Why Does My Ex Wants To Be Your Friends? 13 Reasons

So, the two of you broke up. As far as you’re concerned, it’s all over. 

Your ex, however, wants to remain friends. They still text you, they even want to hang out with you and they seem reluctant to let go!

What does it mean? 

There are a number of reasons why your ex still wants to be your friend after a breakup.

They might genuinely miss you, they might regret leaving you – and they might even still want to get back together.

So join me today as I explore 13 key reasons why your ex is sticking around even after you guys called it a day. 

13 Reasons: Why Does My Ex Wants To Be Your Friends?

1. Emotional Attachment and Reluctance to Let Go 

Breakups are hard. For many, they’re an emotional rollercoaster that leaves them feeling as though they’ve been hit by a tsunami.

To mitigate this emotional rollercoaster somewhat, an ex might decide they want to remain friends with you.

By maintaining some level of contact with you, they’re able to hold onto the sense of familiarity and comfort of your relationship.

Not just that but they still need you for emotional support and connection. After all, you were their rock for the time the two of you were together.

If, on the other hand, they severed all ties with you, they’d lose that emotional connection – and then they really would feel despondent about things. By holding onto you in some way, it’s as though the breakup never completely happened. 

2. They Regret Breaking Up With You 

If it was your ex who made the decision to break things off with you, it doesn’t mean they can’t later regret it. 

Sure, it might have made sense to them at the time. But now that weeks and maybe months have passed, the realization of what they’ve done has dawned on them – and they kinda miss you.

This sort of thing isn’t unusual. Sometimes, an ex will break up with someone despite being in two minds about the relationship.

Part of them wants to stay together, while the other part thinks a break will be a good thing. What then happens is that, after a few weeks apart, they realized that breaking up wasn’t a good decision after all and now your ex regrets breaking up with you

3. They Want To Control You 

Yeah, it’s kinda weird when an ex wants to control you after you guys have broken up, right? 

This sort of thing does happen though – even if it was them who broke up with you. 

Does it make sense? Not really. 

But while your ex might not want to be in a romantic relationship with you right now, they still haven’t completely let go. Therefore, they can’t stand the idea that you might just move on from them and find someone new.

So instead, they seek to control you. So your ex wants to be friends with you and continue to give you advice, such as “you probably shouldn’t go on that date.” 

It’s important to remember, however, that controlling behavior is not acceptable in a healthy relationship or in a friendship. 

4. They Want to Avoid the Pain of Separation 

As we’ve seen, breaking up isn’t easy. Even if they wanted it in the first place, it doesn’t mean they thought all the consequences through.

And this includes the pain of separation.

If your ex has broken up with you but still wants to remain friends, it might be because they’re unable to deal with being away from you.

The thought that you’ll no longer be talking to each other, calling each other or even seeing each other is too much.

At the same time, they’re perhaps not interested in the whole package that comes from being in a relationship, which is why they’re keen on remaining friends.

They don’t want to separate fully from you but they’re okay with not being in a relationship with you (at least for the time being).

5. They’re Hoping For a Future Reconciliation

Regardless of how imitated the breakup, your ex may still be hanging around with you because they hope that you two will reconcile in the future.

If they’ve broken up with you, that might seem like a strange idea.

But as I’ve pointed out, sometimes an ex breaks up with their romantic partner because they need time and space to figure things out. 

If, on the other hand, you broke up with them, your ex could be feeling jaded but hopeful that the two of you can still have a future together. 

Until that happens, or until they’re completely convinced in their mind that your decision is final, your ex will pursue a friendship. 

6. They Want Your Emotional Support and Validation 

One of the toughest aspects of a breakup is that your ex loses their emotional support. You were the one they could always depend on when they needed support, advice and validation.

Now that you’re gone, they need someone to cling to.

And sometimes, that someone is still you (which is why they’ll want to be your friend). 

This can be a tricky situation because – naturally – one of you might want to move on altogether. But if the other is using their ex as an emotional crutch, it can almost feel as though the relationship hasn’t completely ended. 

7. They’re Neglecting Awkwardness of Disruptions In Your Mutual Group 

If the two of you have mutual friends (and even an entire mutual social group), it’s highly possible that your ex wants to remain friends with you because they don’t want to make things awkward.

More than that, they don’t want to disrupt things to the point where either they or you can’t see certain people or hang out in a group anymore. 

This happens quite often when there’s a breakup that involves two people who frequently hang out with the same groups of people. Because neither partner wants to stop seeing their friends, both decide to remain friends so that there’s no awkwardness when everyone meets up.

Of course, this can have the knock-on effect of making everyone else feel awkward anyway, which is why it’s important to make sure everyone knows where you and your ex stand. 

8. They Want To Be Friends With Benefits 

Okay, so you guys are no longer in a relationship. There’s no romance, maybe there’s no emotional connection anymore – but your ex hopes that you can remain friends with benefits.

In other words, while the two of you have officially broken up, you can still have no-strings-attached sex. 

While this can work to a degree if two people are still single, it can also have emotional repercussions. After all, the two of you were once romantically involved. 

Can being a friend with benefits work? 

It can but it entirely depends on what both of you want out of this. But if your ex is no longer with you but still flirts with you and has even had sex with you since the breakup, it could mean they want a FWB. 

9. They Miss Your Financial Support (Or Social Status)

It might seem like a sneaky tactic for an ex to still want to be your friend just so they can lean on you for financial support. And it’s especially a tad cheeky if they want to keep you around due to your social status.

Sadly, this sort of thing does happen.

A person breaks up with someone because they no longer have romantic feelings for them but they want to remain friends with them just so they can get money from them. 

There are, of course, easy ways to spot whether or not this is the case in your situation. For example, if the two of you have broken up but your ex often asks to borrow money, it could mean that they’re basically using you for financial reasons right now. 

If all your conversations always seem to circle back to money, it’s another telltale sign that they miss your financial support. 

10. You Two Have Shared Goals Or Interests

If the two of you have/had shared goals and projects, it probably makes sense to your ex that the two of you remain good friends.

After all, just because you broke up, that doesn’t mean you can’t still collaborate creatively or professionally, right? 

If your ex sees real potential for the two of you to achieve something cool together, they might think it would be a real shame if you had to cut all ties when you broke up.

Sure, you might need some time to get over one another – but that doesn’t mean you can’t keep the creative connection going at a later date. 

11. They Want To Alleviate Their Guilt Or Regret

If your ex made mistakes during your relationship, they might be feeling so bad about things that they want to make amends. 

If you notice your ex is trying harder than ever to make a good impression on you, it suggests they’re trying to alleviate their guilt and right a few wrongs.

And the only way they can do this is by remaining friends. And, therefore, your ex wants to be friends.

12. They Have Mixed Feelings For You So They Don’t Want You To Move On

It sometimes happens that an ex can’t make up their mind about you. They broke the relationship off because things weren’t going well – but it doesn’t mean they dislike you.

In fact, if your ex still wants to be friends after breaking up, it’s possible that they are unsure about what they want. Part of them wanted the breakup but the other part of them might regret dumping you

So one moment they are ignoring your calls and the next they are calling you and even flirting with you!

Because they have mixed feelings, they’re sending out mixed signals. This makes you confused, too, and prevents you from moving on. 

13. They Genuinely Want To Be Friends

You know one strong reason why you ex wants to be friends?

Because, sometimes, romantic partners get on better as friends. That’s just the way it is.

As such, it might be the case that your ex realized that the two of you are incompatible romantically and/or sexually – but they like you too much as a friend to move on from you completely. 

So when the dust settles, they hope that the two of you can still hang out as friends. A healthy platonic relationship is also becoming increasingly popular but it’s risky.

Is It a Good Idea To Be Friends After a Breakup? 

Your ex wants to be friends but it’s necessarily a good idea. The biggest problem with staying friends after a breakup is that it’s usually the one with a broken heart who is stuck in limbo.

In other words, if you’re the one who wanted to stay in a relationship and your ex broke it off (and now wants to reduce the two of you to just friendship), they will still be getting everything they want out of this … while you’re left confused, upset and unsure. 

Not just that but you might end up retaining hope that the two of you could get back together one day and this prevents you from moving on with your life. 

Most of the time, then, it’s a smart idea to cut all ties with your ex and move on. You could tell your ex boyfriend or ex girlfriend that you never saw them as a friend in the first place (they were always more than just a friend) and that the thought of being “just friends” with them is too upsetting. 

Either that or you could at least ask for time and space while you figure things out. In the meantime, they shouldn’t try to contact you.

After a few weeks or months when the pain has gone somewhat, you can decide if you really want to remain friends with them. 

Staying friends with your ex can work – but only if you have both agreed that there’s no chance the two of you will get back together. 

Heads up: We’ve explain in great details if being friends with ex can lead back to relationship or not.

What Are The Challenges To Keep In Mind For Being Friends With Your Ex?

If you decide to stay friends with your ex, you have to make sure you’re well and truly over the breakup. Would hanging out with them as just mates affect you? 

Remember, you won’t be able to kiss them, touch them or cuddle them the way you used to. 

You’ll also need to be okay with the idea that your ex will date other people – and if you stay friends, you’ll probably see news about their dates on social media. 

Also, mutual friends have to be taken into consideration. How will they react and how will you negotiate the different social obstacles that are now in place? 

Lastly, you need to know why your ex wants to stay friends with you before you make your decision. Do they have good intentions here?

My Advice For If You Become Friends With Your Ex:

Set clear boundaries: Let them know that you’re only okay with doing “friendly” things from now on, which may mean no flirting, no late-night phone calls and no kissing. 

Focus on the present: Don’t dwell on the past or on what “might have been” with your ex. Live for today and take each day at a time. 

Communicate openly and honestly: Don’t keep things from your ex. If you’re uncomfortable about the new situation, speak up and let them know. 

Regularly reassess the friendship: It might be the case that the two of you are incompatible as friends. If so, make sure to keep assessing the friendship so that you can set new boundaries/rules or call it off altogether if it just isn’t working. 


It’s not unusual for an ex to want to be friends after a breakup. But it’s really important that you find out why your ex wants be friends so that you can decide what to do next.

More importantly, you have to put yourself first.

  • Do you want to stay friends? 
  • Are you comfortable being in a friend zone?

If so, you’ll need to establish boundaries that ensure there are no blurred lines or mixed signals. And if it isn’t working out, just remember that you’re not under any pressure to stay friends. 

Ultimately, it’s up to you what happens next. You can walk away altogether and move on with your life or you can give friendship a go if you think their intentions are coming from a good place. 

Whatever you do, don’t sell yourself short. 

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About Will Titterington

Will Titterington is a highly sought-after relationship coach and author, with a passion for helping individuals and couples build and maintain healthy, thriving relationships. Will loves connecting with new people from all around the world and is always up for a good laugh, and takes joy in making others smile.

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