Friendship After Breakup


#1

Can it be done? My ex-boyfriend and I were really close friends before we got together. (We were together for less than two weeks.) He started pleading that I take him back the very next day and we had a long talk where I was honest saying that I didn’t want to get back together. (I was the one who did the dumping.)

I told him that we needed time away from each other to ease the transition (and I could tell that he especially needed it emotionally.) I told him that we should go at least two weeks without being in contact. He agreed to it, but has gone against it everyday. I get texts, emails, and phone calls from him. (I don’t answer them though. Ah the help of caller ID. :thumbsup:) So how should this be handled?


#2

Yes, it is possible. But it takes time. I'm pretty much still friends with nearly almost all of my ex-girlfriends. (notice how guarded the statement is) At least I think I'm friends with them -- we are all, on speaking terms. There are a few I've lost track with but the ones that I'm still in contact with are friends. None of them are as close of friends as could have otherwise been, but that is the risk one takes. If you don't put your money on the table you will never win the prize.


#3

There is a difference between maintaining an active relationship with someone and not burning bridges.

To me, I have noticed that it is very difficult to maintain an active relationship with an ex. I only have one experience with it - she was the one doing the dumping, and still pursued it after - of course she did to, willingly stringing me along.

It's clear that you don't want a relationship with this man - but he very much does. The best thing you can do for him is tell him that he is still your friend and you have philos for him (brotherly love) but you do not and will not have eros (romantic love) for him. After informing him of this, tell him that you think it is best for the both of you that you not maintain an active friendship for the time being.

This doesn't mean that you "stop being friends" with him - it just means you stop talking and hanging out in order to ensure that the both of you can go on with your lives normally. I know that had that happened to me, it would have made the transition with my ex-girlfriend much much easier.


#4

I think that there is such a warped view on dating/courting in our culture that the idea of friends and "boy/girl-friends" is so ambiguous that to answer this question is difficult.

As someone who "dated" quite a bit before marriage, every person had a different "Take" on what the terms meant.

I think the best way to approach a relationship is - if you can't be friends with someone at the moment of break-up you shouldn't be friends with them down the road. Now obviously there are always exceptions to rules, but if you keep this mentality it will save a lot of heartache and confusion.


#5

Being friends with an ex only works if neither person is interested in the other romantically. It sounds like your ex may be able to get there eventually, but for the time being it would only be tortuous for him to be friends with you and put pressure on you that you don't need.

I think you are absolutely doing the right thing by not responding to his attempts at contact. In fact, while I understand he misses you, he is being disrespectful of what you asked and making it harder for you right now. I'm thinking it's going to take a lot longer than two weeks of no contact for him to get over this.


#6

[quote="tinytherese, post:1, topic:230692"]
Can it be done? My ex-boyfriend and I were really close friends before we got together. (We were together for less than two weeks.) He started pleading that I take him back the very next day and we had a long talk where I was honest saying that I didn't want to get back together. (I was the one who did the dumping.)

I told him that we needed time away from each other to ease the transition (and I could tell that he especially needed it emotionally.) I told him that we should go at least two weeks without being in contact. He agreed to it, but has gone against it everyday. I get texts, emails, and phone calls from him. (I don't answer them though. Ah the help of caller ID. :thumbsup:) So how should this be handled?

[/quote]

What do you mean by "got together?" What changed in your relationship from being close friends to being boyfriend and girlfriend? Did you have sex with him? Sorry to be so blunt but I find it odd that if you only considered yourself boyfriend and girlfriend for 2 weeks, there would be this sort of reaction from him. If you were intimate with him he has made a connection with you that is now causing him pain. If you were not intimate, too intimate, then in his mind you may already have been his girlfriend or he wanted you to be. If you have no such intention then you should stop all contact and let him get over you. I hope you have not been intimate with him.


#7

If you were only dating for two weeks, it might be possible to go back to being just friends but only once he has completely moved on from whatever romantic feelings he had for you. It might be hard to judge when that is, however, because even if he claims he's okay with being just friends he might still hold out hope that you two will get back together someday. It would only prolong his pain.

It might also be good to keep in mind how future boyfriends will react when they find out you are still friends with your ex, even if the relationship was just a short fling that wasn't serious. When I broke up with my college boyfriend of 3 years, he wanted to continue being friends but only until one of us entered a new relationship because he knew how much it would bother him if his future girlfriend was still best buddies with her ex.

When I met my husband he was still close friends with two of his exes and on good terms with a 3rd. All three of them had broken up with him and he wanted to keep the friendships going because he wasn't over them just like your ex does now. One of them I really liked and she has become a mutual friend, but one of the others really rubs me the wrong way and it upset me for a long time that he would be so close to the woman he loved for 10 years when he was supposed to be loving me. He wanted to get back up with her right up until the day he met me, and I really wish he had just made a clean cut of the relationship when it ended and moved on. It sure would have saved us a lot of conflict, like when he wanted me to cut my cousins off the wedding guest list so he could invite his ex girlfriend, her parents, her sister, and her grandparents! :mad:

In general, I think it's best to just move on when a relationship ends. I think it tends to cause more problems than it's worth even if they don't show up until later on down the road.


#8

[quote="Marie682, post:5, topic:230692"]
Being friends with an ex only works if neither person is interested in the other romantically. It sounds like your ex may be able to get there eventually, but for the time being it would only be tortuous for him to be friends with you and put pressure on you that you don't need.

I think you are absolutely doing the right thing by not responding to his attempts at contact. In fact, while I understand he misses you, he is being disrespectful of what you asked and making it harder for you right now. I'm thinking it's going to take a lot longer than two weeks of no contact for him to get over this.

[/quote]

Excellent post, this is exactly what I was thinking. Being "friends" means different things to different people. For you, it might mean exactly that, being friends like you used to. For him it might be emotional torture and he would agree to it hoping things would change and that he would get back together with you.

Perhaps best to let him go for his sake so he can move on. Just my thoughts, go to Christ and pray about this.


#9

I think this question also brings up why chastity is such an important virtue in romantic relationships.


#10

[quote="Marie682, post:5, topic:230692"]
Being friends with an ex only works if neither person is interested in the other romantically. It sounds like your ex may be able to get there eventually, but for the time being it would only be tortuous for him to be friends with you and put pressure on you that you don't need.

I think you are absolutely doing the right thing by not responding to his attempts at contact. In fact, while I understand he misses you, he is being disrespectful of what you asked and making it harder for you right now. I'm thinking it's going to take a lot longer than two weeks of no contact for him to get over this.

[/quote]

This!

I know a former couple in my prayer group and I feel so bad for the guy who is obviously still in love with the girl.

She ended it twice and went back once because her family kinda pressured her into it.

The guy is good looking and super into the faith and could probably have any girl in church he wants but he has no eyes for other women. It's been more than a year now since they've broken up and he hasn't gotten over her.

The main reason I think is because they see each other constantly in meetings, committees and obviously the prayer group.

They are both super active in church. They still socialize outside of church as well since they share many friends.

Some of us have kinda hinted at him to stop hanging around her so much but he doesn't really listen. I really think he needs some time completely apart from her. It's really a sad situation :(


#11

We were never physically intimate. We were first close friends and then he confessed that he was falling in love with me. At the beginning I told him that this wasn't dating but courtship-meaning that we were discerning possibly getting married and not just doing recreational dating. He agreed that this was the best approach because he saw marriage as the goal. Perhaps I should expand upon why I broke up with him.

We discussed how much we should spend time together and contact one another, but he contacted me significantly more than what we agreed upon. Multiple times during our courtship I told him that I felt smothered and we defined the appropriate contact again and he said that he would honor that. Unfortunately, he couldn't manage to honor his word. This kept repeating itself and it didn't get better.

Also, I felt that the relationship was going too emotionally intense and too fast. He was very affectionate-too affectionate I thought. We talked about little else and this would be a repetitive part of the conversations. He kept talking as if we were almost engaged and that it was certain that we would in fact get married one day. ("When we get married..." instead of "If we get married...") Multiple times I called him out saying that we needed to be realistic and that courtship is about DISCERNING marriage, not merely waiting until the time of the proposal is feasible. We didn't know what God had in mind for us in the future. This got him a little worried, thinking that I was uncertain about our relationship, but I told him that that wasn't it at all. We hadn't even known each other for an entire month for crying out loud!

Despite me calling him out on the over affectionate talk and that he was counting his chickens before they hatched, he didn't change his behavior. I also felt like I was walking on egg shells at times with him because of how much of a worrier he is about the two of us. I also felt pressured to be more affectionate than I felt comfortable with and to accept his incessant contacting. He was also over the moon in love with me-far more than I felt for him and I felt pressured by him to respond in the same way.

Example:

"Baby, I'm so incredibly in love with you!...Are you so incredibly in love with me?"

"I love you dear."

"But are you so incredibly in love with me?"

I talked to him about these concerns and he said he would honor my wishes, but again he didn't. After all of that mushy talk I honestly wasn't even feeling attracted to him anymore. Besides, throughout our relationship and before we even began courting I didn't feel physically attracted to him. It isn't that I was repulsed by him but it was never there. I've been told that you can't always expect that to happen right away so I decided to just wait and have it develop, but it didn't develop.

I know that physical attraction is definitely not the be all end all of deciding to marry someone, but that physical attraction is just one factor involved. For me though, it just never happened. Do you know what it's like when you feel that way and your significant other keeps telling you how phenomenally beautiful you are? :(

As I was breaking up with him and afterwards, he told me that he really thought that I was the one for him and that I was the only girl who was willing to be with him. He's never had that before. I told him that just because I was the first didn't mean that I was the only one who could ever want to be with him, but he doesn't seem to believe that. He still appears to be affected by what another former female friend of his told him in the past.

You see he had to take time off from college because of mononucleosis which he had for six months and even after that some affects from the sickness were still there. He has gotten better though. So he isn't in school right now but will go back in the fall. He has tried to get a job in the mean time even if it's just flipping burgers but he hasn't had success with that. This friend of his told him that he was worthless because he didn't have a degree or a job, was fat, and that no girl would ever want to be with him. (After she told him this, he ended that friendship.) Then some time later he met me and he thought that I was the answer to his insecurities, so he doesn't want to let me go. I've told him though that I do not want to get back together with him. He asked me what chance there was of us getting back together and I told him that there wasn't.


#12

Relationships are always difficult. If you are not interested, then that is that. Of course, you can't fault the guy for trying. Sometimes it is hard to be a guy because your told that if you really care you will chase after the woman you love even if she flees and that this is a sign to her that you truly love her. While there is truth to this, it can go too far, which seems to be the case, from your perspective. The good thing that you are doing is being firm. If you send mixed messages out of sympathy then it will just be a cruelty to him.

It sounds to me like he needs to settle down a bit and make some good close friendships. He may just be lonely and insecure based on what you have said. While he needs a sympathetic hand he does need a firm hand. So, at this point it seems like you are doing the right thing.


#13

After reading your last post, I would say most definitely,

NO, you cannot remain friends with him. He is too intense, gets attached way too easily, and is not using discernment at all!

Stop seeing him and let him go. All the red flags you saw are valid.


closed #14

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