Why Does My Ex Want To Be Friends? (11 Reasons Why)

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Isabelle O'Gallagher

Isabelle O'Gallagher is a personal development and relationship expert who has consulted for some of the biggest companies in America.

Breakups come with an immense amount of emotions. Confusion is one of the most pressing reactions you will deal with. You may not know why it ended or whether you should continue communicating with your ex.

While several questions will arise after a breakup, your ex saying that they want to be friends can make matters worse. Maybe you do not want to remain friends, which begs the question: why does my ex want to be friends?

Why Does My Ex Want To Be Friends?

1. They Miss Being Around You

Your ex may want to be friends because they miss being around you. Especially for long, meaningful relationships, acclimating to not being around one’s partner anymore can be a difficult adjustment.

When someone cannot deal with not seeing someone every day that was a huge part of their life, it can cause them to think about their ex constantly and consider ways to keep in contact with them.

If your ex misses spending time with you, they may want to be friends as an outlet to nurture the feeling of your absence. They decide that becoming your friend is as good of a way as any to spend time with you.

2. They Are Not Over You

It is no secret that not all relationships end mutually. Your ex may want to be friends because they are not over you. Fresh breakups take time to cope with, and such a struggle can continue for a seemingly endless time.

If your ex is not over you, they may try to be your friend in hopes that they can rekindle a fire that has already been put out. If you are adamant about the breakup, it can be dangerous to allow this to happen.

You do not want to give your ex-partner false hope. Just because they are not over you and want to be friends with you does not mean you have to give attention to the situation.

3. They Have Moved On

On the other hand, your ex may want to be friends because they truly have moved on and are ready to move past the awkward instances of seeing you in public and not knowing what to do.

Part of healing from a breakup can involve developing a new friendship with your ex. This is not always a valid option, but it is certainly a possibility. If they have moved on, they may be comfortable talking to you as a friend.

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If both of you have gotten over the breakup, becoming friends can nurture a path to normalcy. Eventually, you can learn to appreciate your friendship with your ex rather than dwell on the past relationship.

4. They Are Jealous

Your ex may not always have good intentions when telling you that they want to be friends. If you suspect that they may not want to become friends for positive reasons, be wary of their proposition.

If an ex is jealous of things you have achieved or how you have lived your life after the breakup, they may want to be friends out of spite. For instance, if you have a new partner, your ex might be looking to stir up trouble.

Recognizing the intentions behind your ex wanting to be friends is important for deciding whether it is a good move. Just because they are jealous of your happiness does not mean you have to let them back into your life.

5. You Impacted Them Positively

Your ex may wish to be friends because you impacted their life in such a way that they have not been able to experience since the breakup. If they miss the effect you had on them, they will want to be friends.

Regardless of your ex’s intentions, they may not be able to help it if they feel less motivated, less joyful, or less productive when you are not around. This is not a justification to be friends, but it is a real struggle.

If you become friends with your ex because they tell you how great you made their life, be careful not to fall into the same routine. This may lead them on, and, if you are done with the relationship, it can hurt both of you.

6. Your Breakup Was Cordial

Your Breakup Was Cordial

Your ex may simply want to be friends if the breakup was cordial. If the two of you mutually agreed to stop seeing each other, your ex might see no problem with remaining friends.

Transitioning from partners to friends will take some getting used to, but if you are both willing to try being friends because you are both okay with the breakup, it can work out just fine.

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Staying friends after a cordial breakup can be useful, especially if the two of you have the same friend group, hang out at the same places, or are involved in anything that may cause you to see each other in public often.

7. They Need Closure

If your ex does not understand why the two of you broke up, they may want to remain friends as a way of figuring that out. They may feel that they need closure that was not found during or after the breakup.

When someone cannot process an event like a breakup, they may not know what to do. As mentioned earlier, a lot of questions will arise. Your ex may think that being friends will help them get over you.

Becoming friends with an ex that has yet to process the breakup can pose problems, so you need to be careful when deciding if keeping communication with them is necessary or beneficial.

8. Friends-With-Benefits

Friends-with-benefits are quite an odd dynamic to some people. If your ex misses the intimacy of the relationship but is over the breakup, they might propose that you two become friends with benefits.

Having a no-strings-attached, friends-with-benefits relationship could be your ex’s way of getting what they want without committing to you. If you are on board, you might decide to try it out.

If you become friends with benefits with your ex-partner, you must make sure that it does not affect the potential of your future relationships; that is, if you are wanting to pursue other romantic partners.

9. They Feel Lonely

Whether they have not had luck in romantic endeavors after the breakup, struggle to enjoy themselves with family and friends, or any other reason, your ex might want to be friends because they feel lonely without you.

Loneliness is a common reaction after a breakup, and it is difficult to deal with feeling isolated and alone. You were there for your ex when the two of you were together, but now, they may feel that they have no one.

If your ex wants to be friends because they are lonely, you might decide to be kind to them. However, as with many other instances, this can lead to them thinking there is more to the friendship than you feel.

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10. They Display Toxic Traits

One of the worst reasons your ex wants to be your friend is if they possess toxic traits. Likely, their toxic traits are a big influence behind the reasons for the breakup. Tread lightly when befriending a toxic ex.

If your ex is manipulative, the friendship is probably going to be much more stressful than what you are prepared for. In fact, they may manipulate you into remaining friends. Manipulation may only be the start.

Be aware of the motivators that led to the breakup and keep an eye out for returning behaviors that might make you uncomfortable. If you do not want to be friends, be stern about it.

11. They Want Something From You

Another detrimental reason an ex wants to be friends with you is that they want something from you. It does not matter what this may be – revenge, sex, love, or anything else. A one-sided relationship is not fruitful.

If you know that your ex is petty, greedy, or possesses other needy qualities, be careful of letting them back into your life. Even if they are not intentionally using you, it will still be an unnecessary friendship.

Though some of the reasons listed above push for genuine reasons an ex wants to be your friend, a reason like this is not something to be taken lightly. It is okay to be on your guard if you are unsure of an ex’s intentions.

To learn more, you can also read our posts on why your ex blocked you, why your ex is checking up on you, and why guys sleep with their ex.


Your ex may want to be friends for a multitude of reasons. It is important to think about the intentions behind why your ex wants to be friends with you. If you are open to the idea, explore it further.

If you are not comfortable with the idea of being friends with your ex, do not be afraid to tell them. They may not take it well, but it will save you the trouble of a negative and confusing relationship.


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