Ending a romantic relationship hits us differently. For some, it’s immediately glass-shattering while the bubble disintegrates a lot more slowly for others.
You meet someone, get with them, become a significant part of each other’s lives, and then for some reason or the other, you can no longer be a couple.
It takes some getting used to not being lovers anymore, but you think maybe at least you can maintain some semblance of normal and stay friends. Except for one thing: your ex doesn’t seem to share this sentiment, and for the life of you, you can’t figure out why.
Well, only your ex can tell you for sure their reason, but here are nine possible ones if asking isn’t an option.
- 1 9 Reasons An Ex Wouldn’t Want To Be Friends
- 1.1 1. Being friends makes it harder to let go
- 1.2 2. They are still holding a grudge
- 1.3 3. They still have feelings for you
- 1.4 4. Their new partner doesn't support your friendship
- 1.5 5. They don't want to lead you on
- 1.6 6. They don't want to complicate things/make things awkward
- 1.7 7. They are egotistic/immature
- 1.8 8. You were never friends
- 1.9 9. They don't think you are worth staying friends with anymore
- 2 FAQs
- 3 In Summary
9 Reasons An Ex Wouldn’t Want To Be Friends
1. Being friends makes it harder to let go
Friendship isn’t so different from a relationship in that you are equally likely to get emotionally attached to both. This can be an issue, especially in instances of amicable breakups. If there is no bad blood on either side, staying friends, even though it feels like the natural thing to do, can make it that much harder to move on.
If you were close as a couple, your continued presence in each other’s lives can create a faux sense of stability and reduce your interest in connecting with other people. Then you know how it goes; either someone mistakes civilities for more, or they neither seek closure nor move on and later resent their ‘friend’ for wasted time.
It’s potentially asking for further heartbreak if one isn’t careful.
2. They are still holding a grudge
Your ex simply may not want to be friends anymore because they think you are a terrible person now. Sometimes, it really isn’t rocket science. This is likely to be the case if your breakup was anything but cordial. Even more so when you betrayed the terms of your agreement first or they somehow blame you for no longer being together.
It’s kind of hard to maintain a friendship with someone whose voice or face you can barely stand, or someone you’ve come to associate with being hurt. The good news is that time heals for this particular reason. They probably just need some space and will likely come around eventually.
3. They still have feelings for you
Your ex might be avoiding being friends with you because they can’t bear to be just that with you. If you have feelings for someone that they don’t share, the truth is being around them can bring more pain than joy.
You may have the best of intentions of being all casual with your ex, but from where they are standing, it can be a painful reminder of what had been. It’s worse if you are dating or trying to move on while they are still an absolute wreck from the breakup.
4. Their new partner doesn't support your friendship
If your ex is in a new relationship, ask yourself: would he or she cut you if their current partner asked? If you were the love of each other’s lives, your ex’s subsequent partners might notice, and it’s normal for that kind of history to make them nervous.
Now, you’ve known this person for some time, if they are totally the type who would readily discontinue a relationship to please a significant other, that might be your reason. It’s as simple as a necessary compromise in that case.
5. They don't want to lead you on
Then again, your ex’s new girlfriend doesn’t even need to ask them not to keep in touch with you. They could have come to the decision themselves out of respect for their current partner, especially if they’d much rather prefer to leave the past behind.
You may start off platonic, but the single fact that you know what each other feels and looks like naked means there will always be room for temptation.
If you can’t think of any other reason why your ex would decline your hand of friendship, it might be a sign they are serious about their new relationship. That, or they know you’re still into them and don’t want you to get the wrong idea.
6. They don't want to complicate things/make things awkward
Sometimes, relationships end on a complicated note – insurmountable differences and resentment, trauma, family differences, blood type, to list some reasons that are usually not one just party's fault. In that case, it’s normal to still have some unresolved feelings hanging between such exes.
Maybe you’ve done the dance enough times to know you are not meant for each other romance-wise, but your ex knows they can’t help themselves around you or vice versa. Or maybe it would simply be too weird for them to be just friends with you, so they choose not to.
7. They are egotistic/immature
If your ex is egotistical, it can be easier for them to cut you off than acknowledge their part in why you didn't work as a couple. It may not exactly be the intimate relationship you broke, but friendship also requires you to examine and admit your differences (individually and as a pair) to thrive.
Exes blinded by the blow your breakup dealt their ego are often too bent on making you the bad guy to stay friends. It can also be that your ex is simply not emotionally mature enough to handle just being platonic with someone they used to call their girlfriend/boyfriend.
Although to be fair, being friends with an ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend does come with a rollercoaster of emotions that can be difficult to bear for anyone.
8. You were never friends
Then again, many people talk about falling back on friendship when a relationship fails without ever having built one, not really. And some indeed start out as friends but stop maintaining that part of their relationship when they begin to have sex.
If things were purely physical, transactional, or you only shared your likable parts while you were together, your ex might not be inclined to hang around now it’s over.
9. They don't think you are worth staying friends with anymore
The opposite of love, as you probably know, isn’t hate but indifference. Some people strive for it after breaking up, but many who initiate break-ups actually reach that stage before pulling the trigger. It’s admittedly not the easiest reason on the list but a plausible one nonetheless that you simply don’t hold sway over your ex anymore.
They are not angry, depressed, or vengeful that you left, they just simply want to be without you. This can be expected in cases of betrayal or when things have so deteriorated between you that your ex can no longer be civil with you, much less be your friend. It can, however, also be how they deal with the breakup, which most people will agree isn’t the worst strategy.
Your ex can genuinely want to be your friend after you break things off, but it can also be an attempt to stay close to you. If there are still some unresolved feelings between you, your ex can stay friends to remind you of the good old days or convince you of a possible future together.
It takes some getting used to, but many lovers break up and become friends in the long run. For it to work, each party has to be willing to note and accept why the relationship didn’t work out and learn not to write the signs off in their budding friendship.
It can indicate immaturity if you can’t handle being friends with an ex for no good reason. However, it can also be the healthiest choice for you. The most important thing is to figure out what helps you heal and move on and do it.
Be honest about why you are rejecting them without dismissing tact. Prepare for the conversation whether you are going to be having it over the phone or in person. Use “I” statements to make it about you and what you want rather than their shortcomings.
Being friends with your ex in itself isn’t the worst thing, but pushing friendship too soon might not be a good strategy as it relates to moving on. It can stunt your interest in establishing new relationships, give you false hope, make you go crazy if you still have unresolved feelings, and you’ll probably have sex again. Make of that what you will.
You are not crazy for wanting to be friends with your ex-husband/ex-boyfriend/ex-partner, but you do have to respect it if they don’t feel the same way. Whether it’s that too much has happened they can’t forget or they are still too in love with you to treat you like any other girl/guy, everyone has their reasons.
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As hopeless romantic I struggled tremendously in my love life. After many years of searching, trial & error, and countless failed relationships, I finally found my Mr. Right. It wasn't an easy road, but one that has taught me an incredible amount about the workings of relationships between men and women, and this is what I hope to share through my writing on this blog.