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Can you ever really be friends with an ex?

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Hi there,

Well I went to my ex's house after 2.5 months of NC and we were civil and amicable with each other:



I then texted to ask if his toe was ok and he responded nicely and asked if my journey was ok? I said yeah talk soon.


I thought a lot last nite and I just realised, there is no point in getting back together as he hasn't made any intentions clear at all so I took some advice off here and realised that maybe we are just better off being friends.


So then I sent this text today saying:


Hows your toe better? So glad I came round on Sunday, it has been a positive start to the new year and made me realise it is useless to hold grudges. Maybe in time we will be able to be friends x


So now I've received no response at all!!!! What do I interpret this as? He never said he wanted to get back together and I am getting tired of this long drawn out drama our relationship needs a definition...and if friends is the way then so be it. But now he has gone cold turkey? Does that mean he is not happy with the set up, doesn't want to be friends, its a dent to his ego? What?! It annoys me that good intentions always meet with a dead end. I have no agenda anymore. I do care for him but ultimately if he cant speak up or discuss any issues with his feelings then we ARE better off as friends hence the text. Should I call or will it erupt into a major argument. No more playing games anymore. Like someone said on here if its meant to be it will be...and I made quite a few positive initiations. Am I there just to feed his ego? No more please.

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Would you get this mad, and overthink things, if you had texted a regular friend and they had not gotten back to you yet, within the day? Most people I know at least would not, which shows me you are probably not quite ready YOURSELF to be friends - until you really can think of them as a friend, and not overanalyze things if they do not get back to you right away, it's best to maybe just, well, take it easy.


It should not be about definition, it should just...settle into it as it happens.


Yes it is possible, I am friends with a couple ex's of mine, but it is very casual. If we don't talk for weeks, it's fine. If we don't see other for months, it's fine. We have our own lives. It's just like a regular friend in that well, you just see each other on occasion when you can and talk now and then.


Also, after a breakup it does take two to be friends if you are going to do it right after, and can be a lot harder then just taking some time apart. Generally most people whom do become friends with an ex, it happens MONTHS later after no contact when they run into one another again and have both moved on.

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I agree that NC for a while and then becoming friends, if it's really worth it, is how it should happen. For the dumpers it might not matter much, assuming they've lost that loving feeling anyway, but for the dumpees meeting them can't be that pleasant - not even as pleasant as running into a friend. I remember one time when I went to the store with my ex, he ran into an ex of his, they talked, but that was it. No feelings, nothing.If I ran into him now, with his GF or whatever, i'd go shoot myself. But that's just now, maybe 2 months later I wont.

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im lucky in the sense ive stayed close to one of my ex's. he is a dear friend and has been for years now.

thing is though...we waited minimum 6 months to contact each other. and even then...we took it slow. realllly slow. if he asked me a question via email...he knew he'd get a response...EVENTUALLY. same with him...if i called and left a voice mail message...i knew eventually maybe id get an answer. we both also knew though...that when we WERE together...he would have gotten a response ASAP. the fact that we both know that there will be lag time is a huge indicator that we are just friends now. dont get me wrong...i still care a great deal about him and i do respond to him....but i know my priority is my current bf just as i know his priority is his current gf. and i do respond to my friends in a timely manner....just right now my life is hectic so they know they will hear from me...eventually kinda thing.

that is how friends work though. sometimes when a friend calls...if i dont return their call because im busy...they dont get offended or huffy.

you though sound like if you dont get an immediate response...your feelings are hurt or your confused. it sounds almost like youre not ready yet to be just friends.

another indicator that you might be ready to be friends is to be able to hear your ex talk about sex with someone else. if that thought bothers you....you might want to wait being "just friends" yet. you also need to be at a point where you no longer think of him intimately.

just my 2 cents. but if you can pull this off....you'll be thankful. the fact ive been able to keep my ex in my life still is a HUGE blessing that i dont take for granted. i always wanted him in my life for the rest of my life. the fact he will be there on the sidelines makes me very happy inside.

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i understand what you're saying ivy but prior to this all his responses were instant - like 2 minutes. and now when i say the friends thing he goes cold turkey. he cant have his cake and eat it too! Grrr I need counselling this guy has ruined my life!


Honey, no one has the power to ruin your life unless you give it to them. Take your power back...and counselling CAN help you do that.

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i cant agree with raykay more about taking control of your life.

if my ex started to have problems...id feel for him...but id still be VERY VERY ok. he cant hurt me like that anymore because he isnt the center of my world anymore.

if this person can hurt you by solely not returning a message...youre not ready to be friends yet.

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You CAN be friends with an ex. But, you have to let go of any dream of getting back with them. Telling yourself that you're happy to just be friends won't work. You have to truly be over everything.


My ex and I are best friends now. I never thought we'd be as close as we are now. When we split up, it was horrible. But I hang out with her and her new boyfriend. Considering I got dumped for him, it's weird to think that I now go out drinking with them both...


The point is, take time apart. Heal. Then eventually you'll be friends. You can't force the issue tho.

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I didn't talk to my ex for a year. Now hes going out with my bestfriend so we talk all the time. Sometimes we missunderstand eachother but thats why we broke up. It doesn't mean that he's not there for me as a friend when she can't be. It is possible to be friends with your ex, but sometimes it takes a huge effot from both sides.


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RayKay is on the mark here and by going to counseling in no terms defines you as weak! I am a psychologist turned life coach, the difference? Not much, people just think by admitting(by going to a "shrink") they need help with their issues shows that they are weak, on the contrary, they are strong. Strong enough to know that they have something valid keeping them from feeling better. I'm fairly good at math but does it make me weak because I have an accountant? No, it means that I recognize that some people can do things better than others. You're smart and you are taking the right approach to this and you need to feel good about it. Many people walk around in a haze everyday because they don't have the gumption to get clarity and understanding so they can be happy.


As for the ex, yes it would be nice if you could remain friends but friendship does have boundaries and if he is not willing to be your friend than consider it his loss.


Kudos to you and good luck.

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i definitely think NC for now.


i did that. i told my ex...look...i need you in my life. i really do. but i cant handle being just friends with you. soooo i WILL get in touch with you when i can handle being just friends. and when i contact you..i will ask you also...can you handle being just friends. and if we both can...then we can start a very casual friendship and start all over as friends and build from there.


so this is only bye for now...but not bye forever...ok?


i asked him if he understood and he did. he also gave me space and i gave him space. eventually...we became email buddies. then we slowly started to talk.


we dont talk like everyday...more like once a month. but i can tell him ANYTHING from my sex life with my current bf to breakup's with other bfs. he also tells me about his love life and life in general. and it doesnt bother me a bit.


but yes...because he can hurt you too easily right now...you reallllly need to heal first. if not...you'll put yourself through unbelievable anguish.


because ive also tried to be friends with an ex that i wanted more from, i know what youre going through. now THAT was the worst time of my life. i ended up losing him completely....we're not remotely even friends now. and god do i miss his humor. i wish i would have done NC and then become friends. but that is completely out of the question now

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i take all your comments on board and really appreciate them. but then what changed with me initiating the friendship card...i thought thats what he wanted! But now he goes cold turkey. Was he just stringing me along for his ego and because I was brave enough to say maybe we will be friends he has suddenly gone quiet. Did he just want to feed his ego with my showing that I cared?

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what bothers me about your last comment is that you said you thought this was what HEEEE wanted.

to be friends...this has to be something that both of ya'll want.

to me...since he is taking his time to answer you back IF he is even going to answer you back any time soon....sounds like he is also not ready to be just friends and needs more time.

try not to fret whether he responds or not. try to live your life without him in it. if he ends up in it...then great for you. but i have found that when i dont get my hopes up high...i dont get disappointed when they dont pan out. getting too much hope up just sets the motion to get disappointed later. try not to expect too much in the beginning here and just concentrate on living your life. be selfish...spoil yourself...indulge yourself...exercise...buy yourself something nice....KEEEP BUSY. but youre concentrating too much on what this person says and does. youre still letting this person control you. stop doing that.

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My gut says yep, but why whack ur brain about it? You can't change what he's thinking. I am under no illusion that something like this is easy, but like they say, after a situation like that, just "act" like it doesn't bother you, don't initiate anything, and move on. If he contacts you, then you can make a decision.



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i think that you should honestly do NC until you feel strong enough. me and my ex broke up in june and it really is only now that i would be able to handle being just friends with him. i am not going to go running after him looking for a friendship but if we become friends over time great.

i think that it will only hurt you being friends with him at the moment and it will slow down your process of moving on.

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I agree with karen95 here - it may be best to do NC for a while to heal and move on...it'll also give your ex time to work things through and miss you.


I understand where you're coming from though: I'm currently "friends" with my ex but am finding it pretty hard going. I don't understand the mind games either (if indeed they are mind games, they may not be...) - as soon as I stop contact for a while he persistently rings and e-mails, and as soon as I reply (usually after a few days) he goes silent on me again. It's very odd...


I don't know if this will help your situation or not, but I've decided to maintain this "regime" of LC for another month or so, then have a quiet word with my ex to see how the land lies. If his response is negative, I've decided to go NC as I can't handle being "just friends".


I have managed to remain friends with two of my exes, but only after 18 months or more, when the storm had finally settled and I'd moved on.


I know it won't be easy to let go of my ex as a friend as we get on very well and enjoy each other's company. However, I also know I'd be devastated if I discover at some point in the future that he has a new girlfriend...


Anyways, to cut a very long story short, I've decided it's best to cut my losses now rather than store up more heartache and agony for the future.


Hope this has been of some help to you!


All the best,



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Well I went to a counsellor today I must say it has helped a lot. I am going again next week..I felt a bit foolish for doing it but once I got chatting so many issues came out in an hour. I have also agreed to go back to the way I was complete NC like when we broke up as that was the best way forward.

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I did do NC for 2.5 months so even though now we are in contact it is not AS bad I think but I think I'm going to do complete NC. I have deleted his, his sisters number from my phone last nite...all messages from him have gone everything. my counsellor says u have made so many positive steps like getting a personal trainer, some people just mope around in their self misery. And the effects of the positive changes u made will not show now but further the line nothing can happen overnight.

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