Is it really possible to stay friends after a breakup? What does it mean when a guy just wants to be friends after dating? Are there any rules in order to make those post-dating friendships succeed?
Stay with me because answers to all of these questions are waiting for you below.
Honestly, I don’t know what is harder… to end a serious relationship with someone or to remain friends with that person after a breakup?
The unfortunate fact is that in both cases, one side will always be hurt and suffer deeply.
Remaining friends after a breakup isn’t an easy step to make, and that’s why both partners must really think it through before they make the final decision.
That’s why the best thing you can do is to give yourselves some time after the breakup. Both partners need to be sure they’re able to move on and that there are no romantic feelings between them anymore.
I know it’s hard to accept that he won’t be a part of your life anymore, but trust me, it’s better that way than to stay friends with him and live in hope that one day, he’ll change his mind and start a real relationship again with you.
What Does It Mean When A Guy Just Wants To Be Friends After Dating? Six Possible Reasons
When a guy just wants to be friends after dating, it can be a true help for a girl, especially if she still has strong feelings for him.
She knows that she can’t see him as a friend, but at the same time, she doesn’t want to lose him entirely. Heading to the friend zone immediately after you end your relationship is such a bad idea.
Neither one of you is ready for that step, but you probably don’t want to lose each other for good because even though you don’t love each other the way you did before, you still care.
The truth is that there are many reasons when a guy just wants to be friends after dating.
It doesn’t have to mean that he really wants to be friends only; maybe it’s one of his techniques to get you back. Below, I will list a few more reasons why he just wants to be friends after dating.
He wants to ease his guilt, not your pain
When a guy just wants to be friends after dating, it’s, unfortunately, only because they don’t want to be the bad guy, not because they care about your feelings.
He doesn’t want other people to judge him. He doesn’t want to be seen as a guy who used you and then dumped you.
He probably asked you to stay friends only because he wanted the breakup to go as smoothly as possible.
It’ll stop you from moving on, and he knows it
When a guy just wants to be friends after dating, it probably means that he wants to keep you on the back burner.
He probably wants to keep you around so he can ask you for another chance if he changes his mind about the breakup.
You don’t deserve to be his second choice when you’re made to be someone’s first and only choice. Don’t allow him to friend zone you so he can use you again as he wants.
He’s keeping the door open
If you were in a long-term, serious relationship, then he’s probably still confused and isn’t completely sure in his decision about the breakup, and this is how he wants to leave all options open.
Maybe he already met someone new and he wants to keep the door open with you if the new relationship fails. He thinks that it’ll be easier to get a second chance from you if you guys stay friends.
Don’t allow him to think that he can walk in and walk away from your life whenever he wants. If he wants to end things, it has to be for good.
Just friends or friends with benefits?
When your ex asks you to stay friends after the breakup and you accept it, you should emphasize to him that you only want to be friends, not friends with benefits.
That means occasional hookups are strictly forbidden. Trust me, you don’t want to go there because being friends with benefits with your ex will make your situation a lot more complicated.
That simply won’t end up well. One of you will start catching feelings for the other one again, and soon, you’ll want to rekindle the old flame.
That person will end up even more hurt than they were after the breakup.
However, if you start that kind of relationship with your ex, there are many important rules for the friends with benefits relationship you need to follow blindly if you want to make it work.
Friend zone or ‘maybe zone’?
It really hurts when the guy you love puts you in the friend zone, but it’s so much more hurtful when he puts you in a ‘maybe zone’.
He’ll still claim that he wants to be friends with you, while at the same time, he’ll also be giving you false hope that you’ll be together with him again.
You’ll end up stuck in the realm between a real relationship and friendship, and that won’t allow you to move on for a long time.
He’ll do it in such a sneaky way that by the time you figure out that he’s keeping you on the back burner, it’ll be almost impossible for you to let him go.
He cares for you and wants you in his life
When a guy just wants to be friends after dating, it could also mean that even if he doesn’t love you the same way he did before, he still cares for you and wants you in his life.
He doesn’t want you as an emotional partner anymore, but he wants to stay friends with you.
After so much time spent together and after all the things you went through together, he doesn’t want to cut off all contact with you for good.
10 Things (Not) To Do After He Gives You The ‘Let’s Stay Friends’ Talk
I think that every man does this when they are breaking up with someone. The breakup talk suddenly turns into a ‘let’s remain friends’ speech.
If you didn’t expect it, and especially if you still have romantic feelings for him and you want to be more than friends with him, this talk will be hard on you.
Below are a few tips that will help you deal with when a guy just wants to be friends after dating.
Don’t answer immediately
He did ask you to stay friends, but he didn’t say (and he definitely doesn’t expect) that you need to answer it immediately.
I know you’re on an emotional rollercoaster right now. You’re so confused, your feelings are mixed, and you simply don’t know what you should do. I know, I get you because I was once in your place, too.
It was definitely one of the most confusing and hardest moments of my life. I didn’t want to lose the man I loved sincerely, but at the same time, I was aware that I couldn’t have him in my life only as a friend.
I needed time to think about everything and clear my feelings and my thoughts. And, trust me, that time helped me the most just as it will help you.
Embrace some alone time
Pull away and spend time with yourself because you need yourself the most right now. That quiet time will help you to come to the right decision.
Don’t hurry anywhere. We all know how bad breakups can be, and no one expects you to be fine and heal immediately.
Take as much time as you need and think about your own life first, then think about your ex and whether remaining friends with him will only hold you back or help you move on faster.
Cry as much as you need. You’re going through a rough period and you need to let those negative emotions out somehow.
Don’t keep them bottled up because sooner or later, they’ll come to the surface, and that’s when the biggest problem will appear.
Focus on yourself first
I’m assuming that all of this time, your focus was on your relationship and your boyfriend. Now, it’s high time to shift the focus back at yourself.
In order to heal completely and move on properly, you need to work on improving your self-esteem and confidence. Your breakup affected them negatively for sure.
You need to understand that none of it was your fault. You’re still a beautiful woman who has so much to offer and who’s worthy of love indeed.
You just need to wait for the right man who’ll know how to recognize it all.
So, work on yourself and do things that make you happy. Once you manage to improve your self-esteem, you’ll be able to hang out with your ex as friends.
Go through the healing process
This is really a must. Whether you want to stay friends with your ex or not, your relationship has ended, and you need to heal after the breakup and move on with your life with or without your ex in it.
Eat as much chocolate or ice cream as you want. Watch as many romantic movies as you want. Cry your heart out if you think it’ll help you heal.
You must heal first because moving on before you heal would have the worst consequences on your emotional health.
But, after it, you must get your strength back to draw the line and finally say that it’s enough. Get up from the bed and take your life by the horns.
Connect with your thoughts and emotions
You need to sort out your thoughts and emotions. Sometimes, we mistook love for lust, or sometimes, we think we love a person when, in fact, we just got used to them.
Stop hurting yourself. I know that we can’t command our hearts, but when you see that someone has stopped loving you, you must accept it.
You can’t be stuck in one place for too much time. You’ll waste many great opportunities that God is sending your way right now.
As long as you feel you aren’t over your ex, you shouldn’t even try to be friends with him. It’ll only make things much, much worse.
Surround yourself with people you love
There are so many other people in your life who honestly love and care for you, and you should surround yourself with them in these moments.
They’ll do everything to make you happy and distract your thoughts of the breakup and all of that. They’ll try to make you forget about some of these unfortunate events that are happening in your life.
Those people are the ones who count the most and you should always remember that. Partners can come and go, but friends and family will stay by your side no matter what.
Eat, drink, go out, dance, travel… Simply enjoy life!
Even if you aren’t still completely sure that you’re ready to let it go and move on, you have to go out and live your life.
Surround yourself with your loved one and occupy yourself with things that bring happiness to your life. Enjoy the little things, and simply live your life to the fullest.
You can also create an account on some dating sites and meet new people that way.
I’m not saying you should jump into a new relationship immediately, but going out and hanging with people would definitely help you move on faster.
Now, are you sure you’re ready to move on?
I know that it’s difficult to move on from a romantic relationship, especially if you’ve imagined that you’ll be with that person for the rest of your life.
However, you need to snap out of it. You have your own life you need to think about because it didn’t stop when your relationship did.
I already said this, but I have to repeat it again: you must be sure that you’re ready to move on if you want to try to be friends with your ex.
The breakup did hurt you, but it’ll hurt you more if you accept to remain friends with him if you still share some feelings for him and hope that you’ll reconcile one day.
Ask him to talk
You’re now ready to meet up with your ex. Dress up nicely, do your hair, but don’t exaggerate because you aren’t trying to make him understand what he lost.
Ask him how he pictured the friendship between you. Tell him that you’ll need to set some boundaries if you want to make it work.
If you see that his behavior is strange or that he’s giving you some mixed signals with his body language, that could mean he has possibly changed his mind… pull away immediately.
Backing off is definitely the best response to his mixed signals. You don’t want to go through all of this once again, and you definitely don’t deserve someone who’s so indecisive.
You’re ready for THE decision
After you go through all of these steps, you’ll be ready to make the decision. I’m saying this again: if your breakup wasn’t nasty, you’ll probably decide to stay friends with your ex-boyfriend.
You have already gone through the healing process and you’re probably ready to move on with your life now, and accepting to remain friends with your ex is a good step toward moving on.
However, if you feel like you can’t be ‘just friends’ with the man you once loved, don’t accept it.
You can become very good friends, but because of all the things that happened between you, you’ll never be able to become best friends.
After all, this doesn’t have to be bad or awkward. You’ll get a guy friend who already knows you very well and who can give you excellent advice.
9 Golden Rules For Post-Dating Friendships
If you don’t have any romantic feelings for your ex and you really think you’re ready to have a friendly relationship with him, then below are some rules for those post-dating friendships.
If you don’t want to get hurt again, you should follow each and every one of these rules.
Take some quiet time first
Starting a friendship immediately after the breakup would really be a bad idea. One of you still probably has strong feelings for the other and your friendship wouldn’t simply work that way.
It would only make you both suffer. The thing is that you both could use some alone time after your romantic relationship ends and before you both decide to start a whole different kind of relationship.
Truly, this is not a decision only one of you can make.
Breakups are never easy. Believe me, one side will always suffer after the breakup, and that’s why you need to take some time for yourself just to think and process everything that is going on in your life right now.
You both need that time to clear your thoughts and your emotions, and both of you would benefit from the no contact rule.
This is especially important if you still have some strong feelings for your ex. Time is your ally here, and it will help you to make the best decision.
Reconsider your motives
First of all, you need to think your decision through. Reconsider the pros and cons of staying friends with your ex. Why do you want to keep him in your life even if it’s as a friend?
If you had a nasty breakup, and especially if he did something wrong that led to your breakup, it’ll be even harder for you to remain friends with him after it.
You also need to think about whether he even deserves to have any kind of place in your life. If he disrespected or mistreated you, you definitely don’t need him, not even as a friend.
On the other hand, if your paths have separated without any special reason and you still think he’s a great guy, then it would be nice to have a guy friend who already knows so much about you.
If you’re planning to stay friends with your ex just to get him back, I have to tell you that it’s a very bad idea and you should forget about it immediately.
That’s not a way you could get your man back, AND you’ll be even more hurt in the end. You don’t need another heartbreak, right?
Make sure you’re ready for this step
If you two were in a long-term, committed relationship, you both must be completely sure that you can stay friends after the breakup.
If either one of you still has some feelings for the other one, it would be a huge red flag that your friendship won’t succeed.
Honestly, the truth is that two people can never become too close friends after a serious relationship.
There will always be some unresolved things and issues, and one person will always have some feelings for the other and would hope for a reconciliation.
Use this quiet time to work on yourself and improve the self-confidence and self-esteem that will most assuredly be damaged after the breakup.
Once you succeed in improving those, then everything else will become much clearer to you.
No matter what you decide and what happens with you and your ex, you have to know that at the end of the day, you have yourself, and that’s the most precious and important thing.
Setting clear boundaries is a must
If you agree to remain buddies after the breakup, then you need to friendzone him and don’t allow him to step away from that “safe” zone as I like to call it.
That’s why arranging and setting clear and healthy boundaries in your new relationship is of huge importance. They’ll keep your friendship safe and sound.
You’ll probably have the famous ‘let’s stay friends’ talk, and that’s when you should talk about things you would and won’t tolerate.
For example, you can’t interfere in each other’s love life or how hookups must be off the table under all circumstances.
Keep things platonic
Phone calls and text messages are allowed. You can keep in touch, and it’ll probably be easier for both of you because you got used to each other a lot I assume.
However, you shouldn’t be in touch 24/7, like you did as you were dating. And, I honestly advise you to avoid meet-ups at least for the first three months until you both get used to this new situation.
Also, everything would be so much easier for the both of you if you would keep things platonic. You can be good friends and care for each other without being in touch and hanging out all the time.
If you don’t see each other too often, there’s less chance that your feelings will come back and that you’ll hook up again. So, keep your friendship platonic in the beginning.
The past must stay in the past
Don’t talk about the first time you met and fell in love. Don’t mention your first date or the first place you made love. Don’t bring up your memories, neither the good ones nor the bad ones.
You’ve decided to break up and move on with your life and now, you must do that. Bringing up your past relationship and talking about all the things you went through together won’t do you any good, trust me.
It might only hold you back. You’ll never be able to free yourself from the shackles of the past until you finally leave it right where it belongs, in the past, and stop talking about it once and for all.
Don’t talk about your new relationships
Yes, you’re friends and friends talk about all the spheres of each other’s lives. However, you should always keep in mind that you’re exes who decided to become friends after they ended their relationship.
You just can’t talk about new love and new partners to someone you loved in the past. Trust me, it’ll be the most awkward conversation you ever had.
You both have every right to move on with your lives and to meet new people, but you shouldn’t talk with each other about it.
Admit it, wouldn’t it be too damn awkward and weird to ask your ex-boyfriend for dating advice?
Know when to pull back
The moment you feel that your emotions are coming back, you need to pull back.
The same goes if you see that your ex is sending you some mixed signals and that he has changed his mind and wants to get you back.
You must take care of yourself and your own life. Going back and forth with your ex won’t do you any good.
On the contrary, you’ll only be wasting your time, and you could miss something or someone really great because of it.
So, the first time you notice that something is off and you start doubting that your ex-partner/new friend has changed his mind about you two, pull back from your friendship and let him go for good.
The fact is you’ll never become best friends
You can become close friends and you probably will, and I’m saying again: IF your breakup wasn’t awful and nasty, of course. After all, you spent so much time together and you probably know each other best.
However, there will always be some issues between you… some barriers that will never allow you to understand each other as best friends do.
And, you shouldn’t, actually, because that close relationship between you wouldn’t end up well, believe me.
If you still care for each other and really want to remain friends, you should only respect and be there for each other always.
Don’t bad mouth each other because that’s definitely not a path to becoming close friends.
To Wrap Up
No relationship coach or any other relationship expert can give you the right answer to your question, ‘What does it mean when a guy just wants to be friends after dating?’ It’s a fact.
You know why? Because the answers to this question depend on so many things. Does he still love you, does he still have strong feelings for you, does he want to get you back, was your breakup nasty…
Those are just a few things that affect the answer to your question above. You see… Men are just as complicated as women are, but they know how to hide it very well.
He may be doing it because he really cares for you and wants to be friends with you at least, but he might also be doing it to get you back.
At the end of the day, his reasons are not that important. The most important thing is how you feel about it and what you honestly want.
Before making that final decision, above are some rules and things you should know concerning those post-dating friendships.
If you think those are just too much for you, then you shouldn’t even try being friends with your ex.
Accepting to remain buddies with your ex-boyfriend would mean that you’ve completely moved on and are ready for a new love. Whichever decision you make, I really hope it’ll make you happy.