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Can you be friends with an ex??
April 24, 2007
11:51 pm
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danielle7373
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I keep trying no contact with my ex... and I think part of why it's so hard is because I keep thinking "If we're really over, then why can't we just be friends??"

It hurts... but I think I should be stronger than this... I should be able to just toss out all the emotion and be able to maintain a friendship - maybe not as best friends - but to at least talk to each other a few times a week.

So I'm curious - not just about my situation - but just about everyone's thoughts in general... can ex's be friends?? And under what circumstances??

Does codependency change everything??

I'm just kinda curious if anyone else wants to share thoughts on this as...

April 24, 2007
11:56 pm
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fantas
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Dani..., I know some exs who are much better friends than they were lovers or spouses. I haven't been able to maintain any friendships with my exs given the volatile nature of our codependency. I think I think if both people come to an agreement that the relationship is over, and if they emotionally healthy, then it can happen. Anything else is just drama waiting to happen all over again.

April 25, 2007
12:02 am
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mj
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I am friendly with 2 of my ex's. Because of my love for them and because of children and circumstances I have been able to remain friendly but not friends. To me, Friends don't get divorced. When I have had major disagreements, I have parted ways with my friends. They hold a special place in my heart and I cherish the experience but don't choose to remain in an unhealthy situation. So I guess I can divorce friends in a sense as well.

Why do you think it would be beneficial to remain friends with your ex?

April 25, 2007
12:10 am
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danielle7373
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I don't know that I see it as beneficial to remain friends with him? I don't know...

I don't like breaking ties with anyone, in general. I would like to say that I'm strong enough to not just avoid him - to be able to get over my own issues and just be happy for him. I know I wasn't perfect in the relationship - I know we've both hurt each other.

I'm trying to be strong and focus on myself. And every time I try no contact with him, I feel like I'm just avoiding the issue? I think I get confused sometimes because he keeps wanting more - sex, even though he is seeing someone else. I've told him I'm not going to sleep with him anymore while he has a gf. So I'm not worried about that anymore.

It's not that I expect a great friendship because I'm not sure he's a very caring person. I just don't want us to hate each other and avoid each other. I know he and I both have our issues, but I'd like to say I had progressed enough to quit being a mess about him. Does this make any sense??

April 25, 2007
12:12 am
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Matteo
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I don't know what "friends" means to you? I don't have many friendships, but those I have, I have a lot in common with - the same values and attitudes towards life and people in general. We share those values when we are friends, and sometimes it's a lifetime, sometimes just a certain phase in our lives.

If I broke up with someone, or if he broke up with me for no valid reason, there was no shared values and ideals apparently, so how would I be able to be friends with them?? For me the farther away they are from me and my life, the better, I really don't want to have anything to do with someone who wasn't treating me well enough. Maybe in some cases people decide to break up for other reasons, and can maintain friendship. I know that happens, (different carriers or expectations, having children or not, etc.) but it never took place in my case, so I really cannot relate. From my point of view, I am doing my best to be civil with them, if I have to associate in any way with them, but friendship is out of the question.

April 25, 2007
12:13 am
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danielle7373
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And after I typed all that, I do realize he's really not a good person, and I don't really want to be close friends with him and hang out with him all the time or anything... and if I am in a weak moment, it is risky territory... but I'd like to be strong enough to know the past is the past and I'm moving forward without my life being turned upside down every time I talk to him. I'd like to be able to run into him or answer the phone when he calls and not just be hurt. I'd like to be able to just say "hey what's up?" and not give it another thought.

April 25, 2007
12:24 am
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Matteo
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"When I have had major disagreements, I have parted ways with my friends. They hold a special place in my heart and I cherish the experience but don't choose to remain in an unhealthy situation. So I guess I can divorce friends in a sense as well." Absolutely! great post mj.

April 25, 2007
12:32 am
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danielle7373
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Matteo - your point of view is very helpful. In my situation, I guess it isn't so much "friendship" I consider because he and I do seem to have very different values... just being able to be civil if I were to see him.

Like mj said, too, I'd like to be able to be friendly with him - but friendship is probably out of the question.

fantas - I agree with you that codependency probably does make the friendship volatile, and it is risky and potentially very dramatic!! and that's what some of us are trying to get away from, huh??

Enough about me for now... I'd still love to read additional perspectives/insight into friendship with ex's... it's a relationship that has always fascinated me. I so much respect those couples who part ways in a healthy way and can remain civil, if not friends, with each other.

April 25, 2007
12:40 am
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turnabout
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Well, for friendship to be possible, there has to be respect. If you're not getting respect from your ex (and from what you've said on 2b's thread, I know you aren't), then a friendship will be no healthier than the relationship was.

And it's not really friendship anyway if there isn't mutual respect.

Most relationships don't end in a healthy or mutually respectful way, which is why most don't change into friendship. But when they do end respectfully, then by all means friendship is possible.

The question is, if someone is treating you disrespectfully, why give it an excuse to continue, just under a new label? It's just an excuse to keep him in your life, and not a very good one, I'm afraid. Not when the expense is your self-respect. Because just as you deserve a relationship where you feel safe and nurtured, you deserve no less in your friendships also. If he can't be there for you and respect your feelings, you're going to have to do it for yourself. You've been pretty vulnerable with this guy, but he hasn't been very sensitive to that. I don't think a friendship him would be very rewarding.

April 25, 2007
1:08 am
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Beautifully put, turn.

Danielle, "no contact" didn't work for me with my exbf because we are both in a common social circle. I didn't want to go non-functional every time I heard him mentioned or encountered him, either. So I responded to his overtures to maintain a friendship.

All along the way I have been continuing to work on my own codep issues, and I know I'm healthier than I was when we were together before.

Now he's wanting to revive the capital R Relationship.... I'm not sure that's going to work.... but I am pretty sure we have enough mutual respect to have a friendship at the end of this process.

I don't know your story, Danielle, but as others have said, there's no "one answer fits all" -- either with remaining friends or with carrying out No Contact. As long as you are seeking to heal your own issues, and trust your gut about what's working and what isn't, I don't think you can go too far wrong.

Good luck and best regards to you.

April 25, 2007
1:43 pm
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atalose
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It sounds like you want to be friends with benefits which then might lead back to a relationship. It sounds like you are using the word "friends" as glue to hold onto this person in any way in hopes for things to go further.
It's always the person who didn't want the relationship to end that fights the most for the "friendship" thing. It becomes a tool, a form of manipulation to use in order to get what you really want, a relationship that is more then friends.

Friendship might work when two mature people both decide ending the relationship is what’s best for both and are then able to maintain some kind of a friendship.

Atalose

~~Hope has a place, but not above reality~~

April 25, 2007
2:17 pm
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danielle7373
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no!! i don't want to be friends with benefits!! at all!!! i tried that and it just hurt so i stopped that.

April 26, 2007
2:08 am
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fantas
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Dani...where are you at with all this? I hope you are feeling better:)

April 29, 2007
6:51 am
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chicobrisbane
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There is a big difference between ending a friendship and ending a relationship. It's often easier for friends to get passed the issues that caused the disruption and in some cases, resume some form of friendship to build upon. When two people end a relationship where they where committed to the exclusion of all others, you have to question why someone would be desirous of maintaining a friendship ( especially if only one of the parties seems to have such an interest) -

I'm afraid that they call it breaking up for a reason. I'm not referring to a broken marriage where children and financial matters are involved. I'm talking about unmarried people weather the co-habiate or not. When it's over, it's over! - Unless you care to stick around to see who, if anyone will replace you. Most break ups are not unanimous and more often then not, begin when one party want's out of the relationship for whatever reason. Therefore it's logical to assume that the person that ended the relationship did so for reasons that would not make the other person viable as a "friend" - From my observations, it's usually the person that get's dumped that looks for a way to maintain contact by attempting to nurture a friendship among the ruins of a failed relationship.

So when it's over, just walk away because nobody in a new relationship want's to meet the person that used to sleep on their side of the bed.

April 29, 2007
7:25 am
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chicobrisbane
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Some of the things written in your posts speak volumes. Things like:

"I don't know that I see it as beneficial to remain friends with him?"

If you don't see it as beneficial, then it's not!

"And every time I try no contact with him, I feel like I'm just avoiding the issue?"

What issue? - There shouldn't be any issues when a relationship ends.

"he keeps wanting more - sex, even though he is seeing someone else."

Makes you wonder if he was going back for sex with the ex before you.

"It's not that I expect a great friendship because I'm not sure he's a very caring person."

How many uncaring people do you have as friends?

"I just don't want us to hate each other and avoid each other."

There is no "us" anymore and you can only decide these matters for yourself.

"I do realize he's really not a good person, and I don't really want to be close friends with him and hang out with him all the time or anything"

He's not a good person - Enough said.

"I'd like to be strong enough to know the past is the past and I'm moving forward without my life being turned upside down every time I talk to him."

Then don't talk to him!

"I'd like to be able to run into him or answer the phone when he calls"

Um...why? - Why would you want to run into and or talk to someone that is not a good person, is an uncaring person, cheats on his girlfriend, looks to you for sex, has issues, has hurt you during the relationship.

"I'd like to be able to just say "hey what's up?" and not give it another thought."

If there is anything that you shouldn't give another to - Guess what or whom that might be?

April 29, 2007
7:27 am
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sad sack
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Dear Danielle,

Your thread caught my eye, because I have been debating this issue lately myself. I was even thinking of starting a thread about it, but you beat me to the punch.

I have recently gone through a very painful breakup. My exbf ended things by just quietly backing out of the relationship. We had no argument or discussion. He just stopped contacting me (except for an occassional text message). It took me months to confront him and say the words "Okay, I acknowledge that what we had is over."

We have remained friends ever since, and this is something we both want. We still care deeply for each other. Basically, I think the world of him. I am the one, however, that is having a hard time with it. I continue to have doubts about whether we could maintain a friendship. The problem is that I want more. Just because he chose to end things did not mean my feelings for him were just turned off. I still love him more than I have ever loved anyone before. Presently, our friendship is manageable, but how will I react when he starts to date others? I KNOW I will not be able to handle that (at all). Yesterday, he told me he slept at his ex-wife's apartment because of problems he was having with his neighbor and my heart dropped to the floor. (when I say "slept", I do mean slept. He did not have sex with her.) But anyway, just the thought of him being with someone else, tears my heart apart. So, in this case, I am not so sure a friendship will be able to continue.

On the other hand, I have remained quite friendly and civil with past boyfriends. But the difference was I left them and the feelings were not as strong. I no longer loved them or felt any kind of attachment towards them. One of them, actually remarried recently and I was 100% fine with that.

So the bottom line is that there is no one answer. Yes, you certainly can be friends with your ex. I have done it and it worked out fine. But, one must be careful if the feelings for one another are very deep. For me, time will tell if friendship is possible (with my latest love). My heart is telling me "be careful, you are setting yourself up for a big hurt."

Sad Sack

April 29, 2007
7:50 am
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bonni
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I'm still friendly with most of my ex's. the only exception is those where one of us was too emotionally attached and that hasn't faded or where one of us is still wanting more.

I too have few friends. I have a large circle of people I know or knew and because of our shared history, we are still friendly. For example, I attended my 20 yr HS reunion this year. It was a unique experience and I felt a wonderful closeness, even with old boyfriends. Yet, I'm not pulling any of them into my current tight circle.

I believe in keeping a strong emotional distance from most people. That allows me to protect myself from the pain of sharing my core self with anyone. I'm pretty sure that if anyone really knew me, they wouldn't want to be my friend anymore. My point is that I never let anyone close enough to have difficulty making the "can we still be friends" question. My attraction was always shallow anyway. the only factor was whether they were still trying to get more. Does that make sense?

My husband and I are friends with benefits, hoping that one day we'll get what we lost. I'm not a fan of divorce.

bonni

April 29, 2007
8:42 am
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lonely and addicted
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I just have to give my thoghts here also, I was married for 10 years, divorced 7 years ago now. We have 3 kids together and we still are not 'friends'. In fact he is only nice to me when it is beneficial to him. He did get married again and is now on his second divorce, I get along better with his parents then him.
The main point is, I had an ex boyfriend, I went to the lowest point I could possibly go to being involved with him. I let it all ruin myself esteem, I gave up everything. He moved in with me after a year and a half, with his girls. 6 months later I kicked him out, couldn't take it anymore. I lost frienships (my fault) for him.
I thought we could be friends....wrong. For a year and a half I slept with him. He had a girlfriend and I still did it. I finally told him I was done and we got into an arguement. 1 month went by of no contact and he had the nerve to call me wanting sex. The feelings I went through were horrible. 1 month later I found out he was engaged to his gf. I often wonder what would have happened if I would have slept with him that day.
I have not even seen him since and we live in the same town. I get along with his girls still, I think I was more of a mother to them then anyone else.
Now that I summed that up....I am not sure you can be friends with an ex. It's a very hard thing. Emotions are there and if friendship was there so much, why is it done? Is frienship what you want or is it something else but don't want to admit it. I am co-dep, I just want to be loved for who I am and what I am. I think it is dangerous for friendship with an ex.......
I may not even be making sense to you here, those are my thoughts.

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