My ex wants to be friends – what do I do?
Faced with the idea of ‘my ex wants to be friends’, most people’s immediate reaction will be to run a mile.
But in a world where Hugh Grant is godfather to Liz Hurley’s son Damian and Bruce Willis is Demi Moore’s rock, you get to wondering if being friends with your ex isn’t all that out of the ordinary…
However, life isn’t always that black and white and if your ex is asking to be friends post-break-up there’s some serious thinking for both of you to do.
If you’re facing this dilemma, Jules Filsell, eHarmony’s relationship advice expert has some advice.
Answer these questions and you should be able to figure out whether you can forge a friendship you both deserve!
Do you actually want to be friends with him?
It might seem pretty damn obvious but this is the first question you should answer. If your immediate gut reaction is ‘no’ then there’s your answer.
Remember, even though friendship is a two way thing, if you’re compromising on what you want then it’s pretty pointless – you’re not in a relationship with this man anymore. No ifs or buts about how he might feel – if you don’t want to be friends, or don’t yet feel in the right place to be friends then you should just tell him so.
You can’t force friendship, and you certainly can’t build one on guilt.
You never know, with a bit of space you might change your mind and be able to pick things up again later, if you are genuinely meant to be in each other’s lives then you will be at some stage.
But then again some guys are better just out of your life – think about what vibe your relationship had and if it’s one you’d rather forget, then do just that!
Do you still have feelings for him?
How easily you can answer this question will depend on a lot of things, such as how you broke up, how long ago it happened and whether you are seeing someone else.
If you do still have feelings for your ex, then you should ask yourself whether you can maintain a genuine relationship with him, or whether it’ll be overshadowed by your hopes of getting back together.
Sometimes, it can be hard to gauge your own feelings when you haven’t seen your ex for a while.
In this case it can be worth getting together for a coffee (it’s best not to get booze involved) just to see how you really feel when you meet up in person.
If your stomach doesn’t do multiple flips then you might be able to move towards friendship together.
Does he still have feelings for you?
This is a trickier one for you to figure out, but it’s a pretty important question.
If you have any inkling that your ex is still harbouring feelings for you then steer well clear.
He might not even realise it, but by asking to be friends, he’s trying to pave the way to a reconciliation and unless that’s what you’re both looking for that could be very awkward.
You need to be safe in the knowledge that if you go out for dinner together, he won’t be hoping for a kiss at the end of the night.
Plus no-one wants to be the girl who leads her ex on – it’s not a good look.
Is it practical?
Friendship and practicality don’t naturally go hand in hand, but a little realism can go a long way.
If, for example, you had a long distance relationship and he lives hundreds of miles away, consider how well you’re going to be able to keep your friendship going.
Or if your friends are against the idea of you being friends with him, it might cause more awkwardness than it is really worth.
When making the decision, try to remember why you broke up. That may help you decide if you genuinely want to be friends.
Time is a great healer, and you might not hold any anger towards him, but does that really mean you can be best mates again?
What’s your motivation?
If you agree to be friends with your ex, it’s only fair that you have good intentions.
Yes, it might be tempting to be friends with him so you can show what an amazing single life you have without him, but surely that’s what Facebook’s for?
If, however, you genuinely think you can have a good, solid friendship then that’s brilliant. When you’ve been close to someone and shared so much with them it seems a shame to lose them out of your life for no other reason than them being your ‘ex’.
Many people get together and then lose their spark, but still have lots in common to form a great friendship so keep that in mind and see where you both end up!