If she dumped you, you should never agree to be friends with her whether you want to get her back or whether you want to get over her. Being her friend right will make it take longer to get over your breakup.
There’s no way around it. Being her friend right after a breakup is a no-go.
It doesn’t matter if you genuinely want to be her friend or not.
If you’re reading this, I know you haven’t moved on completely. If you were, you wouldn’t be here.
And if that’s the case, you have nothing to gain from being friends with her until you are completely over her.
Once you are – then, and only then can you expect to maintain an actual friendship with your ex-girlfriend without it compromising your life.
Because let’s face it, if she dumps you and you agree to be friends, you’re going to suffer while you helplessly watch her date other guys while all the while clinging to a desperate hope that if you wait long enough she’ll eventually come back to you.
But that’s just scratching the surface.
Why Does She Want To Stay Friends? What Does It Mean?
For years, I’ve seen plenty of questionable explanations as to why women want to remain friends after a breakup.
And let’s face it, most of them are just completely fucking wrong.
Luckily, recent research out of the University of Kansas has shed light on why she wants to be friends.
The paper gives 4 main reasons, and they’re spot on.
We’re all creatures of habit, and your ex-girlfriend is no exception. Friendships satisfy her need for safety – and her wanting a friendship is tied to the percieved positive outcome she’ll get from the friendship.
If you were together for a long time, you and your ex-girlfriend probably shared a lot of great memories and experienced a lot of things together. Maybe she still trusts you, and she still wants your emotional support.
In my experience, if your ex-girlfriend has trouble trusting others easily, she may turn to you for security until she welcomes someone else into her inner circle.
These friendships can last until your ex-girlfriend meets someone else and builds enough trust with him to the point where he’ll replace you.
2: For Personal Gain
The Social Exchange Theory states that your ex-girlfriend was motivated to get together with you based on the perceived benefit she’d receive from your relationship.
Yeah, not very sentimental, I know.
But that’s life!
Your ex-girlfriend may want to remain friends because she can benefit from it. Whether that’s through your connections, your money, shared children, or shared pets.
She may also use you as emotional support while she’s looking for a new boyfriend, as I talk about in my article about why you should never agree to be her backup plan.
Generally speaking, these “friendships” don’t last for very long. Your ex-girlfriend will eventually get what she wants, or she’ll seek more value elsewhere.
3: She Wants To Let You Down Easy
If your ex-girlfriend didn’t like conflict, she may see it as easier to move from partners to just being friends.
In this case, she probably doesn’t want to be friends, she just wants to avoid you becoming angry and confronting her. As a result, these “friendships” don’t last.
If you know your ex-girlfriend doesn’t like confrontation you can be assured that this is something she’ll do.
4: She Still Likes You (Be Careful)
I don’t want to get your hopes up here. But it does happen that she’ll friendzone you because she still likes you – but not enough that she wants to be with you.
While this is the least common of the other reasons above, it can happen if your ex-girlfriend hasn’t had time to prepare for the breakup.
Normally this happens if she moves away, or is forced to choose between you and something else like her job or her family.
Once you become friends with her, especially after she dumps you, her attraction to you will decrease over time and eventually the friendship itself will fade.
So What Does This All Mean?
While I don’t want to get into an ethical debate – on a broad level, everyone acts on what they perceive will benefit their self-interest for the most.
Your ex-girlfriend is no different.
She dumped you because she thought it would benefit her.
And she wants to be friends because she thinks it will benefit her.
This doesn’t mean your ex-girlfriend is a bad person – it just means she’s thinking there’s something to be gained by being friends with you.
If you’re wondering what she expects to gain, put yourself in her shoes. What are her primary motivations in life? If you can figure out what drives her, you’ll be able to figure out what’s driving her to want to remain friends.
And when there’s something to be gained, there’s also a fear of loss associated with it, which is the key to getting her back.
Because to get her back, you need to get in the way of her getting what she wants.
Can You Get Her Back If You’re Just Friends?
The short answer is no.
I don’t mean to say that you and your ex-girlfriend can’t become friends. That’s completely possible, with somewhere between 50-60% of men reporting being friends with an ex-girlfriend.
Personally, one of my closest friends is an ex of mine that I dated for over 2 years.
However, there’s a trade-off associated with becoming her friend, and I can attest to this.
You have to admit that the relationship is not going to work to be actual friends, otherwise, your “friendship” will ultimately drive one of you away from the other.
Let me explain. There’s a few problems with being friends.
The first is the label. She won’t be much of your friend at all, at least at first.
The reason she recommends such a thing is simple. You won’t be able to actually be friends at first, because of the pain you’ll feel when you’re around her, which is of course magnified by one simple fact.
If she’s dumping you, she doesn’t like you enough to want to be with you.
So you know she’s not trying to be your friend because she wants to be with you “one day”.
With that out of the way, you know she’s either trying to let you down easy, get something from you, or benefit from the sense of security you give her.
Do any of those sound romantic to you?
Or is that just me?
There’s a couple of other problems associated with being friends too including:
- It diminishes your self-esteem if you want her back. You’re not going to feel great about yourself when she’s parading her new boyfriend in your face and you just have to watch, because you’re “her friend”.
- It holds back your healing process. You have to be physically and mentally apart from her to start healing.
- It prevents you from emotionally detaching and finding someone better because you’ll always end up with the “what if?” in the back of your mind.
- If you still want her back, it can take your focus away from your own goals. Worrying about how you’re going to get her back isn’t the best thing if you need to concentrate on something else.
- Oh yeah, and the elephant in the room: being her friend will destroy your chances of getting her back.
So What Should You Do?
With that in mind, that leaves one simple question? What should you do?
Generally speaking, getting back together with an ex-girlfriend isn’t a good idea, as it robs you of an opportunity for growth.
But, at the end of the day you have to make the choice that’s right for you.
If You Want Her Back: Don’t Be Her Friend
I’m sure you knew that was coming.
This is especially true if you still love your ex-girlfriend and she wants to be friends.
If you want her back, you need to force her to make a choice. Relationships aren’t built on apathy.
They’re built on a series of constant choices.
Being her “friend” is essentially allowing her to sit on the fence. She doesn’t have to choose between getting back together or losing you forever.
She gets to have it in between, knowing that you’ll be there as a backup plan.
If you want her back, you have to force her to choose, which is why you have to walk away if you want her back.
Decline her offer of being friends, and tell her that you’re not interesting in being friends. You love her, and you want to be with her as her partner, or not at all.
If You Want To Get Over Her: Indefinite No-Contact
Using no-contact to create emotional distance between you and your ex-girlfriend will give you the time and space you need to make sense of how you feel.
Being angry, sad, or hurt is completely normal – but trying to work them out with your ex-girlfriend is not.
What you need to learn to do instead is to see the world as a single man.
Whether that means doing your laundry for the first time in 6 months, or just how to seduce a new woman, you need to experience it on your own without her always looking over your shoulder.
If You Really Want To Be Friends: Don’t Be Her Friend Immediately
First things first – do you REALLY want to be friends with her? Or do you really just want her back?
If you’ve somehow convinced yourself that being her friend is the only way to get her back, you’re going to be sorely disappointed.
However – if you genuinely want to be friends with her, you need to wait. How long you need to wait will depend on your situation.
You need to get to a point where you’re completely over your relationship with her. You want to get to a point where no matter what she does, you won’t be knocked off your masculine center.
Plus, if you try to be her friend right away, you won’t be able to establish healthy boundaries. The line between what she once was to you, versus what she now is can be very hard to deal with, even if you genuinely want to be her friend.
My recommendation if you really must be friends with her is to give it 6 months to 1 year at the very least. Then ask yourself if you want to be her friend still.
If you can genuinely make the case that she will add value to your life as a friend, and you’re sure that you’ve gotten over your ex-girlfriend addiction, go for it.