Women, men, boyfriends, girlfriends, relatives, and relationship experts all disagree about the possibility of being friends with an ex-boyfriend. Opinions are apparently divided: A 2004 NBC poll found that 48% of people remained friends after a relationship ended. For some, friendship with an "ex" is natural. For others, it's a problem for sure. Success will depend on your personalities and your story, but if you're ready to give it a try, read on!
Method 1 of 3: Part One: Finding peace after I finish
Step 1. Recognize that not all ex-boyfriends can become friends
There are several reasons not to become friends with an ex-boyfriend. He might still like you. In that case, hanging out with him as a friend can be cruel. The opposite may also be true – if you still like it, you might be disappointed. Finally, your breakup may have been over something so serious that it's impossible for them to look at each other without resentment. If any of you have been hurt badly, it's best to keep your distance.
Even if he's calm, emotionally stable, and if you don't have a lot of history issues, you just might not want to see him again. There's no problem. You don't necessarily need to be friends
Step 2. Give him time
Even the clearest break-ups can cause difficult feelings for both parties. Right after a breakup, he is likely to be sad or angry. This is not the time to approach him as a friend. Wait for the storm to pass before continuing.
- Likewise, listen to your heart. If you still feel anger or some kind of sadness, take a moment before contacting them.
- How long you spend away from each other after a breakup will depend on the circumstances of the breakup. Troubled breakups can take months or even years for feelings to calm down to normal, allowing for a friendly relationship.
Step 3. Work on yourself
The period after a breakup is a great opportunity for reflection and self-development. After your emotions normalize, take your time for yourself. Enjoy your hobbies and your schoolwork. Take your time to learn a new skill. Do things you enjoy, alone or with friends. When it develops, it will also restore your self-confidence, making it easier to start new friendships and, coincidentally, romances.
After a few weeks of development, you may find that you don't even think about your ex-boyfriend anymore! It will be easier to start a new friendship with him or ignore him completely, whichever you prefer
Step 4. Make contact
Once you've spent a lot of time on yourself and feel ready to move on, call, text or email him. Take a test. You might even prefer to talk to his friend first to find out how he is doing before contacting him. Take it easy, don't talk about your relationship or the breakup. Say you haven't seen him in a long time and would like to see him.
- If he doesn't immediately respond to your contact attempts, don't try again right away. He may not have gotten over the breakup as quickly as you. Give him more time.
- Never leave dozens of messages on his phone! If you feel that temptation, you're probably not ready for a friendship yet.
Method 2 of 3: Part Two: Starting a New Friendship
Step 1. Spend time with him carefully
Go with him to some social events. In the beginning, these outings should be shorter and simpler, a cafe or a visit to a museum, for example. Keep your schedule full, or at least pretend it is. If things get a little weird, you can always use the excuse of being late for something to get away!
Do absolutely nothing that could be characterized as a date. Don't stay too late, don't drink anything alcoholic or go dancing. You may become interested in each other, and if you still haven't resolved the issue that led to your breakup, the relationship may not work out again. Or worse, you may end up with potential relationships that have already started with other people
Step 2. Tell him directly that you want to be his friend
He can be confused about your intentions if you are not clear about what you want. Simply say "I hope we can still be friends" or ask the question "We're still friends, aren't we?" Don't leave the matter unresolved. If you're not clear in saying you want a friendship, he might think you're trying to get back together. Avoid future hassles by being open and honest with him.
Step 3. Don't pretend nothing has changed
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is pretending that nothing happened after the breakup. This can give the impression that you never cared about the relationship. You might hurt him, which is something you shouldn't do. Once you get in touch with him, acknowledge the breakup without exaggeration. You can use the following phrases:
- "I'm so happy to see you again."
- "I really hope it's better. I am."
- "I want to move on and start over as a friend."
Step 4. Tell people they are just friends
If his friends knew about your relationship, they'll be curious to know what's going on. If you have any reason to suspect he's not being honest with his friends, don't let him lie. Tell them you're trying to be his friend and nothing else. If your ex-boyfriend tells them you're desperate to get back, but you say no, they'll probably understand that the desperate one is your ex.
- You'll get one more benefit - he'll probably talk to his friends and they'll say you just want a friendship. If he knows that you are defining your relationship as friendship in front of other people, he will have a great incentive to respect your opinion.
- If you have a new boyfriend or he, a new girlfriend, clearly define these intentions for these people early on. Even so, jealousy can be unavoidable. So, you have to deal with it if you want to have a new friendship with your ex-boyfriend.
Step 5. Demonstrate that you still care about him
Let him know he can still count on you when he needs it. If he's sad, talk to him. Show that you are concerned about his feelings. However, do this as a friend, don't hug him or do anything that might rekindle old feelings. Offer to talk to him, he'll probably like to talk about his problems with someone who understands him well.
Also, let him respectfully show that he cares about you. This is probably true. Talk to him if you need to, but don't let him use your vulnerability as an excuse to win you back
Method 3 of 3: Part Three: Making a Relationship Last
Step 1. Recognize the signs that he is still interested in you
It's hard for anyone to suddenly see someone they loved as a friend. Some people just can't do it. If your ex-boyfriend is experiencing any of the following behaviors, he may need some more time:
- Send messages or call regularly for no specific reason.
- Chat with your friends constantly.
- Making jokes or inappropriate or intimate references.
- Make comments about the relationship that ended.
- Accidentally touch it or not.
Step 2. Explain everything clearly to your new boyfriend
If you have a new boyfriend, the situation can be a lot more complex. Even the most understanding boyfriends can get a little jealous at first. Some will always be jealous. The best you can do is explain clearly and calmly that you don't want to get back together with your "ex". Explain to your new boyfriend that you love him and that you just want to be friends with your "ex" without any ulterior motives. Make it clear that you don't think, or rather, don't want to think of your ex-boyfriend “that way”.
- Your ex-boyfriend will also need to have this conversation with his new girlfriend, if he does.
- Don't do anything to give your current boyfriend any reason to suspect he's being cheated. For example, don't stay later than you've arranged until he's comfortable with you dating your ex. However, if your current boyfriend is paranoid about this friendship (texting him all the time, for example), you might want to scold him. If you haven't given him any reason to distrust you, you should trust him.
Step 3. Don't go back to the past
If you want to be friends with your "ex", don't do the things you used to do when you were dating. If you do this, infidelity will be encouraged (if you have a new boyfriend) and you may end up suffering. Start something new. Take the opportunity to have new experiences and activities as friends.
- Avoid places where you used to go together. Don't go to the places where they used to have breakfast or the bar where they first met.
- Refuse to participate in activities you used to do together – if he invites you to the park to throw food for the ducks, as they used to do every Sunday, tell him you'd rather have coffee.
Step 4. You must make sure that neither of you is suffering
At first, interactions with your "ex" can be tense, but luckily this will pass and you will begin to have a more cordial phase. However, once they let their guard down, they may find they are still emotionally hurt. The innermost feelings of betrayal and breakup may surface. If you go through this, it could be signs that you and your "ex" aren't ready to be friends again.
- If you feel sad or angry at your "ex" while trying to show you're happy, or if you always feel like you want to say more than you can say, your issues may not be resolved yet. Have a little more time before the friendship begins.
- It could also be that he seems grumpy or irritable and doesn't want to talk to you about anything other than wanting to meet you. In that case, he's probably still thinking about your relationship or the things you've broken up with. You can ask him this, but it can make him very angry or sad.
Step 5. Allow your relationship to gradually deepen
Over time, you can get closer again. Take it slow, just let the friendship mature when the process is natural. Set limits for yourself in the beginning – things you shouldn't do or talk about – and only push those limits when you're sure you can trust him.
There may also be the possibility that you may find that you don't like being friends with your "ex"! In that case, stop dating him, but be careful as he might not give up that easily. Strange feelings of neediness are unfortunately a very real possibility when there is an attempt at friendship with an ex-boyfriend
- Tell jokes and make him smile.
- If they study together, try to join his group when there's a job. Teamwork can bring them together.
- Talk to him as you would your best friend.
- If someone asks what's going on between you, it's a great opportunity to say "We're friends." Then you will be able to say what happens.
- Never talk to him about the old days, as he may comment on certain things that will make you unable to be friends.
- Don't try to be his friend if he's done something bad that led to your breakup.
- Depending on how the relationship ended, you may not be able to be friends with him.