Can you be friends with an ex-boyfriend?

I dated this guy for about 2 years and we recently broke up. I initiated the break up (because frankly I was bored; maybe that’s bad of me but that will be for another post). Nonetheless, he was my best friend for those 2 years, and good friend even before we started dating. There are so many times now that I want to ask him for advice, or tell him something funny that happened during the day, etc. We have spoken here and there (like a “how are you” type conversation) but I may want more .. like to officially be friends again. Is it possible? Or will he, or I, become entangled in confusing emotions?

10 thoughts on “Can you be friends with an ex-boyfriend?

  1. AKchic says:

    [Exes CAN be friends, but I would give it time before doing so. I don’t know how long ago your break-up was, or how he reacted to it (i.e., was he blind-sided? pissed? okay with it?), so I can’t give you too much advice.

  2. Love and Ink says:

    [You’re right, I could’ve mistaken it .. I noticed that about myself – I’m always looking for the “new” feeling. And it’s funny you ask my age because that is part of what confused me as well, I’m 21 should I be settling right now? It became not just a “cooling off” period but a question of “is this what I want for the rest of my life?” “Do we want the same things?” And since I couldn’t answer those questions, I decided to walk away in hopes of figuring out what I want (in love and life).

  3. Matt Sanchelli says:

    [Thank you for all of the additional information (and AKchic for asking some of it).

    If he didn’t see it coming, and even said “it killed him”, at only 2 months after the break up it is going to be extremely difficult to tell.

    My best advice right now would be to simply let him know that you would like to eventually be friends again and that you’ll be there for him when he’s ready. Since you initiated the break-up he will need time to adjust to no longer being a couple as well as sorting out his remaining feelings for you.

    Right now, space is his best medicine. He may become distant. He could even become “hostile” (meaning agitated and some-what angry) at some times. He could eventually try to win you back.

    Break ups are definitely hard, and they are even harder to tell where things may end up when one person is ready for a change and the other gets ‘caught with their pants down’.

    I hope he eventually feels comfortable enough to try having a friendship with you again and am sorry you are feeling the way you are; but in the meantime it may be worthwhile for you to prepare for the possibility that the two of you may not become friends again.

  4. karlos says:

    [It seems like you’re trying to have your cake and eat it, I only use that phrase because I like cake.

    You say you broke up with him and that it killed him, now you’re saying you may want more from him, but you may not. If you initiated the break up, you should at least allow him to be the one in charge of whether or not you can be friends again, he’s the one who’s most hurt and stands to lose the most.

    Then again, everyone needs friends. My advice is to offer him a beverage, perhaps tea, because that goes nicely with cake.

  5. EricaSwagger says:

    [Exes can be friends if the desire for friendship is mutual. You can’t just tell him “hey, I really miss you and I’d love to go back to being friends” and expect things to go back to how they were before you saw each other naked.

    Seriously consider whether or not you miss him as a person, or you miss having him in your life every day. Seriously think about how it will affect him to see you on a regular basis when he knows he can’t have you. Seriously try to be honest with yourself about whether or not you’ll be able to (or even want to) eventually share with him things you share with other friends, like new love interests or far away job opportunities.

    After you think long and hard about your true motives when seeking this friendship, it’s still going to be something you have to ease into. Mention you’d like to be friends, see how he reacts first. As was said above, 2 months isn’t that long after a 2 year relationship. But on the flipside, wait too long, and it will be awkward. Try coffee. Try going to get ice cream. Try grabbing a drink or two.

    And be sure to pay for yourself, or pay every other time. That’s what FRIENDS do. If you constantly let him pay for you (even if he insists), you’re taking advantage, leading him on, and being manipulative, even if you’re not doing it consciously.

  6. DavidIsGreat says:

    [Given the info you’ve shared it is my opinion that he’s pissed and not ready to be friends.

    I’m not blaming you or trying to make you feel bad, I’m just saying that he’s going to need some time and space if he is going to come around.

  7. Solstice says:

    [Since he says it killed him, I think it would be wise to wait awhile before attempting to be friends. My ex and I broke up a couple of months ago, it was basically mutual, we knew we just weren’t right for each other. We hung out here and there and it just led to hooking up again. It’s been a month or so now since we’ve seen each other and he wants to know when we can hang out and be friends. I feel like I’m not quite ready yet, but I might try it just to see how it goes. We both miss each other and telling each other little everyday things that are going on in our lives. But when you end a relationship that’s just what happens.

  8. Brandon Sklar says:

    [The thing with break ups is that, in almost every case, there is an intermittent time period where both people are on incredibly different emotional planes. One person almost always moves on faster than the other (usually whoever instigated the separation such as yourself). Frankly, if he still has feelings for you, you would be causing him incredible harm for reaching out for any sort of friendship.

    I have been in, essentially, your exact same position a few times aside from the fact that it was actually my exs who were reaching out towards me for a friendship. But… I knew that they still had lingering feelings for me and by creating any sort of platonic relationship I knew that I would be making it near impossible for them to move on. And I think it is really because I could not create a platonic relationship at the time. A friendship is not really platonic if one party wants to romance the other. Relationships work best under equal reciprocation– feelings being the most important. So I had to basically push them away, causing them even more pain which was gut-wrenching for me.

    But a few months ago one of my exes talked to me for the first time in a year and more or less said that she thought I was an enormous dick for a long time… but now really appreciated me practically ignoring her because she was able to move on quickly rather than fall into the bottomless pit of wanting something that I could never provide her. It is safe to say that I think a friendship is slowly growing between us again.

    So, my advice is merely echoing what others have already said; wait until you are sure that he is moved on (which could be a painfully long time). Depending on how deeply infatuated he was with you, even the slightest communication at a sensitive time could only dig the knife deeper into the wound. If you care for him as much as it appears you do, you should stay away. Sometimes being mean in the short-run is the same as being nice in the long-run.

  9. lilredbmw says:

    [It is possible to be friends with an ex…sometimes. But in all truthfulness, sometimes the “friendship” is deceiving and a way for one person to hold on to hope of a relationship starting again. With that said, be careful about it. Let him cool off and let the wounds heal. It sounds like you were in the friend zone already and he was still in a romantic relationship, so at this point you two are in very different places. It wouldn’t be realistic to expect him to want to go hang out at the coffee shop and chat right now, like old friends. Give it some time, and then hopefully when he has let go of the relationship you two can be friends again. Oh, and one last thing. Don’t drink together. It has a way of blurring the friend/friend with benefits/bed buddy/what-the-heck-did-we-do-last-night line.

  10. resullins says:

    [Absolutely. It is completely and entirely possible. I’m friends with an ex.

    However, and this is a BIG “but”, it really depends on who the involved parties are. If he was blind-sided, then you telling him you miss him as a friend is going to add insult to injury for him. You are going to have to wait for him to come to you. This is ultimately your fault, and so losing your friend may be entirely your burden to bear, and that sucks, and I’m sorry.

    Wait for him. Be polite, be nice, be friendly, and he may come to you to be friends. But you just flayed that man, don’t push him.

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