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Thread: Healing and possibility for friendship

  1. #1

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    Healing and possibility for friendship

    Hi, first time poster. I (30F) and my ex (34M) broke up four months ago due to his loss of feelings. We had a mostly happy, fun, and easy relationship for 1.5 yrs. After the breakup, he was very sincere in remaining friends. We would occasionally talk and see each other. But, because I still feel hurt and have romantic feelings toward him, the friendship hasnít worked out so well. I finally asked him for three months of space so that I can properly mourn the loss of the relationship and get healthy again.

    I am a shy and introverted person and most of my social circle and support are several hours away in my home state. I have made a few friends and acquaintances where I currently live, but nothing really substantial. My ex and his friends were a large part of my social group here, which has made this loss difficult. I try to keep busy with work, hobbies, and outdoorsy things. I say yes to most social invites from coworkers and friends. But I still feel very lonely and sad most of the time. Is this a normal part of the healing process? Does anyone have any advice on meeting and making new friends? I feel like nurturing this part of my life will really help.

    I was also wondering if anyone has had a successful friendship with an ex? I think we both desire to remain in each otherís lives in some capacity. If he cares for me as much as he says he does then he will still be there as a friend when I am emotionally healthy and ready. I can give more details and context if needed, I just didnít want to make my post too long. Any words of wisdom, advice, or comfort are appreciated, thanks!

  2. #2
    Platinum Member SooSad33's Avatar
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    Yes, it is very much part of the healing process - to mourn the loss of someone you had lose.. but you did right. At this time to not agree to 'be friends'. We just can't in order to work on accepting and moving on :(.
    Many find, once we are okay & ourselves again, we don't really fancy being their friend after all. - Their loss.. we're done.

    Sounds like you are doing well as in working on getting your self back again. Also re: getting out more to see friends etc.
    Maybe see if there's a local singles group in your area - if on FB.
    You can also see about sports? I joined volleyball and maybe even volunteer somewhere.

    It will take time to recover.. slowly but surely and out of respect he needs to accept you cannot be friends.

    Things can and will change.. as you two work on accepting things are done.. and you will move on, as will he,
    Just be careful with your heart for a while.. process everything and don't jump into anything for a good while.
    Get YOU back first.

  3. #3
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    Originally Posted by Osmunda
    I try to keep busy with work, hobbies, and outdoorsy things. I say yes to most social invites from coworkers and friends. But I still feel very lonely and sad most of the time. Is this a normal part of the healing process? Does anyone have any advice on meeting and making new friends? I feel like nurturing this part of my life will really help.
    Yes, this is totally normal. It's going to take ample time to feel relatively okay again, so be patient with yourself.

    You're doing the right thing by trying to focus on developing new friendships, too. Look for community teams, clubs, hobby groups and so on. Volunteering can also be a great way to meet new folks.

    The only exes I know who are genuinely just friends are the ones who are so over the former relationship they have no problem meeting the new partners in their's exes' lives. When you feel you could manage meeting your ex's next girlfriend, then you're ready for a genuine friendship. For some, that day never really comes - or by the time it does, they have very little interest in maintaining the friendship anyway. Most exes I know (and I'm including myself and my own exes) eventually just naturally drift out of each other's lives. It one day won't feel so important for you to keep him around in some capacity.

  4. #4
    Platinum Member SherrySher's Avatar
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    When you feel you could manage meeting your ex's next girlfriend
    This is the key point. You are only ready to be genuine friends when he has a new girlfriend and you're genuinely happy for him or he for you when you get a new partner.

    Otherwise you'll just be fooling yourself.

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  6. #5
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    Sorry about all this.

    All in all, yeah, I'd say this is a pretty common state of being following a relationship ending. It's jarring, no two ways about it, and occasionally lonesome. In your case I'd imagine that some of the pain, while softened by the idea of friendship, was also stretched out a bit by trying to make a seamless transition. Also normal, nothing to beat yourself up about. Best part? You've clearly recognized all that, asked for some real space, and are now keen to use that space productively.

    A lot of people on here are fans of Meetup. Never done it personally, but it sounds like a great service to meet people interested in similar things. I've often used the melancholy months after a breakup to throw myself into new things, like yoga, or a pottery classósomething that seems both appealing and just a touch intimidating. So much joy, and self-empowerment, in just taking those steps. Is there anything like that you've been curious about but haven't done? Now's a great time. All in all, however, I suspect you're going to find yourself feeling a lot better with some space from him, sad as that idea is.

    As for friendship? Yes, I have what I'd call one very successful friendship with an ex. We were together for about 3 years, when I was 23-26, and for most of the years sinceóI'm now 40óshe has been one of my closest and most essential friends. I don't even consider her an "ex," honestly, but just a friend for life and an awesome human being. Our romantic relationship was formative, loving, respectful, free of drama, if ultimately not right for the long haul. It kind of became a friendship, basically.

    That said, it took some real time to process all that, to mourn and move on. Can't recall the play by play, but following the breakup we definitely faded out of each other's lives for a good stretch.This was before texting and social media, so that was kind of natural: we broke up, for real, and did not communicate, actively or passively, for...well, a while. I'd say we both had faith that we'd be in each other's lives in some way, but we didn't talk about it or couch our breakup in transitioning to friendship. Reconnecting was pretty organic, as we were always kind of in the same circle, though going from being "friendly" exes to genuine friends took time.

  7. #6
    Platinum Member Andrina's Avatar
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    Try not to pressure yourself to make "substantial" friends, as those things might take time and will happen organically if chemistry, etc., exists. Just have the goal of enjoying other people's company in whatever activity you're involved in.

    Just know that staying friends with an ex might scare off potential dates. I'm the type that wouldn't date a guy who stayed in touch with exes. And if he gets a new gf, she might make him choose between her and you, as some people aren't free and easy about those things.

    It usually took me 3 or 4 months to start feeling better after a breakup with no contact. After my first marriage ended, I did some girl nights out and did dinners with friends, but my handful of friends and I all had different work schedules and different days off, and some of them had significant others, so I had to find my own social activities without them a lot of the time. I took East Coast Swing dance classes in my area, where there was a one hour group lesson followed by a dance. I also took some classes in Tango and Salsa. You could ask a friend to join you in one of those one night Sip and Paint classes.

    Sounds like you're doing what you need to do, so you'll just need time to get all the way there. Take care.

  8. #7
    Platinum Member Cherylyn's Avatar
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    I agree with others about trying MeetUps. Also, whittle and narrow down your searches if you're interested in various groups. Broad range searches are risky and can actually be dangerous! Also, have your friends and family scope out others for you as they've already done their homework for you. They can give you their opinions regarding different personalities and characteristic traits.

    If you're religious, try joining church and sub-groups. There are singles in those subsets.

    A good way to meet eligible bachelors is at college campuses. However, again, narrow your preferences, join a Christian group if you're a Christian or a religious group if you're religious, sports / hobbies or whatever interests you.

    As for a successful friendship with your ex, it's not always feasible especially if the breakup went awry, there were a lot of hurt feelings due to dissolving the relationship, too many memories both good and bad and it's plain AWKWARD to jump right into instant friendship. Most couples cannot instantly revert to just "friendship" after being involved in a serious couple relationship. This is why most couples permanently leave each other once the relationship is over. The exception would be divorced or unmarried couples who share custody of children, for example.

    Remaining friends with your ex may be fine for him but not so fine for you. If you're uncomfortable with being "just friends" with your ex and cannot escape memories of your past with him, then it's better to go your separate ways permanently. Cease all contact, block, delete, start fresh and anew. Let him know in advance that it's time to exit the friendship for your own sanity's sake.

  9. #8
    Platinum Member catfeeder's Avatar
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    I would call and visit friends and family in my hometown as often as possible, especially in the next few weeks. I'd make the time I spend with them about them-not-me. It's important to recognize that just when we believe we need the support of loved ones, turning the tables and viewing our relationships through a lens of how we can be of value to them is a real heart booster. It moves us out of our own way, and in doing so, we normalize and heal in a heightened sense of gratitude that can only be experienced rather than imagined.

    I join the voices of those who suggest against trying to play friendzies with an ex. I'd rather trust that if our paths cross I'll take the high ground and be kind, but beyond that, it makes no sense to set myself up for prolonged heartbreak and more mini-breakups. That's just a game of trying to play "I'm okay, and I'm really not hiding from myself or you the fact that I'm trying to manipulate you back into wanting to reconcile with me..."

    Playing friendzies only makes the EX more comfortable as he moves forward, while it keeps you in stagnation about the past. I'd skip that.

    You were smart to take the 3 months, but consider turning that into 6 and then 9. You'll learn over time that the ex becomes less and less relevant as you become more important. It's hard to see that while you're in pain, but if you choose your focus carefully, you can surprise everyone, including yourself, with your resilience and ability to bounce back from this to create a fabulous life.

    There's nothing more attractive to an ex than someone who has moved on from them and is thriving. Who knows? In the far future you may both meet on higher ground where you can handle the encounter with a whole new perspective. For now, I'd make climbing to that place solo my first priority.

    Head high.

  10. #9

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    Thank you everyone for the suggestions and kind words. I have never checked out meetups but have heard good things about it. It looks like they have some interesting hiking groups on there. I agree that focusing on helping and listening to others is a good way to help me feel better and get me out of my own head. Volunteering sounds like a rewarding way to do that. My previous relationships have always been clean breaks, so this is a new experience for me. I think the desire for friendship is there on both sides because we get along well and enjoy similar interests, but I understand how complicated things can be with a romantic history. I will see how I feel in three months, but I'm sure I will need more time. Six-nine months isn't a bad idea. He was, and still is, a very special person to me, and I think it will take more time to get to a point where I feel at peace with the situation.
    Thanks again everyone for the support. It was nice reading these. I'm looking forward to the day that I feel happy and content again.


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