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Can I move this forward?


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Hey guys,


It's been a long time since I posted here on this forum - I think the last time was when I had just told my ex it was over and began no contact. I'm back today because I could really use some advice. I'm sorry this is long.


Our backstory is that we were together four years, and best friends for two years before that. The first three years we were together were wonderful, I'd never been so happy with someone. Then, when I was three months pregnant, I discovered that for our whole relationship he had been sexting, webcamming, having emotional affairs with many, many women. I lost the baby, and lost the plot.


He wouldn't talk about it with me, wouldn't go for counselling, and so I spied on him, checked up on him, became this creature I didn't recognise. I was hell to live with, but I realise now that I was having a breakdown. Meanwhile he carried on with his same old behaviours. I genuinely think he was addicted to it. It was unbearable. He moved out early last summer, apparently so we could have space and figure stuff out, but we ended up breaking up two months later, which is when I found myself here on this forum.


Moving on has been incredibly difficult. I fell apart entirely. I went no contact, broke that a few times. He went off on holiday, where he seemed to have hooked up with another girl, but came back and was desperate to see me. We met up, and I see now that he was trying to get back with me, but I was in total meltdown, particularly as I knew about the holiday girl.


We didn't speak for a few weeks, and then he started trying to contact me, little 'how are you?' messages, or sending me songs, or whatever, suggestions we should meet for coffee. Simultaneously he deleted me from twitter/instagram and signed up for a dating website. I was deeply confused. Again, in retrospect I'm now fairly certain he was trying to get back with me, but I was a wreck at the time and thought he was just so blase and over it, so I couldn't interpret anything with any clarity. We met for coffee finally in December, and he was nervous, and tactile, and told me how hard he'd been finding things, that it had been like going through the break-up all over again. And then he went off on holiday once more.


I went away myself shortly after he got back. He tried to contact me while I was away and I ignored him - I hadn't had a break for a very very long time, and I really needed my own headspace. Towards the end of my break (five weeks) I took stock of how I felt. I felt that I was becoming my old self, perhaps even a better version, which was a relief. I had dated a couple of guys since our split, but I acknowledged to myself that I still loved my ex, and that now that I felt sane again I thought maybe we could try being in touch and hanging out. And so I wrote to him and said that I didn't know how he was feeling, but that if he felt the same maybe we could try this.


He contacted me as soon as the letter landed - by text, email, telephone, IM. He said he wasn't happy either, that things had been very difficult for him since we split up, but that he didn't know how he felt or what it meant, and that because I had seemed so reluctant to be in touch he had been starting to draw a line under everything. We talked a bit, he asked how I thought things could work, and I said you know, maybe we just hang out, low-key, have fun with no pressure, just see how we feel. He said he had hoped we could be friends, that he thought this was all he could hope for, because in addition to missing me as his girlfriend he missed me as his friend, and he wanted my assurance that if everything messed up again it wouldn't rule out a future friendship.


Long story short: I returned six weeks ago, and ever since we've been on a bit of a dance. He asked to see me immediately when I got back, but I was busy. I've invited him to things, he's been busy. We've been emailing and messaging, sending each other songs and things one another might like, very much like we used to do. We've succeeded in meeting up once, and it was nice, and easy, and I think it was fairly evident that I was no longer a crazy woman, and very much together, looking the best I have done possibly ever, and with this nice apartment and work going well... he meanwhile looks washed out. He told me he'd put on half a stone and you can tell. He's not at ease in his new houseshare, and work is getting him down. I can see on gmail chat that he is often at home online most evenings. Last week we went to see the same band, but not together - we both knew we'd be there, but I assumed he'd be on a date or with friends. Turned out he was there alone. For one reason or another I didn't speak to him, but I saw him, and again I thought how washed up he looked.


In the past week we've spoken every day/every other day. At one point he asked if I thought we could be friends "at the very least". I asked if friendship was all he wanted, and he said "not necessarily, no." He said how much he missed me and missed talking with me. He also said how weird he found dating, and how hard it was to find someone who liked the things he liked.


So... I guess what I need is some advice.


I know some of you will tell me that he is a cheat and will not change and so to get over him, but please I don't want to chew that over, for a variety of reasons, but I've made my own peace with that, I'm in therapy, that's really not what I want advice on.


What I would like to know is how any of you think I might be able to move this fledgling thing on a little, if at all. Of course I'm aware he's keeping his options open, that he's dating other people (as am I), but I'm also aware that I made him very unhappy in the last year of our relationship and that I was very scary to him as well as myself, so this will also be making him wary. So what to do now? Do I just keep inviting him to things, do I need to simply show him that I am happy and balanced and not-scary any longer?


Again, sorry for the length of this essay. If you have any advice I'd so welcome it.

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