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Healing When Ex (Who Is My Best Friend) Has New Boyfriend

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Hi, everyone.


My situation is slightly different from the usual. I was romantically involved with my girlfriend for about 15 months. It was always a bit rocky, but still a very good experience. And she really became one of my two or three closest friends. She decided to break up with me last June, four days before we were to leave for a three-week trip to Japan! As a result, we moved from romance to non-romantic friends very quickly. There were bumps in the road, but all in all we made the transition pretty successfully. And we remained very close for the next few months, texting every day and sharing pretty much everything with one another.


Until a new boyfriend appeared on the scene! She has been with him for around a month now, and is very serious, already contemplating marriage. She actually held off telling me about the arrival of this new man for about three weeks. We still texted every day, but her texts became remote and perfunctory. I finally asked her about the change in tone, thinking she was perhaps simply becoming tired of me. It was then that she told me of her new romance.


Since hearing about this, my emotions have been in an uproar. I tried going "no contact," but lapsed after less than two weeks. Now the two of us are in contact, but I'm still feeling extremely conflicted. I would like to be the ideal friend she is hoping for -- and I think she is honest in wanting to remain close friends with me -- but I'm finding it very difficult. Do you think I should go back on "no contact" until my feelings have calmed a bit? Or should I fight through the feelings and try to remain her close friend? I will certainly miss her if it's "no contact," but I fear that may be my only choice.


Any opinions or advice you can provide me would be welcome. Thanks!

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This is an example of why being "friends" with an ex when you still are in love with them isn't a great idea.


If you choose to remain "friends" because you can't stand the thought of not having her in your life at all, be prepared for cozy get-togethers with her and her new boyfriend (potential husband), with you having to watch them being lovey-dovey in front of you. After all, as her friend this wouldn't bother you at all! In fact, as a friend you'd be happy for her!


Also, you will probably find that her new boyfriend won't be so enthusiastic with her being "friends" and staying in daily contact with a man she used to date (hence the reduction on contact from her end). And rightfully so.


I'd explain to her that you not only don't feel capable of being "friends" when she's in a new relationship, but that you feel it's inappropriate and disrespectful to her new relationship and boyfriend. Then, go no contact. Only when you can genuinely be happy for her in her new romance and don't feel ANY pain, jealousy or regret are you ready to be friends.

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Thank you for your kind and thoughtful reply, boltnrun! Honestly, I agree with everything you say. Intellectually, I would like to be that great friend and be happy for her in her new relationship. Some of the time, in fact, I actually am happy for her. But there are other times when I feel a bit overwhelmed by jealousy. By the way, I'm pretty sure that the jealousy isn't directed at her romance per se. The romantic/sexual feelings for her went away a while ago. My jealousy is more around the intimacy of our friendship. I'm not her "go to" person any more, when she has news she's excited to share or wants someone to go to an event with her or is just passing the time sending texts.


Still, I'm not sure that makes any difference when it comes to no contact. The jealousy has to go. And I need to heal, to move on with my life and not have these obsessive thoughts that have plagued me for the last couple of weeks. (As far as the "cozy get-togethers" you mentioned, I'm actually invited to a party at her house in a couple of weeks! The boyfriend will be there, of course, and I have a feeling I would find the party unbearable.)


Thanks again for your helpful reply!

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The problem is that even though you 'broke up' you became close friends immediately after, so essentially the two you continued your relationship as it was, just minus the sexual/romantic aspect. So the reason you feel so hurt is because, even though you technically broke up a while ago, it's only now that she has a new boyfriend that the two of you are actually emotionally breaking up for all intents and purposes.


You could maybe be friends in the future, when you have moved on completely (months or years), but right now you need to cut it off completely in order to give yourself time to actually get over the break up and go on with your life.

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That's very perceptive, Inner Fire -- thank you! I had kind of come to that same kind of conclusion, but I've been trying to convince myself out of it as I don't really want to lose her friendship. However, with all these unresolved feelings of mine, how fulfilling can the friendship be for either of us anyway?

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I hate to say this but kiss the friendship goodbye.....and do not go this party! Do not respond when she wants to know why you aren't coming. Do not tell (or involve) your mutual friends in your rationale for doing this.


As long as the "friendship" thing is there in your mind, so will be the hope that you'll get back together. It will twist your mind, heart and soul to pieces. I know. I tried this. I failed.


If I could go back and tell myself not to try to be friends, my healing process would have started sooner. I would tell myself to distance myself as far as possible from her, the visibility of her new relationship and the notion of reconciliation.


If you let someone go, if they love and realize that they want you in their lives, they will come back. Mine did not. It still stings but it did not kill me. It destroyed my life for 5 months until I CHOSE to move away, work on who I was and what kind of man I wanted to be for the next woman in my life.


If you go NC, give her distance and pursue another relationship, eventually these efforts will fill the space in your mind and heart that she and the relationship once occupied there.

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Its very simple. You two were never friends. Case in point: you were upset when you found out she had a BF. Rather than being happy for her, you were jealous and hurt.


Use this as a life's lesson in love. Two former partners can be friends, but only after the vines of romantic notions dry up and fall off on their own. You didnt allow these emotional ties to her fade away. You hid them under the blanket of friendship but in reality, you wanted her to be with you. You might of supressed it, lied to her and to yourself, but the ties to her were still there.


You should be happy for her as she will be happy for you once you find a new GF. Be happy for one another.. thats what friends do.

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Thank you, ShatteredMan and No1, for your comments and help! I'm still reluctant to admit to myself that my situation is about romantic love and not friendship. But it's definitely true that if it were nothing but friendship, I wouldn't be feeling the way I am when she is clearly overjoyed about her new relationship. There is a part of me that is definitely happy for her, but there's another part that is hurting greatly. It wouldn't shock me if an engagement were to come out of tomorrow's Valentine's Day, and I don't like thinking about what my response will be if/when I hear about it.


I did give in a couple of days ago and sent her a brief text wishing her a happy birthday, but now I am back on "no contact," and I think it's for the best. And there isn't any way I'm going to her party this weekend. In most ways, I'm doing the right things to move on -- I'm exercising every day, eating well, writing in my journal, getting out and socializing with friends, pursuing my other writing interests. Facebook check-ups have been a problem area for me, but that has now stopped too. With luck, my frame of mind will improve a little every day. Thanks again for your supportive words!

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I did do that, No1. She's aware of what's going on, and has been supportive to the extent that she can be.


With the new boyfriend, her thoughts for you will fade away. Im sure the same thing would happen if you met a new girl and you were head over heals for her. Your X would be an after thought.


You are going to be just fine. Do all the things needed to make you happy. Go find that guy that attracted your X in the first place. Happiness is just around the corner.

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My problem, I think, is that I miss the intimacy of the friendship with the ex. Up until the new guy appeared on the scene, even in the months after we broke up, she and I texted every day, usually multiple times a day. Sometimes we were joking, sometimes serious, but we shared much, even most of what was happening in our lives, day-to-day unimportant stuff as well as our inner feelings about significant things ... even when we didn't see one another face-to-face nearly as often as we had when we were romantically involved. With the new mate on the scene, she shifted that intimate, constant communication to him, naturally. And I was left with short, uninvolved notes that rarely if ever touched on anything serious. She made this transition from me to him effortlessly, and probably hasn't given much thought to its implications for me. And I'm still getting reconciled to the new way of things. So, while I really don't think romance as such is involved here, it is very much as though I was "dumped" for someone else. This is why I'm back to no contact with her. Just wanted to share that.


By the way, your kind words mean a lot, No1 -- thank you!

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Sorry to say but you can't make her the center of your life emotionally. When people find a new love they will be primarily involved with that. The issue is that you need a broader circle of friends and perhaps find a new gf.


Go LGBT groups, volunteer, get involved in your community, join clubs, take classes, keep busy and meet new people. Get on dating apps.

Up until the new guy appeared on the scene, even in the months after we broke up, she and I texted every day, usually multiple times a day. Sometimes we were joking, sometimes serious, but we shared much, even most of what was happening in our lives, day-to-day unimportant stuff as well as our inner feelings about significant things
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You're exactly right, Wiseman2. I did make her the center of my life emotionally, for a long time. In fact, when I quit my job last May (she and I broke up in June), I went into a sort of hermit mode, by design as I was trying to write every day. She was pretty much the only person I was in regular contact with for the next six months or so. This, of course, makes the recent change in things that much more powerful, and painful. But you're right, it's time to move on. I have deliberately been much more social in the last few weeks, and even joined Match.com to see what might happen. So I'm making the right moves, I think. That hasn't yet made the situation much less painful. But I'm working on it!

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And ... my ex stopped by my home this afternoon with a Valentine's Day present. It was a very sweet present, but her visit wasn't helpful.


You're getting "breadcrumbed"....she knows what she's doing. Do not let her manipulate you this way. This will interfere with your healing process.


She wants to keep you as a back up in case the new guy doesn't work out. I don't know about you, but I don't play for second place.....


My ex attempted to do this and I cut her off. I would only wave in passing her. If she wants back in my life, she will need to initiate a conversation if she is interested in a romantic relationship (which I'm not sure if I could trust her any way) and she would have to pursue me. One hint of another guy in the picture and I'd cut her off again.

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While you may be right, ShatteredMan, I kind of want to think better of her. She is a pretty pure-hearted person, in my opinion, and I have a hard time seeing her as manipulative. I think she is genuinely interested in her current mate. I don't think she has any lingering romantic interest in me, but she actually does want to keep me in her life as a friend. She admitted when she brought the present to my home that she wasn't sure if she was doing the right thing. But she felt an inner motivation to do it, so she said, and from her perspective I think she meant it as a kind gesture, even if my perception was a little different. Of course, you might be totally right, and I might be mistaken and naïve about all this. In any event, it's now Day 1 of a brand new "no contact."

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While you may be right, ShatteredMan, I kind of want to think better of her. She is a pretty pure-hearted person, in my opinion, and I have a hard time seeing her as manipulative. I think she is genuinely interested in her current mate.


The only one she has a "pure heart" for is herself.


It sucks. I thought I would always be friends with my ex. You can't do it if you want to move on.


YOU have to choose when you're going to take this first step in another direction. SHE ALREADY HAS.


Someone once told me that "women vote with their feet".....and she's walking over to the new guy. Mine did this too and it destroyed me. Sooner or later you have to "vote with your feet" too and move in a different direction.

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I don't know. I'm still inclined to think better of her than that. However, she did in fact "vote with her feet." Whatever she might be thinking, whatever her attitude might be about me, has nothing at all to do with the actions I need to take for myself. She is obviously still in my system, to some extent at least, and friendship with her is going to be pretty painful, at least as things stand now. I need to continue my "no contact" and get my thinking straightened out, and maybe friendship with her, a less painful friendship, can follow at some point in the future. But I can't and won't think about that for now.

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