Have you ever wondered if it’s possible to stay good friends with your ex? And what it actually means when a guy just wants to be friends after dating?
Staying friends with your ex isn’t impossible, despite many relationship experts telling you otherwise. They might say that it isn’t a good idea to stay in contact with the person who broke your heart, but what if your ex had a valid reason for breaking up?
Could it be that you can fix things between you two and stay friends even though you’re not in a romantic relationship anymore?
It’s understandable that you’re confused about whether or not you should take up on his offer and stay friends with him. I mean, ending a serious relationship is quite a big deal, but what you do next can have a significant impact on your healing process.
Either way, the unfortunate truth of a breakup is that one side will definitely be hurt and feel awful.
Remaining friends with your ex even when you still have romantic feelings for him isn’t an easy step to take. Both of you need to think about if that’s really something that you both want, and if can you conquer the obstacles you had in your relationship so that your friendship doesn’t suffer the same fate.
If you find yourself in a situation like this, every relationship coach will tell you the same thing: Give yourself enough time after your heartbreak and be sure that both of you are able to move on.
What does it mean when a guy just wants to be friends after dating?
Being in the friend zone while having strong feelings for the guy can really put you down and knock your self-esteem.
You don’t want to lose him because he’s such a good catch, but neither of you is ready for that friendship step just yet. You aren’t in love anymore but you still care about each other.
That’s why heading to the friend zone immediately after the breakup is such a bad idea that no one should do it, ever!
But what if he says that he wants to stay friends yet is secretly trying to get you back? What if he’s sending you mixed signals and now you don’t know how to respond?
What could it mean when a guy wants to be friends after dating?
1. He genuinely cares for you
The thing about a man is that once he lets someone into his heart, he doesn’t easily forget about them. So, when a guy just wants to be friends after dating, it could be that his love feelings for you have changed, but he still cares about your well-being and wants you in his life.
He isn’t keen on being in a committed relationship with you, but having you as a close friend is something that he really wishes for.
After all, it was you who was there for him whenever he needed help. He confided in you and let you be part of his inner circle. He dedicated so much time to you and after all the things you’ve been through together, it isn’t easy for him to let you go.
If that’s the reason why he wants to be friends with you, then he’s clearly a great guy. A man like that can’t stand the thought of losing you forever and instead, wants to be your best friend.
2. Friends with benefits?
What could it mean when a guy just wants to stay friends after dating?
When your ex-boyfriend suggests that you stay friends after the breakup and you accept it, it’s really important that you clearly define your boundaries and let him know that you’re not messing around. If you don’t plan to meet up with him every other day and sneak into his bedroom, then you need to tell him that.
That means being friends with benefits is strictly forbidden. And trust me on this, you don’t want to go there as your self-esteem and love life will definitely take a hit.
You’ll be putting yourself on an emotional rollercoaster if you ever do decide to have that kind of relationship. Nine times out of ten, it simply doesn’t end well.
Eventually, your emotional and mental well-being will be in an even worse state than just after the breakup. So, why would you ever consider being friends with benefits in the first place?
3. He wants to take the burden off his shoulders
Unfortunately, there’s a possibility that your ex-boyfriend said “hey, let’s be friends” because he doesn’t want to be the bad guy. It’s not that he cares how you’re feeling or whatever, it’s just that he wants to absolve himself and that’s why he suggested being your “guy friend.”
He’s afraid that others might start judging him for leaving such an amazing woman. He doesn’t want to be known as the guy who used you and then left you like nothing ever happened.
His wish is that the breakup goes as smoothly as possible so no one knows that you’re not together anymore and you don’t see him as a douche.
4. Almost relationship?
I know that you’re suffering now that you’re not together anymore. And I also know that it’s so much more hurtful when he puts you in a “maybe zone” and makes you wonder if you’re in an almost relationship.
A man like that is an immature guy who doesn’t know what he wants in life and doesn’t even realize that this almost thing is hurting you way more than he could ever imagine.
The guy may say that he wants to be friends with you after dating, but at the same time, he’ll be giving you false hope that you’ll be in a real relationship soon.
He’ll forever keep you in the dark and you won’t feel good about the friendship or yourself. Moving on from him will prove to be a challenge because you’ll constantly hope that he asks you to be his girlfriend again.
Those are just manipulation games that players use to keep you as their second option and on the reserve. As a result, it’s almost impossible for you to let him go.
5. He’s keeping the door open
Breaking up after being in a long-term relationship can be really devastating. But what’s even worse is if your ex-boyfriend broke up with you and is still unsure that he made the right decision.
So, when a guy just wants to be friends after dating, it could be that he wants to keep the door open because he isn’t completely sure about his choice.
Perhaps he already found someone new and doesn’t want to risk anything, so he’ll rather keep the door open with you if his new relationship fails. He thinks that it would be easier to get you back and get you to give him a second chance if you two stay friends.
Well, in that case, you need to take a stand and let him know that you are in control of your own life. He can’t just walk in and out whenever he wants to. If he really wants to break up with you, then it has to be forever.
6. He knows you’ll have a hard time moving on
Going through a heartbreak is difficult, especially when you’re on your own. You’re constantly thinking about the reasons you two broke up and where you made a mistake.
You feel vulnerable and scared that you won’t meet a guy like him ever again.
And in those moments, your ex-boyfriend may swoop into your life and suggest to you that you stay friends. And why would he do that? Well, it could be that he feels guilty for abandoning you.
He doesn’t want you to feel like you’re going through this tough time all on your own, so he’s offering a friendship shoulder. He knows your heart is too soft to process the heartbreak alone, so he thinks that sticking around as a friend will help you heal.
But what he doesn’t realize is that being in the friend zone with someone you’re still in love with is pure torture. You need to think about whether you can handle his presence and comfort at this vulnerable time.
The do’s and don’ts of being friends with a guy after dating him
I mean, everyone has heard “let’s stay friends” during a breakup. If you were the one who didn’t see it coming and you still have romantic feelings for him, then it’ll surely be tough for you to hear him say those sweet yet destructive words.
And here I’ll list some of the things you should and shouldn’t do if he gives you the let’s-be-friends talk.
1. Pamper yourself
It’s completely normal to devote all your attention, energy, and time to your partner when you’re in a romantic relationship. Now that you’re not together anymore, it’s about time to focus on yourself and spoil yourself with everything you ever wanted.
It’s never been easier to find a man due to the rise of social media apps, so don’t worry about your ex-boyfriend because there are other fish in the sea.
For the first time in months or even years, you don’t have to worry if someone flirts with you. You’re free now – you can be flirty too!
Focus on yourself and don’t let anyone take that freedom from you. You need to work on improving your self-esteem and confidence, so what better way to do so than to go out and have the time of your life.
Remember, it wasn’t your fault that he left you. It was his choice to leave an amazing and intelligent woman like yourself. You have so many great things to offer and you’re worthy of love.
Another man will recognize that, will love you for who you are, and won’t want to change anything about you. He’ll accept your quirks and flaws because he knows everyone has them.
So, instead of giving your ex any room inside your mind, make some space for some new happy and beautiful memories. Once you manage to not think about him anymore as your past lover, you’ll be able to stay friends with him after dating.
2. Surround yourself with people who want what’s best for you
Each of us has that toxic friend or family member that we can’t get rid of for some particular reason.
Because we can’t get rid of them, we’re constantly being bombarded by their negative comments and behavior that impact our overall well-being.
On the other hand, there are people in your life who honestly love and care for you. So, why don’t you turn a new page, leave those toxic people behind, and surround yourself with those who only want what’s best for you?
Those are the people who’ll make you happy and distract you from the breakup. They’ll do all they can for you to never doubt yourself ever again and they’ll help to make your life a bit easier.
You can always count on them to have your back. Don’t ever forget that!
Boyfriends may come and go from your life, but honest friends and family will support you no matter what.
3. Go through the healing process
Regardless of whether the guy just wants to be friends after dating, going through the healing process is a must. You need to give yourself time to heal and move on with your life, even if your ex doesn’t want to be a part of it.
Don’t feel guilty if you just want to spend your day in bed and cry along to those corny romantic Hollywood movies and binge on ice cream.
Do whatever you want. The only way you’ll heal from a breakup is if you embrace your emotions.
Moving on when you know you still love your ex can have the worst consequences on your mental health. You’ll never be able to give another man a chance to win your heart if you do that.
But after you recover and cleanse yourself from those negative feelings, you’ll get your strength back and finally say that enough’s enough.
4. Don’t give him an answer immediately
Just because he asked you to be friends after dating, it doesn’t mean that you have to give him an answer immediately. In fact, he probably doesn’t even expect you to have an answer right after you two broke up.
I know that you’re feeling low right now and that it’s tough for you to find a reason to smile every day. Your emotions are all mixed up and you don’t know what you should do.
I’ve been there. And let me say that it was one of the hardest and most confusing moments of my life.
He was the man who meant the world to me. It was really difficult to let him go because I loved him wholly and sincerely.
I knew that if I’d said yes to being friends at that stage, I’d never have been able to move on.
5. Connect with your inner emotions and thoughts
It’s easy to get confused once your boyfriend says that he no longer loves you as his girlfriend. Your emotions and thoughts are all over the place and you can’t think straight.
Perhaps you thought that you loved him, but in fact, you just got used to him and you mistook love for comfort or lust.
But you need to connect with your inner emotions and thoughts if you ever want to heal properly.
Don’t hurt yourself by still believing in that fairy tale of yours. You can’t choose who you’re going to love, but if you see that you aren’t his top priority, you need to accept it and focus on yourself.
Don’t wait for him to come back and tell you that he misses you because it won’t come true. You’re only going to unnecessarily keep yourself stuck in one place, unable to move on and forward in your life.
Don’t waste your time on a man who doesn’t see your worth. And as long as you aren’t over your ex, you can’t expect to try to be friends with him. Not when one of you still loves the other.
6. Embrace some alone time
The most important relationship that you have is the one with yourself. It’s crucial that you stay connected to your inner feelings and now that the man you love so much is gone, you need to pull away and spend time with yourself.
Get away from anyone who’ll bring toxicity in your life and only do things that bring you pleasure. That’ll definitely help you to decide what’s right for you.
There’s no need to make any sudden decisions. Everyone’s been through a breakup and it’s completely normal to need some alone time.
The worst thing you can do is to sweep those negative emotions under the rug and pretend the breakup didn’t happen.
Cry as much as you need and think about your own life first. Only then will you have the power to face your ex and to make up your mind whether or not you’re willing to stay friends with him.
You can always use the no contact rule and block everyone that means you harm. Don’t forget that.
7. Enjoy the little things
I understand that it’s hard for you to let him go and move on, but the world didn’t stop spinning only because you two broke up. There are a lot of people out there who are waiting for you to meet them.
So what are you waiting for? Go out and live your life!
Plan a trip with your besties or spend more time with your family. Occupy yourself with stuff that makes you feel fulfilled and enjoy the little things.
If you feel brave enough, then you can create a profile on dating apps and talk to other guys.
There’s no need to rush things so don’t take this as dating advice to go out and jump into a new relationship immediately. But meeting new people will help you heal faster.
8. Ask him to have an honest conversation
Now that you’re ready to face your ex, you can suggest to him that you two chat openly about things.
Make sure that you look nice, but don’t go overboard because you’re not trying to make an impression on him.
Ask him to tell you how he thinks your friendship is going to work. Tell him that you have some boundaries he needs to respect if ever wants to be friends with you.
If you can see that he’s giving you mixed signals from his body language, or that he’s acting strangely aloof, then don’t believe anything that he says and leave him.
Walking away from a man is your best option if your gut is telling you that he’s playing with your emotions. Don’t let him drag you down even more – Lord know you don’t want to go through all that again.
9. Decide only when you’re ready
Only after you completely go through the healing process will you be ready to make the decision.
Now that you’ve given yourself enough time to process your emotions, you can finally move on and accept that you and your ex can only be friends and nothing more.
On the other hand, if you feel like you can’t overcome the obstacles and you still love him, then don’t accept his proposal just yet (or at all).
Whatever the case, it’s possible to eventually be good friends with your ex-boyfriend, but it’s almost impossible to become best friends.
The post-breakup friendship need not be bad or awkward. You can still care even though you don’t love each other romantically anymore.