We’ve all been there – whether you’re the one who did the dumping or the other way around, you’re trying to move on with your life while pretending that the random texts from your ex aren’t stopping you. Along with attempting to decide where your feelings stand on the breakup, you’re now trying to comprehend the blurry line of where your past relationship ended and when this current phase of it began. Although the signs for your ex wanting to remain in your life are different, there’s one fact that remains the same:
Your ex doesn’t want to be with you – or without you.
Regardless if he or she has directly told you they want to be friends or are making it clear by their continuous attempts to meet up for coffee, this concept is probably one of the reasons why trust issues even exist. In a perfect world, people would be clear in their intentions – but since nothing is perfect, we sit and obsess over the meaning of every emoji our ex sends and every post they double tap. Even though people react to breakups in their own ways, here are 5 reasons for why your ex wants to remain friends.
1. They’re keeping their options open
There’s nothing like having your cake and eating it too – and in this case, your ex having you in his or her life and also having the opportunity to flirt with everyone else. Before your mind begins to spiral into a hole full of darkness and dwelling, the issue here is not that he wants you in his life, but that he wants you in it as long as it’s under his conditions.
Instead of listing off the numerous reasons for why your ex is deciding on this route, I’ll go ahead and state that none of them matter. It still comes down to their uncertainty on your relationship and their hope that you’ll still be there if they decide to come back. The harsh reality is that people will take advantage of a situation and measure how unacceptable it is by how willing you are to accept it.
Treat yourself as a choice and you’ll never be an option.
I’m not saying your ex is an awful person who is trying to destroy your life (even if they might be – I’m on your side here), but that people tend to make choices off their own feelings before considering the impact it’ll make on others.
Although you can’t control the actions of your ex, you can avoid being a victim of them by being honest with yourself. If you still find yourself wishing to be with your ex or twisting simple statements they say to fit your concept that they still care, a friendship is not ideal for you. In the end, you should be with someone who is sure of you instead of someone who needs to take a break in order to make sure.
2. They want the control
While I’m the type of person who makes progress after a breakup by spending time with my loved ones, I quickly realized there are other people who would rather keep tabs on that progress. By being your friend, your ex not only knows what’s happening in your life, but has a front row seat and permission to intervene if he or she feels threatened by it. It’s a weird concept to consider, but a perfect solution to avoid the paranoia of an ex forgetting you or doing better than you.
Sure, your ex may not be obvious with their intentions (or even aware of them) as he or she begins complimenting you more once you say you have a date coming up, but their existence in your life will be enough to make you hesitate (if you still care enough to). Even though your ex probably isn’t trying to hold you back on purpose, there’s a satisfaction that comes from knowing that he or she can.
A person who chooses to leave a role in your life doesn’t deserve to play a part in your decisions after it.
Again, knowing your boundaries on where you stand is a great way to prevent your heart from becoming more hurt and your pride from becoming more diminished. Personally, I’m not one to remain friends with an ex – I used to feel immature by my inability to have a platonic friendship with someone who was once important, but then I realized the only opinion that mattered when it came to my healing was my own. This is your life – if you aren’t going to be selfish about it, someone else will.
3. They don’t care (enough)
I know – this was blunt. But the things worth knowing always are. Even though this is the most straight forward possibility for why your ex wants to be friends, it also seems to be the one that’s most ignored (after all, life is simple – it’s people who make it complicated).
Although we went over an ex wanting to talk to you to keep tabs on you, another reason could be because the details of your life don’t actually hurt them. Like all your other friends, they’ll do friendly things – such as encourage you to go on dates (to ask details later) and text you (to ask for dating advice). The truth is that the only ex who wants to hear about your love life is the one who isn’t interested in being a part of it.
They don’t mind you as a friend because they don’t want you for anything more than that.
This is the most toxic situation for anyone who is looking for a sign of hope from their ex. While you assume he or she is asking about your most recent date out of jealousy, your ex is probably asking out of pure kindness. Any friendship that is hurting you while benefiting the other person is one that you shouldn’t be in. Although this realization may be disheartening, it’s also one that could save you from wasting your time on someone who wants to have you in his or her life – but without the responsibility of having to handle your lingering feelings that come with it.
4. They’re afraid of change
Refusing to let go of someone is a great way to hold on to them (literally and metaphorically). There’s really no smooth transition out of a relationship besides simply not cutting the person out immediately – which is exactly what this ex is doing.
Regardless of who broke up with who, the end of a relationship is painful for both parties. Instead of having to face the weight of their hurt and the guilt of what caused the fall out, this ex is softening the blow by trying to keep the pieces of your relationship from falling to the ground all at once.
You are more than a comfort zone and should be treated that way.
The level of selfishness it takes to keep someone around to avoid feeling uncomfortable is one that I can’t comprehend and one that you don’t deserve to experience. Selfishness is a personality trait, not a decision – and your ex holding on to you because of his fear indicates that he won’t hesitate to let go of you once this feeling fades. Although you may still care about your ex, you’re also not someone who can be replaced – and don’t have time for people who view you like you are.
5. They’re hoping for another chance
And of course, there’s always the reason that many of us initially assume anyways. Maybe your ex (finally) realized binge-watching Netflix on Sunday isn’t the same without you or maybe the relationships that came after didn’t feel as great as yours did.
We’ll never know why exes have a change of heart about us, but it’s up us as individuals to decide if the reason is good enough.
People don’t last forever and that’s what makes them worth it.
But sometimes, they come back as an an updated version of themselves – one that is more mature, more understanding, and maybe even more fitting for who you are now. Although the two of you are the same people, your relationship most likely won’t be. The time spent apart allowed you two to explore whatever roads you wanted to go down and shaped both of you because of it.
While some people believe in second chances, others refuse to. I still can’t really decide which category I fall under, but this isn’t about me.
Whether you decide to take back your ex or not, remember to stay open-minded to the idea of love – to the belief that not everything has an explanation and to the fact that feeling something is enough of a reason to pursue it.