Some people find it easy to be friends with an ex after breaking up. They can bounce easily enough and go back to being friends that hang out. Then, there are people who tend to curse the ground their ex walks on after they break up.
They want to forget about their ex and the relationship that was, just so they can move on and live their life in blissful forgetfulness. For the latter, having an ex who insists on being a continuous presence in their life, albeit as a friend, is a colossal irritation!
Being friends with an ex is a difficult decision. You have been so used to the dynamics of a relationship with that person that it can be hard to change and go back to just being friends. It means a bond minus the intimacy, the commitment, and the exclusivity. [Read: 16 signs your ex wants you back in their life]
Why your ex wants to be “friends” again
There are many reasons why someone would like to rekindle a friendship, even after the romantic relationship has already ended. Here are some of the reasons your ex may have for insisting you still be friends:
#1 Back to status quo. Some people meet their partners from their circle of friends. It can be a friend of a friend, a childhood sweetheart, or the person two doors down from their apartment. It can even be the person you’ve thought of as your best friend, like Celeste and Jesse. These people start off as friends, so when they break up, they still tend to want to go back to what they were before they became a couple. [Read: 7 reasons why staying friends with your ex just doesn’t work]
#2 To maintain a connection. There are people who entertain the idea of being friends with their ex because they genuinely want to still be part of your life, although not as your partner. It may be because you parted in good terms, or by necessity like when one of you are working or studying in another country, and both of you just can’t maintain a long distance relationship.
With a reason like this, it’s no wonder they still want to keep in touch without the commitment of a relationship. Think Barney and Robin the first time they broke up in How I Met Your Mother. [Read: How to be friends with your ex without any complications]
#3 Ulterior motives. But then there are people who are just oblivious. They can’t take a hint that when a relationship ends, it will be impossible to move on if the person you are moving on from is physically present.
They may have ulterior motives for wanting to stay friends, thinking they can still get some benefits on the side, without the commitment. Or if you’re the one who broke up with them, they may think that they can get another chance if you are still friends with them. [Read: 10 signs your past relationship is holding you back from a better future]
Reasons to not be friends with your ex
As there are many reasons for wanting to maintain a friendship with an ex, there are equally as many reasons why it may not be a good idea. Read below for some of the reasons:
#1 Why you broke up. One of the most important factors that affects your readiness to maintain a friendship with an ex is the reason for the breakup. When a romance ends a natural death, as when two people fall out of love, it can be quite easy to convert the romantic relationship into a platonic friendship.
However, if the relationship ended because of a betrayal of trust, then that’s another story. It can be quite cruel to maintain a friendship afterwards. It’s important to distance yourself from your ex, so you can nurse your broken heart and help it heal. [Read: 8 reasons getting back with your ex is self-sabotage]
#2 Time. Another important factor to consider why it may not be a good idea to become friends with your ex is the duration of time that has passed since you broke up. If you just broke up a few days or weeks ago, you may still be in the process of moving on.
When a relationship ends, it’s important to shed off the baggage of the old relationship, so you can be ready for a new chapter in your life. This can be difficult if your ex is still in the picture, even though they are no longer playing the same role.
#3 Feelings. Lastly, it’s definitely not a good idea to still be friends with an ex if you still have feelings for them. Aside from making it difficult to move on and forget about them, you might even entertain hope that things will go back to the way they were.
It will do you a world of good if you put as much time and distance as you can between you and your ex, so you can help your heart forget. Who knows, you might find yourself a new love in the process. [Read: 10 signs that prove you’re still attached to your ex]
What to do with an ex who wants be friends
If your ex insists on being friends, here are some things you can do to ensure that they get the idea that you’re not interested:
#1 Social media block. Everyone is on social media nowadays. You add friends, follow them, tweet them, and DM them. When you date someone new, you make sure they become part of your social media circle. When your relationship progresses into something more serious, your social media apps become witness to every vacation trip, every date, and every aspect of your blossoming relationship.
However, when the relationship ends, you are stuck with them on your newsfeed and your friends list. They still see everything you post and may even comment on it from time to time. It gets awkward very quickly. Thus, it may be better to remove them from your social media circle. If they become insistent, then block them altogether.
#2 Minimize contact. Sometimes, it can be difficult to deal with an insistent ex if they are part of the circle of people you interact with most of the time. If they are a next door neighbor, your best friend’s sibling, or a co-worker, it can be quite difficult to maintain distance.
If this is the case, make a conscious effort to minimize contact. If they’re a next door neighbor or a co-worker, try to avoid areas where you’re likely to see each other. Avoid the club house, the local bar, the canteen, or any place you’re likely to find them. There’s no better way to say you can no longer be friends than avoiding them like the plague. [Read: What it means when your ex still crosses your mind]
#3 Sever connections. If they still can’t take the hint, maybe it’s time to get serious. Sever all connections. That means blocking them from your phone, all your social media apps, and your email. Avoid meeting with people they might know and be with. That includes your common friends, their siblings you might be friends with, or any other person close to them. It’s a drastic decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. If you’re still unsure, the next tip is for you. [Read: 12 reasons the no contact rule is the best way to distance your ex]
#4 Talk it out. This should be the first resort, however, some people find it hard to talk to their ex after an ugly breakup. When your ex continually insists on being friends after a breakup, you might need to sit them down and tell them that you are uncomfortable with the idea.
Talk about their reasons for wanting to be friends and your reasons for not having the same intentions. Make a definite statement of your refusal. Hopefully, they’ll understand that it’s for the good of both that you prefer not to be friends with them anymore.
Dealing with an ex who insists on being friends can be difficult when your preference leans towards not seeing them ever again. If they still insist, remind them that time heals all wounds. Maybe if you’ll just let enough time pass, you’ll be ready to be friends with them again… Or they’ll just drop the issue entirely.