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My Ex Wants To Stay Friends - Should I?
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My Ex Wants To Stay Friends  -  Should I?

It's easy to understand why staying friends with an ex can seem so incredibly tempting - at least on the surface. Developing such a close bond and intimate understanding of another person is a difficult thing to give up when it's over. Remaining in a platonic relationship with an ex is tempting fate, however, and you're often just asking for additional pain in the end.

The proposition of remaining friendly towards your ex does seem appealing when you consider the potentially positive effects that it can have. Of course, the number one attractive feature is that you don't automatically have to miss the person that you spent the majority of your time with for quite some time. They're not gone - you can still talk and laugh and spend time together, almost like you never broke up at all.

It's easy to justify remaining friends, especially if that's how the two of you started out in the beginning. It's nothing more than a shift in label, and it's easier to go back to familiar territory than to start over brand new, having to face the world alone. It may seem like a friendship is a simple solution to a complicated and tangled circumstance, but a friendship will only confuse things further and lead you down a path that is not only dangerous, but potentially unhealthy for both of you.

You've often been commended on your ability to listen and empathize with others. You throw yourself into this friendship full-force, and you do a good job. You listen actively and provide reasonable and valuable advice. You give dating tips and help your ex figure out where they want to go. You provide valuable feedback and support at a very vulnerable time. In short, you are the epitome of a true support network, and you can't honestly see a situation that would cause this arrangement to go south.

Friendships that are born out of failed romantic relationships face a lot more than just the average disagreements that other friendships have to deal with on a regular basis. The bond that you and your ex share is rooted in deeply emotional issues, and any challenge your friendship faces will be influenced by these pre-existing issues and will have to be met eventually.

If you were the one that was dumped, you're likely already aware of what needs to be said here. You are aware of how you truly feel beneath the surface, and you're willing to do just about everything to get your ex to feel them too - even if that means faking a friendship until the right time presents itself. You're being dishonest with yourself, and you're being dishonest with them. Ultimately, these feelings are going to come to light, and you're going to be left to deal with them alone when the friendship inevitably falls apart.

If you were the one that decided to end the relationship, however, you need to understand your ex's motivation behind their friendship. No matter what they're telling you, their feelings for you are still strong. They're looking for a weak spot in your resistance where they are able to make their move - and no amount of convincing them it isn't going to happen is going to ultimately prove effective.

When you think back to the reality of your breakup, you know that one person was pushing for it more than the other, and the side that you fell on really doesn't matter in the long run. You may try to convince yourself that it was a joint decision, but that doesn't make it true. Someone was hurt in the process, and that person is destined to get hurt again if they continue this charade indefinitely and act like there's not an alternative motive underlying all of their actions.

Consider the End Goal

Are you genuinely interested in a simple friendship with your ex, or are you secretly hoping for something more? Have you taken the time to come to terms with your own feelings on the matter or have you buried them deep inside somewhere until you're better equipped to put them into practice?

If you eventually want to get back together with your ex, you're going about things the wrong way. In fact, a friendship could effectively ensure that you'll never get another shot at romance with your ex. The longer you stay in a friendship role, the less likely they are to see you as a potential match. That means that your ex is free to move on to whoever crosses their path, and you'll never even be an option. In their eyes, you're content to simply be friends - and nothing more.

Are You Already Friends? What to Do Now

If you find yourself embroiled in a purely platonic relationship with your ex, all hope is not necessarily lost. Before you can make any strides in a positive direction, you need to evaluate your current circumstance and come to terms with what you ultimately want. That means you need to face reality and start being honest - with yourself and with your ex.

You need to start detaching yourself from the role of just a "friend". There are many proven methods to make this goal an overall reality, but it's going to require a lot of effort on your part. The truth of the matter is if you're not willing to put in the hard work now, a relationship simply isn't going to be a part of the future. Coming to terms with your feelings is only the beginning. Eventually you're going to have to have a conversation with your ex which involves telling them the truth - that you want something more than just a friendship, and that they mean more to you than another person to hang out with. Then the reality is going to start to hit home - they can either choose to walk away and leave you behind (potentially again) or consider you as dating material all over again.

What To Do Next

Just because your ex wants to stay friends, it doesn't mean that it is your only option. Your best bet is to give each other some time to avoid your potential friendship from becoming messy. If on the other hand you want to win your ex back, there are things that you can do to accomplish this.

Understanding contact with your ex is a great first step in drawing your ex closer to you again. If you get this right then they will be the one chasing you instead of the other way round. You also should be on the look out for signs your ex loves you. They might not be giving much away at this stage, but you should make yourself aware of body language and learn to read between the lines to ascertain their real feelings towards you.

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