Can You and Your Ex Be Friends?

Love, Heartbreak

Can you and your ex ever be just friends?

I had been in a relationship for a year with a good man. I went back and forth trying to figure out if I was in love with him and it sort of drove me crazy. I like to analyze a lot and I think that drove him crazy. Anyway, I liked him and I liked being part of a couple and I thought our love would grow. When we first met, I was pretty sure he was smitten. Then I became smitten and he backed off. And thus that was how the year of our relationship went. We generally liked each other, but the love never fully manifested for either one of us.

So when he decided to call it quits and said he just wanted to be friends, I was not completely surprised. However, I did cry and grieve as if I were losing the love of my life. And he wasn’t the love of my life. Not by a long shot. I suppose my ego was bruised more than my heart. Why didn’t he love me? Why didn’t he want me to be his girlfriend anymore? Maybe he wasn’t attracted to me anymore and on and on and on ad nauseum. I told you I like to analyze things. It did me no good to ask these questions over and over. I just made the situation worse. Like I said, my ego had taken a huge blow. And the fact was, I liked being in a relationship.

Breakups are horrible. In any shape or form they come in, they are not pleasant. He wanted to be friends, so I gave that a try. It felt so comfortable to be with him; we definitely had a good rhythm together. But in the past, that rhythm was always complimented by holding hands or sneaking a kiss here or there. Watching a movie together meant snuggling on the couch and resting my head on his shoulder. And then of course, there was the sex – Now, all that was gone. Just like that. And I was having a really difficult time making the shift.

I felt like I had gotten a demotion. My status had taken a huge hit. As his girlfriend, I was privy to the most intimate moments. I liked knowing what was going on with him on a daily basis, for though we didn’t live together or see each other every day, we definitely checked in. I was missing that. Now I was just a friend. I was no longer a priority in his life and I needed to no longer make him a priority in mine. I missed the physical contact. Doing things together was fun, but not as fun because the dynamic between us had changed.

I decided that we needed a break in seeing each other at all. It was too difficult for me because I wanted more than he was willing to give. It’s one thing to be friends first and have it develop into something more. But this felt like going backwards and I couldn’t do it. Not right away anyway. I needed more time to heal and wrap my head around the change of perspective that had to take place. It may be possible for ex-lovers to be friends, but I think it takes time to get to that point. It takes a lot of time and healing and feeling secure within yourself. I hope one day I can spend time with him again and not want anything than the friendship he would give. He’s a great guy. He would be a great friend. Perhaps, one day, I’ll be strong enough.

Katie Michaels is an online dating expert and consultant to friends and strangers alike - You can find more of her work at her blog Dating Online!