Home  >  Love Couch  >  Your Ex

Why Does My Ex Want to Be Friends? 25 Qs & Reasons to Read Their Mind

Your ex keeps contacting you – what’s going on? Wondering ‘why does my ex want to be friends?’ You’ve come to the right place. 

why does my ex want to be friends

Your ex wants to be friends. It seems like a nice way to move on, doesn’t it? Why not be friends? You know each other well and even though the relationship did not work out, it doesn’t mean you wouldn’t be better as friends.

But, it is not always that easy. Sure, being friends that used to date is totally possible, but it does not always work out.

Everything from your history to possible jealousy and even leftover chemistry can get in the way of a potential friendship as well as other future relationships. Deciding to remain friends with an ex brings up a lot to think about. [Read: How to get over a breakup – 15 tips to move from pouty-land faster]

Can you really be friends with an ex?

We don’t want to imply that your ex has poor intentions when it comes to being your friend, but they are your ex for a reason. If you find yourself wondering ‘why does my ex want to be friends’ after receiving a text from them, here’s what you need to think about.

Before deciding whether or not you even want to be friends with your ex, let’s look at the reason why your ex might want to be friends in the first place.

We’re not saying it is impossible to be friends with your ex. But we are also not saying that it is a good idea either. Being friends with your ex can be complicated. It can make feelings resurface. It can make you slow to move on and can cause jealousy and pettiness. [Read: Helpful questions to ask yourself if you ex wants to be friends]

Your ex wants to be friends, why?

There are a lot of potential reasons your ex wants to be friends. Do they simply want to stay in your life? Or do they want to keep track of you? Do they miss you? Or maybe you work together or share a group of friends and it just makes sense?

We know it seems like you’re assuming the worst, but before agreeing to be friends with your ex, try to think about their motivation. Or better yet, just ask them. [Read: Why you shouldn’t seek closure after a breakup]

Before agreeing to be friends with an ex because it seems harmless, have a chat. Is it really in both of your best interests to remain friends? Should you take some time apart first so that the breakup isn’t so fresh? You broke up because it was what was best for you both.

Before even trying to figure it out, a great way to answer the question, why does my ex want to be friends, is to ask them straight up. Sure, they might lie, but they might not.

So, before you try to read between the lines and weigh your options, take the easy and straight forward route. However, be aware of these potential reasons for an ex wanting to remain in your life. [Read: How to move on and deal with a break up with a smile]

1. To fool around

Yes, it isn’t great, but this is a super common reason an ex would want to stay friends. This is someone you know. This is someone you have been with before. Even though the relationship didn’t work out, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some benefits.

A lot of people find it more comfortable and easy to hook up with an ex than to meet someone new and start things from scratch, especially if they don’t want something serious. If you are into that, great. But this can prevent you from moving on, stir up old feelings, and cause a lot of tension.

Of course, you are still attracted to your ex, but is that a good enough reason to stay friends? [Read: Is having sex with your ex a good idea?]

2. Simply to stay in your life

This can be good or bad. Some exes just want to stay attached. Maybe you had a mutual breakup and are on good terms. Being friends may be a great way to get the best of each other.

But sometimes, an ex wants to be friends to keep tabs on you. They want to know if you are dating, or still in love with them. Exes do not always have the most upstanding intentions. [Read: Can you actually make friendship after a breakup work?]

3. To get back together

This is a very likely reason someone would want to be friends with their ex. By remaining in each other’s lives, you maintain a connection. You may rely on each other for the same things you did while you were together. And from there, things may fall back into place.

But, this is not always a good thing. If your relationship was dysfunctional, holding onto that connection can be damaging. Getting back together may be the worst thing for you.

4. To control you

Yes, this is a real gem of a reason to be friends with an ex. And if you know your relationship felt suffocating, being friends with this person will likely be the same.

Being friends with an ex that wants to control you is pretty much the same as dating them. [Read: Controlling relationship – 42 signs and ways to love without bullying]

5. To keep things drama-free in the friend group

This is a pretty decent reason to want to be friends with an ex. If you share a friend group or work together, remaining friends, even just on the surface, is the mature thing to do. This does not mean you have to be besties, but being polite to each other is all you need.

If this would benefit both of your and your mutual friends, it is probably a good idea. [Read: What it is and reasons why the no contact rule always works]

6. To be nice

Sounds good, right? An ex being nice, how could that go wrong? Well, sometimes, when your ex breaks up with you, they offer to be friends so that it softens the blow. They think they owe you friendship because they hurt you.

This can be fine if you are going to talk every once in a while, but if you want to talk every day, this will only cause more tension and resentment. Talking to your ex every day halts the recovery after a breakup and prevents you from moving on. [Read: How to get over being dumped, nurse your ego and get closure]

7. For companionship

Maybe they really just want your friendship.

If you can actually let go of the relationship aspect and just be friends, this can be a solid friendship between two people that really know each other. [Read: Controlling vs caring – A thin line controlling people love to cross]

8. For comfort

Depending on how long you were dating, your ex may want to be friends because they are comfortable with you. You are used to seeing each other and talking every day and suddenly cutting that off is a huge change.

Remaining friends with an ex for comfort is human nature. We all want to be around the people we are used to being around. It is hard to adapt to a new life without that routine. But, this adds to the risk of falling back into an unhealthy relationship.

9. Because you were friends first

If your relationship was built on a foundation of friendship first, you may be able to ease back into that with time. This will only work if you both want to be friends and feel you can get over the romance.

If this is the case, your ex will most likely tell you the truth and say they miss your friendship and how things used to be. If you agree, you can work at it. [Read: Platonic friendship – How to be platonic friends without sexual drama]

10. They want advice

Your ex is someone that saw you through hard times and got close to you. They can open your eyes to things you may not have seen and offer a lot of insight, especially if you have both moved on. Otherwise, petty revenge can make things worse.

The other problem with this reason for being friends with an ex is that it is essentially a lie. If you want advice from an ex, just say so. You may agree to be friends with this person, they will ask for your advice, and then only reach out when they need something. [Read: The keys to stop caring about someone who hurt you]

11. For practical reasons

Say you bought a home together or invested in something together. It may not be easy to be friends with an ex, but if you know you will need to see each other and be cordial for things like this, just do it.

This can be anything from having kids together to paying for your partner’s parent’s assisted living. These things will have to be sorted out, and if you are friends, it will make it all so much easier. [Read: All the reasons why staying friends with an ex just doesn’t work]

Your ex wants to be friends, but do you?

Why not? That is the first thing that may have crossed your mind, especially if you ended on good terms without cheating or a big blowout. But what if you didn’t? What if you don’t trust your ex? Will that go away if you are just platonic friends?

So your ex wants to be friends, and they made a move towards friendship with you. But what if they were controlling? What if you cannot stand them? What if being friends will reignite old feelings or pain?

These are questions you want to ask yourself before deciding whether or not to be friends with your ex. [Read: When and how to end a friendship if they’re toxic and holding you back]

1. Do you trust them?

This is a big one. Sure, you can be polite and cordial to your ex without trusting them, but can you be friends with someone you don’t trust? You might think, they cheated on you, but as friends, that doesn’t really matter. It does though.

Someone who cheats is a liar, and liars do not pick and choose who they lie to, they lie to everyone. [Read: How to move on from the damage of someone cheating on you]

2. Are there still feelings?

This is where we draw a line. Sure, some people can go straight from dating to friends, but in our experience, there needs to be a break in between. Without that time to move on and get used to not having that person in your life, going directly into a friendship can blur that line.

It can prevent you both from moving on and keep that door open for something to happen in the future. [Read: Still attached to your ex? 26 signs, why it happens and how to break free]

3. Have you moved on?

Thinking this is the same as #2? We promise, it isn’t. You can have no feelings for your ex but still be burdened by the end of the relationship. You might not have an interest in them romantically, but if you are still on the rebound or bitter from the breakup, that friendship will be tainted.

As we said, take some time before being friends if you really want to. [Read: 13 essentials you need to move on from heartbreak]

4. Do you hold a grudge?

We would all like to believe that we can forgive and forget and are above holding grudges, but we are imperfect. Even if you don’t think you hold a grudge against your ex for whatever they may have done, reintroducing them into your life, even as a friend, can stir up that anger.

That can manifest in giving them bad advice, being a bad friend, or even self-sabotaging your life.

5. Are you still hurt?

If you are coming off the back of a breakup with this person, being friends will only keep those wounds open. Seeing them and talking to them regularly will prevent you from moving forward. It will keep you in their world.

Whether that is their intention or not, your ex wants to be friends to remain in your life for one reason or another. If that reason makes things harder for you, it isn’t worth it. [Read: 7 reasons why staying friends with an ex just doesn’t work]

6. Can you feel comfortable around them?

Is it weird to be friends with someone that saw you naked? Will you ever be able to treat them as a friend after such intimate or passionate moments?

This is something you need to seriously consider.

7. Will they stop you from moving on?

We are not accusing your ex of trying to hold you back from a future with someone else. But being around an ex can make you hold off on dating. Whether it is due to awkwardness, feelings, or pain, being friends with an ex can postpone your future.

Will you be able to vent about a date around them? Or will you feel weird introducing them to your new boo? [Read: The post-breakup questions you should be asking yourself]

8. Have you had time apart?

This is a big one, maybe the biggest of them all. Do you know how they say time heals all wounds? Well, that is true. It could mean you don’t talk to your ex for two weeks or even two years before returning to each other’s lives as friends.

It will depend on your relationship, how it ended, etc. But without that time to adapt to life without them as your romantic partner and face them as your ex, a friendship is nearly impossible to form right off the cusp of a breakup, no matter how friendly.

9. Are they jealous? Are you?

Jealousy truly is a monster. Even if you are not a jealous person, you may have been on Facebook and noticed your ex from high school is married. Without trying, you get a bitter taste in your mouth.

You don’t think about this person and really are happy for them, but you can’t help that tinge of jealousy that creeps up.

Now imagine that on a bigger scale. Your ex from a few months ago is at your dinner party. They are telling you about the new person they’re dating or maybe they brought them along. Even though you no longer harbor feelings for them, that uncontrollable jealousy can get in the way of friendship. [Read: 12 reasons why the no contact rule always works]

10. What do your other friends think?

If you can’t sort out what to do, confide in your friends. They know you best and what that relationship did to you. You complained to them about your ex. They consoled you during the breakup.

If they don’t think being friends with your ex is a good idea, trust them. They are looking out for your best interest. They can tell you if this friendship is bad for your emotional wellbeing.

11. Do you check up on them?

If you check your ex’s social media, location, or ask around about what they are up to, being friends is not the best idea. You are clearly still hung up on them in one way or another. Becoming friends will only make your intrigue worse.

You either need more time to move on from the relationship before trying to be friends or you just shouldn’t be friends at all. [Read: How to be a friend – The real art of true and meaningful friendships]

12. Will this friendship add to your life?

Think about this for real. You always hear people say get rid of the negative people in your life. Well, is that what you did when you broke up with them? Do you really want them in your life in another form?

Will being their friend make you appreciate what you learned from the relationship? Will it give you insight into how you can be a better partner in the future? [Read: The signs you have shitty friends and need new ones]

13. Does it make sense?

You do not need to be best friends with your ex. Being friends, though, might make sense. If you work together you may need to maintain a friendship for the sake of your career. If you share a friend group, your ex wanting to be friends for the sake of the group makes sense.

You do not need to chat every day, but if you can be friends to the point where being in the same room together is tolerable, you may be able to ease into that smoothly.

14. Is it worth trying?

Now that you have considered the pros and cons of saying ‘yes’ when your ex wants to be friends, think about the effort it will take. Will it be smooth sailing and just like two acquaintances being polite? If so, go for it.

But if you foresee drama, arguments, intense awkwardness, or even a repeat of your failed relationship, you may want to say ‘thank you, next.’ [Read: Good friends are like stars – 18 ways to build lasting friendships]

Do not feel forced to say ‘yes’ to the offer of friendship

The awkwardness of telling an ex you do not want to be friends is why so many people say ‘yes’ and suffer for it later. You do not have any obligation to your ex.

You do not need to mend their broken heart or protect their feelings. That sounds mean, sure, but you went through the break up already.

It is your chance to move on and be happy without them in your life.

[Read: Turning down an ex who wants to be friends – The steps you need to take]

When asking yourself, why does my ex want to be friends, these are the most common reasons. Which do you think it is? And is it a good one?

Liked what you just read? Follow us on Instagram Facebook Twitter Pinterest and we promise, we’ll be your lucky charm to a beautiful love life.

LovePanky icon
Team LovePanky
The editorial team of LovePanky comprises relationship experts and real-life experts that share their experiences and life lessons. If you want the best love ad...