Help! My Ex Texted Me, 'Can We Still Be Friends?'

Decode what he's trying to say.
PHOTO: Ben Goldstein/Studio D

Whether it was a bad breakup or an amicable one, getting over an ex is not exactly a walk in the park. There will be sleepless nights, dramatic thoughts, and crying sessions. But what makes everything harder is when you receive texts from your ex.

What gives, right? Does this mean he wants to get back together? Or is he just trying to test the waters without the intention of catching you when you fall for him (again)? Here, we decipher what your former flame’s text messages really mean:

Can we still be friends?”

Although it’s possible for ex-lovers to be friends, it’s not the best way to move on. When your ex wants to stay friends, there are two possible reasons behind his intentions: He wants to keep you close because he somehow still has feelings for you; he likes your company but not as a lover; or he’s reserving you for a booty call.

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According to the research published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, the motives behind staying friends with an ex differ for men and women. After their survey, they found that men “were more likely to rate pragmatic reasons and possible “sexual access” as being the biggest motivators for staying friends with an old flame.” They also found that men like these are most probably the narcissistic type.

Before you say yes to being friends again, think about how it will affect you and the healing process. Ask yourself if you can handle the emotional ups and downs once you decide to stay as friends. If you want to give friendship a try but you’re not quite ready yet, don’t feel pressured at all. Wait for the right time.

“Hey! How have you been?”

There’s nothing wrong with checking up on someone, especially if you two used to date before. But when this happens too often, you probably cross his (or her) mind constantly. It’s possible your ex wants to know if you’re already seeing someone new, or he’s hoping he still has a place in your life. Either way, the best way to handle this is to stay casual. Don’t get too excited the moment you see his name pop up on your screen. Breathe in and out before replying. Also, don’t sound too happy about it because you don’t want to keep his hopes up, right?

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”I miss you.”

If you’ve had a bad experience with your ex and now he’s suddenly being mushy with you, maybe he just wants his ego stroked. According to dating coach Nancy Nichols, he’s probably still contacting you to know if you still like him. “He doesn’t really want you back in life—but he wants to see if he can get a lovesick reaction out of you.”

This story originally appeared on

* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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