So you’ve just gone through a breakup and your ex boyfriend or husband wants to remain friends.
This can be confusing…but I’ve seen and heard of this time and time again in my 14 years of coaching women, and I can tell you one thing:
A lot of guys actually do want to stay friends with their ex after a breakup.
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Why Does My Ex Want To Be Friends?
Sometimes their motivations are innocent…for example, he just wants to make sure you’re going to be ok.
Other times, a guy’s motivations for being friends after a breakup are alarming.
It all depends on the kind of ex you have, and the type of history you have together.
But I think it’s important for you to note that for both men and women, motivations for staying friends post relationship usually relate to love, money, status, and sex, as shown by one study.
Are Men More Likely to Want to be Friends After A Breakup Than women?
According to Psychology Today, one study showed that men are more likely than women to want to be friends after a breakup.
This isn’t surprising when you consider a couple of factors that make post-breakup friendship beneficial for men:
- The fact that having a woman around means the possibility of access to sex (better the possibility of sex than none at all); and
- The fact that there have been some reports suggesting that men experience more pain after a breakup than women do. Naturally, men may want to minimize this pain by staying friends with their ex. In fact, a survey showed that men are more likely to report being more self destructive after breakups than women. (There are other reasons for this, but we’ll leave them for another time.)
I would argue that both men and women have motivations for keeping a friendship with an ex, men just have reasons skewed more towards sex and pragmatism than women do.
But let’s get really specific about the reasons he might be wanting to keep a friendship with you after breaking up.
The key here is you want to work out whether his desire to remain friends is self motivated (pure selfishness), or whether there is some consideration towards how you feel.
Would you like to learn ONE specific emotional trigger in every masculine man on earth that makes him want to take care of you – for life?
#1: It Makes Him Look Higher Status
Staying friends after a breakup can be beneficial for a man, as having more women around him benefits him.
It’s like “social proof” of his value, if he still has at least one woman (you) in his life.
A guy who has no female company at all – or has never been in a relationship or married – hasn’t technically proven his value, at least in the eyes of women.
This is not to say that men who are “alone” can’t be of obvious value, because they can.
But there’s always a little bit of a question mark in the back of a woman’s mind. She may wonder: “is there something wrong with him?” or “is there something missing?“
This is why taken men are generally so much more attractive to women (yes, generally speaking). I talk more about that concept in my article: Women Who Date Married Men: 11 Hush-Hush Reasons They Do It.
#2: He’s Finding It Hard To Let Go
Some men struggle letting go of a relationship. They may be afraid of dealing with the pain of loneliness.
As I mentioned above, there have been reports suggesting that men experience more pain after a breakup.
So even if he has no more romantic feelings towards you, he might still gain value from hanging on to you.
This is a source of connection and familiarity that can be hard to come by in life.
So unless you’ve done something awful, or you’re abusive and cause him a lot of grief in life, there’s little cost to keeping you around as a source of connection.
Plus, if he was very attached to you, it makes sense that it’s hard for him to let go.
Especially if the breakup was amicable.
There’s also the possibility that he is insecurely attached, and this adds another layer of complexity to this reason.
Insecure attachment can lead someone to have a lot of separation anxiety, or simply just want to cling onto you more.
If you want to delve into the attachment style a little more, read my article: The 4 Types Of Attachment Styles & Which One’s Yours?
You can also find out your own core attachment style with our free quiz: QUIZ TIME: What is my core attachment style? CLICK HERE to find out with our specially crafted women-specific 10 Question Quiz!
(Why is this important? It is because your core attachment style largely dictates and influences what happens in your relationship. Thus it’s imperative you understand your core attachment style!)
#3: He Loves To Control Others (You Included)
Some guys don’t want a genuine friendship, they just want control.
They will want to be friends after a breakup not because they want to be friends, but because they want control over:
- Who you speak to
- What you do with the kids (if you have any kids together)
- Whether you sleep with anyone else (the longer he stays in your life, the less likely other guys will inch their way in)
What’s more is that they may want to control you because they are a narcissist or are an individual with dark triad personality traits.
True narcissists will not let go of control of anyone if they don’t have to, just because narcissists gain a lot by controlling you. Things such as:
- The affliction of pain upon you; and
- Keeping control over you prevents them from experiencing what is called “narcissistic injury“.
Not to mention it serves an individual with dark personality traits to create a volatile environment for you.
They gravitate towards it and thrive upon it.
If they can control your environment in any way post-breakup, they will, and sadly, sometimes it’s to stop you finding anyone new.
#4: He’s Keeping You As A Backup Option
It’s never nice to realize that you are someone’s backup option, but it happens.
Men don’t tend to keep backup options in the same way that women do. Women keep backup options in case they need to fall back on a man for a relationship in the future.
In other words, they want to keep resources related to commitment in a relationship.
Men tend to want to keep you as a backup option in order to gain more sex (from you or from others).
Of course there are men who do keep backup options in case they want to enter some kind of relationship with you in the future, but men’s motivations are inherently different to women’s.
Don’t let yourself be kept as a backup option for sex, because that’s all you will ever be for this guy.
He won’t keep you around to take good care of you…because he wasn’t interested in anything more than just sex.
If you give off vibes that you’ll accept this type of arrangement, that’s how he’ll keep treating you.
By the way, did you know that there Are 7 Common Signs That A Woman is Perceived as Low Value to All Men. Do You Know What They Are & How to Avoid Them Like the Plague?
CLICK here to discover the 7 common signs that a woman is perceived as low value in the eyes of men in this special report. (Why is this important? Because men and women perceive value very differently and you don’t want to be making mistakes that would cause quality men to dismiss, abandon or alienate you.)
Even if your ex boyfriend or husband is not a narcissist, he could still just be downright selfish.
Selfish in the way that he wants to keep you in his life because he perceives more power is conferred to him that way.
Maybe it gives him more power in your mutual friendship group, more power over the kids, or maybe it just stops you from moving on completely.
There are many other reasons men can gain power by keeping you around, and you have to explore these possibilities in your own unique case.
#6: You Guys Share A Lot Of Good Memories
Just in case the first half of this article is a bit dark and depressing for you, let me assure you that there are sweeter, more rainbow-y reasons why a man would want to be friends after a breakup.
That reason is sentimentality.
He loves your memories together. He loves what you’ve learned together, achieved together, and it’s hard for him to let go of those memories.
Aww, how sweet.
But it’s only sweet until this type of motivation starts to ruin your chances of success with a new person.
#7: You Guys Were Friends Before The Romance
If you guys were already friends before getting together romantically, there’s a chance he wants to stay friends now because that’s simply how you guys work best.
Or out of habit.
Perhaps the friendship was the main part of your whole relationship, and the romance part was minimal.
It kind of makes sense then, that he would want to preserve the platonic side of your relationship.
#8: You Have Hot Friends
…And he wants to sleep with one or several of them.
You are the only chance he has to sleep with them, so why not preserve the friendship?
This reason shows just how insincere guys can be. But we’re talking about a specific type of guy here.
Probably not one you’d like to stay in a romantic relationship with!
#9: You Have Friends In Common
Do guys really want to be friends after a breakup?
Well, if you guys have a group of common friends, then it may cause him less trouble to keep the friendship between you going.
No one wants to lose all their friends just because of a breakup. It’s extra stress with little gain.
#10: He Still Has Feelings For You
If you’re still asking “do guys really want to be friends after a breakup?”, as in “really” really, truly truly?
Perhaps it’s not just friendship he’s after.
If he still has feelings for you, then it’s likely that he doesn’t want to be “just friends”.
But rather, he wants to keep the option of a serious relationship open.
#11: He Wants To Take Care Of You
If you were with a particularly saintly guy, or if he was truly in love with you at one time and values the relationship (or even the children you had together), maybe it just makes sense in his mind to keep making sure you’re ok.
This is what real emotional attraction can do for you with men.
If he was always emotionally attracted to you but your relationship broke down for other reasons, and even if you mutually agreed to the breakup, he may still want to take care of you.
#12: It’s Because You Have Kids Together
This one is a bit of a no-brainer.
Sometimes, for the sake of something bigger than yourself (ie: the happiness of your shared children), he wants to be friends.
And that makes sense. Breaking up is already troublesome and even traumatic in some cases, so why make it more traumatic for the kids?
Plus, if you can stay friends with each other, you can cooperate and pool your resources together for the benefit of the kids.
Why wouldn’t any good parent want that?
#13: To Find Out Information
Simply put, sometimes guys still want to be friends after a breakup in order to get information from you.
Whether it’s about you or who you date, or even somebody else unrelated to your past romantic relationship together, it doesn’t matter.
What matters is that keeping a friendship open means he has potential access to information.
Cutting off that access to information may feel like sabotaging something for himself.
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#14: He Regrets The Breakup
If he broke up with you, it’s possible that he has some regret or guilt about breaking up with you.
Perhaps he knows deep down inside that he let a good one go, or that he broke up with you for the wrong reasons. It happens!
As such, he knows he hurt you, but doesn’t feel like he can get back together with you straightaway, so he wants to keep the friendship alive.
#15: To Be Civil
Some guys don’t want any bad blood with their ex, or they just want to remain civil. One way to accomplish these things is to let you down slowly by suggesting a friendship.
He may not even just want to let you down slowly. He might just want to keep the lines of communication open in order to minimize negative emotions after the breakup.
At least in the immediate future.
If your ex guy is the diplomatic type, you might want to consider this as one of the reasons he wants to be friends.
Now that we’ve got our answers to do guys really want to be friends after a breakup, it’s important to look at whether there’s actual value in remaining friends 0 and how to handle post breakup friendship.
Is It A Good Idea To Be Friends With Your Ex After A Breakup?
A lot of us romanticize the concept of remaining friends with an ex. We feel sad that just by breaking up with someone, we have to lose the friendship as well.
Plus, we all need resources in life. And sometimes we perceive that an ex is the only person who can provide those resources.
So we keep them around as a friend.
But nothing changes the fact that you were once together sexually and possibly romantically.
So we have to keep that in mind, because it can negatively affect any new relationship you may have.
There may always be that possibility that you’ll feel sexually attracted to each other, at leas in your new love’s mind.
But here are some situations in which remaining friends makes more sense than cutting your ex off completely:
- When you have children that you love and still have to raise
- When you were both always more “friends” than romantic partners in love. In other words, you never really had much emotional attraction or sexual attraction. This type of friendship may be less threatening or problematic to a new lover.
- When you have to work together or be productive together
Frequently Asked Questions
Let’s take a look at some other common questions on post breakup friendship.
Why does he still want to be friends after rejecting me?
Just in case he can get something out of the friendship with you, usually.
Think about what he might get out of keeping you around as a friend and you’ll have your answer.
Can men be friends after a breakup?
Yes, it’s possible. As long as there are no lingering romantic feelings between you both.
But make sure you’ve ruled out the possibility that he’s staying friends with you because of other reasons such as the possibility or sex or having a friends with benefits relationship.
Do guys really not care after a breakup?
Some guys care after a breakup, and some do not care at all. It all depends on the kind of guy he is.
If a guy was never in love with you, he really may not care at all.
But sometimes they do care too. They may just be less likely to express their emotions to you, as they don’t want to look like they’re not in control or are somehow “less of a man”.
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Renee is the founder of The Feminine Woman & co-founder of Shen Wade Media where we teach women how to show up as a high value high status woman whom easily inspires a deep sense of emotional commitment from her chosen man. Together with her husband D. Shen at Commitment Triggers blog, they have positively influenced the lives of over 15 million women through their free articles and videos as well as 10’s of thousands through paid programs through the Shen Wade Media platform.
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