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Being friends with an ex and hoping for future


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Hi! To begin with this is my situation. I fell in love with a classmate in uni, me (23F) him (22M). I was his first gf, sex partner etc. We made it official and dated about 7 months but were already close before that naturally. Oh well then he suddenly got distant and did the whole break up thing - i care about you but dont love you and see no future together etc.. I did have panic attack but then said I understood him and dont want to force him into anything. Did NC for week or two but then made deals to meet up and have a discussion as again we share the same group and i feel like it is better to deal with this now with the mind set if u love something let it go.

I am just curious as we are both young and i feel like he needs to have some more time alone and grow as do I, would it be that out of the realm of possibility in the future for us to rekindle the love too by staying close friends. We share so much and If i attracted him once why wouldnt the better version of me be as attractive if not more?  :D 

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To add we met and instantly hit off so i feel like the friendship part would be healthy to grow before another shot. At least cause I feel like better relationship come with a person you would think of as a best friend..

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You're young and inexperienced so your thought process is driven by emotions overriding logic. I understand you're hurting and for good reason. This was your first everything from a romantic perspective, and that is ALWAYS more challenging to recover from. I empathize with you and can remember being in your shoes several years ago. It is a brutal experience but also one I feel is necessary for most people to truly understand life. 

Unfortunately there is nothing healthy about trying to maintain a phony friendship built on false pretenses. The only reason you want to be his friend is to remain in his life in hopes he'll one day change his mind about loving you in a romantic sense. That is disingenuous and it's unfair to the both of you. How would you feel once he starts dating other women and bringing them around you, his "friend"? 

Recovery from breakups requires a complete break from all contact. Your brain is scrambling to do anything it can, take all actions necessary, to keep him in your life to maintain that sense of comfortability and safety. But you must give yourself time to grieve and grow and the only way to do so is through eliminating him, as much as possible, from your life. It is completely normal to have a sense of hope for reconciliation, but 99% of the time, if that is going to happen, it requires substantial growth (change) by one or both parties, without each other in their life. He cannot miss you if you're always around. If you have mutual friends, I'd suggest doing what you can to avoid hangouts that involve both of you. As you stated, you're both very young and have a lot to experience in life. It may not feel like it now, but in time you'll look back on this as a stepping stone to becoming closer to who you want to be as a person. 

Sometimes relationships do blossom out of friendships, but that typically doesn't happen if there's already been romantic relationship first then you both try and maintain what will most certainly be awkward, forced friendship. You'll never heal from this until you let him go completely. Yes, it's very difficult and you need a support system to adequately push through the process, but without healing you won't see clearly enough to grow from this experience. 

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Unfortunately, this plan is your inexperience speaking. 

You are more likely to get hurt to anything else by trying to stay friends with him. It’s going to be incredibly painful for you to be friendly and then one day find out he’s met a new girl that he wants to date. 

Staying friends with an ex in hopes of winning them back rarely works out well. 

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1 hour ago, totovi said:

Hi! To begin with this is my situation. I fell in love with a classmate in uni, me (23F) him (22M). I was his first gf, sex partner etc. We made it official and dated about 7 months but were already close before that naturally. Oh well then he suddenly got distant and did the whole break up thing - i care about you but dont love you and see no future together etc.. I did have panic attack but then said I understood him and dont want to force him into anything. Did NC for week or two but then made deals to meet up and have a discussion as again we share the same group and i feel like it is better to deal with this now with the mind set if u love something let it go.

I am just curious as we are both young and i feel like he needs to have some more time alone and grow as do I, would it be that out of the realm of possibility in the future for us to rekindle the love too by staying close friends. We share so much and If i attracted him once why wouldnt the better version of me be as attractive if not more?  :D 

Cross one bridge at a time and heal after the break up. This man told you bluntly he doesn’t want to be with you or see a future with you. It’s best to respect that and not keep pursuing or hoping for something more as it’s not realistic or healthy. 

You are already bargaining with yourself telling yourself you need to be a “better version” of yourself to be with him. If you’re going to improve do it for yourself, not to attract him. Be mindful and respectful when someone says they don’t see themselves with you. He did you a favour instead of dragging this out and lying to you or cheating on you. 

What do you hope to get out of the discussion? All you need to be is respectful of one another when you’re in mutual circles and let each other move on. 

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This is a sure fire way to break your own heart.

The very best thing you can do is forget him. Of course be cordial to him in the friend group settings but be cold, distance yourself emotionally. 

Find a guy that DOES see a future with you.  Be happy with him and show this guy what he screwed up. NEVER take him back. 

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2 hours ago, totovi said:

would it be that out of the realm of possibility in the future for us to rekindle the love too by staying close friends. We share so much and If i attracted him once why wouldnt the better version of me be as attractive if not more?

Oh honey. Not how it works.

You staying there, hoping he would see "how you grew up emotionally" like in some Hollywood movie, it wont work. He doesnt love you and doesnt see the future. That wont change no matter how much you persist there. In time he would move on and date somebody else. And you would be left in the dust being hurt. More so with you actually being in his proximity. 

You still didnt get over it and you are bargaining. That is normal. But you need to come to acceptance that its over. And move on with your life. That includes forgetting about him and finding a new guy. You need to be around him for classes so OK. But stay at lenght and dont expect some reconciliation there. Again, you need to move on from that idea.

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2 hours ago, totovi said:

would it be that out of the realm of possibility in the future for us to rekindle the love too by staying close friends. 

You could stay friends, but after 7 mos., he wants to be free/play the field. Never take someone back who dumps you.

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You've been demoted to friendship and no matter what, he'll always be able to pickup on the fact that you are hanging on wanting more.  Agreeing to this he'll lose some respect for you.  It doesn't lend to him seeing a better version of you.  It's not a good look on you.  

Typically, the only way someone returns is they realize, in your absence, they made a mistake.

It takes a lot of forethought and disconnect to get to the point that someone is ready to let a relationship go.  They've considered all the consequences.  It wasn't an impulsive decision, but one he likely considered carefully for some time.  Flipping back and being back in love is a big enough leap to make it close to impossible.   It can happen, but it's an exception.

A better version of oneself takes months, sometimes years.  It's not healthy to think you can do it while being still attached to someone hoping to get them back.  It actually does the opposite, makes you insecure and keeps you from moving forward and growing.

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When you feel the need to fight for someone's attention, you've already lost your value.  Having said that if he truly wanted to be with you, he'd never risk losing you.  It's a tough pill to swallow, yet it's a step in the right direction.

 

In short, self-respect is an admirable trait that can speak volumes.

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Unfortunately, school is a land of forced socialization with all exes we date in school.

Dropping hope is difficult enough, so of course this compounds the problem. 

I found it helpful to experiment with how well I could move hope to a back burner and adopt resilience as my goal for an enduring life skill.

This meant protecting my privacy by never discussing ex with anyone who knows him, and certainly never trying to bond with him or even spend much time where he's present. 

This allowed me to recover with dignity while forming new interests and expanding my friend group beyond the small scope of mutual friends that would keep me focused on him.

Just because this guy didn't own the capacity to appreciate your unique value, that doesn't mean you won't find true simpatico with a better match.

That's hard to think about right now, but give yourself time. Grief is natural and real, and of course it feels lousy. All the more reason to feel proud when you're able to bounce back without self consciousness about how you appear to him. 

You can get there. Trust your strength even though you can't feel it at the moment.

Head high, and write more if it helps.

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