Tuesday, October 17, 2006

I'm no advice giver...

A very dear friend of mine sadly looked into my eyes, waiting for an answer. What pearls of wisdom had I to offer? None, really. Wise I am not. She had been struggling a few years now with not letting go of her former love. She knew she had made the right decision in leaving him years ago, but knowing and letting go are two entirely different things. She told me how she'd envisioned their life together and how she hoped one day that he would change. People don't really change just like that, no matter how much you hope they will. From experience, I told her to just let go and move on with her life. As much as I believed what I told her, I knew that she didn't really want my advice or opinion...more just for me to be there to listen to her grieve.

"A" had been with this fellow for a few years and he wasted away what potential he had in becoming someone she deserved to be with. He squandered his money and treated her poorly. With encouragement from friends and family, "A" finally cut the ties. It was a hard thing to do with all the yo-yo-ing back and forth. The tears, the fights, the promises...empty promises. I went through the same thing once, so I knew where she was coming from.

"A" tells me that he has since shown up in her life again. She had started to move on and now he wants to get in touch with her. I didn't know what to say. I felt that talking to Mr. Shitforbrains would just bring her back to where she was and after all the hard work she'd done to move on...it just spelled trouble to me. "Things do get better. You'll find who you're meant to be with. Things happen for a reason. Sometimes things aren't meant to be." All the familiar words I'd received years ago seemed to be seeping from my own mouth.

Can one ever be just friends with an ex? Will there always be lingering feelings and emotions? What would happen if they got back together? Do you believe in second chances (or tenth, twentieth, or a hundreth chances for that matter!)? What would you tell a dear friend in this situation?


Dina said...

i think she should run, and run as fast as she can. There is no way two former lovers with such a history can be just friends
i know it is hard for people to hear this, especially when they know this is the truth but she should move on and show him she has respect for herself!

curiositykiller said...

Tell your friend to CUT ALL TIES with him for her own health. Change her phone number, drop her email address, move to another neighborhood, and have a good hard look at what a real good man is all about. It is not possible for two former lovers to be just friends. I will vouch for that. All it takes is a little flirting and that friendship is a goner. There's just too much emotions, history, and familiarity, all together would deem too impossible to not manifest again.

Story #1: I had a cheating ex who desperately tried to patch things up with me. He searched for me (I changed phone number and moved.) and got a hold of my unlisted number. He was sweet and gentle and kind, and told me I was the best thing in his life, and he's changed, he still wants to marry me, yaddy yah. We were in the same city, and I was touched by his sincerity, so we began a friendly interaction for a few months. Just when I thought I can trust him again (and my feelings are starting to surface again), he went ahead and fooled around with my best friend. When I confronted him, guess what he said? "We're all adults here, we can do whatever we want." It's sad but true, these men just won't change. At least not with their nice ex's, and not without a traumatic incident with a crazy woman to stab them in their sleep to straighten them out (in this case, my ex did have a crazy ex-girlfriend who stabbed him... and he STILL hadn't learned his lesson - he just says "why me?" and just dismissed her as crazy). Tell her she has to acknowledge that the EX knows he screwed up with her, but he'll have to start up a relationship with someone new. He's not her problem anymore.

Story #2: I had a female roommate whom aggressively went after a friend of mine. She finally got her way and they started dating. She would always tell her new boyfriend to stay friends and keep in touch with his ex's, and I JUST couldn't understand why she would insist on that. In actuality, that's her way of not burning bridges and have someone to fall back on just in case things don't work out with her new boyfriend. On top of that, I later learnt she was actually cheating on her new boyfriend with her ex's (3 of them). She was just trying to distract her behavior by pushing her boyfriend to maintain other strings. People don't essentially change, only their methods.

There are many people who become good friends with their ex's. But not with a dramatic relationship like your friend had. Friendship can only be built on existing foundation of respect, communication, and commonalities (what do they have in common?)

If your friend couldn't smarten up but actually goes back to him, tell her in advance that you're not going to be there to patch her back up again. Tell her that's too stressful for you to watch her suffer like that. That might snap her back in perspective. Sometimes that is what we need to hear from real friends.

ahappilymarriedmama said...

No. Definately no! There is no way just friendship can exist between exes. One person in the party will always have some sort of lingering feelings. Maybe subconsciously like if your friend starts dating someone, her ex may seem to be playing the friend role, but really deep down is subconsciously hoping things don't work out between "A" and her new guy. Sure some people can remain good friends with exes, but again, I think it's under the guise that perhaps the person secretly hopes to get back together and if not get back together then make sure the other person isn't happy with someone else. Pessimistic, but true.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, she has to move on. It is hard to cut someone who has been a central figure in your life for a long time out, but it is also too hard to be just friends with an ex-lover..there are always lingering *what if* feelings somewhere. Occassional aquaintances? Maybe, but not friends.

And this guy is distructive.

Chrissy121875 said...

Thanks, ladies! That's what I thought too. The "what ifs" are the horrible part. They can torture a person with thinking of what could have been. The way I see it is, if things didn't work then, what makes a person think that it could work now or in the future? It may be hard to cut the ties, but I think my friend will feel a lot better if she does.

Anonymous said...

I believe that you can be friends with an ex. I have tried to maintain a friendship with some of my exs. I am close with a couple of them, I even attended a wedding of one of them. I think it depends of the people and type of people they are. One of my exs who I lived with for 3 years attended my wedding. It totaly depends on the people and the kind of relationships that were had.

Chrissy121875 said...

Thanks Anon. I guess if a relationship starts out as a friendship and there's a great level of trust and genuine feelings for the person. In this case, I think "M"'s relationship was very passionate and primarily physical, so for both of them, the thought of their former partner being with someone else would make them go crazy. Which is probably why they kept yo-yo-ing back and forth for so long.

I've tried to maintain friendships with former bfs, but it's hard to maintain just a platonic relationship. What was intended to be amicable just ended up horribly. Old feelings resurface and there can be some baggage, even if you try hard for there not to be. I told "M" that I decided to just not keep in touch with any of my bfs from the past because the only man who is important to me in that way now is my husband. I didn't feel the need to communicate or have ties with the past. Of course, in your case, you are friends with your exes and just friends. I guess it does depend on the people involved...the types of people they are and the relationship and past they had together.

Did you ever feel a bit jealous or upset if your ex was dating someone else? How did he feel with you being with someone else? I know my friend's ex bf would never attend her wedding if she invited him....or maybe he would and when the priest said, "Is there anyone who feels that these two people should not be married in holy matrimony? Please stand up" M's ex would be that person!!! LOL

Anonymous said...

Tell her to forget about the ex. As I always say "an ex is an ex for a reason". If it were ever to have worked, then it would have worked. She should just forget about the loser and move on...unless she is a glutton for punishment, in which case she should give him another chance and let her wallow in self-pity. There's nothing you can do about it. She'll do whatevber she wants anyway. Hope that helped.

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