My Ex Wants To Be Friends

At this point, alarm bells should be tolling loudly just about everywhere in your brain. My ex wants to be friends? That bitter-sweet stirring of the ashes. And that nauseous array of long-forgotten questions and emotional variables. Have they explicitly asked for friendship, or are you judging their demeanour from behind of wall of text? Is reconciliation even on the menu? Or are they instead spurred by festering, ego-driven guilt? What do I have to lose by indulging their request in the laudable spirit of altruism? What, indeed, do I have to gain?

In this article I will spill my personal beans regarding superficially platonic”friendship” scenarios, answering the aforementioned questions as honestly as I can. But before I make honesty the main sail of my argument, it’s time for you to do a little of the same.

Be Completely Honest With Yourself

By reading an article on this topic you are usually one (or more) of three things.

  • Genuinely curious and interested in a strictly platonic relationship. After all, you’ve shared so much.
  • A little scared, and a little excited by the prospect of potential reconciliation. We weren’t bad for each other, we were just at the wrong place at the wrong time.
  • Seeking to protect your current relationship by interpreting their motives. One wrong move and you’re out.

My personal take is a little blunt. None of these reasons really make any sense to me, especially when looked at from a long-term perspective. While many people I have chatted with over the years profess to have installed a non-possessive, non jealous, deeply platonic and caring relationship with their exs, I still feel that such friendships are a category apart. While there is indubitably a reason you fell apart, there is also a reason you fell in love.

Are They Just Being Friendly?

If they contact you from out of the blue, or go out of their way to do so, we can safely assume they still care. Whether this means they may wish to reconcile, or whether they miss your company, is initially impossible to know with any certainty.

Quintessential signs your wants to be friends include avoiding talking about your past relationship, being cheerful and supportive, not making you an overnight priority and gradually opening up to their day-to-day routine by asking for advice or including you in their decision making processes.

Conversely, signs that your ex may wish more than friendship (or are having trouble moving on) can include attempting to throw a lasso around past mistakes, apologizing, playing the my fault-your fault game and showing a confusing and sporadic array of emotions. Fluctuating from glowing cheeriness to anger, from emotional withdrawal to proximity.

None of these signs are set in stone, however, and there’s no real way of telling which way the wind is blowing other than to go for a figurative jog in the cold. Know that if you decide to indulge in this new “friendship” their motivation may stem from guilt rather than selfless love (whether they know it or not). If you feel you can take another hit and move on relatively unscathed — go for it — but make sure you erect healthy personal boundaries first.

Things To Look Out For

Even if you do decide to establish an ongoing contact routine and things are looking surprisingly good, make sure you don’t commit to a leap of faith unlessĀ  potential pitfalls have evaporated.Low self-esteem, trauma and loneliness can propel us to seek easily accessible forms of comfort. Leeching affection from a doting ex is a fantastic way to feel loved and worthy without having to commit. To safeguard us from being used in this way, drag your newly formed friendship out over time. Slow it down. An ex who genuinely cares, who is reaching out to you because they want to, and not because they need to, will stick around.