Opinion: When Guys Say “Let’s Be Friends” After A Breakup, They Never Actually Mean It

I’ve had so many exes suggest that we try to be friends after we end our romantic relationship, even when it’s ended on bad terms. Do you think we ever end up staying friends? Do they ever try? Of course not! In my opinion, guys never actually want to be your friend after you break up. Here’s why:

They say it to ease their guilt, not your pain. 

I was cheated on once. My ex told me that he couldn’t see life without me in it, which only enraged me further. If that was true, why did he ruin our relationship for sex with someone else? Honestly, I think that he just wanted to hear me agree to being friends. Whether he meant it or not doesn’t matter. Looking back, I think he said we should try to be friends because it made him feel less guilty in some kind of screwed up way. No thanks.

They don’t want to see you move on.

I have a hard time believing that guys actually feel good about seeing their exes move on. They certainly don’t want to know that you have a new boyfriend or a new hookup or that you’re happy without them. A real friend is supportive of their friends’ milestones, achievements, and relationships. I just don’t believe that there are guys out there chomping at the bit to like and comment on their exes’ Instagram pics with new dudes.

They don’t want to talk about how you’ve moved on. 

Similarly, they certainly don’t want to talk about how you’ve moved on. In addition to celebrating and supporting you, friends also listen to you talk about the happenings in your life. Your relationship with someone is usually a big happening and a big topic of discussion. I don’t know any exes who have willingly wanted to listen to me go on and on about my new boyfriend and our plans together.

They’re just nosy AF. 

Listen, guys are just as nosy as we are. He doesn’t want to be your friend, he just wants to check up on you. If you broke up with him, he might want to be your friend so he can see if there’s room for him to weasel his way back into your life. If he dumped you, well, he’s just selfish. If he was a good guy, he would just let you live your life and move on.

They can’t handle the fact that they failed at something. 

Especially if you were in a relationship for multiple years. The truth is, none of us ever feel good after we end a relationship. You go from spending a ton of your time with someone to not talking to them at all. It’s totally hard, but that’s life sometimes. Love is a huge risk and you might fail. I don’t know about you, but some of my exes couldn’t handle that our relationship failed. It seems to me that by suggesting that we try to be friends, they were just trying to make the failure less real.

They want to keep the door open

Some guys think that even if you’re broken up, you can be intimate. Declaring that you’re friends now even though you’re not officially together kinda does that and in my experience, it makes things super complicated. I feel like if I just shut my exes completely out of my life, the hooking up wouldn’t have ever happened and the are-we-together-or-are-we-just-hooking-up-post-relationship crap that kept me from moving on never would have happened either.

They want an acquaintance, not a friend. 

If you want to be with that person romantically and all they want is a friendship, the dynamic between you two will always be skewed. When he says “friends,” he probably just wants an acquaintance. Meanwhile, you want to maintain the bond you thought you two had. It’s not fair, it’s not right and it leads you on to thinking something is going to happen even though it never will.

Friends don’t treat each other the way he treated you. 

If you had a nasty breakup after your ex treated you really poorly as your boyfriend, are you confident that he’ll treat you better when he’s demoted to friend? If you wouldn’t want a boyfriend who treats you like crap, why would you want him as a friend? More importantly, if he could stand to treat you like crap as your boyfriend, why does he think he deserves to be in your life as your friend? He doesn’t.

It’s just something to say. 

When you’ve thrown in the towel on your relationship and you’re about to leave his place or he’s about to leave yours for the last time, what else is there to say in a heavy moment like that? Sometimes they say it to fill space, not because it’s true.

You can’t be something you weren’t in the first place. 

Many of us get into relationships with guys who we aren’t friends with first. In fact, I think that’s the case for a lot of women. Sure, it’s normal to grow to have a friendship with your significant other over time, but many people don’t have a foundation of friendship in the first place before the romance and sex. As a result, no matter how much you intend for something to be simple, it’s really difficult to do without any basis for it. It’s time to cut the cord.

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