Dear Miss A,
I broke up with my boyfriend, and promised him we’d still be friends. Have you ever tried to befriends with your ex? Did it work? I think I still have feelings for him because we text all the time, and after a few drinks I have the urge to get back together with him. It’s hard because we hang out with the same crowd so I see him all the time. I try to just talk to him like a friend, but to be honest it hurts to see him talking to other girls. What should I do?
Trying to be a Friend
Thanks so much for your questions. Yes, I have definitely tried to remain friends with ex’s in the past, but over time I learned that this doesn’t work very well, as I think you are now learning. It’s like buyer’s remorse, or perhaps it’s actually the opposite of that. It’s kind of like buying a really cute cocktail dress, but then realizing you can’t afford it or something isn’t quite right, so you return it to the store. The problem is that when you see the dress on another girl, you think it looks really cute and you wish you’d kept it. You loved the idea of the dress, more than the reality. You had great fantasies about where you might go with it. But then, you realize the dress is actually better suited for her, and you get over it when you find the right dress for yourself.
Anywho, I digress. I really don’t recommend being friends with your ex. It’s something that everyone says when they break up and it’s nice in theory, but in practice it really doesn’t work. It’s too easy to end up hooking up, and getting into a “friends with benefits” situation, which is a downgrade from what you had. Or you just feel jealous about him with other girls. It’s a mess. It’s just too painful, and it holds you back from moving on. I mean, would you go to the store to visit that dress? No. You’d either buy it and bring it home, or you move on. So many dresses out there, so little time!
Now, your situation is difficult because you have so many friends in common and you can’t just dump your whole social circle because of your ex-boyfriend. I think that you should try to stop communicating with him one-on-one — no texts, calls, emails, or spending time alone with him. Communicate with your mutual friends, but try not to talk about him or your break up. As much as you can, try to grab your girlfriends and explore some fresh venues, and other social circles, or just do a girls dinner or girls night out rather than hanging out with the whole group all the time. For the next six months, you really need to try to get some distance. After this time, you may decide you don’t want to be friends with him, or if you still want to be friends, you will be better equiped to deal with it, as you’ll be much stronger then. Plus, I doubt you want to date your ex’s friends, so you will need to get out of your group a bit to find someone new.
Good luck and please keep me posted on how it goes!
– Miss A