to be light, fun and playful. Talking to you should be something she looks forward to. The better she feels about talking to you, the easier the transition will be.
Don’t boast about how great things are for you now
Whether it’s true or an attempt to make her jealous, don’t spend your conversation telling her things are amazing. Positive and confident is great, but suggesting you’ve never been happier is not a good way to start.
Regardless of who ended the relationship, things will be tough for her too. She’s also lost someone she cared about and is still coming to terms with it. Putting forward an image of you being happier than ever without her is going to hurt.
If she’s already uncertain about staying friends with you, those feelings of pain and jealousy could be enough to put her off.
If text communication is going well, arrange a quick meetup
If you’re feeling good about how the two of you are communicating, it’s time for the next step in learning how to be friends with your ex. Suggest that you catch up for a brief period of time to do something casual.
Maybe a quick coffee or lunch somewhere relaxed. Think of it as testing the waters on this next step -- avoid alcohol or a late-night meetup. Instead, keep it very low-key and put a time limit on it.
If you need to, make plans for afterward so you aren’t tempted to stay. Things are still delicate at this early stage and long meetups lead to “real” conversations. Your brand new friendship just isn’t ready for that yet.
Start spending time around each other in a group setting
Meet up with her one on one a couple of times to make sure things are going okay. If you’re both feeling good about it, the next step is some normal social interaction with others. The type of things you’d do with your other friends.
Arrange a gathering and invite her along too. In this environment, drinks are totally fine. The idea here is to take your first real step into hanging out as regular friends. You’re spending time together but have other friends around to break things up a little.
Pay close attention to how this makes you feel. Some discomfort is normal -- this is completely different to how things were just weeks or months ago. If you’re feeling way out of your comfort zone though, it’s okay to dial it back. Slow things down and try again when you’re ready.
Likewise, keep an eye on her body language and see if she looks okay with everything. If you’re unsure, go ahead and ask her. If you aren’t both on the same page yet, don’t force it.
Focus particularly on how it makes you feel if you see your ex-girlfriend getting along with another guy in this group setting. Does it hurt your ego or are you completely fine with it? This will tell you a lot about how ready you are to have a friendship with your ex.
On a similar note, does your mind wander to what your ex might think if she spots you flirting with another woman. If so, that’s another sign that you might not be as ready for a friendship as you thought.
Set clear boundaries and stick to them
Once you’re at a point where you can be around each other in that group environment too, you’re almost there.
Over time, it’ll start to feel more stable and comfortable for you both. This is a great thing but it also introduces new risks. If you’re still attracted to each other, spending too much time together can lead back to feelings of a relationship.
If that’s what you both want then, by all means, go for it. If you’re just trying to figure out how to be friends with your ex-girlfriend though, be very wary.
Communicate with each other to set clear boundaries for this friendship. These boundaries should include things like no daily texting, no asking where the other person has been or who they were with, etc.
You aren’t in a relationship with her anymore, so it’s important that you don’t act like it.
Start taking an interest in her life
Whether you like it or not, at some point she’s going to move on with her life. You can still be friends of course, but things might change for her. She could take up new sports or hobbies, hang out with new people or maybe get a new job. Inevitably, she’ll also start dating other guys.
No matter what, that day will suck. The best thing you can do both for your friendship and to prepare yourself for all of this is to take an interest early on.
This gives you a better understanding of how she’s coping with things and where she’s headed. For example, if she’s starting to briefly mention other guys but isn’t dating yet you can prepare yourself.
When the day comes that she mentions Tinder or tells you about her new boyfriend, you won’t be blindsided. Being caught off guard with something like that can be very trying to say the least.
Aside from all of this, of course, you should be taking an interest in your friends’ lives anyway. Be excited for her achievements and positive change. Including being with another guy.
No hooking up, it’ll only complicate things
You’re attracted to each other and both know what the other person likes in the bedroom. It’s not uncommon for hookup opportunities to present themselves at various stages of the friendship.
Even though that might be exactly what you want, I can tell you from experience it’s never a good idea. You’re on a path to a strong friendship and a genuine understanding that this is all you are to each other.
By sleeping together, you’re throwing all that progress out the window. This raises a host of questions that you aren’t in a place to be answering right now. Does she want to get back together? Are we just friends because she thinks that’s all I want?
If the conversation comes up, go ahead and talk about it openly. Whatever you do though, don’t go from “we’re just friends” to sex just because it feels good. I assure you there are plenty of other women you can have that with, minus the complications.
This process will take some time and make no mistake, some days will be tough. If you really want to keep her in your life though, it’s well worth the effort and discomfort. She was an important part of your life for some time. It’d be such a shame to throw that away now just to avoid some discomfort. That is, unless you realize that it's better to just forget your ex and move on.
Reading about how to be friends with your ex is a great start. Now it’s time to start putting all of this into practice. Good luck!