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You Asked: Should I Take My Ex Back As My Best Friend?

Dear Sugar,

My boyfriend of two years recently broke up with me. It was completely out of the blue and I still can't understand why he did it. He gave me 20 different contradicting reasons, but the main point is that he doesn't want to be with me anymore; and it hurts a lot. He had planned out the rest of our lives right down to when we'd get married, what church, when we'd have kids and what town we'd live in.

We had been best friends for over two years before we got together but we always had this awesome connection. I was very excited when he asked me out, although I was concerned that I could lose his friendship if we ever broke up. I took the chance but now that we're done, he wants to go back to being just friends. I'm not sure if I'm able to do that. My friendship feelings for him are all wrapped up in the romantic ones. We are in the exact same circle of friends and they all think I should give it a try. Half the time I miss my best friend, but the other half hates him for breaking my heart. What should I do? — Crushed Cathy

To see DearSugar's answer

Dear Crushed Cathy,

It's pretty clear that you still have some strong feelings around the breakup with your ex, so while going back to being just friends would be ideal, it will only work once you've let go of your romantic feelings for him. Since you're in the same circle of friends, you can remain cordial towards him, but it might just be too soon to jump right back into best friend status.

Crossing the friendship line is always a risk, but once the dust settles, hopefully you can see that your friendship is what brought you together in the first place. With time, maybe you both can work on rebuilding that connection but in the meantime, take all the distance you need to grieve your relationship. Good luck to you and try not to let your friends influence you to move too quickly.


Join The Conversation
juicebox07 juicebox07 8 years
I'm a little late on this one, but I want to say that I'm in the same boat right now. Thanks to everyone who answered. It helped me as well. My boyfriend of 2 years just broke up with me and wants to stay friends (with benefits), and I told him I can't do that because it wouldn't help me get over him.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
i think that we all want to be able to go back to the way things were in the past, since that's what drew you together in the first place but the thing to remember is that he didn't give you the reasons that you needed to understand the break up so i think that it's going to be a lot more challenging than you hope. like the advice above, unless you're really willing to be ok with him dating other people and all that, then it might be hard to go back to being just friends.
356UIK 356UIK 8 years
What do you got to lose!
smp7328 smp7328 8 years
Nope! Don't do it!
controlledspin controlledspin 8 years
I agree with mostly everything that has already been said, so I just wanted to add that if they are TRUE friends, that they would never be pushing you into trying to be friends just for their sake. They probably want the "old gang" to stay together, but they need to make adjustments, too.
queesha11 queesha11 8 years
btw i LOVE this web site
queesha11 queesha11 8 years
i was in a similar situation a couple of years back. my boyfriend of one year broke up with me out of the blue as well.i couldnt get over the fact that he was so "in love with me" one day and not the next. i was so crushed. before i knew it i became so desperate to keep him in my life. i lied to him and told him we could be "just friends".every time we hung out as "just friends" we hooked up and i thought we would get back together..when that didnt happen i fell into a deep depression. moral of the story..if ur not over him..being friends with him may just get your hopes up and make u feel worse then the day he broke up with advice: take care of yourself..realize that time heals everything, and dont ignore YOUR feelings. during the back and forthness of my ex and i, i felt like i would never meet anyone who i would love again.just when i stopped caring about him and took care of myself i met the love of my i laugh that i ever let my ex treat me the way he did.hes the loser and i have the best bf in the world!
kellys kellys 8 years
i dated a guy for 2.5 years. we were basically engaged. then i met my husband. to say my relationship with the first guy ended badly is an understatement. however, we'd been best friends for 2.5 years. it was hard for both of us to let go, so we tried to be friends. it got really ugly for a while. he got mad at me and i got mad at him. eventually we stopped talking altogether. thanks to the internet, though, we were able to "keep in touch." after about a year of being cordial, and both of us figuring out who we were, we slowly became friends again. fast forward 7 more years, and it's all good. i think it helped that the guy i left him for is one of the best people any of us know. it's kind of hard to hate him. so yes, it can happen, but no, it's not going to right now. not for a while.
macchiatolove macchiatolove 8 years
I completely agree with Fallen, Brinley and psterling. First of all, I always feel like the 'can we be friends' get out is his way of saying, "see? I'm not the immature one who can't be friends!" when in reality, there is no possible way that you can accept that offer the way things stand at the moment. I've tried it, it didn't work. I'm not saying that it never can, just that you def. need to give yourself some time to grieve, be bitter, and remind yourself of all his worst qualities. He's hurt you and it's your prerogative! I would say, wait until you are sure that your feelings for him are only friendly, not romantic (even if this means waiting until you have a new boyfriend) and THEN try the friendship thing. If you still want to. But honestly, surely you have friends that won't be so painful and uncomfortable to spend time with! best of luck!
jazzytummy jazzytummy 8 years
I am going through a similar thing. Here is my take on it... 1) If you are in love, but the romance didn't work out, the only way to get better is a clean break, for however long you need. No texts, phone calls, e-mails, voice mails, etc. Don't listen to mutual friends who say you need to stay in touch for friendship's sake...they are wrong and not the one who is hurting. 2) How long do you need? Ask yourself this... if you saw him somewhere with another woman, and he came up to you with her to say hello, would you be truly happy for him that he found someone, or would your stomach feel like it was in a vise? If it is the latter, you are NOT ready to be a friend, so don't kid yourself. 3) Will you ever be ready for friendship, even months down the line? Refer to question number 2. 4) Surround yourself with people that love you, and that may not include your mutual friends. 5) Be ready to feel shitty for a while. Time does heal wounds, but don't be surprised if you feel worse for the first few will miss talking and spending time with him, and you will see things everyday that will remind you of your friendship and love. It is a loss, so it's ok to mourn it. Hang in there through this tough phase and after a longer period of time, you will feel better A friend of mine told me this: Mark your calendar 100 days ahead of today. Every day until then, tell yourself you want to feel 1% better than the day before, so that when you hit that day, you will hopefully feel 100% better. That to me is a reachable goal, and far better then feeling bad when your friends tell you that you should be over it after a month. 6) Friends have told me that if a friendship with my number 1 is meant to be, it will happen naturally...I agree with others it can not be forced. You have to just let it go and wait and see if it will come back to you. 7) Above all, take care of your heart.
psterling psterling 8 years
DO NOT. I don't understand women's need to be friends with their exes. Its hard and complicated, why put yourself through it when you can find (and probably already have) a ton of other simple, rewarding friendships?
DDL DDL 8 years
I'm in almost the exact same situation and I know what you're going through. So far, I've only tried exchanging emails but I get no responses. I'm gonna try to give it more time. Let me know what you try and maybe we can exchange notes. I know what it's like to lose your other half and I share your pain. Stay strong 8)
lemassabielle lemassabielle 8 years
NO. You admitted that you would be confused and believe me you still have feelings. It's easier for men to switch but not for us. Take time to yourself and tell him you'll be back when you move on.
fleurfairy fleurfairy 8 years
My ex of 4 years is my best friend now. We broke up about 3 years ago and still talk daily. It just depends on how the relationship ended. We ended ours amicably, although I was the one that wanted to break up, and have been best friends since. He's dated other girls, I've dated other guys. It can be done if you handle it maturely.
krae85 krae85 8 years
I'll make this easy: No.
alltherage alltherage 8 years
That picture looks like a yearbook pic....
KadBunny KadBunny 8 years
Hey Cathy. :) I was in the same situation a few years back. We were best friends, we fell in love and we dated for a while. I thought our future was set in stone etc. and bam, he breaks up with me. I felt that no matter what went on between us there was undeniable history so I tried being friends again, but I just couldn't. The shock was too unbearable and every time we talked I just ended up crying and being extremely bitter to him. But of course that's just me, you might be better at handling your feelings. I just won't want either of you to go through that so think it over really hard. Give yourself some space now, and if you try later and you just can't bring yourself to do it then don't force it. If fate permits it you'll be friends again but for now you need to heal.
ckeller825 ckeller825 8 years
You should just give it some time and avoid him at all costs. The more you're around him during heartbreak, the worse you're going to feel. Plus, I don't really understand how friends and exes can stay friends after a bad breakup. That's just strange to me.
smurfle smurfle 8 years
it's nearly impossible for you to be "just friends" with him this soon after the break-up. since you weren't the one to do the dumping, you still have feelings for him in a romatic way. in your heart, you may want to be back together with him. trust me... it will prove disasterous if you try to convince yourself otherwise and attempt friendship this soon. chances are, you WILL end up sleeping together.. which will confuse you. you'll think it means you're getting back together.. he won't. you'll be hurt... and then you may risk ruining ANY chance of having a friendship. on the other hand, if you give yourself time to heal... and you both cross paths agains when you are TRULY over him, a friendship can and will happen. what's the rush? my high school sweetheart and i were together for four years. then we broke up and did not speak another word to one another for three years. then, we ran into each other and because we were both over each other, we were able to go back to being best friends... which is what we were before we ever dated. let it happen naturally. you can't TRY to be friends with him.. it's not fair to you and most likely will not end well. good luck! :)
brindey brindey 8 years
Honey, that sucks. But clearly he is too much of a dumbass to realize how amazing you are/even come up with a suitable reason to break up with you. Break-ups hurt, kill your self-esteem and all you want to do is run back to the person who made you feel good. but you can't. Instead, why don't you: 1. Enlist your own cheer section. Your mother/sister/college best friends that made you chicken soup when you were sick/did your homework for you/held your hair while you puked up your first tequila shot are firmly Your Friends. Spend time with them, in your corner, being the amazing person you are (and rehashing everything stupid he ever did, including losing you.) 2. Make a list of 10 things you want to do for yourself and do them By yourself. Start a retirement fund/Paint your nails those colors you never dared to before/start spin classes/learn to knit/read. 3. Spend Thanksgiving Not putting up with his parents. 4. Flirt. 5. Spend the money you were going to use to buy him a new gadget for Christmas on lingerie for yourself. 6. get a vibrator. 7. Tell him to see you in hell. That way, when you do see him in hell, or more likely out at a bar with all your mutual friends, you will be glowing in your own self confidence, which is the sexiest thing ever. He will take notice..........and so will about 30 other guys in the bar less flighty than Jerkface.
skigurl skigurl 8 years
it's basically impossible you don't choose to be best friends with someone. you just become friends naturally. if this is something you have to "decide" then it's not right and it's not the natural progression. you don't need to force it. just take your time to get over him and move on.
myystque myystque 8 years
Until you're over him, being friends won't work. You'll probably end up hurt or angry that he doesn't share the romantic feelings. Plus, it's more difficult to get over people when you're constantly around them. I'd say try to avoid seeing him too much, be cordial when you do see him, and that's it. Your friends should understand.
GScott86 GScott86 8 years
Regardless of what you want, you can't be friends with him right now. Just as with every breakup, you need time to grieve. When you suffer a loss, there needs to be a grieving process, in actuality, a breakup like death. Grieve, take time for yourself, don't surround yourself with him or memories of him. Find yourself and independence. Once you feel better about yourself and confident, you may be able to go back to that, but you have to get him out of your system first. In my opinion, being in a serious relationship makes it difficult to go back to being friends, but to each his own. Just realize that you can't go back and you must move on. You will find someone who loves you and won't back out.
Fallen85 Fallen85 8 years
I tried being friends with my ex. It went relatively well until the first time we tried to hang out together because we ended up sleeping together. Then he started dating someone new but he still tried sleeping with me. I had major feelings for him and so I was caught in a tornado of hate, love, confusion, sadness, complacency and most of all anger. Anger at myself for sticking around after he'd hurt me, anger for thinking I could be friends with him, anger for him caring so little about me that he would treat me like this and anger at myself for being so ignorant. I could have avoided all of this if I'd just stayed away and waiting until my feelings disappeared and I could truly be JUST friends with him. It's gonna be hard but I suggest making a clean break for at least 6 months before you even remotely attempt to be friends with him. Good luck.. it's gonna be hard.
Marni7 Marni7 8 years
You shouldnt because your feelings are all wrapped up right now. I agree with blue, give it some time and see what happens. My ex has told me he considers me one of his best friends but I cant be friends right now no matter how much I secretly want to, it'll confuse you.
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