How do I tell my ex I don’t want to be his friend?

How do I tell my ex I don’t want to be his friend?

I broke up with my ex 18 months ago. We were together for two years, with a month’s break in the middle. He was my first boyfriend and I really loved him but his reason for both break-ups was that he wasn’t sure I was ‘the one’ (and in the end he was attracted to – and eventually slept with – a colleague).

After the breakup I told him I wanted no contact, but he texted me every few weeks anyway which I ignored. He’d always insisted that he didn’t want to lose me as a friend – and, around 6 months ago I finally caved in, mostly to show him I was indifferent to him now, and a little bit out of curiosity to see if he wanted to get back together again.

There was nothing between us and it was a pretty superficial meeting, as there was an unspoken understanding that we didn’t want to know of each other’s new romances. But since then he’s been asking to meet for coffee every month or so, where we would again talk for 30 minutes about superficial things going on in each other’s life.

I’m now at a point where I really don’t want to know anything about his life, and while I’m not in love with him right now, I don’t want to get too friendly in case I develop feelings again. How do I politely tell him I want no contact anymore? I don’t want to come across as though I still care/am still hurt, but if I want to show I’m indifferent, how do I explain why I agreed to meet these past few months? Margaret

You owe this guy nothing, Margaret. Not even an explanation, really. It could be that his M.O. is to turn all exes into pals at any cost, but a true friend respects boundaries. He didn’t, even when you explicitly told him you needed time and no contact. Possibly, pursing a friendship with you helps to alleviate his guilt about breaking your heart and/or keeping you on the backburner in case he gets lonely and wants to try and rekindle things with you.

The thing is, HE wanted out. He doesn’t get to dictate the terms of how things go down afterwards, including whether or not you want to spend your precious time having superficial little coffee dates. And, I actually think you’re really smart making this decision. Because, as you say, there’s a real chance you could become attached again and, well, that’s not what you want. You’re trying to move on from this.

You don’t need to make it a big deal. Just cut it off and stick to it. Next time he wants to get together, text him back and say, ‘Hey Brad. Thanks for the invite, but I’ve been thinking and while I thought we could be friends, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s just not a good idea. No hard feelings. Good luck with everything.’ If that’s too hard core for you, just keep being ‘busy’ until he gets the message.

Love, reality chick

Got a question for RC or the Manswers team? Drop a line in

RC’s Question Box! (Questions may be edited.)
Freelance journo, blogger, self-appointed advice-giver and co-author of Get Lucky. If you've got a dating or relationship issue, feel free to ask a question. (PS. You can also find me at The Mama Files and Letter To My Ex).


  1. Lauren 5 years ago

    This article failed to mention that no girl has to be just a friend to any guy if it’s to hard so gentleman if a girl says no to being your friend then it means no don’t ask again ever

  2. Jen 7 years ago

    I agree with what Rachel said. Cut contact with him. Block him everywhere and don’t answer his texts or phonecalls.

  3. Caroline Kelly 7 years ago

    This reminds me of a situation many years ago. I was working at a company and a certain male was, in my opinion, full of himself. He had a girlfriend outside of the workplace. He also had someone at work who he would be friendly towards who this guy had asked that if he and his girlfriend broke up, would she be interested in a relationship. Well, this girl put any chance of an external relationship with a man who would love her and treat her well along with respect whilst this person that I was working with was still in a relationship with his girlfriend.

    Write him a registered letter outlining what you have advised. Leave out the emotion/emotions. Maybe bullet point some of the issues. Tell him that you are moving on in your life and that you respect yourself and hope that he respects your desire for no further contact. Furthermore, advise that you are keeping a copy for your records and that if he communicates with you further, you will be contacting the police.

    • Author

      Thanks for weighing in gals. The ex who won’t leave you alone (when you’d really rather he buggered off) is a nightmare…

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *