Staying friends with an ex

Audio Version [click the globe to change language]

Is staying friends with an ex a good idea? My ex boyfriend was on the rebound (already this sounds like a bad relationship, I know). But he decided in the end that he couldn’t be with me – it was too early after his breakup he said. But he still wanted to be friends with me. One of my friends says I should let him do all the work for the friendship to work, in case he doesn’t mean it. Anyway, after one full month he didn’t get in touch with me. I text him once because some of his stuff was still at my place and I wanted to do the decent thing and let him collect his things.

In all this time we haven’t seen each other even once. He didn’t even text back until today, when he asked to meet him to say hello if I want to. I’m not sure what to do. Do men ever mean this? I don’t think he wants to get back together with me, but I keep thinking about how you can pretend you never had a relationship and act like you’re just friends. Any advice is welcome.”

J says:

Staying friends with an ex can be a tough decision, especially if you still have feelings for your ex, or vice-versa, as these will invariably have an effect on the friendship. If I was in this position, I would seriously consider how beneficial this ‘friendship’ is to me right now.

It already sounds like you may be spending a lot of time thinking about this ‘friendship’, and considering that you haven’t seen him in at least a month, you should maybe ask yourself whether this use of your time is valuable in any way.

Despite the time that has passed between you both since you broke up, a single text from him has your mind spinning… Are you over him enough to be friends?

In reality, his text – or rather the reason behind it – may mean something or nothing. Perhaps he got in touch because he’s been unlucky in love elsewhere and he wants to hook up with you for an entirely selfish reason. But then again, perhaps he really wants to be friends and he simply waited until a safe amount of time had passed after the split.

The bottom line is that, whether you like it or not, you have no control whatsoever over what other people think or do. The one thing you DO have control over, however, is YOU. Don’t give up this control by allowing people to create turmoil in your mind so easily.

In short: thinking about his motives is not the best way to spend your time.

If circumstance allows and you create distance, one day you will be able to think of him without much – or any – attachment whilst still remembering your past relationship. Staying friends with your ex may seem like a good option at this point, and it could even turn out to be a good friendship. However, right now it seems that you’re focused on the kind of emotions that should not interfere in a healthy friendship – namely, what his intentions may or may not be.

Your time right now may be better spent with real ‘safe’ friends, whilst you get yourself back on track.

You do say you’re not sure what to do… If it felt right, you’d know straight away. Trust your feelings.

Check Out J Riley’s Breakup Book

Visit the homepage to see where you can buy The Breakup for Men