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Can You Be Friends With Your Ex?

Updated on September 19, 2008

Are you really done breaking up with him?

A lot depends on why you broke up. Anytime there is a restraining order, no friendship can come.

Fifteen years of ex's under my belt, and very few have survived to become true friends.

But yes. Yes, after a considerable amount of time passes, after you have both really moved on, yes. Yes, you can be friends.

I say, the two big reasons why normal people that have had an average break up with no restraining orders, cant stay friends are:

  1. You aren't done dating.
  2. Or you aren't done breaking up.

And I think the real question might be why would you want to?

Let's first look at the break up. Are you done breaking it off? Do either of you have unresolved anger towards the other? Do either of you feel like you were taken advantage of, or taken for granted, and haven't fully expressed this in a cleansing way. The first relationship -lovers- has to really be over, before the second relationship -friendship- can begin.

Is wanting to be friends now a subconscious excuse to be around this person so you can find closure on unresolved things?

And the opposite is true, too. Did you break up because you cheated? Did you take her for granted? Did she find out you lied about your ex?

Is wanting to be friends now, really a product of guilt you have for how you were as a partner? Do you feel you owe your ex, at the very least, your friendship?

These are not the kinds of preambles that will result in good friendships. Be clear about the break up in your mind, and make sure your ex is too.

If you truly want to be friends with your ex, it should be because you like him as a friend. It needs to be because you are willing to work at what might be a very hard friendship to solidify. What attracted you to him or her in the first place, is probably still there. She may still be the coolest person in your office, that reads the same things you read and enjoys talking about those books over 2am coffees at bad diners. He may still be the guy with the best sense of humor, that's happy to go to Ranger games and Crobar, and shares a lot of your interests. Your ex may still exist in the same light in which you first saw this person. Maybe dating was a mistake. Or maybe it was worth a shot, but sadly it didn't work.

Be clear, however, that there is a difference between working at a friendship with someone worth it, and the possibility that you are just avoiding the fact that you need to move on.

There's habit and familiarity here, which are huge things and should not be taken lightly. Do you want to be friends with your ex because he's so exceptional, or because he's so easy and convenient?

This is someone who already knows your friends, your season tickets, your habit of not showering on Sundays, your secret love of the Golden Girls. You don't have to explain yourself; you don't to go through that awkward sometimes painful getting-to-know-you phase. I classify this under "you aren't done dating yet." There are many aspects to what you had as a couple. Obviously there was sex. And if you two haven't gotten that out of your system, that's an issue all its own. But there is also that comfort zone, where you don't have to stress any of the fear factor parts of dating again, and learning someone new.

Now here's another thought: Just like the idea that the reasons you liked this guy in the first place still exist, there's another list that still exists too. Odds are all the reasons you decided in the end that you do not want to be with this girl also still exist. You couldn't put up with her obsession with American Idol when you were dating her, can you deal with it as a friend?

While you're deciding, life is going on. And here's my going forward advice. Make sure you're finished dating this person. Make sure you're done breaking up. And then, after that is passed, make every effort to maintain at least a casual friendship if this is someone who is in your life anyway. If this is a person who is part of your circle of friends, someone that you are bound to bump in to time and time again, someone that your friends know and will continue to socialize with, make it easy on everyone including yourself. Be a grown up, have some maturity, suck it up if you have to, and really try.

It will make everyone and every event more comfortable. You will look polished and mature, and easy going. You will be assured inclusion in any group events, even those reserved for couples. Then, if it does turn out that this ex is someone you would really cherish as a friend, you've paved the way.

If you like this HUB please click the “Thumbs-Up” below just before the comments.

Thanks!

All text is original content by Veronica.

All photos are used with permission.

All videos are used courtesy of Youtube.

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  • profile image

    SShadow 5 years ago

    What a crumby week. Seriously, it just doesn't get any better does it? I'm trying. I've now been in therapy for over a month now to deal with all my issues. Hopefully some silver lining on some other brighter day. The drama of life seriously seems to never end...

  • bryanbaldwin profile image

    bryanbaldwin 5 years ago from Los Angeles

    I am happily friends with nearly all my ex's. However yes.... it does need time. You need to completely break up before you can be friends.

  • profile image

    TennisPlayer13 5 years ago

    My boyfriend and I dated for exactly one month. From March 1st to April 1st. He broke up with me after we went to the mall exactly 21 minutes later to be exact. He texted me while I was in the car with my best friend. He started the conversation by 'Hey listen we need to talk'. I knew at once that he was going to ask about our relationship. The first day of the break up wasn't bad at all, I didn't feel as bad as I do now. So here's what happened.

    I'm very shy and usually keep to myself and my ex was able to get to know me. I got to know Jim do well we would talk for hours up until 1:30 am sometimes. I liked some qualities about him and other not really. He's different than any other guy I have known. He's funny tall so sweet caring he listens to me and everything. There are some things that I would change about him like he doesn't play sports and his breath smells I also feel that I constantly am asking him 'what's up' over text. We just didn't have enough in common. Yet I feel that I still want him back.

    On April 1st we went to the mall together with a small group of friends. We held hands interlocking our fingers, but I was the one to break away bith of the times. When we went to ho sit diwn also he wanted me to sit in his lap but that idea was also rejecyed by me. I dont know why I was so stupid do that. He felt after that that I didn't want to be around him or like him anymore. I could tell that he really liked me a lot more than I liked him, but now I realize what I had was amazing.

    I guess in the first place I wasn't too excited to go out with him, but there was always something about him that got me and it wasn't anything sexual.

    Now after a few days the weight has been getting heavier although we decided to be good friends. He also wants to be my friend. We are going to the same high school together next year and I'm very excited.

    I still have this small nagging thing inside of me that just misses him. I miss our conversations until late and the fact that he always asked me for pens or put his backpack next to mine. It's the little things really that I wish back. I know that I couldn't take him back as my boyfriend because I'm too afraid to hurt him. I've cried because of it I never wanted to hurt him at all and I don't really know why I did that, but I still don't think we could work in the future.

    I'm going to go watch a movie with him and a few couple friends I was wondering if I should repay him by holding his hand as a friend. I really want to be close to him and have tight connection. I know things about him that his best friend that he calls his 'sister' doesn't even know. He's the type if guy that would do anything to make sure you're okay and he has actual feelings. I also have told him everything about me and everything I have said was nothing but the truth. I have shared my deepest thoughts with him and he's never once judged me in any way not that I've done anything wrong though.

    Please don't take me the wrong way just because I'm young I do feel for him. Can you help me figure out what I'm really feeling. I don't think he wants to get back together even if we had the chance to though. Is the a normal stage to go through as I'm gettin out of my breakup?

  • profile image

    iflo 5 years ago

    Dear Angel,

    Thank you so much for your support. I really need it. You are very true, I know I can't be his second option. I just have this foolish wish that I could win him back if I'm still his friend. I will try to move on, though it's damned hard and hurting because now he doesn't want to let me go (would be far easier if he acts cruel like a real jerk). And with my birthday coming next few days & a trip we have planned for the week end, I will try to switch off my feeling and try to stay strong.

    Again, really appreciate your support..

    Also thanks to veronica for this hub

  • profile image

    not4sissys 5 years ago

    Dear Iflo,

    IMHO I think that your feelings for him are too strong for you to have a "friendship" with him. I think that you need closure with this and move on. Being someone's "2nd option" is not going to bring you happiness or peace. You are worth so much more than that. Let him free and free yourself to find that extraordinary person that sees how extraordinary you are and appreciates you in their life. IMHO leave him behind as a treasured memory and go be happy.

    I wish you the very best of everything, Angel

  • profile image

    iflo 5 years ago

    I need some advise here..

    I have a close friend whom later broke up with his girlfriend because he liked me.

    Only a very short moment I'm as his lover, his ex attempted a suicide, he was depressed and we went back as friend as he wanted to settle his past before moved on to the future.

    So, i waited and after all things settled, he didn't say anything but we were closer and spent many times together. He gave some gentle hints of us went back as lover, but he didn't say it. Everyone thought we were already a couple as we both were so match and enjoyed each other since we shared very same interest & life values. And I do love him so much. Only recently i knew he was hiding something from me, i was upset and he knew i was jealous & suspecting he had a girl friend. He didn't confirm that but say that he wanted to be friends with me because it would be complicated if we become more than friends as he would hurt me as before. I was very upset though I didn't say anything. I didn't know what to say. He kept on asking me to be his friends as he liked me very much. He also said he wouldn't had me and his girlfriend meeting each other because he knew it would hurt me. I think that means he will spend time with his new girlfriend and when he wants me, he will go out with me. I don't want to be second options. But the thought of leaving him and not communicating with him, burnt me. I admire him so much and he's the only guy I can have the kind of conversations I dreamt of. We understand each other jokes and we share the time we spent together silent and not saying anything.

    What should I do? Should I stay as friends and become his second options? Or should I stay away from him? Either one is hard for me. I'm sure I couldn't find someone that match me like he does. Now I really live like zombie.. Any suggestion?

  • Veronica profile image
    Author

    Veronica 5 years ago from NY

    gypsy, that's up to you. It can be good, as long as you're aware of what's going on and realistic about what you can expect.

  • profile image

    gypsygirlxoxo 5 years ago

    when you said that the friendship after breaking up could just be for closure, is that a good or bad thing?

  • 100ktrainer profile image

    100ktrainer 5 years ago from Michigan

    IMO you can be friends with an EX. However, that friendship should have boundaries when in a new relationship. Simply communicating those boundaries will help an Ex understand what's acceptable and whats not.

    That's only respecting the new relationship, if nothing else.

    Great Post!

  • profile image

    SShadow 5 years ago

    This ex and friend crap still drives me nuts. I wish that some greater power would make all the pain just go away. Even after this year has past, where it finally seemed somewhat better, it has taken on an entire new spirit. Creating even more frustrations, and problems than I ever could have understood the first time we parted ways. Now a full two years for me since the initial break, and she still manages to twist the knife in my back.

  • profile image

    Motherx2 5 years ago

    So my husband and I have been separated for 10 months now due to his affair. We have two small children (4 and 11mo). He has lived with the other woman since our separation. Custody arrangements make for our 4yr old to call mon and wed nights. My husband has begun to tell our 4yr old to give me the phone and wants to be "casual" for the sake of the boys. He will bring up old pictures he has of not necessarily of my but of my sisters son and him or will bring up things that I want point out the things our son does that are similar to things I do. A few weeks ago he ending up bring up our separation again and how much he tried and how I pushed him away type stuff. I am confused as to why any of that stuff still matters to him and why he feels it necessary to keep bringing it up. To me thats not casual. To me causal is a "hey how are you? im well you? Good. The boys are blah blah blah" not discussing us. Im confused... Someone help me!!

  • profile image

    Lucybabyxo 5 years ago from Surrey

    Oh gosh, I honestly don't know if you can, the valid point made about whether you both are truly over it is 100% true! I'm in this situation at the moment, I'm finding it very hard but I gues I just want him in my life still! Me and my ex were together for 2 years and split up in February this year (2011) lol! It wasn't the nicest, we moved away together and he left me one day and I never heard from him until six months later, because things had been left so badly I was really unsure that I wanted to try again because I made a life for myself without him and in the end I called everything off! Although last week, I ended up contacting him, I realised that I was just kidding myself and that I hadn't stopped loving him, so he came up and stayed with me-we had a serious heart to heart..and I genuinely thought he meant everything he said to me that night, then after he leaves, he doesn't speak to me? He's finally let me know that he just wants to be friends, it wont 'last' because apparently some of my old 'colours' came out? I don't understand how someone can suddenly go from saying the love you to then just wanting to be friends? It's confused me, but I still want him in my life :\ he texts me every now and then to see how I am, but I'm finding it quite painful and there's a part of me that wants him to just realise!? I coped fine without him when he left in feb but now it's a totally different situation and I'm not sure what I did wrong. I sound like an idiot but Im just v confused..

  • profile image

    lolitsme 5 years ago

    I have a problem of my own with exes. Me and this guy (B) were together for some time, then he broke up with me because he couldn't see me anymore and all that time I was still hurting over him. Then he went out with one of my recent friends (1) and then dumped her a short time later. He asked me out and because I still liked him I said yes. But then a few months later I broke up with him because... I don't know, there was still some anger on why he broke up with me in the first place. 2 weeks later I started dating my ex (A), the one I had before the guy I broke up with. We dated and into the first 2 months, he (B)dated another of my friends(2). Well A then broke up with me and I realized that 2's brother (C) liked me so right now I'm going out with him. But then things is B has like 2 for a long time, even before he liked me or dated me. I'm still friends with A but with B its harder because we had a lot of nice memories which I miss from time to time. :'(

  • profile image

    matilda36 5 years ago

    I'm kinda using this hub to offload a bit too- sorry if it's not what this is about- delete it if it's inappropriate. In my particularly sad case, my ex wants to be friends with me in an impossible situation he created.

    After 15 years of marriage and 2 children, my ex had an affair with and left me for a work colleague. He stayed for a little while to 'work things out', insisting all the while he wouldn't give her up for me. It devastated me, to quote the film "Love Actually".. "It's made the life I've led seem foolish!" Nine years later (he's still with her), I'm engaged and happy but my ex insists that "enough time has passed" and I should be friends with him and the girlfriend. On the surface this may seem reasonable as we are keeping cordial for the kids. But this same man has said to me repeatedly that he wants a chance to sleep with me again one more time... infact it might bring us closer together and bring closure! When I pointed out to him that apart from I would NEVER do that to my fiance, his girlfriend would be devastated.. he commented that "What she doesn't know won't hurt her".

    My point, I guess is WHY!! Why does he want to remain friends. In my case I am convinced its 1) an ego stroke- what guy doesn't want 2 girls chasing for his attention 2) so that he can play 'happy families' therefore never having to face the hurt that he's caused to his ex wife and his kids.

    I'm sure not all ex's are like this. Normal people realise there are boundaries, and true friends (regardless of whether they are ex's or not) preserve each others dignity, lifting each other up, not using their friend for their own benefit or satisfaction. Take pleasure in seeing the other happy in a relationship- and are careful not to do anything to jeopordise that new relationship.

    Unfortunately I am not one of those lucky people, that is a shame for me, and especially our kids. I remain distant but respectful, and I accept that is a decision my ex has forced me to based on his behaviour.. and he remains insistant that we must be friends and that I am being childish and 'not getting over him'.

    post script: apart from having to see him to get the kids back from custody visits- I don't have anything to do with him. My fiance does know about it - he shakes his head and says "he wants what he can't have!" Very understanding.

  • Robert Erich profile image

    Robert Erich 5 years ago from California

    Veronica, you've hit the nail right on the head. I've learned that it's a fine balance when deciding if you can still be friends after a break up. I've had girls who I wanted to be friends with (more to win them back or prove them wrong, or something terrible like that), and others who have wanted to remain friends with me for similar reasons. I admire anyone who is mature enough to continue with a friendship after dating.

    I like your posts. Very insightful. I'll continue reading!

  • profile image

    lolrose 6 years ago

    Personally, I don't think two people can remain friends after a breakup, especially if the relationship was serious.

    I think it makes friendship awkward when you've known someone so well, and it's not like you can forget what went on between the two of you. It's hard to start with a clean slate and have a conversation while knowing every reply there's too much pressure.

  • profile image

    megha1202 6 years ago

    What if the person you were in a relationship with is your best friend ? How do you move on from that ? Do you let himstay in your life as your friend or do you drift away ? I cant imagine my life without him, yet everytime i meet him , i cant but wonder, what if we haden't broken up ? My brain tells me, that we shouldn't be together but my heart refuses to lsten. What to do in this situation ? Reply Veronica. Please.

  • profile image

    Lord_Meika 6 years ago

    Unfortunately this is too close for comfort. Time and time again I get into relationships purely because I have a hard time saying "no" to people, so when we've been hanging for weeks on end the next step always seems to start "dating" and it usually works for about a month--but dies because it was never anything more than friendship.

    A few times it has worked, but usually the breakup is painful enough that it is impossible to salvage anything, and unfortunately I've lost entire groups of friends because I can't bear to see the other person.

    Currently one of my ex's is coming back to haunt me; we dated, and broke up without resolving everything, and we kept getting back together because we--as you put it--knew each other so well, we didn't have to start over because we knew everything about each other, which hurt when I finally decided we should not hang around each other any longer, but recently she has been starting to hang out with all of my friends, (friends that neither of us knew back when we were dating, all new friends) just because she knows that I won't hang out with them while she's around. I know it sounds childish, but none of the group of friends hung out together 3 weeks ago, and now are all inseparable, maybe it's jealousy, maybe it's justifiable, but, thought I'd let you know.

    Even though your article was written 3 years ago, I'm sure it will still ring true years to come.

    Thanks

  • profile image

    Alonso 6 years ago

    Hi Veronica (:

    My boyfriend and I broke up after a relationship of 9 months. It had been passionate, romantic and wild, and it wasn't very much realistic. We're both in the 17~21 years range, it that helps. (: I didn't want to continue the r/s because I didn't think he was the one for me, even though I liked him a lot, but just not enough. It was a peaceful breakup, we talked about things relatively calmer than I thought it would be. Then he asked if we could still be friends. I replied yes because we knew that we are the ones that understood each other the best in both our lives and could be absolutely solid friends for each other.

    I want to keep him as a friend because of that. However, because I raised the topic on the breakup, I didn't know if he will be comfortable with the idea. If he isn't, then I'm fine with cutting off all contact.

    Few days after, he said he thought it through, and really wanted to continue to be friends. He said he needed time to get over me but didn't want to lose me as a girlfriend and a friend as well. I didn't, too. He asked if I wanted to continue the friendship. I said yes, if he is alright with the idea. We went out (not as a date) and things felt like we're back together (without the physical actions of holding hands etc) and we could feel the connection when we communicate.

    Then soon after, he sent me a text saying happy anniversary. I am worried he still hasn't gotten over it and don't want to still be part of his life if that will cause him to have difficulty to get over me.

    Is he trying to fool himself into believing he can get over me while being as friends? Is that possible? I want to know the course of action I should take to let him down as lightly as I could. What could he be thinking? In one of the previous posts, someone mentioned that guys are not capable of doing this.

    Thanks XO

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    blah 6 years ago

    my ex keeps contacting me every six months asking for sexual pictures or to screw around in emails. i'm so tired of it, at first i did it because i still liked him, then i started feeling bad if i didnt, now i'm just sick of the disrespect and come on, it's been five years since we broke up. i want to tell him to shove it and get lost but i still have some weird need to be in his life so i keep letting him use me.

  • profile image

    Masada 6 years ago

    I broke up with my ex 8 months ago, but we still had our benefits. He met a girl 2 months ago and told me just to be friends. He moved on but I haven't. He talks to me like we are still good friends. But it just makes me angry and sad because there are so many questions.He was in love more than I! So, how can he just see my as a random friend now? Is that possible? Because I cant.

  • profile image

    dp 6 years ago

    my ex and i now talk because we boat having problem in our relationship and i think that if we were not having problem we wold not have Spokane thank you for all of the comment i understand WY ex relationship don't work some time.

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    msm 6 years ago

    i was with my ex for 7 years. He broke up with me and we are still very good friends.

    WE have agreed to have "the talk" in Jan about getting back together, as the circumstances we broke up in were mainly related to personal issues.

    Am i doing the right thing by staying in his life?

  • profile image

    Finnja 6 years ago

    I was here almost a year back, when an old ex with whom I had no contact for a year or more (my choice - there had been betrayal and dishonesty from his side and the over a yearlong trying to remain friends after the breakup just hurt and annoyed me, cause he never took responsibility for his actions) asked for contact again. I thought - ok, we're both in different places having started a family with new partners, but after the texting and phone-call I felt uneasy, just not trusting him in a way that a friendship would ever seem possible.

    Update: we've been texting about every month now via Skype, random stuff and tips regarding work, and it has worked out pretty well. One conversation was somewhat rocky, but we finally agreed to leave that topic in the past and let it go. We even occasionally exchange fotos of our kids. He sometimes comes somewhat close to trespassing the boundaries in my view (like stating that I still wear the same shirt on a photo like when we were together, or stating some t-shirt is too small for me, now that I nurse a baby) - but I ignore that or make it clear that that's more than I'd like to hear and let it go. Basically, that's just his way and always has been, even before we were together. We won't become bestbest friends ever again (I will not discuss my current relationship with him, that's between me and hubby)like I thought we were before and during our fling/relationship - whatever it was; But it is relaxed and nice to talk about the old times (also NOT about 'us', but about common friends/travels/climbs) and also about the kids. I think, being in a good place in life now has been crucial for me, in order to come to that point. Having this amical contact with him, again, actually helped me to become real 'zen' about our rocky past and dreadful breakup. (Actually, writing this I realize he has STILL not taken any responsibility for his actions or voiced any 'I'm sorry' - it's not in his genes I guess - but it is just not important to me anymore).

    So, to whoever is in a place of hearbreak and desperation, I couldn't agree more with Veronica's blog: you need to be in a different place for a friendship to start, being done dating and being done breaking up. And I would add: Then, forgiving the past and becoming friends again can actually be a beneficial and healing experience. Cheers.

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    Heartbroken 6 years ago

    My boyfriend just broke up with me 3 days ago. We were having a lot of fights. I acknowledge that I had times I wanted to break up before - but my love was just to big.

    Now we both suggested to be friends. But I am no where near being over him. He was such a big support to me - I am feeling very empty without him. The fact that he will still be there for me comforts me. Hearing his voice still does. But I will still be hoping. This is tearing me apart. Should I still be friends - so atleast I won't feel lonely and loose him forever?

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    Manuela 6 years ago

    Sadly my ex broke up with me some weeks ago after both of us planning get married. He asked for my friendship and i said ok but he treats me bad since than...he said he knows why he ran away from me and everybody will do the same....he even said about my ex who left me alone because he found a better woman.I even mentioned that if we really wanna be friends, we supposed to be nice and forget everything that happened with us.I didnt ask for his friendship! he offers me that and i took it but he just makes me feel really bad! but on the other hand, he said he loves me. and the last time he said that he cant treat me normal because he loves me. But he didnt ask for getting back together or show any regret. he just treat me bad and say im ridiculous. Im really hurt and sad.I wish we could be friends but i guess its not possible anymore.

    I need an advice.thanks

  • profile image

    6 years ago

    Hi,

    Am I obsessed?

    After 7,5 years I decided to break up with my boyfriend, as we grew apart. Our relationship became really boring - no emotions, no affection, no passion, no sex. It took me about 2 years to make that decision – he is a really good guy, so it was difficult for me to make such a move, but I started suffocating in that relationship, as I became kind of emotionally blocked. After I broke up with him, I was relieved. Anyway, suddenly I met a guy and there was a huge attraction between us, so I fell in love with him straight away and I thought he felt the same. It was an explosion of feelings, emotions, passion. We really liked, adored and admired each other. However, from my side it was kind of obsession, as I thought about him non-stop, and at the beginning I didn’t feel like sleeping nor eating. I was crazy in love with him. Even when I was out with my friends, I was thinking abut him and I was missing him loads. I tried to control my emotions, but I couldn’t. I had never been so crazy about anyone before. Well, he didn’t know how crazy I was about him, as I controlled my behaviour well, but my mom and my closest friends knew. After about 5 months of being together, I noticed he was not as crazy about me as I was about him. I started nagging him a bit. I think he got scared that we became so close in such a short time (he is much younger than me). He has a very short temper, so we had a few weird arguments and I cried a lot. After our last argument, we broke up. He insulted me, so I got shocked and left his place. The next day he called me to apologise for losing his temper and said that we hurt each other too much. I said I agree, and added: “I am still shocked how you insulted me, as it is unacceptable”, he interrupted me, said that he didn’t have anything else to say to me and hung up on me. It was 5 weeks ago (after being together 6,5 months).

    We didn’t talk for 2 weeks, but we kept on bumping into each other at work, so every time I saw him, I had to run to the toilet to cry. I cried every day. It was very painful, so one day when we bumped into each other, I said to him that it is weird that we don’t talk, so we should have a normal, friendly relationship, and he agreed. I sent him a long email to thank him, as I learnt a lot from him about myself, and to explain my behaviour on our last day together, and to say that it would be a shame to destroy the friendship we have, so I hope we could be friends. I felt relieved after that. He didn’t reply, but after a few days when we bumped into each other, he thanked me for the email and we had a nice chat, he explained his behaviour, so actually I started to understand his reactions. Anyway, I contact him a few times a week, just as a friend. He always replies, calls me back, etc. However, am I lying to myself? Can I be friends with him? The truth is that when we bump into each other in the office and we talk, I feel like hugging him and kissing him. I realized I would like to be with him again, as the first 5 months we had were amazing, and now I think that we understand mistakes we made, so I would like to give it a chance. I just feel that we broke up too quickly, as we were impulsive. So, last Sunday I called him. We had a normal chat, like friends, and then I told him what I’ve just written above. I also told him that I am missing him. I decided to take a risk and I opened up myself to him. He said that he thought we are doing great as friends. I said: “Maybe you are, but I am struggling. I want us to be friends, but every time we bump into each other and talk, I feel like hugging you and kissing you, as I am missing you. I feel that we broke up too quickly, and it would be a shame if we don’t try to give it a chance, etc”. He said he is missing me, too, but added that he is stubborn and that we made a decision, so he doesn’t want to change his mind, as he thinks it was a right decision.

    So, how can I forget him? I don’t want to remove him from my life, as I like him – we always have a great time together and we enjoy being in each other’s company. Besides, I see him in the office every day.

    Well, the truth is that I do call him or text him from time to time, as I am missing his presence in my life. But I am the one who initiates contact. However, is it healthy or am I making myself worse?

    I am in early 30s, but I have never been in such a situation before, so I don’t know how to cope with it. I feel like I am obsessed with him, as I think about him a lot and I can’t stop. I am keeping myself very busy, have taken up a few new hobbies, am meeting many new people, etc. However, I am thinking about him so much that I can’t function properly. How can I forget about him? I am afraid that if I remove him completely from my life (when I stop calling / texting him), I will be missing him even more. Besides, he is in the office, so it hurts to see him. Any advice will be appreciated. Many thanks!

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    TheStreets 6 years ago

    Mike Skinner (The Streets)-

    "We can never be friends

    One wants to stay together

    One wants it to end

    We can never be friends

    We can make it easy."

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    girlie:) 6 years ago

    I am 17 years old this year. A guy that was my best friend & i happen to like confessed to me & we started dating. I admit that i was a little afraid as i didn't know what to do as a gf...

    Then, after 5days, he asked if we could be best friends again. He told me he didn't want me to suffer as he could not give me anything as a bf, he said it was entirely his fault & that he wasn't mature enough to handle this. I agreed & finally got over it. BUT THE PROBLEM IS THAT now in school, he ignores me n treats me as though as i'm invinsible. I asked him about it & he says its because he is shy. I really wanna be friends again with him. I don't wanna lose a soulmate because of this.

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    Ally S. 6 years ago

    i lost my virginity to this guy. we dated for 6months and he broke up with me. "we can still be friends" he said and not even a week goes by and he has another gf, generally this pissed me off and hurt. i pushed my feelings aside cuz i wanted to try and make a friendship work.

    after him and his gf break up he said he cared for me and wanted me back. i agreed cuz deep down i still loved him. we had sex and dated for 3days, after he says "it wont ever work out". i knew this was coming. all i felt was numb.

    he moved away for a year(went off to college). we both moved on. went our saperate ways. we still kept in touch, wrote over the months and talked on the phone maybe twice.

    weve been friends for almost 2 yrs. he tells me hes moving back and has a gf he wants me to meet. 3months goes by and they break up, hes callin me askin if we can "hangout". im not dumb, i kno what he means by that. i try so hard to be just his friend, and i truely mean just his friend cuz i dont have that same longin to be with him. its hard cuz when were friends were best friends and thats how i like it but i feel like im the rebound after he gets out of a relationship.

    so my question to youu is..

    will we ever be JUST friends?

  • GrahamReviews profile image

    GrahamReviews 6 years ago from UK

    You can always continue to be friends with an ex as long as you had a good friendship before. If you were just steamy lovers than I would say NO!!! I have had several ex girl friends and we are all still friends :)

    Graham

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    Veronica 6 years ago from NY

    TheMonk,

    Thank you very much for sharing that. That really is pretty amazing. You're right, life can be really complicated.

    Looks like you're new to Hubpages. Welcome!

    V

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    TheMonk 6 years ago from Brazil

    My mother was married for 20 years. Then she found out about my father's affair. She dumped him right away. After a little time, they became friends. That was 20 years ago. They are still friends but she still hates the woman who took him away from her. And he still lives with that woman. Life can be really complicated sometimes.

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    not4sissys 6 years ago

    My Cautionary Tale:

    I tried to be friends with an ex (once!!!) because I thought of him as the “exception” to the rule. We hardly even dated (2 months to be exact although we had known each other over the course of a year) and NO we never had sex. That just wasn’t and is not my style. We went out together when I was in college, back in the Jurasic period. The reason I broke up with him was because I didn’t think he fancied me all that much and I didn’t see much point in continuing being his gf. It was best for me to break it off with him and put dating on the back burner for a while to focus on school. The friendship bit was VERY good but the rest was lacking...it was too damned difficult to get to know him! While I was trying to have the occassional serious conversation with him so we could get to know each other better, he just wanted to joke around. After every failed attempt to be serious I became very frustrated by the joking which were getting pretty lame…I always felt like he was stonewalling me. I figured he just wanted in my pants and nothing more serious that was why he was keeping the relationship superficial. I remember thinking to myself later on that it was too bad we had this thing between us because he could've been a lot of fun as a friend.

    On the rare occasion that he popped into my head over the many years since I was always a little sad that I had messed up by going out with him and missed out (all of us, him, me and my DH) on what could have been a very good friendship over the years. In 2009 I saw an obit in the local paper that could've been him. I looked through the phone book and called around (I know, it sounds stalkeresque but I swear that wasn’t my intention...I just wanted to KNOW). I found him alive and well which was so good to find out…I’m sure he was much relieved too – LOL! I wasn’t just relieved to find him ‘sound as the pound’, no…not me…no, I decided to take the opportunity to continue contact. We emailed through mine and my husband's email account having lots of fun being silly and exchanging jokes. Yes, we did meet up (with my DH knowledge). We met twice, in an open public space with lots of ppl and traffic. We chatted like ppl do and carried on joking with each other and had lots of fun. I decided that I would ask him if he would think about whether or not it would be okay for us to be friends (he, I and DH). Since I had been the one who severed the bond of friendship et al, and I was the one that made contact I felt that the decision of friendship was his call, not mine.

    If he was open to it, or not, I would respect his position but I made it perfectly clear that my husband had the final decision whether or not this would be okay(DH knew him also from back in the day, they grew up in the same neighbourhood). The ex said that he would like to try friendship too as he did have a fondness for me and my DH, as we him. It didn't take very long though before things started going wrong. He had all these suspicions about my motives; he would sometimes accuse me of wanting to have an affair with him, which he had no interest in taking part in (thank goodness!)…nor did I. I don’t like messiness…it’s so messy!!!

    Everytime I got an email with his accusations and I read his accusatory words it made me burst out laughing! I never told him that I laughed at him I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. But, I couldn’t help but burst out laughing…because it was so ridiculous! Because I had no attraction for him beyond the platonic and I had way to much respect for him to even think such a thing…never mind disrespecting my DH and our children, our precarious new friendship, and what about MY self respect!?!! …I honour these things too…as much as he does! I couldn’t have been more relieved to know that we were on the same wave length. But, I have to say that I was also simultaneously VERY HURT (and I'll even admit, damn it! I was quite offended!!!) that his opinion of me was SO LOW!!! (after all, there was no history of cheating on either part to base this on…none!...That’s what was so stunning!…Where was this suspicion coming from?!). Anyway, I was determined not to let this set me off or back; I really hoped this friendship thing at our seasoned years could work and it might be a little fun exchanging some of what life has taught us and the many joys of life we’ve been blessed with along the way. I thought that all I would do is to set him straight (yet again!) and I even blasted him a little for it, pointing out that I shared my emails with my DH…everything was above board and out in the open…that was very important to me. I didn’t want anyone doubting anyone! I would summon my courage and my patience and would forgive his accusations and try to work past his little faux pas. I told myself “just be patient, he doesn't really KNOW you and he has every right to feel a little intimidated” or whatever that was.

    It’s too sad, really. He was such a lovely person, he had a wonderfully hilarious and sometimes quirky sense of humour, and such an intelligent, quick and nimble mind. We shared many of the same values about life and he was a truly delightful person of good character and quality. I really wanted our friendship to workout, my DH would’ve really enjoyed his company too as they share so many childhood memories (my MIL was a nurse and taught the ex first-aid when he was in Cubs…she too remembered him quite fondly…like me, she had a real soft spot for him too…because he was a sweet and funny and well behaved kid). But, the ex just couldn’t get his suspicions out of his head and so the time had come to say goodbye for good and not ever look back. No regrets.

    Honestly, I thought that after 35 years it was safe enough to reach out in the name of friendship and that there couldn’t possibly be any problem to try to go back to being friends…BUT…it just didn’t work out. I will say this though, I’m glad that I knew him and I’m glad that he’s had a good life and has his good health and I wish him well on his way. The Lesson I learned is that you can’t go back in life, only forwards. Next time I see an obit of an ex in the paper I’ll just leave it at wondering and saying a little prayer for someone’s dearly departed.

    Sometimes what's dead should stay buried

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    Confused 6 years ago

    Ive had bfs in the past, but always longterm unlike my friends who thought a month or 2 was long term. We started out as best friends for a yr while he was married, then in an open relationship because i wasnt sure i could handle long dist and neither was he, then i moved and we were manogomous, then he tried to break up with me 2.5 yrs later and i asked for an open relationship, then he got serious with a girl so now we are brokeup but still sleep together ( she doesnt know but does know we are still friends and we like eachother), and i dated but nvr real serious. Sry for runon.

    He has said from breakup attempt 1: i still want to b ur best friend, not just hey how r u 1x a yr thing.I spent a long time wanting him back and doing anything i could to get him back. But over time i see the things love blinded me to that annoy me. Part of me still wants him back, the other part wants to finally move on.

    The prob is: he is my best friend. He knows all my secrets, things i like dislike, knows me btr than anyone ever has. I also trused him. I was raped as a teen and he is the first man ive ever trusted fully and enjoyed sex with. He was also there for me when no one else was emotionally and sometimes financially before, durring and after breakup.

    We are completly honest about everything. He knew the whole time i wanted him back that i did, who i dated and slept with and how i felt/ feel about him through it all and vise versa. We talk 2-5x a day, and see eachother atleast 1x/wk.

    I have to move to a diff state for my job and i dont know how to deal with being so far away from him. I still love him and he me. We have the wierdest relationship ever. Neither of us r really ok with cheating, but we do. He just wants to be friends and says the sex is a bonus and that he knows i need it. He is right. And he has told me he stays with his gf bc she is comfortable and likes her as a friend but figed that out too late and she has mentioned she will not be friends with an ex so he doesnt want to break it off cuz then he'd loose a friend ( and like me--he doesnt have many true friends)

    Some might say he is lying and wants his cake and eats it too, but as i said we r both so honest that he has no reason to lie to me. I was am still partially am emotionally dependant on him. He knows it and doesnt hold it against me, but i dont like putting that burden on him. I want to b ok on my own but i am scared. He is my rock and a hug from him makes everything ok. To be 400mi away alone with no friends scares the hell out of me.

    I am sry for rambling. We have a long history and i did my best to shorten it. I know we have the weirdest relationship, but plz dont judge...we cant help who we love. Any advise would be much appreciated.

    *great topic!!! Thx for posting it

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    Rebecca 6 years ago

    I started going out with my best friend of 4 years last year. We live 3 hours away from each other so we was used to the distance. When we started out it was amazing and I call him my first love, but after a year and 2 months he said he finds this to hard and he wants to be just friends. I was heartbroken and it still hurts now. I know I'm young but that doesn't mean I can't have strong feelings towards a guy.. but even though we still love and care for eachother we still manage being friends so I don't think being friends with an ex is as hard as some believe it is.

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    Mike 6 years ago

    Sorry, but once you cross that line between friends to lovers, it's game over. You can't go back. I refuse to accept that this person whom i married and gave vows to, who 'fell out of love' with me, is deserving of being called 'friend'. I'm sure she would love to stay best friends with me. We were the greatest of friends at the onset. BUT i warned her at the beginning, i said if we cross that line, there's no going back.

    We were best friends AND lovers. To only keep one and deny the other after everything we shared is both stupid and foolish. As my brother used to say "If you aren't into me in that way, then you're not into me at all." Sorry, you can't have your cake and eat it too at my expense. You want all the benefits of friendship, but reject everything else.

    Perhaps, all things being equal, where both have moved on and found someone else, then MAYBE. but even then, why would i risk the possibility of old feelings coming back or comparing my new partner to the old one.

    No, best to just start something new and bury the past. They're your EX for a reason. It wasn't meant to be. And if they are the one that ended it on you, there is zero obligation on your part to continue a friendship.

    I just don't understand how people can go back to just friends after an intimate relationship, as if all the 'i love you's and 'youre the only one for me's DIDN'T happen?

    You wanna remain friends... head the advice, DON'T GET INVOLVED, don't become INTIMATE. We're meant to keep our best friends and our lovers separate for a reason.

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    dwain randall 6 years ago

    how can ya be friends if ya still in love with her an deep down she love me an asked me bk 2wice in a month but gose wierd an says she wants to be on her own why that !?

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    Brent 6 years ago

    I don't want to believe I can never be friends with her again. Before we started dating we were best friends-- no secrets, hour long talks and hour long laughs. I after maybe 7 months I asked her on a real date as we had been to places, but never had dinner. Now after a few months we pretty much screwed up, there became a distance between us and we now both areed that we were over. But I just can't belive, neither can she, that we will never be good friends again. Is this true?

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    drbreaks 6 years ago

    Here's my problem.

    My ex & i had been together for 2 1/2 years. Im 27 & she is about to turn 22. We both met at our place of work & everything was great. After a few months of staying at hers, she started staying at mine. Eventually we were both living together at my parents house. Again things were great, she was learning to drive & passed & got a car too. Around a year ago she was offered a job working for her mothers boyfriend. (who is top dog in the company working for the MOD) both her mum & boyfriend are very career & money focussed, which i have not got a problem with. Her mum also works in the same field in the MOD. Around the same time she got the job last year i was off work due to an injury, so things got a bit tence as things were changing very quickly. We had made plans to move out & get a place together, then suddenly her thought process was changing. Obviously her new job was creating some stress. We gradually started getting back on track, & finally went back to work. Again we were both living in one room in my parents place, same routine etc.. Just before christmas she started paying much more attention to her appearence just for work. Her mum would always take her clothes shopping (which she would have to pay her back) sex in the relationship become less and less around once a month. We got to a point where she would get back from work & we wouldn't even kiss or hug. I was thinking whats going on? 2 weeks ago i bought her some flowers & she just rubbed my arm and said "aww bless" so alarm bells started ringing. I said whats going on as something doesnt feel right. She said she wanted space & didnt want to be with anyone. Obviously i love her but if she wasnt happy she had to move back home. I didnt kick off nor shout. Just said i love her & i dont want any of this & i left. So she packed up most of her things got her mum over to help. I gave her her time, she text me, called etc.. I was totally confused where i stood. We met a few times i went to hers to help build her new bed. Then a few days later she said she doesnt want to be with anyone ATM. She love & cares for me but doesnt want to hurt me. I told her that i will not ever give up on her as i love her too much, shes the one and only for me. She came to mine last weekend to pick some bits up, which by then i fell apart in front of her, she started crying we both had a long cuddle & i said i want to be part of her life & that she is my one snd only love. We then spent the day together tidying

    her mums place & just hanging out. The day was great, we text that night & it felt really good. We hadnt seen eachother last week but she invited me over last night to watch a film & get a take out, it was all planned, then she text me saying sorry can we do it abother nigh ive been busy with my mum, i said thats ok. Then later that night i text her saying i miss u, then all of a sudden she text saying "I'm happy as I am I don't want to get back together I'm sorry" it seems to me that her mum is making a big influence on her decisions. As she & her boyfrind got her the job, now her mum has her back at home. She said she still wants to be friends, but i love her with all my heart, & she is fully aware of my feelings for her. How can she suddenly turn off her emotions & feelings for me? She said that there is no one else, & that she just wants to be on her own. I dont want to loose her she is my world. I called her when she text me & she said she is just happy as she is. She told me the other day that both her & her mum had been arguing. She told me she hasnt been going out, just tidying & cleaning & sorting her room out. Im waiting for her now to contact me to get the rest of her things from mine. If anyone has any advice of what i can do please say. I dont want to loose her & i have told her im not letting her

    go no matter what. Sorry for the long message.

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    SShadow 6 years ago

    Wow...I first posted on here over a year ago, and for some strange reason the same feelings have hit me again tonight!! I've been fine how everything has turned out for us. I realize that I don't fit her perfect mold...whatever that is? Is this just a moment for me to vent one last time? I don't know. We've been able to make adjustments in the friends department throughout the last year, but I seriously can't sleep a wink tonight...She's really on my mind. Will this ever settle or will the pain creep inside on whim like this...It's become one of the hardest things to conquer...

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    Gia 6 years ago

    Great article!

    I have a situation though. My boyfriend and I have been together for 2 years now. We had a baby just last year. We would come to visit his parents in NE so they could see the baby. He would also call up his friends so they could see the baby as well. All of his friends were girls...first of all red flag for me. I had asked him before if any of the girls we see are exes...he said no. A few months later, I find out he is chatting up and talking to all of his exes. I was ready to leave. I had my things packed ready to go. He proceeded to tell me it was just friendly and nothing happened. But then I asked again if any of the girls we see in NE are his exes..he told me all of them. I couldn't believe it...I felt so betrayed.

    He then vowed never to talk to them, because he didn't want to lose me and his daughter. It has been almost a year of silence that he hasn't spoken to any of them. So i'm really proud of him.

    One of his exes I became really close with. she was awesome. mind you at the time I didnt know she was an ex. we talked all the time and she told my boyfriend how great I was...blah blah blah...they were best friends before dating. he said they dated because they got along great and he now regrets it because it ruined their friendship. mind you this was 6 years ago. their relationship ended bc she cheated on him..supposedely. He has always kept in contact with her, and she knows every ex of his. He would vent to her, and vice versa. I guess what i'm trying to say is I feel guilty that I have stopped communication ties with his "best friend" should I be feeling this way?? She recently just had a baby and I'm just confused what I should do. I'm back and fourth.

    PLEASE HELP.

  • Sarah Connor profile image

    Sarah Connor 6 years ago from Washington, DC

    This is one of the most difficult of subjects but this hub really shines by offering practical solid advice! Thanks!

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    Alexander Pease 6 years ago from Maine

    @Michelle: If your ex is an understanding guy, then I think you should tell him the truth. It isn't doing you any good keeping all of this in, that much is clear. I think getting it out into the air would be a good thing to do. That way you can move on with your life, and he can know how you feel. After all, life is about what you want to do with it, right?

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    Michelle 6 years ago

    I tried to be friends with my ex. It worked for a little while. Right up until he started dating his best friend. What made it worse was that shes become a friend of mine now too. The three of us have been spending almost every day together. And I can't even hate him for it. I know that he's happy when he's with her. Although I'm not sure why sometimes. I mean she's a really nice person (I wouldn't be friends with her if she wasn't) but she kind of treats him like crap. And I know that friends sometimes treat eachorher badly but she does it constantly. She actually physically hits him. She stabbed him with a safety pin because he was ignoring her and talking to me once. She just walks all over him and he let's her do it. And now I've told him that I need some space and time to get used to them being a couple but at the same time I worry about not being there for him. I feel like I'm letting him down, even though he's the one that broke up with me. I feel like I should say something to him about it because that's what a friend would do but I can't. If I say something it will make me seem like the jealous ex and I don't want that. I mean I am insanely jealous, don't Get me wrong, but mostly I just worry that she's going to hurt him. I just feel like he deserves better than that (even if it's not with me) but because he's my ex I can't be a proper friend and say something because it'll just come across as me being a bitch and not make any difference. I think that it would be different if we hadn't broken up so recently but it's only been about 6 weeks. So yes I think that you can be friends with your ex, but only after a decent amount of time has passed.

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    Sasha 6 years ago

    I am friends with 2 of my exes (I only have 2 exes). We are all chummy, of course. I broke of with both exes for the same reasons, we just couldn't work it out in the long run. I love both of them though, and they love me. If we were so close to each other, why can't we stay close after? If you can't see yourself being friends with your ex, you probably never really loved each other in the first place. It probably was a spark of passion that slowly turned into prolonged torture for each other. I don't think emotions represent love. They represent something we think is love. Being emotionally attached to someone could mean you are in love, but not necessarily. Just as we can adapt to hot or cold weather, we use our emotions so our character can adapt to situations. It's hard not to be smitten when you find someone charming. See the point? Both of my exes have intellectual discussions with me and we click very well. It's as if our souls were connected... There is some nonverbal mutual understanding we have. We've never had any arguments, but reality was getting in the way of our ideals of living with each other forever. But now we just talk to each other casually. Yes, every once in a while I get lovesick... But I just suck it up and carry on. My point is, you can be friends with your ex, or not, it depends on the situation and the history of your relationship.

  • Alexander Pease profile image

    Alexander Pease 6 years ago from Maine

    Your hub makes some excellent points. I personally wouldn't become friends with my ex, it would cause me too much personal emotional burden, (due to the fact that she was abusive). I was much better moving on and moving away from where I lived.

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    Cheryl 6 years ago

    I broke up with Myles because of lack of communication on his part , I think I should have given it more time , I still love him after 3 1/2 years , He wants nothing to do with me, I date others now and then but he was the one for me , time helps you accept but time doesn't erase the love , no-one will replace him .

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    Sparrow 6 years ago

    My mum and dad divorced in 1974. Their marriage was awful and the divorce was very messy. However, over the years they grew back together and outwardly appeared good friends and lived just a 20 min walk from each other. They saw each other most days. Dad died a year ago and it became quite obvious that during his illness and the extent of my mum's grief following his death that they were still very much in love. Just could not live together. Now my wife told me two months ago she wants a divorce because of my irritable nature and irrational outbursts. I had caused too much hurt just like my dad did to my mum. My wife says she wants a relationship with me similar to my mum and dad in their later years. I'm devastated and still very much in love with my wife. Anyway my wife now lives in a flat a short distance away and because we have young children we share them. My wife has been very friendly with me indeed showing more concern with my well being than when we lived together. I might add that I was so heartbroken that i took myself off to counselling to try deal with my character flaws and grief. So the big question is. Is my wife showing kindness to maintain an amicable relationship because of the kids, to stay friends like my mum and dad as she said she wanted or waiting to see if I really can make long lasting changes in myself before filing for divorce. I suspect it may be all of those things. However, I know that I cannot remain friends beyond polite chat when dealing with the kids if I were to move on after divorce. The pain of seeing her each day when we exchange children etc is bad enough. When she finds a replacement it will be unbearable.

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    Andy 6 years ago

    Im quite happy to say that my ex is now my best friend, and I'm thankful for it.

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    Author

    Veronica 6 years ago from NY

    Thanks again janellelk. Your thoughtful comments meant alot to me today. You inspire me.

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    janellelk 6 years ago

    I wanted to thank you for this hub and all of the comments as well. Break ups are incredibly painful and I'm so glad there are resources like this that lay things out objectively and kindly.

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    nolove48 6 years ago

    well me an my ex was together for 5 months we broke up because of a question i ask? he started yelling and cursing, which i never disrespect him, so i never called or text him again it hurts like hell i was there 100%, yes he calls me his special lady, but he hurt me, he didn't call me or text me, after that disagreement,he contact me 10 months later,he contact me on the same social network that the only way he can contact me after 5 months i change my cell number, i wish i never told him or add him and i should had deleted him from my page but i didn't, he ask me to help him with the basic programs of the PC, I want to be his friend but reading this post, i still have feeling for him, but he tells me he was just thinking about the good times we use to have when i use to come over on the weekend, I just can't go it more he not saying why he want me to come over

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    GrahamReviews 6 years ago from UK

    Wow this was mind blowing!

    I don't have any ex girlfriends but know someone who keeps all his Ex's a close friends.

    Grahman.

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    chrissy 6 years ago

    it is ok

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    Jazzy 6 years ago

    I met my ex online and at the time he was dealing with the break up with his ex... she broke up with him, because she couldn't handle his lifestyle... during this process and I was there for him.. Let's just say I picked him up from depression and helped him overcome it...he went through some harsh stuff when he lost his best friend while we were together and once again I was there when he needed me...I went out with my x for 7months and everything was great until he started being friends with his ex again and she wouldn't respect the fact I was his new gf, she would always call him what she used to call him when they were together and I love you here and there and he would say it back. I thought it was disrespectful and so many times I asked him if he had feelings toward her and he would deny it.. In the end it affected me, because I became jealous and that is not how i normally am, sometimes I would give him space when he needed it... toward the end he changed with me and wasnt the same. out communication diminished to the point she started getting involved in his social life even more, so I couldn't handle it and i broke it off.. as much as I loved him I couldn't be with someone who was not willing to give me my place in the relationship.. we tried being friends after the break up, but it didn't work.. I became jealous more and more of her to the point I wasnt healthy. I wouldn't eat or sleep, lost total control of my life, because I still cared for him and seeing him be friends with her really hurt me emotionally.. so i cut off all ties with him.. when he asked what was wrong and still called me babe I wasnt happy about that so I sadi to please stop calling me that.. it apparently pissed him off to a point he acted like it was funny (i know he wasnt used to an ex telling him to stop doing that) so i told him not to ever contact me. As much as I still love him i think it's best we do not have any contact at all.. apparently someone started making comments to him and her if they were still together and they denied it, but it's obvious they still tell each other love you here and there... I am really hurt and wish we could have been friends, but the fact that his ex would always intrude didn't allow me to be myself around him... i still had hopes we would one day get back together but that seemed nearly impossible.. I miss him like crazy but in the end I think I made a good decision by cutting all ties... He is upset about my decision because he is not used to his ex's cutting him completely off and i did... perhaps i thought him a lesson I will never know, but I wish him the best... some can become friends, just not me...

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    Agent 6 years ago

    I think friendship is possible, but there must be honesty from both sides and a mutual understanding.

    The last woman in my life broke my heart pretty badly. Her and her family are convinced we'll still be friends...I was open to it as well. Once I had some time to get over it, I realized I didn't want to be her friend. We'd been friends beforehand, but her handling of the situation demonstrated a severe lack of respect on her part. I also realized she'd been holding some very long term grudges and resentment over some very minor things. She claimed we always argued (we actually didn't), though she never made any attempt to work with me to get around the problem - to me, this wasn't a sign of respect (for me or the relationship) either.

    She thinks this is acceptable as friends, but not as a couple. I think that's kind of insane, as it's not acceptable to me from anyone - whether you're a friend or girlfriend. I couldn't be friends with someone that pretends everything is alright in front of your face, but is secretly stewing over a misunderstanding that could've been easily rectified on the spot or soon after.

    The issues that cause the breakup of a romantic relationship often overlap into friendship, which is one of the reasons remaining friends can be so difficult.

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    Shelvajay 6 years ago from If You Know Me Personally, You Know Where I Am...

    This was a great Hub. This further fortifies for me why me and an ex can never be friends. We were not friends to begin with!!!!! I have another ex who will be my friend to the end, because most of the positive things that you have Hubbed about here, we did them to the Letter! Thanks for sharing!

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    Amijay 6 years ago

    Very illumminating threads, I am like everyone else looking for answers too. Sometimes when you are so close to something it is impossible to be objective. Common sense would dictate that if a partner/boyfriend finishes it with you for whatever reason, and does not make any noises to work at it. Then they obviously want to move on, or do not have the capacity to deal with the break up.

    I like many of you was in a relationship for 8 years, stupidly happy, and completley shocked to be dumped whilst holidaying in Japan. An hour before l was due to leave the country. No matter what won't kill you will make you stronger. I took it hard and severed all contact from him. Decided l needed time to heal, two years had passed but l still had feelings for him. Was celibate for the two years, keeping myself super busy. I guess trying to get over him, but hey l have realised l will never get over him. He was and is up to this point the Love of my life. I really missed our friendship, he was my best mate. So l decided after two years maybe it would be cool to see how he is doing, and let him know how i'm doing. It's been five months, we email each other things were doing and it feels great to have that bond back.

    We have never discussed the break-up or asked each other personal things. I look forward to his emails but play it really cool. I have realised that this contact is actually not healthy for my well being, l still want him. And am deluding myself thinking he wants me too, l need to move on, or pluck up the courageto come clean to him.

    I forgave him for ending our relationship, but while we email each other, all l think about is getting back with him. I want to tell him to stop emailing, cos l cannot handle it anymore, but it's also addictive.

    Why is he emailing me, we talk about our interests but nothing about our past relationship. I am not entirely sure how to play this one, l also do not want to open sore wounds. Luckilly we are in different countries, otherwise l would of made a fool out of myself by now.

    Can anyone shed light on how the male mind interprets behaviour?!

    Great Post!

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    LikeItIs 6 years ago

    Goes to show that some people just will not make good friends no matter how much you want it to work out. When you are married, you don't flirt with friends and talk sexual with them, make out with friends and you certainly don't get married and then cheat and try to be friends with the person you cheated with behind your spouse's back. Just ain't ever gonna work. Some people just will not be real true friend material.

    And yes, I know what it's like to be with someone who needs psychological help and accuses you of things you're NOT doing and there is no convincing them otherwise. It is really sad when someone else really needs help and they don't or cannot see it, and they trash a relationship because they have convinced themselves of something that's untrue. It may be paranoia, schizophrenia or lord knows what. A trip to the psychiatrist and some meds could have saved some relationships in this world, I know.

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    cobra 6 years ago

    this relationship is very difficult especially if you still love your ex bf. we broke up because he wanted to have freedom. i never knew that our relationship long relationship has been very enduring. he's been used to be free, and his relationships with the women before me were just for a short time. i loved him so much and hoped that he will marry me sometime, though he repeatedly said that he will remain single. We are now "good" friends for almost 6 years now, but i cannot tell him that I am suffering about this situation. I still love him, and i cannot understand until now why he still would like to go out with me, be there during family celebrations. Everything didn't change except our intimate relationship. He had his women, and he didn't want it that i will know about that. It hurts me. I am absolutely jealous. But I don't show to him how I really feel. I wish I could tell him that I do not want to be his friend. My life does not move on.

    You are right. The wounds of the separation must be healed first before accepting him as a friend.

    Thank you for this good idea.

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    Patty 6 years ago

    I cannot understand this at all. My ex (divorced him in 2003) has moved back into my house. I received a call from him new years day and he was desperate to move out from his g/friends house as she attacked him, I have always loved my ex but never voiced it. We have had contact over the last 8 or so years but only once twice a year maybe, but each contact we have had I have always felt as if I wanted him back. I am not over him. anyway to cut a long story short he is a lodger in my home and there has been no physical contact whatsoever between us. His g/f keeps phoning/texing him and he runs upstairs - this bothers me and I have never said anything, I know and understand he has to sort things out with her etc...but the other night we were watching a film and she phoned, again he ran upstairs, but this time I went to bed, i was upset. The next morning he asked had he done something to wind me up, i said no its me being jealous...anyway later that night I said I still have feelings for him and I was so shocked at his response I nearly fell on to floor...he said he will never feel like that again about me and never will!!! Talk about blunt and to the point, I replied "wow rejection in the highest form , cheers!" problem is he wants to be friends and has suggested he moved out, I said at the time its my problem to deal with and he didnt have to move out....but now I have to face him tonight and I feel such an idiot for opening my mouth and upset that he hadn't considered my feelings with his comments last night? Dont know what to do as I feel used and very very upset...I have not been able to date any since my divorce in 2002/3 -he cheated on me- thats the reason for my divorce. Any comments appreciated as I am going downhill fast and I am scared.

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    gerry 6 years ago

    dated a lady 4 monthhs and had high hopes but it all ended blindsidedly,I helped in everyway I could she was in troubled times.Being the overly jealous,contolling type one day she decided it wasn't working out and accused me of something out of the ordinary. I know she needs physological help but I would like her to know I really care about her. She really believes her own lies and There's no way of my convincing her.I guess I should stay away because she might be dangerous. I have tried to get her to listen to the truth but she insist I need help.

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    LikeItIs 6 years ago

    Fuck friendship. You date and if it's really done, then take the time to move on. Exes don't make good friends. Someone always wants more and it makes a mess of things for someone. Wanna have friends?? FIND SOMEONE WHO HASN'T BEEN IN YOUR PANTIES, AIN'T GONNA EVER BE IN YER PANTIES, AND YOU DO NOT WANT TO GET WITH THEM, EITHER!

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    dagnabbitt 6 years ago

    I think it's safe to say that in MOST cases, it's probably best off for exes not to be "friends." You don't have to be enemies, of course. But I think most break-ups are too painful or aggravating to evolve into friendships. Feelings were or are there. The feelings may not completely go away and that usually is what creates future problems. After all, when you break up and move on, do you think your new partner wants your ex still calling you or wanting to go out? AWKWARD. That is what I think it all boils down to. AWKWARD. I rarely if ever talk to my exes. Some were decent breakups but some were just good riddance. In either case, I wish them all well. And I wish it from afar. Life goes on and I think it's best to not bring the exes with me. And I think this is especially true for people who cheat. If you cheat on your spouse, DO NOT - REPEAT - DO NOT attempt to keep around your "friend" that you cheated with. You can't be friends with someone you cheated with behind your spouse's back. Trust me on this: it is WRONG and it will NOT work. You will only succeed in hurting your spouse even more deeply than cheating. And you will put yourself through anguish and guilt. So in my educated opinion, some kinds of exes simply do NOT make friends. It is hard and weird to try being friends with someone who was more than just a friend. Someone who has seen you naked, tasted your "goodies," heard your orgasm voice, and knows your emotions too closely is not someone who would become a platonic friend. Also, in abusive relationships, I don't think you could become friends, either. I think it's best to try sticking with relationship if you know you've got someone really special and ignore the temptations that might be out there. This way, the love you have won't be put on the rejected shelf and become an ex. So far, all of my wife's exes have looked her up and wanted to know if she had any feelings left for them. One of them kept calling our house and asked her if she kept their old love letters and if there was any feelings left. This ex drove up to sneak a visit behind his girlfriend's back. My wife's ex behaved inappropriately during this meeting and made it a point to tell me what "freak" my wife can be sexually. NICE. So for those of you who don't have these problems with your exes - wonderful. But your results are not typical, and I say it's generally a bad idea to try being friends with exes unless it is like hello, how are you, and goodbye. No hanging out, no chatting online or messaging or being close. A XMas card is about all I'd say is okay. IF THAT.

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    lashannon 6 years ago

    I have not been able to be friends with my exes simply because there was too much hurt and pain in the relationships. But I am thankful I'm not friends with them because I've been able to move on. I've cleared out my life of past relationships to fully devote time and energy into my current relationship and I couldn't be happier. Great article!

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    Heather 6 years ago

    I'll tell you what someone very wise told me.....STOP IT! It was a hard message to hear but it was a different perspective I needed. The fact is there are 6.8 billion people in this world. You've fell in love before and you will again. Don't make your life too difficult by holding on to the past. It's the past for a reason. Move on and look to the future. Frankly, it's the best advice I've ever had. I was tortured for 1.5 years. After I "STOPPED IT". I was finally free to heal, move on and be in a new successful relationship.

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    Janettebilly 6 years ago

    hi wazz up you all me my exxbff i love him sosos much that time i give him ever thing that time a nice home gmc and what ever him aks for that like sososo i love him i give him an thing man then him take off on me with my sis i was dumm i go get him i wish i naver go to them at here home it was dumm then him come home i was happy but ya i naver get mad

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    SSh 6 years ago

    @hmmm12: You need to get out and get far. Thats as direct as I can be. Cut all contact with her and believe me that the longer you stay away from her, the better you will feel. It never goes way completely, it never will. Why not make a list of things you hate in her? Include the cheating part and underline it. Do you see a reason why she would not do it again, should she come back to you for once?

    Its a cycle and the only person who can break this cycle is you. Get help from a friend may be, if you have someone you can trust. In my case deleting her number helped me a lot, so i didnt try to make contact during my weak moments. Mean however it might sound, next time she calls you, just try ignoring it, I can tell you it will make you feel like a winner again :)

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    teresalh 6 years ago

    Well i think we should summarise this thread !

    Best not to stay friends unless children are involved ! x

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    d friends 6 years ago

    I am happy if we stayed friends

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    ForeverYong 6 years ago

    I really enjoyed this article. It help me a lot through with my recent break up. Yes, I know I'm a kid and i don't know what love is but hey i'm young so what haha.

    I say you can be friends after a break-up it just depends on how it ended and how it started.

    But here's the thing, My ex-girlfriend/good-friend, she was everything i was looking for in someone, with a few extra attachments that annoyed me sometimes. We got together after a extremely emotional break-up (Hard to get over someone when you see their face and memories everyday)Well anyways back on track, its like she had all these traits and i liked her but i didn't actually like her. and i would never spend time with them, or put forth effort in the relationship. It was as if the relationship was over before it started. In a way i like/loved/cared about her more before then i did going out with her. So i let her go. And yes, she was hurt devastated you could say. I was relived, finally i could get some-ME-time. Its been a couple weeks since we've broken up and SHE said herself SHE wanted to be friends.

    But she treats me like crap, and talks to my friends and not me (especially my best-friend i know they talk shit) and I want to be friends with her, she was a great friend that's for sure and now i lost that friendship for a chance to find love, and it ended up exploding in my face. I want to be the mature one here, i know i hurt her, and but what can i do? I don't want to lie to her! WHICH I NEVER HAVE (this is the first person i actually never lied to -____-)

    Theres must be something i'm not seeing here!

    And i want to see it! I don't care if you call me cold-hearted, a bitch, whatever! I just want to know how to make things how they use to be. I hate having this guilt/regret on my head 24/7.

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    nodame5 6 years ago

    My boyfriend dumped me about 2 weeks ago. Even though he dumped me, I think what is hurting me more is that he says he is my friend but friends don't avoid each other. I still like him very much, but I think in only a friend way. I want us to be good friends but he needs to man up and stop feeling all mopey. I'm the one who was dumped, why the hell is he depressed.

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    Erika2 6 years ago

    Hi,

    I recently broke up with my boyfriend of 4 years. I didn't call it off becuse I don't love him anymore, I did it because I don't feel the love and affection. I think he just didn't have the guts to leave me. After the break up, we talked and he said he was just tired of being in a relationship. He says he still cares for me a lot, and is interested in me. He basically said he wanted to be friends. I truly love him and feel that I can't be his friend, at least not yet. Ultimately I would like to be back with him. I'm afraid if I accept to be his friend, that is all we will ever be. But what if I refuse to be his friend and ruin my chances of getting back together? Sigh.... I just don't know what to do :( maybe it's too soon to tell? We broke up on Christmas and had this talk last Friday (about two weeks after the break up)... Help!!!

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    hmmm12 6 years ago

    great article, and great comments to follow, thanks very much Veronica. I had a three year relationship with my ex, she cheated on me (long term) on two separate occasions throughout the relationship, it broke down a few times, but we always ended up back together. After moving in with her when we both went to the same university I very quickly realised I needed some space and to be allowed to do my own thing (which unfortunately at the time resulted in me turning to drugs), so I broke it off with her extremely abruptly. Over the next two years I became a complete mess. I sunk deeper into my hole, constantly regretting ever breaking up with her despite everyone around me telling me I could do better. It has now been nearly 4 years and I have not had a girlfriend since, which I put primarily down to the fact that I cant find anyone who matches up to her in my estimations (and in a very vain and shallow way a lot of this is due to the fact that she was unbelievably attractive). Throughout the past four years there have been several occasions when one or the other of us has messaged the other to see how they were doing, we end up talking for a while, briefly catching up, but this always ends up with her choosing one day out of the blue to start ignoring me. After four years I still cant get this girl out of my head, and as I write this I am in day two of being ignore having spoken to her constantly for the week prior to this. I still hold some hope that one day we will get back together, and in our conversations last week we agreed to meet up next month for a catch up, which judging on several occasions in the past I think she is unlikely to follow through on. On my part when I speak to her it feels like I am literally just checking she is ok, however I worry that I am hiding from myself the fact that I cant get over her. Am I just tricking myself and leading myself down a path of self destruction? I sometimes get the feeling my ex is actually just a bit nasty (something all of my friends tell me on a regular basis) and that she is consciously stringing me along to make herself feel better. Anyway back to point of can you stay friends; I like to think yes, but in practicality I am finding it extremely difficult. 50% of me tells me I just want to be her friend because I had we had a lot in common and got along so well (she was my best friend), but the other 50% tells me I just dont want to let go. Since it has been four years, and on that basis this probably all sounds a bit pathetic, I think maybe it is just time for me to accept it will never happen! however I have tried this before and it always inevitably leads back to the same situation, is this fate telling me I should put all my effort in to attempting to get her back (if only to cement the fact that we can never be succesful together)......who knows???

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    J-man 6 years ago

    Very nice reading these posts kinda gives me an in depth understanding into why I'm feeling like I do....

    In a nutshell my story goes like this met a girl while on holiday and she took my breath away, really thought thos would be the girl I marry one day as she was perfect!!! We chatted for the last 8 months practically daily and phoned her sometimes twice a day and time we spent together we would lie and kiss till the sun came up, there was no sex as I really wanted to save that day for when we marry Anyway where things began to go pear shaped is when I started to question her loyalty as there is a 10 year age gap between us and her parents think I'm too old for her, so technically it began to feel like this was more of an adrenalin rush for her than actually being a relationship, after discussing this with her several times she decided she doesn't want me but would prefer to be friends... Really hurt a lot and I agreed however when there are unresolved feelings on the one part I think it's destined to fail due to disbelief and false hope, so I tried chatting to her as a friend to the point we were comfortable discussing our feelings, I have made it clear exactly how I feel about her and she seems to avoid the matter, of late she seems to be very distracted when we chat or off towards me or sometimes just short 2 word answers, she is a phenomenal person and a gem to be with due to that infectious laugh so it hurts to know I am unable to be with her and the thought of her being kissed or touched by another guy kills me but have realised that's beyond my control, so I have decided to stop initiating any contact with her and should she not contact me then so be it... At worst with every passing day I seem to be getting stronger as with time all pain heals...

    Perhaps one day she will miss what we had perhaps not but spose that's what being human is all about, either way she will always be special to me and will always love her , I am glad I got to tell her my inner feelings as it feels like I've had closure knowing I've been honest about the way I feel so here's to better times... One thing to remember is in nearly every relationship I've had which isn't many is that everyone has been better than the previous so it gives me hope to know there is still that one special person out there for me makes it just that easier to accept failure and try again.... U will probably never find someone with the same traits u loved about ur ex but I am sure u will find new ones that will fill all the gaps, remember believe ur special and worth something so never let n e one tell you different......

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    SShadow 6 years ago

    IMPOSSIBLE...

    Even when your "best friend" feels the need to ask her out right in front of you. Holidays rank right up there with break-ups. It does not work. I felt like it was going to work. Everything would be fine...nope. Still not right with the whole thing. Can this year be over please?

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    Finnja 6 years ago

    @jay: hm, I think the best you can do is tell him that you are hapy for him regarding hid new relationship but at the same time it makes you sad, cause it reminds you that you are still alone, so you'd like him to give you space for a while so you can build your own life without pressure and sad reminders. He can meet the kids outside the house (like fetch them by car and dropp them off).

    The other thing, and I feel it often comes up in this thread: many of you are so insanely condoning - and this I think happens, when one is still FAR too much involved/in love/in hope for building a pure friendship. ok, jay, he's been supporting you in hard times. But, I mean, he is still the man who looked at porn INSTEAD of touching you and who wouldn't 'clean up' (get less stoned) to (re)build a life with you, but apparently he would for someone else. In a way, he stole YEARS of your life. Maybe not on purpose, but still. He did not appreciate you as he should have and he made some fundamental choices and these were not in your favor. Period. I don't say this should never be forgiven, but first of all, it should be faced. A realistic view of things is simply required in order to stop yearning for the ex (or actually the phantasy of what he almost could have been) and move on. I believe that the at some point necessary, honest, open eyed forgiveness is somewhat more distanced, like: 'You are a nice decent guy and great father and if you like porn, that's fine, it's how you are, but, man, am I glad I don't have to deal with it any more in MY life'.

    Just my opinion. Good luck jay.

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    Finja 6 years ago

    ok, I felt pretty zen about accepting the contact request I got 2 months ago from my ex from years ago (he now married with kid, I am in a happy relationship, with a baby 'on board') (see my posts 2 months ago)- but I guess I don't really get it. the ex contacts me every couple of weeks and we text-chat about superficial stuff. today it turned personal. it started when I told him, a common friend had a new woman in his life. He asked if I found her pretty and when I said yes, he started joking about our different tastes in women (a running gag from our old pre-dating friends days, when he called girls I found pretty boring and unsexy, and I called the type of girls he found interesting a bit vulgar). And suddenly he was like: 'well if I'm a guy who falls for vulgar girls, what are - or I should say - what were you then?' I answered: 'the closest available opportunity at that time'. He: 'you are an idiot. well, I think you just put it into that light to be able to cope with it more easily' I: I really don't think it makes sense to discuss that old stuff.'

    What? I mean, I am positive that I would have 'coped' much more easily back then, if I had not felt THAT easily disposable. That WAS hard to forgive and let go. A more ordered, respectful breakup would have been easier i am sure, and I would NOT have felt like he was only with me because i was there. But I have let it go,and I wouldn't even have brought it up if the conversation hadn't turned so awkward.

    I don't know, it kind of felt like he gets a kick out of the idea that I still pine over him or something.

    I'm ok with superficial chatting but I don't like his allusions regarding the old dating-days. Or am I being hyper-sensitive?

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    jay 6 years ago

    I've read this entire discussion and gained a lot and agreed with a lot :) but can I ask for some advice for me..we were together for 27 years,best friends,lovers,close as two could be,..he was in a band and this took up a fair bit of time,along with work,..we both liked time to ourselves ..but maybe we had too much . we rarely talked about our feelings,we rarely confronted/shouted..we just bottled up ..when our second child was 2 I said to him you don't love me anymore do you he said those fatal words 'I do but not in that way' that was in 1995,we continued together till 2002..great parents,great homebuliders,companions..but nil couple in love,doing things socially together,being intimate etc. He used to smoke the odd joint ,maybe one or two a day,but over those 7 years I noticed this ahd increased dramactically. I said in a hoping playful way'we'll ahve to do something about our sex life' he would say'we will,but its not that important' consequently we didnt..then i found him looking at porno sites..that killed the woman in me,here i was right in front of him,but he didnt want me ,he'd rather look at them!! Yes that hurt. Anyway in 2002 enough was enough I couldn't do it any longer,I'd lost rspect for him,I iniatiated a seperation..I got emailing with a chap I had sold something too,he made me feel all woman,some one was interested in me,my thoughts,my dreams..we met at his place in New York !! lol ..he was married and they both had invited me over,,it was my first flight at 40 years lol..he made me feel loved and loving again..he opened me up and I felt wonderful..obviously we werent sexual ..just a very warm/close friendship . Any way after ex and i seperated we stayed friends,I was strong then as i didnt have any feelings of 'in ,love' for him,he'd killed that..so i helped in move, we chatted , he did jobs for me..all was ok. then 2 years later he came round one night on the wya to a gig to give me my money..he walked in and all my old feelings for came flooding back..I loved him,he was no longer stoned, he was in the here and now,eyes bright smiling , just like when we first met.Well since then I have hoped and hoped we would get back together,I ahve been there for him,as he has for me,only for him it has been as a 'friend' whereas in my silly little head there's been this bit of hope all along. And yes I have paid the price. We did divorce in 2006, as i hoped this would finally make him fall back in love with me lol..yes I know. Anyway ,he has now met a new lady and i truly beileve it is something special for him..so as much as I do not want to loose a frined i have known for 34 years,neither do i want to keep putting myself through pain and holding myself back from moving forward( i have been on dates but know my heart is not over hy ex so never go any further)I don't know if I really want to stop all contact,but feel it may be the only way at least for a while..so if i do should i tell him or just withdraw slowly..we have two sons who both live with me and have been used to tehir dad dropping in,how do i deal with that(i know they are grown up now but thsi is their home too). My ex is a good person,a decent human being..he just went of me in that way,he still cares and ahs a love for ..recently he has supported through my mothers death,he is a good friend..I want to get to the point where I can see him and talk with him and not feel like we should be back together..any help would be appreciated. thanks

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    Anotherex 6 years ago

    @CompletelyLost I think you should try to put your own feelings first. You're contemplating too much about her motives for staying friends. What matters is that you are seeing other people and you can't hit anything off with someone new because you keep comparing them to your ex. You're obviously still very much in love with her and right now you can probably deal with that since she's in a long distance relationship which is not very confronting. But what if she hits something closer to home. I might not know you, but the way you are talking about her makes me almost positive that that's going to be something which will devastate you. And it might come to a point where you have to choose between being able to cope with the situation or staying friends. Don't let it get that far.

    If I were you, I'd take some distance. Even more, I'd first be completely honest to her about everything. So she'll know why. Tell her that you still have feelings for her and that you have trouble finding someone else. At the very best, there'll be a blue moon and she'll return the feelings, but that seems unlikely when she's already established multiple times she wants to be just friends. If she does end up reminding you off that, don't leave it at those revelations because that might put your friendship under pressure for no cause. Just add that you find your friendship with hers incredibly important and for the sake of that you're going to have to take your distance for a while until those emotions blow over so you can return as a better friend as ever once you do get past that threshold. Love doesn't always wait, but friendship does. That would seem fairest from a neutral point of view. If you can't get yourself to do that at least try to realize how much you're putting at stake for that small chance of secretly becoming more once again.

    Ironically I'm in a comparable situation so I'm playing devil's advocate here really. But I'll elaborate in the next post.

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    Anonymous 6 years ago

    BUt the big question is why the heck in the world you would want to be friends with an ex, Specially if you are the one who is dumped, i would say lift your self respect and say good bye for ever..than being humiliated by your ex.. I mean come on "Friends', So lets look at it now, first why breakup with me making me realize that iam not worth a crap, over that you offer me your friend ship as a consolation..

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    CompletelyLost 6 years ago

    My ex and I broke up about 3 months ago now. We had an absolutely great relationship, we started discussing buying possibly buying a house because its cheaper than renting with todays economy and that triggered her to start putting distance between us even though she'd already been staying with my current roommate and I for half a year and we had zero issues during that time. She initially told me that she wasnt ready to break it off but that it may need to end at some point because she needed to be single and just spend some time on her. My response was well if it doesnt matter how great I am or how good I am to you, what incentive do I have to stay? So i pushed her away and she pushed very hard for friendship, and we stayed together for a rocky month or so until it came to an end. She had only been with one guy before me(sexually) and left him for me. She's 22 and I'm 28 and on top of that she grew up very sheltered so we're in different places in life even though everything else is exactly what my idea of a perfect relationship should be. Her and I have have an amazing time together, enjoy all the same things and literally everything we do together is fun(even going to the dmv haha), there is so much chemistry and if anything we've become closer and closer since we've broken up. She has a new bf now but its a long distance relationship, which is likely comforting for her because she has her space. One of the biggest reasons for the break up is she felt she needed to date other people... I can understand, you need something to compare it to and if you're questioning "how do I know" then you need to go find out. It's been very hard since we broke up since we work together so I have to see her a lot... it tore me up so much for a while but I've come to deal with it and we're doing fine. We still hang out and still have such a great time together. I started seeing a new girl about a month ago, shes great but I constantly find myself wishing it were my ex so out of fairness to her I think I need to end it. I have been juggling the idea that my ex and I should cut communication so she can go find herself but she's such a great person that there's a void without her... I made the mistake of telling her a couple times I wasnt sure if we should keep talking and its damaged our friendship a little because I wasnt sure what I needed to do. I love this girl with all my heart, all i want is for her to be happy... if another guy can make her happier then in my eyes he deserves her. It's not hard to be around her, its not awkward at all but I think its cause the new guy is long distance so we're not really fighting for her time. At first we were still fooling around but that has subsided since she's been with this other guy. So the hard part isnt hanging out with her, it's knowing that it may take a very long time(if ever) for her to figure out what it is she wants. It's not that I am incapable of moving on, I simply don't desire to. I've spent plenty of time being intentionally single and dated plenty so I know what I want, and it's her. I realize that she's just starting that journey and it's going to take considerable time. She's made it a point to tell me numerous times that she wants nothing but to be my friend(which hurts unbelievably bad) but I am unsure if thats just to get me to give up on the idea of a relationship so that our friendship remains intact or if she sincerely means it. The biggest concern I have is when she starts seeing someone in town... I don't know how I'm going to take that. I'm not a jealous person at all but I find myself a little jealous now that we're not together, but maybe it's not jealousy and it's just me being touchy with the fresh wound. I feel like this situation is so very unique, maybe you wont agree being on the outside of the situation... any insight would be greatly appreciated.

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    Rom 6 years ago

    Well, after being 'friends' on facebook for a month or so, my ex suddenly removed me. I asked her why, and she said she had started to see other people. She said that I didn't know them, and that it would be better for me this way. She's probably right, seeing them together would hurt. I have friends that are still in touch with her, if I get morbidly curious, but that's just torture. I understand it's probably best for her too, not having to explain to her boyfriend who her ex is and why she still talks to me. It now finally feels like it's over, and I can't tell if I'm relieved or even more down. Before this change we had even talked about hanging out sometime, and she said "why not?", this new relationship renders that all obsolete of course.

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    Elle 6 years ago

    I haven't read all the posts so i don't know if this has been addressed already, but how should this friendship between exes be interpreted by the ex's current relationship partner? i have been with my boyfriend for nearly 9 years but he has continued a casual relationship with his ex-girlfriend that he broke up with right before me. recently i discovered email correspondence while i was in another state going to school. none of it overtly romantic--just mainly sentimental. admittedly the contact is minimal and largely superficial, although I suspect she wishes it to be romantic again. I know he does not want to leave me and we are happy together, but it still bothers me that he thinks about her so often over the course of our long relationship. when i have told him in the past how i felt about his contact he told me that he will not stop corresponding with her and that my fears are ungrounded and that basically i am being insecure. i don't have a way to assess this situation properly because i have never been in a romantic relationship with anyone else but my current partner. i understand you can still care and love someone after a breakup and this should not reflect badly on your current relationship--but i guess i wonder what he is looking for or why he is wanting this friendship even at the expense of my discomfort.

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    Clear Now 6 years ago

    I recently decided to split with my girlfriend of four, turbulent years.

    She thinks that its childish and immature to not want to be friends. My view is it's not fair to have such baggage (i.e. past flames as friends) when I next get into a relationship (not that I'm going to rush into one anytime soon - I need time first).

    I also think, that if I ended it because of how she used to talk to me, and belittle me, ignore my feelings; why on earth would I want such an individual for a friend?

    I've told her that we will remain friends, but only just to make things easier whilst we are still living together. I think her reasoning for why we shouldn't stay friends is enough of a reminder for why I split in the first place.

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    withered away 7 years ago

    I just got out of a relationship 2 days ago and it really sucks... i'm in high school and me and my gf went out for nearly 6 months but in that time i felt like i fell in love... she told me she has a crush on someone else and doesn't love me anymore and just wants to be friends! the next day i was alright with it and i even laughed and smiled at something while she was around but today, i just fell apart. I had to go home because i was about to cry in my class... It hurt so much when she told me she liked someone else so i was the one who broke it off. She keeps trying to contact me and I don't want to have to depend on her to make me feel better and I don't want to have to need her but I just can't forget about what she means to me and I want there to be a chance that she will take me back... In some ways, it feels like she still loves me but I don't really know what to believe. Can anyone help me?

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    Finnja 7 years ago

    @ Lindsay: It's funny to hear the parallels in our stories, yeah and there was definitely a safety-net issue in the guys' kind of behaviour, and a pretty egotistic reluctance to let the ex-gf and her love go, no matter how much they had already moved on in real life...

    @ Ron: being bussy, like Lindsay suggested, was also what helped me most. Change your perspective (hard, I know, but possible over time). So, your friends are doing stuff with your ex, but you are not in the picture. It hurts, but bottom line is, they probably do that, because they try to protect both you and your ex emotionally in this situation (keeping contact just makes things worse for you in the long run and can even destroy the good memories you both have). BUT: Actually, you wouldn't have time to meet with them anyway, because:

    - Monday you have your e.g. indoor climbing lesson, cause your goal is to master a 5.11.c (difficulty) in a year. I am a rock climbing addict since even before. It frees my mind. Whatever you pick, ideally don't go for stuff like jogging (that goes automatically and you will not be able to ditract your mind), but something that also absorbs you mentally, while doing it, because it's just so tricky).

    - Tuesday you will e.g. try a new recipe, cause you just NEED to learn cooking (highly ranked skill in the dating world, which you will reenter somewhen in the future), and you'll invite guests that you haven't seen for a long time to try out the recipe (or new friends from the climbing gym).

    - Wednesday you want to stroll in the bookstore/library or make investigations in the internet, to figure out, where you would like to travel in , say, 5 years (or in 1 year, depending on your resources and life situation). And as soon as you know the country, read about it,look at the maps, try to find out how long the route that interests you would take, how much would it cost?

    ....

    I ended up trekking in Nepal for 3 weeks a year after the break up and I loved it (it was the hell of an organizational battle, it tool me a month to really figure out what equipment and clothes I'd really need and still be able to carry in my backpack).

    - or maybe for your job hunt, learning a language would be beneficial, or some other soft skills/preparation that is helpful (language-->also good for travel)...

    Bottom line: Set yourself goals, and invest your time in achieving them.

    You are 26 and your life with your ex probably had quite some routine, impossible that you have explored all the fullness and diversity that this world has to offer by now (impossible in a lifetime).

    Particularly as you have been diagnosed bipolar, you should find someone, with whom you can discuss your plans. For with this diagnosis if medication is not working properly at some point you might have phases, where you will feel invincible - (so, you might need a guy or ideally a therapist , who will stop you, when you plan to swim from Boston to London ;-) - A cousin of mine has the same diagnosis as you, and he is very energetic at times, but sometimes too much so...).

    One recommendation: if you cannot quit all contact, atleast don't ever initiate any contact (not even on fb). Why would you? You have your own life! And make a point in checking facebook only once a week.

    It may be hard at first, but make yourself clear that there is a world around you that has great surprises and experiences to offer - being on your own and free now gives you the possibility to explore it!

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    Lindsey 7 years ago

    Oh, Rom, I know it's difficult. I was with my ex through most of my college years, all of my law school years and the illness and death of my father. He was a HUGE part of my life--we'd gone through big growing years. It literally felt like I was losing a limb or something a the time.

    There is no easy way to adjust; you simply do. Being out of work makes it even more complicated--I lost my job shortly after our break-up too, and it certainly was a double whammy. Two huge losses to grieve.

    If you've been recently diagnosed with bi-polar, then I'm hoping that you're seeing a therapist and he/she can be a source of support during this very difficult and trying family. So are family and friends---let yourself be open to rekindling relationships with people you may have neglected or fallen away from in the past. Try new hobbies---I spent a lot of time reading, kayaking, going to the gym and painting. I found books, working out, long walks with the dog and painting to be my mental salvation. Try a yoga class or a boxing class or a pottery class. If money is so tight, consider checking out books from the library or looking into free events in your neighborhood. Also journaling may help---there is something very liberating and cathartic about being able to write down your feelings, let them out on paper/computer and they don't seem to run around your head so much anymore.

    Also, try volunteering. I already was a hospice volunteer (in memory of my father)---helping and giving back to others can be such a win-win situation. You get to meet great, kind people, help out those in need and you receive so much gratitude and satisfaction from being useful. Plus it helps you appreciate all the good things in life when you help out those in need. It helps you to not focus so much on your losses of your job and girlfriend but to be grateful for all the other blessings you do have---good health, caring friends, loving family, being a smart, caring, generous man, etc. Sometimes, I find if you can try and think of those things that you are blessed with, and be grateful for them instead of focusing on those things that you lack, that in itself can help you through the hard times. Volunteer at a hospital, food shelter, animal shelter, school, etc. There are always places that need extra help, and you'll both be so grateful for it.

    If nothing else, know that it does get better. I know that you're in a world of hurt right now and the world may seem very, very dark. But the sun will come out again. That I can promise you. Take it day by day, and it will get better.

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    Rom 7 years ago

    How do I deal with the jealousy of not being able to hang out with her, but she's hanging out with some of my friends? I know that they won't ask me to come out if she's coming out, because it would be a surprise to her. I still ask her to the occasional concert, or what she's doing for halloween. I'm 26, meaning that we dated since we were both 17 and 18, making it hard to not want to remain friends with her since we grew up together. Being alone for the first time in my adult life makes me feel weird, but also naive.

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    Rom 7 years ago

    Thanks for all the advice everyone. My ex and I recently talked on Facebook, and I found out the clearer reasons she broke it off with me. It's made me even more depressed than I was before, but she also took some responsibility. I'm also looking for work right now so focusing on the relationship is particularly dangerous. I find I even wish I was non-existent sometimes. I'm dealing with a recent diagnosis of bi-polar too, which may have hurt our relationship in the final months, when it was undiagnosed. Oh well, the good and bad that I've taken from the relationship means something. I will look for the same red flags in the future before they become detrimental to the relationship's survival. Now, if I could just cut off contact...

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    Lindsey 7 years ago

    Rom--I couldn't agree more with Finnja. I had much the same experience she did. I too learned of good and bad things about the new love interest and they ate away at me. I too was initially thrilled about how shitty their love life was (per him), but even at the time I thought "what in the hell is he telling me this for...?"

    Trying to be friends with him right afterward essentially put me in a "pause" position. I couldn't go backward because the relationship was over, but I couldn't really go forward either. Looking back on it, I believe my ex also did it to have a safety net to fall back on if the new relationship didn't work out (a year later he dumped the new love and tried to reconcile with me---even asked me to marry him).

    I know it's really hard right now because she was such a big part of your life and it feels like there's a big hole where she used to be. I took be the longest time to not use his name in casual conversation---because we did so much together it was always, "When Sean and I were doing x...", "Oh there was this great time when Sean and I saw Y...". I had to actively stop myself from doing that and it was really challenging.

    But as Finnja suggests, I eventually was able to start making new memories that didn't include the ex. The more time passed, the more new memories I had that were ex-free. I tried new hobbies, met new people through them (wasn't looking to date until probably a good year afterwards). I was infusing my life with new blood. You can too.

    I know it's really hard and hurts like hell, but you can and will get through it. Let her go. And look to learning something new and exciting about yourself.

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    Finnja 7 years ago

    Rom, I feel with you. It may hurt you to read that and you may start reasoning, why in your special case it is different, but I believe the best thing you can do for yourself is to start a new life. Do new stuff where you meet new people (pick up sports or any hobby that does NOT connect you to the 'old life' for now). From my own experience, you will NOT be happy for her, when seeing, she has a new love-interest. And you will definitely NOT want to hear from her (or any friend in the circle) how great or annoying the new guy is. Either you'll feel like a loser or you'll ask yourself over and over, why the heck she's dating THAT loser. I personally wish that I had never heard my ex tell me, how lame sex with his new flame was compared to 'us' nor what great cooking skills she had (I don't like cooking). They are married now, so you see the priorities in this case ;-) . Now, years later, I can laugh about it, but a couple of weeks after being dumped and desperately holding on to the 'deep friendship' that he asked me to maintain with him, it was just pure torture and those (and other) remarks nagged on me for quite a long time and prevented me from moving on. If you don't quit contact, and create a 'new life' for yourself, it will just become more and more painful. She has given you reasons, why it didn't work for her any more. Maybe you feel, in some regards she is right - then you can use that as an inspiration to grow for your future life(not for her), maybe you feel what she said is bullshit - then forget about it. I believe, that is all the closure you can get. Don't expect anything more from her. The typical process of grieving involves that at some point you will hate her and at some point (after weeks or even months) you'll just be plain depressed. Seeing her, before you've gone through those stages and begin to let go will only prolong the grief and misery. If you happen to see her, you should of course still be civil. The ex may even search contact - like in my case, again, because you were a great listener or whatever. DON'T GO THERE. The one year no contact thing freed me, though it took me some time to cut all ties (except for facebook - still not sure if i shouldn#t have deleted him, but curiosity and peer pressure of common friends prevented me). When you've REALLY started a new chapter in your life and don't wish her back, and you still feel, the contact might be worth rekindling (for unromantic reasons), then go for it. From my experience I can say that it was not my mind, but when asked by my ex, I gave it a shot. I wish you all the best!

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    Lindsey 7 years ago

    Rom---personally I think you're torturing yourself and making it harder on you to move on. 10 years is a long time. The end of such a relationship, especially when you didn't want it to end is even harder. That's a big loss to grieve and accept...and to heal. As they say, marriage (or a relationship) takes two people; divorce only takes one.

    I was once in your shoes and didn't want to believe it either--thinking in some twisted way that I'd rather be around him and hurt than not be around him at all. The void of him in my life seemed way scarier than the pain of being around him. But as my one friend said to me---you'll eventually see that what you are doing is essentially banging your head into a wall because you refuse to accept reality (i.e. the relationship is over). The first step is realize you're doing it---i.e. banging your head into the wall---and the next will be to want to stop banging your head into that wall. Once you really want to stop this (stop the torture), you will. But sometimes it's hard to realize that contact that causes you pain is not better than no contact at all. I wish you all the best.

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    Rom 7 years ago

    Hi,

    I came out of a 10 year relationship about a month and a half ago. My ex-girlfriend broke up with me because she had been unhappy for awhile, and had given up on trying to salvage the relationship. She told me she loved me, but only as a friend.

    We tried at first to be friends, but it didn't work, as we still clinged to each other. We took almost a month's break from talking to each other, her feeling that I needed to get better without relying on her emotional support (I had been in the hospital for 2 weeks, unrelated to the reasons we broke up). Fair enough.

    After 3 weeks we got back in touch, starting talking a bit on messengers, I added her on Facebook and she accepted, and we have been talking online ever since. Our conversations on Facebook are pretty general, and only occasionally have they lapsed into me asking for more closure, or once she messaged me giving me some reasons for why she was unhappy in the relationship. Since the break up, I have tried to be as open and understanding of how she felt as possible, even though it can be soul crushing to find out.

    We no longer talk on the phone, or text, just Facebook and it feels a little one-dimensional to me. We have a lot of mutual friends, so I want to hang out with her and them and see that the relationship is clearly friends. I think this is still too awkward for her though, as she wants people to see us independently of who we were together. I know cutting contact may help, but I'm happy to be friends with her, even in this reduced capacity of messaging. I just don't know if it will lead us to be friends outside of it or just keep her satisfied that we talk in the online setting. Seeing what she's up to and that she seems happy makes me happy for her, but sad that I haven't moved on. I love her a lot as a person, but I wonder if I'm torturing myself.

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    Pam 7 years ago

    No. It does not work. If you try to be friends with your ex, he will make your life unbearable. He will contact all your new boyfriends, he will keep in touch with the one you marry and tell him everything you have ever said to him. He will not ever get over that you left him. He will take it out on you for the rest of your life.

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    Finnja 7 years ago

    I believe it is pretty much impossible to be friends with some ex-lover, as soon as some kind of profound betrayal was involved. Some ex of mine, whom I considered my best friend at the time, dumped me two weeks before I left the U.S. for good (we had discussed a long distance relationship, but were still undecided, so I thought) to date another woman. Nice! 4 months later, he was in Europe for a visit, and met me (his idea) as a friend (his words), he tried to convince me (unsuccessfully) to spend the night with him. I said no. His gf was 3 months pregnant then, he told me afterwards on the phone. I shut him out when I heard that and only answered his Skype text messages very neutrally, making it clear that I did not consider him a friend any more. Finally I removed him from Skype. He was still a 'facebook friend' though - but also no contact there. I have truly moved on, years later I am in a 'new' relationship, happy and happily pregnant. A month ago this 'old ex' wrote me a message, I should please add him on skype again. I did, I am over him and have forgiven the past. Then he texted, if we could talk on the phone. It seemed weird after such a long time, but - why not give it a trial? (After all, even before we became romantically involved, we had a great friendship and could really confide everything in one another.) He told me about his news (new job in Europe, marriage, baby boy - thanks to facebook I knew it anyways), I told him about mine (including my relationship and (planned) pregnancy - not on facebook ;-) ). He asked me if I was 'strongly commited' to the guy or if we had just both wanted a kid (?!? did this man ever KNOW me?). Though we talked in an amical, light tone, like nothing had happened since we were friends (and not yet lovers), I felt enstranged and I couldn't help thinking 'what is he up to'. I think, I can never open up to him again like before all that shit happened, always thinking he is trying to use me in some way (though - how could he?). The friendship is gone forever.

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    Lindsey 7 years ago

    KMC -- this is easy, and hard. The answer is easy, being able to do it is hard. You need to have no contact with your ex right now. It's simply too hard for you. You want something that he can't give you. There's no blame necessarily; you're simply incompatible with what you want in life right now. You deserve and need space to grieve and accept that loss -- the loss of what you wanted with him, your dreams together, etc. You can't do that if he's around because you'll be secretly hoping that he'll change his mind, see how great you are and give you what you want/need (i.e. commitment). Once you get past that---stop wanting it from him, then maybe you can revisit the friendship and see if there is anything to salvage. At that point, you'll both be on equal terms in being able to meet one another's needs and not want more. Right now, you're not there.

    His argument about not being able to be friends as being unfair is bullshit. What he's asking from you right now---companionship, emotional support, flirting, etc.---without a commitment is not fair to you. He gets his needs met, but you don't get yours. He's not considering the effect of being friends with you, knowing you want more, will have on you. It's selfish and inconsiderate.

    Let him go. Give yourself time and space to grieve the loss, heal and find your balance again. You deserve it. It will hurt, but it will hurt less in the long run and not prolong your pain (unlike a friendship immediately after a break-up will cause).

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    Veronica 7 years ago from NY

    Thanks again, Neil! xo

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    Neil Sperling 7 years ago from Port Dover Ontario Canada

    To remain friends after a break up takes maturity on both sides..... it is the only outcome worth trying for that reason. It may help you grow up...... Three cheers for maturity, open communication and honesty. With those three things a part of ones character acceptance and forgiveness are possible.... with acceptance and forgiveness a mature friendship is possible. I love your writing girl.