Can women & men be "just friends" after their romantic relationship ends?
The above question has plagued me for at least 4 years. I had a great friendship (and later, a romance) with a wonderful guy who lives in my neighborhood. From the time we met, we hit it off superbly. We would spend hours talking, sharing our most private thoughts, laughing at each others' unique brand of humor, crying over sad stories, celebrating each others' triumphs over life's challenges, etc.---all the stuff great friendships are made of. Over the course of a few years, our friendship turned physical and a romance ensued. I cannot tell you how abolutely happy and healthy my life felt during this time. Bliss would be a good word to describe my experience. I had finally (at age 40) found my soul mate.
Well...about 10 months into our now-romantic relationship, he abruptly ended it. I was devasted and reeling---couldn't sleep, missed work, began overeating (ugh!). Three months after he called it quits, he announced to me that he was engaged to an old childhood friend. I suspect he was seeing this other gal all along. She lived in another state (which now explains the many trips he made back west to "vist his mother." And I thought he was such a good son. Oy vey!). I believe I was played--and he was just passing time with me (and getting a little nooky on the side) until she could move here to be with him. Note, she did move here...but they have since split and he's moved on to several other women since her and me.
But back to my thread question....this dude and I have tried to be "just friends" since our romance came to an end. That was four years ago. I cannot believe it's still so hard for me to be around him, listen to his latest romance news, dating experiences, etc. So I ask: Can men and women go back to being "just friends" after having a romantic relationship? I do not think it's easy at all--no matter how mature and poised one (or both) tries to be about it! Thoughts???
No, you can't.
Not until you get over the grief, first, that is.
Meaning, when you break it off with someone, you need to cut contact with them for as long as it takes to get over them (a good timeframe would be 6 months to a year).
After that if you want to pursue a friendship, then try it and see how it works.
But I have to ask you...why on earth would you want to maintain a friendship with a guy who was obviously just using you?
Hi James81---thanks for such a fast response. Your question to me is a good one. I am working on that. I appreciate your thoughts.
I think it is possible, if the breakup happens with no hard feelings on either side. In your situation, though, I feel that the the way the relationship ended was damaging the friendship. The fact that you suspect he was cheating on him means either 1) you don't trust him, which isn't good for a friendship or 2) he was lying to you, which isn't good for a friendship. I wouldn't want to be friends with anyone I didn't trust or who lied to me and hurt me, regardless of whether we were involved romantically or not.
I do not think it's easy at all either, unless, as James suggested, you've completely gotten over the person. I believe that distance, emotional distance is the best way to do this. I can be friends with my exes because I feel nothing for them now, in terms of romantic feelings (with the exception of one and I keep complete distance from him).
My best and more loyal friends have been exgirlfriends.
Probably it happens becuase I tried to create a friendship during the relationship, and I tried to make our relation to matter, to make a difference, to improve the life of her, instead of trying to merely "take advantage".
It was very strange for me when I married, because I could not just come to them to seek for advise, for obvious reasons.
I have had tough situations in the past, when I was single, and they were there like loyal friends. I even met my wife thanks to one exgirfriend who thought she was the one for me.
Things end messy. If people broke up to begin with, there were issues they had with each other, that probably come from being around each other all the time, and nature pulling them apart so they could spread them genes.
Maybe after time you could be on friendly terms again, but I would think both would have to be completely unattracted to each other, and have moved on and learned from the previous relationship.
As long as someone has feelings for the other.... no way.
It totally depends on the people and the break-up, imo. I'd like to think that I would be friends forever with anyone I was seriously romantically interested in, whether or not there was ever a romantic "relationship." Not necessarily to be best buddies forever, but at least to be able to keep in touch.
I have found that women are the most loyal friends, of course, if men do not behave like machoists.
I decided not to be a machoist since high school. I think I made a good decision.
Exceptions prove that the "rule" is useless.
Meanwhile, the excpetion remains at home in the comfort of their own home and the "rule" is given false hope.
When a closer look at the actual situation at hand (that is, the first post of this thread) will clearly illustrate that the the person in question is not in the same dynamcic as the "exception." ;)
In other words, the threadstarter is very clearly having trouble maintaining a friendship here and very clearly needs distance from this guy. So the only possible thing that can come from what you said in this thread is to give the threadstarter false hope.
I agree with James. It is possible to be friends in some circumstances (my best friend is my ex) but it does not sound like your present situation is one of them.
It sounds like you're not over him and are maintaining the friendship in the hope that a) you will get back together or b) you will get some kind of closure on why he treated you so badly.
I suspect neither are forthcoming.
Be honest with him and say you still struggle with feelings for him and realise it's not healthy for you. Tell him you need to take a few months apart to get over it. (Three is a good start, six would be better.) Then actually take them. Don't contact him, make the effort to meet new men, spend time with your girlfriends and talk it out. Part of the reason you're not over him is because you've tried to maintain a friendship you weren't ready for on false grounds.
If he's going to realise he misses you, he needs to actually have time to miss you. If it turns out you can be friends, a six-month break is nothing in the grand scheme. And if neither is possible, you need the space to gain perspective and move on.
Frankly, if someone treated me the way he did you, they wouldn't be getting a second chance at friendship, let alone a relationship, but your mileage may vary.
He has moved on, have you? Have you dated others?
BTW, I believe it is possible to remain friends, however I suggest you examine your motives.
I concur with James. While there can be exceptions to the "rule", I believe it is best for you to take a leave of absence from this guy.
I too had an INCREDIBLY emotional break up with an ex of mine. I tried to be "just friends" after the break-up and I started doing stupid things which I knew would put my feelings for her in jeopardy (why I did this...I don't truly know, but I have a feeling it was to see how I truly felt about the situation). I realized that I couldn't be "just friends" and I needed time off from trying to be in that situation.
It was roughly about 3 months since then, when I met her again for the first time. It was interesting to note that when I had pretty much gotten "over her". It turns out, that she hadn't gotten over the break-up and couldn't handle being around me (I thought this to be a bit weird, since she was the one who broke-up with me and she did some other very peculiar things to me, that suggested certain messages, but this is about you not me, I'll save that for another topic).
I pretty much then told her that if she needs to be apart from me until she feels like we can be friends, then that was fine. I would give her her space.
It's been about 9 months now and I still haven't talked with her since that 3rd month benchmark. I always wonder if I'll ever talk to her again, but I really don't know. Only the future will tell.
I suggest you do what James says. Let it go for at LEAST 4 months, then possibly 6 if you still feel like you haven't gotten over him yet. I also suggest you do what someone else suggested: Go out and see other men (this helped me...but of course with girls), go hang out with old friends (and meet new ones), and visit with family. I also found that picking up a hobby and trying to better yourself in it was prodigiously helpful for my psyche.
everybody and every situation is different.
if an ex is an ex spouse it is different.
if there are children involved it is different...people stay friendly or civil for their sake.
if you have celebrity it is different. of course, i think they should all just get into one big bed and get it over with:D
i had two different situations...a long term ex husband, who i loved for a while after breaking up...he actual left me with some ultimatums...but didn't like much...finally broke all contact with him because of his deep seated animosity and hypocrisy. if i ran into him...i would be civil...but no point to anything after that. he believed exes should be friends...HIS ex in particular...but all she had was a perverse interest in what i was all about.
my ex fiance was a low life from the start...i finally left him for good and he was nasty at first then missed me an wanted to get back together for years even after i was re married...i meantioned money he owed me and total silence after that. again i would be civil on meeting but no more... wounds still not healed so even that would be difficult.
i would not want to be friends with someone who used and deceived me...what is the point. sometimes i think people think they have to be friends with all the exes to prove they have move on or not jealous or above all that common "feeling or emotional thing"
i also want to know what not being a masochist has to do with men being friends with exes and why you would want someone like this to "miss" you:confused:
I agree that it depends on the nature of the relationship. Sometimes they can and should be friends, and other times friendship is a terrible idea.
The problem comes when people think they SHOULD be able to be friends. Maybe they were friends before things got romantic. Often times, they'd be better just to split completely.
And offering someone friendship as a consolation prize ("Sorry, I no longer feel that way -- let's just be friends") is often ends up causing more harm than good.
As others have said every person and every situation is different.
I have absolutely no sense of attraction to any of my ex's, even the women I have been involved with for multiple years. We are now simply friends and nothing more.
In other situations it's probably best that both people completely move on even from seeing each other.
Yes it's possible - I have several exes who I am very good friends with - break initiated by either party - and no unresolved romantic feelings on either side.
However, it depends a lot on the underlying friendship in the relationship and why you broke up and whether you have unresolved issues about the break up - the perennial 'but why' question. While that persists and you don't manage to either find the 'true' reason or an explanation which satisfies you - then it is not a 'pure' friendship as there are still unresolved issues.
I will say though that it can take quite a bit of time - several months or so in my experience - to adjust to this situation - especially if you're the one that didn't do the breaking! Like don't expect to be 'best friends forever' on a Monday - or even a month on Monday - if you were dumped on a Saturday!!
playing devil's advocate again.
to what purpose or satisfaction is there in being friends with an ex.
also what happens if you become involved with another.
This question is case by case.( I am a male who has in a committed relation fyi).
1. Specific to your situation I say noway. You obv still have intense feelings for this guy and he can tell u anything if you let him in again you will get hurt and twice as worse as the last time.
To answer the question in general terms I would say the following.
1. Every relationship should hav ea purpose so that it is helping one or both individuals grow. So if one determines that a relationship is non beneficial for the purpose of learning they need to move on. If one can not move on this is the persons ego getting in the way. everyone has a free will and we always have to repect others to make choices that they want to make regardless if that fits into our plan or not. You cant force someone into th emold of what you want them to be or you cant sell yourslef to someone you can never force a relationship. You have to go with the flow but set your boundaries.
2. If a relationship with an ex is something that will not be detrimental to any of the persons invlolved and serves a purpose on some level for growth and respects the boundaries of both other partners than I say that this is a good thing.
best of luck
Case by case basis
But mostly it won't ever be just friends it will always be weird at times. I agree with taking significant time away from them before you try to be friends again wish you the best of luck
Not sure but wondered the same thing. I'm going through similar situation. Only no cheating. Well there is a girl involved but its different as in no real cheating. He did contact her and I know from some crazy events that he started really getting in contact. He maintains his reasoning to be that he wasn't sure he wanted a committed relationship yet intuition tells me it has more to d with this girl and also my admitting fear on that part. When we discussed the friends thing he quickly said ya I know that cliche saying but that he cares about me and didn't want to hurt me. bah bah.
I think time maybe. I tried, or rather the both of us tried to think of people we know that made it work. neither could think of anyone that didn't have children involved that required some minimal friendship. I'm "friendly" with my daughter's dad but wouldnt really say "friends". Now I do think of one but the guy came out of closet(meaning he's gay) and much time had passed of no contact.
get a new cell phone plan, unless you want to keep paying his bills.
i still don't get how exes can go to friends if you have to deal with missing and longing...that is not what friendship should be about, especially if coming off romantic relationship.
did you give thought to maybe he is not as comfortable with being friends as you think you are?
i believe some exes can be friends, even if it isn't for me, but imo, it either is or it isn't. waiting it out, overanalyzing, being soulmates; you just can't force it.
I've successfully done this in one instance - we had a terrible relationship and work much better as friends. It took a while to get really comfortable though. You know you have succeeded when you mentall think of them as your buddy and not your ex.
Being friends with an ex probably will not work for everyone but for me offering friendship was the right thing for me. I believe if I ever love someone the love does not stop even when there is pain and the best decision is to divorce. Friendship is just love expressed in a different manner.
Thanks to everyone who weighed in. Your comments and thoughts on your own experiences are similar to my own in varying measure. No contact is actually working well for me so far. Dating a new guy, too. I find myself humming "Love the One You're With." :D
I dunno his intentions but I don't know that he'd be uncomfortable in it. But he knows he hurt me big time and is sorry. I feel we do actually have a good foundation of friendship we knew each other several months before we started dating. I still know I need to put that space there and let go but its definitely the hardest thing I've ever had to do. Its hard to believe that in a few days time he went from happy and nothing wrong to not wanting commitment(from a man that was committed for 10 years prior to me) yet has this new woman in his life friends or whatever it may be she is or will be. I've been there I know. The only thing that can turn your feelings off that fast is a new excitement. I had the same issue with my ex husband. We had not been doing well for a year and half or so and I got attention from another man(never did anything close to cheating) and began to doubt my marriage. When I realized that I did want to work on marriage I went back but 4 months in he was talking with a woman online and planning a move with her. Anyway analyzing or not I just feel there was more to his story so thats my main reason for holding on but I see it doesn't matter anyway. I can't force it so I'm letting it be what it is. Go with the flow which is definitely something he has said from the start of the "romance" part of this. Apparently our flow was too fast and too much and I knew it but went with it.
|All times are GMT. The time now is 06:44 AM.|
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.2
Copyright ©2000 - 2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.1.0
Copyright © 2010 by Pavlina LLC