Ask A Guy: Is It Ever Possible To Be Friends With An Ex?

Dear Ethan,

Do you think you can ever be friends with an ex-boyfriend? Once you break up, do guys just want you out of their lives… or when they say they want to still be friends, does that really mean they just want to keep hooking up?

Maintaining a legit friendship with any ex- is tricky stuff – usually because both parties are rarely on the same page.

In my very first post for over a year ago, I granted that if a guy has truly moved on from an ex, he certainly might pursue a friendship with her. This can be very common when the guy is the one initiating the break up, and if you want to remain friends (and think you can move on), there’s no reason why you guys shouldn’t become pals. However, if you’re the one doing the dumping, and you suspect he still has feelings for you, be careful – he might be settling for a friendship out of desperation. Or, he might even have sneakier motives, hoping to eventually re-open the possibility of romance in the near future.

Now, on the opposite end of the spectrum, there are also guys who play the friendship card as an easy way to let a girl down. Girls do this, too. More often than not, younger guys head this direction with the noblest of intentions, assuming that a post-romantic relationship is a preferred possibility (any experienced guy knows that it’s usually not either of these things). But only the jerkiest of jerks will string along a girl under the guise of “friendship” as a means to continue hooking up with her. If it does happen (and unfortunately, it does), feel free to notify your school paper of this dishonest behavior – such creepdom should be broadcast to the entire student body.

Of course, once in awhile, two people will date and realize simultaneously that they’re both better off as platonic buddies, which is certainly ideal. But for the most part, because of all the potential variables and conditions involved with both partners’ feelings, maintaining a friendship with an ex is seldom ever that easy. If you’re determined to make one work, be prepared for some honest, open talks that might take you both into very sensitive territory. It’s not impossible, but it requires patience, maturity, and often, an ability to read between the lines of others’ emotions.

Good luck!

Ethan Fixell is a writer and comedian from New York City best known as one half of comic “dating coach” duo Dave and Ethan. He is also the creator and editor of For more on Ethan, visit…or call his mom, Robin.

Are you confused about a guy? Do you find yourself wondering, “What is he thinking?” Tell us everything in the comments! And if you have a question for Ethan, email him at!


How do you stay friends with a guy who likes you?

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter

Posted in: Ask A Guy, Love Advice
Tags: , , ,
  • Anaya

    I was thinking about being friends with my ex-boyfriend but it was just awkward and just silence so he and I don’t really talk. He left me confused when he broke up with me like our relationship was to hard. What is so hard about when he barely did anything. I don’t think he and I are on the same page anymore. And I want to date older guys as well. It was hard but I managed to get through it. And plus it’s his loss not mine. I’m beautiful and I deserve to be treated with loyalty and respect all young women do.

  • Original 95

    Remaining “friends” is too much emotional stress. In my case the guy only wanted to be friends to hook up -_-

  • Juliana

    So, I actually need A LOT of help now. I’m crushing with this boy, and I had never talked to him until November. I “asked him out”, kind of, but he said that he wasn’t sure if he could go. Ok, after a couple of days, I looked at him at the schoold and he was staring at me, for at least two minutes, I think. My friend noticed that and went to talk to him, but I kind of screamed “NO!”. He was all shy and red, it was cute. Anyway, I talked to him again, on Facebook, and asked if he wanted to come with me watch a movie, but he didn’t reply :/ After two weeks or so, on his birthday, he told me “I’m sorry, my laptop was a mess and I couldn’t reply. But I watched the movie…” and then we talked about the movie, and more stuff that we’re into. Even sex o_e. Anyway, we talked for 3 hours straight, ’til I didn’t know anything more to talk, and then said goodbye. A couple of days later, I said hi and asked him if he could borrow me a book that he said that he had. He said that it was ok, so I said “Oh, but I’m changing school…” he said NOTHING about that, not even when I told him that we should meet. Oh, and he had told me to watch an anime, that was very romantic and stuff, because I’d like that and he loved. So, my question is: Even he showing all the signals, and asking about me, and talking about his life and stuff, he’s not amused to go out with me, at least I think so. I’m actually in love with him, and I don’t know what to do :/

  • layla

    So basically ive fancied this guy for a while now anf he asked me out were going out for a couple days the he dumped me coz we were both to shy to talk to eachother… He keeps like staring at me in classes but i got one of my friends to ask him out for me but she said “ want to go out with her” rather than she wants to go out with you so he stuttered and said umm n n no then walked off red. This weeks apart from one night i have been having dreames that i ask him out then the next dream he asked me out and sometimes.we are already together it is defonatly his face in all of the dreames. I NEED ADVICE ON WHAT TO DO AAAH i still really fancie him but jm confused about what he thinks! Sorry this is so long but i need help!! Thabks xx

    • Christina Sarah

      The fact that both of you are too shy to talk to each other kind of makes things difficult, but the answer will always be ‘no’ if you never ask (and you’ll never really know what he thinks). Don’t be afraid of rejection. The worst that can happen is he says no–5 years from now, will that still matter to you? Best of luck!

  • Christina Sarah

    “However, if you’re the one doing the dumping, and you suspect he still has feelings for you, be careful – he might be settling for a friendship out of desperation. Or, he might even have sneakier motives, hoping to eventually re-open the possibility of romance in the near future.”

    Thank you for making it clear for me that it might just not be worth it no matter how much I’d like for us to remain friends. It sucks, but maybe it’s just not meant to be.