By Chris Seiter

Published on November 23rd, 2023

The end of a romantic relationship can be a tumultuous experience, often filled with a spectrum of emotions. When an ex-partner proposes friendship after a breakup, it can add another layer of complexity to an already challenging situation.

In this situation, the most important thing is to honestly assess your feelings and the potential impact of this friendship on your emotional well-being. If maintaining a friendship hinders your healing or harbors false hopes of reconciliation, it may be healthier to create distance and focus on personal growth.

Understanding the reasons behind such a proposition, and how to navigate this new dynamic, is crucial for your emotional well-being and future relationships. Let’s explore this topic!

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Understanding Why She Left

  1. Different Life Goals: Sometimes, people grow apart because their life goals diverge. She might have realized that what she wants in life doesn’t align with your relationship.
  2. Need for Personal Growth: She may feel that being in a relationship is hampering her personal growth. The decision to leave could stem from a desire to explore her identity independently.
  3. Lack of Romantic Feelings: It’s possible that her romantic feelings have faded, even though she still values you as a person. In such cases, staying friends can seem like a viable option.
  4. External Influences: Pressure from family, friends, or career responsibilities can sometimes influence a decision to leave a relationship while still wanting to maintain a connection.
  5. Fear of Commitment: If she’s not ready for a long-term commitment, she might opt for a less demanding friendship instead.  This fear could stem from an anxious avoidant form of attachment or it could be that your ex is emotionally immature and is still sorting through how to process her feelings.

What You Should Do

  1. Reflect on Your Feelings: Before agreeing to be friends, honestly assess your feelings. If you’re still romantically inclined towards her, a friendship might be emotionally challenging.
  2. Consider the Impact on Your Healing Process: Evaluate how this friendship might affect your ability to move on. If it hinders your healing, it might be better to keep a distance.
  3. Set Boundaries: If you decide to remain friends, set clear boundaries. Discuss and agree upon what is acceptable in your new relationship to avoid confusion and hurt feelings.
  4. Communicate Openly: Have an open conversation about expectations from this friendship. It’s important that both parties are on the same page.
  5. Take Time for Yourself: Don’t rush into the friendship. Allow yourself the time you need to heal from the breakup before forging a new relationship dynamic.
  6. Focus on Your Growth: Use this time to focus on your personal growth. Engage in activities that you enjoy and that contribute to your well-being.
  7. Seek Support: Talk to friends, family, or a counselor about your feelings and experiences. It’s important to process your emotions healthily. Such support could include talking to a Relationship Coach.  Perhaps there is a way back into the relationship but often you will need a well reasoned Game Plan and a Coach can help with that.

What You Shouldn’t Do

  1. Don’t Agree Out of Fear of Losing Her Completely: Agreeing to be friends out of fear or desperation can lead to more pain. Make sure it’s what you really want.
  2. Avoid Holding onto Romantic Hopes: If you choose friendship, try not to cling to the hope of getting back together. This can prevent you from moving on.
  3. Don’t Neglect Your Emotional Needs: Pay attention to your emotional needs. If the friendship is causing pain or confusion, it’s okay to step back.
  4. Don’t Rush the Process: Don’t feel pressured to be okay with the situation immediately. Healing takes time, and you need to give yourself space to work through your emotions.
  5. Avoid Blaming or Resentment: Holding onto blame or resentment can be toxic. Try to accept the situation and work towards a positive outlook, regardless of whether you remain friends.
  6. Don’t Ignore Other Relationships: Don’t let this situation consume you. Maintain your other relationships and continue to build a supportive network.
  7. Avoid Unrealistic Expectations: Understand that the dynamics of your relationship have changed. Keep your expectations realistic to avoid disappointments.


Navigating a transition from a romantic relationship to friendship is challenging. It requires a deep understanding of your own emotions, clear communication, and healthy boundaries.

Whether you choose to maintain the friendship or not, focus on what is best for your emotional health and personal growth. Remember, every relationship, whether it ends or transforms, teaches us something valuable about ourselves and what we seek in connections with others.

The Expert’s Corner: 15 FAQs on Navigating a Situation Where Your Ex Wants to Be Friends

  1. Why does my ex want to be friends after breaking up?
    • Your ex may value your companionship and not want to lose that connection, or they might feel guilty about the breakup and believe friendship is a way to ease that guilt.
  2. Should I be friends with my ex immediately after the breakup?
    • It’s usually advisable to take a break and allow some time for emotional healing before considering friendship. Jumping directly into a friendship can often complicate the healing process.
  3. How can I tell if I’m ready to be friends with my ex?
    • You’re ready when you can interact with them without experiencing romantic feelings or emotional turmoil, and when you genuinely feel okay with them moving on in their personal life.
  4. What if I still have feelings for my ex?
    • If you still have romantic feelings, maintaining a friendship can be painful and hinder your ability to move on. It might be better to distance yourself until those feelings subside.  If they don’t then check out our Ex Recovery Program or talk to one of our Relationship Coaches.
  5. Can being friends with an ex lead to getting back together?
    • While it’s possible, it’s not guaranteed. Relying on friendship as a way to rekindle a romantic relationship can lead to disappointment. It’s important to manage your expectations.
  6. How do I set boundaries in this new friendship?
    • Communicate openly about what you are comfortable with in terms of communication, meeting up, and discussing personal topics. Setting clear boundaries is key to a healthy post-relationship friendship.
  7. What should I do if being friends with my ex is hurting me?
    • If the friendship is causing you pain, it’s important to prioritize your well-being. Consider taking a step back from the friendship and focusing on your own healing.
  8. How can I turn down my ex’s offer of friendship without causing more hurt?
    • Be honest yet gentle. Express that while you value them, you need time and space to heal on your own, and a friendship might not be the best idea right now.
  9. Is it okay to be friends with an ex if I’m in a new relationship?
    • This depends on the dynamics of your new relationship and how your current partner feels about it. Open communication and honesty with your current partner are crucial.
  10. How often should I communicate with my ex if we’re friends?
    • The frequency should be something you both are comfortable with. It shouldn’t interfere with your personal healing or other aspects of your life.
  11. What if my ex wants more than friendship?
    • If your ex wants to rekindle the romance but you don’t, communicate your feelings clearly. It’s important to be honest about what you want from the relationship.
  12. Can friendship with an ex affect my future relationships?
    • It can, particularly if future partners are uncomfortable with it. It’s important to consider how this friendship will impact your future relationships and address any concerns your future partner might have.
  13. How do I handle feelings of jealousy if my ex starts dating someone else?
    • If you feel jealous, it might be a sign you’re not ready to be friends. It’s okay to distance yourself and focus on your emotional health.
  14. What if my ex’s offer of friendship is just out of guilt?
    • Friendship should be based on genuine mutual respect and affection, not guilt. If you suspect guilt is the driving factor, it’s okay to decline the offer.
  15. Is it healthy to keep an ex as a friend?
    • It can be healthy if you both have moved on and genuinely enjoy each other’s company without any romantic undertones. However, it’s important to continuously evaluate the impact of this friendship on your emotional well-being.	

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