05 Sep The Ex-Factor
Personal growth is empowering but difficult to accomplish without some heartache.
Is it possible to be friends with an ex? I have segued several times from friendship to romantic relationship but to date a successful transition in the other direction has eluded me. I recently experienced the most “successful” break up I have ever had. I thought it out beforehand and knew the key things I needed and wanted to say.
I really liked this guy. However we seemed to have reached the limits of what he wanted in a relationship and this was not enough to meet my emotional needs. I knew I couldn’t expect him to change but I had to take responsibility for what I wanted from the relationship.
If we progressed as we were, I could see that I would become frustrated and more demanding. This would only result in him pulling away and probably resenting me. I didn’t want our relationship to end acrimoniously, or to get to the point at which we despised each other. I wanted the relationship to end well, while we still respected and enjoyed each other’s company. I knew that this would hurt, but in the long run confronting reality would be far less painful and self-diminishing than avoidance.
Much to my surprise at the end of our discussion he was very explicit in stating that he wanted us to remain friends. With a wry smile and a hug I said “You didn’t make time for me when we were going out together so how will you do that if we aren’t even involved?”
Despite his protests to the contrary, I haven’t heard from him in the past few weeks. As much as I am disappointed I know that this is for the best. I need time to lick my wounds, salvage my pride and get over my emotional attachment. Spending time together now will only result in hmm maybe thinking on my behalf. This could be disastrous; possibly even dangerous—if alcohol is involved. Inevitably tears would be shed and no doubt they would be mine.
Can I be friends with an ex? Yes, I believe I can; but only when the emotional bond on both sides is gone.
I am not yet ready to surrender my fantasy in which my ex misses me as much as I miss him. So maybe in a few months from now, when I can think of him without a tug at my heart and a catch in my throat, I might call and suggest we meet up for a coffee. Or maybe, by then, he might have already called me and if he is lucky I just might be able to squeeze some time in my schedule for him.