I can’t help but want to shake (in a loving fashion of course) people who email me and tell me how they struggle with being friends with an ex–just to get them back.
If you’re having a tough time dealing with the breakup… there’s no question about that your heart is tattered. You’re broken. You’ve spent the last few weeks sucking in air between your two front teeth just to keep yourself from falling into a dark abyss of another cry attack.
You can’t eat. You can’t drink. You feel like you’re just a small a fragment of the person you thought you once were. Your world is completely turned upside down. My heart truly goes out to you.
Does coping with a breakup when you and your ex remain friends impossible?
Well… to be honest, it’s next to impossible.
I know it feels counter-intuitive to not pick up the phone when your ex calls or answer a text message asking you to meet up.
I mean…Heck, you want them back and if they show any interest in you even after the fact they broke up with you… THEN THIS IS YOUR CHANCE IN GETTING THEM BACK, RIGHT?!
… um… Wrong.
What you do after a breakup will either put nail the coffin shut on of your once wonderful relationship or help you and your ex work together to rebuild and strengthen a new relationship. Being friends with an ex so soon after a breakup makes it so much tougher to get them back.
Your ex initially broke up with you for their own reasons. Regardless of how much you wish you can change their mind, trying to convince them that they made a mistake or that you’ll change your ways is futile (because when it comes down to it, the only person whose feelings you have any control over is yourself).
This is when some people may decide to use the backdoor of being friends with their ex to win them back. This method is essentially people trying to manipulate their ex into falling back in love with them.
Here are three reasons why being friends with an ex will do more damage than good.
1. You Haven’t Healed From the Breakup Yet
We all know that breakups affect your self-esteem and confidence.
Someone who you love and invested a lot of emotions and time with suddenly doesn’t want to pursue you or the relationship anymore is a tough pill to swallow.
It’s even more confusing and difficult when your ex sends you mixed messages.
If you haven’t had a time to heal from the breakup yet, chances are high that you’ll hang on to every word your ex says. You’ll be basing your life’s decisions on your ex, causing you even more pain and angst if one day, they decide to move on from you all together.
Can you imagine how you would feel if your ex started talking to you about their dating life? Can you imagine trying to choke back a sob when you slap a smile on your face as you tell them “I am so happy for you.”
A really sucky situation, huh?
2. Benefits Without the Commitment
If you and your ex are doing the whole “friend” thing, like playing miniature golf, eating ice cream cones and walking off into the sunset together, or perhaps even having sex… ya know, all those things that you used to do when you both were in a relationship together. For the sake of saving yourself from a lot of pain and suffering… Cease and desist!
I know it feels great to be with your ex but when reality strikes, you both are still broken up (unless you’ve already had the conversation of working things out together). Giving your ex the benefits of being in a relationship with you, WITHOUT actually being in a relationship with you is like “borrowing” your neighbor’s WiFi for free. Why pay for free Wifi? Why buy a cow when you can get the milk for free? By the way, there’s no judgment here because I do pay for my MILK! hehe:)
How can you get your ex back if you’re not allowing them to feel the consequence of them choosing to break up with you?
3. Trying to Convince Your Ex to Take You Back
This is something I know a lot of people end up doing when their ex breaks up with them. They’ve called their ex, begging, pleading to take them back and when that doesn’t work… they try a different manipulation tactic. They make sure they they’ve showed everyone and their their ex that they’ve made a drastic and positive change in life.
If you’re using the back door of friendship to attract your ex back… Do you laugh a little too hard? Do you avoid getting upset or angry? Do you have a new and improved look? Have you lost a lot weight? Are you changing many of your externals in hopes of you and your ex getting together ?
You and your ex broke up for a reason. Most likely due to internal reasons rather then external reasons.
Pretending that you’ve completely changed your life around just so your ex rethinks their decision in breaking up with you will only last for so long. Even if you do convince your ex to get back into a relationship with you, what happens when you can no longer keep up the facade? Whether it be three week to three months down the line, you’ll both be back on the same road of heartbreak again.
Somewhere on a gut level, you probably already know this. But you avoid the truth because it makes you feel uncomfortable with the reality of the situation–you have to endure the breakup in order to get to a point where you can be happy again, regardless if you want your ex back or not.
Getting back together with your ex long before you’ve healed from the heartbreak will likely set yourself up to be emotionally reliant on someone else. You’ll hang onto their every word. You’ll want permission on how to act and behave in fear that they may break up with you again.
You’ll fear bringing 100% of yourself to the relationship.
My advice is to learn to be single again and stand on your own two feet before you think about being friends with your ex (much less being in any relationship again).
Without taking time to heal from the breakup, being friends with an ex when you’re still hurting from the breakup will not get you the relationship you want.
The root of a successful relationship begins on the health of each individual’s mindset. And a healthy mindset means you aren’t emotionally attached to any outcome (probably just like when you first met your ex, you didn’t need them to fall in love with you back then).
ADDED NOTE: Like most people, we categorize people–are they friend or are they foe? With your ex, they put you in what they believe is the “friend zone” because they need to be able to call you something without feeling pressured to call you their girlfriend or boyfriend. And when you can focus on building those positive interactions with your ex…that “friend zone” label they put on you will drop. We actually talk a lot more about this inside ESP. If you’re an OSG member, you can ask Clay and I your specific questions about this topic.
If you can relate to this post, please share some of your experiences when it comes to being friends with an ex. Has it ever backfired or has it helped you get your ex back AND have a stronger and better relationship?