General chatter - Making the change from love to friendship




milliondollarbbw
04-07-2010, 01:08 AM
I am thinking that there is probably at least one other person on this board who has gone through the change of being in a relationship with a person to just being their friend.

Most of my relationships did not end well (they usually were jerks or something weird) so, I was not overly interested in maintaining a friendship. My recent ex is a very good man, and we are maintaining the bond we have as friends.

How does one make the transition? At times I feel like it bothers him if I use a nick name we used when we were together, or if I mention the word love. I tell my friends that I love them, but I worry that it may make him uncomfortable.

How have you made the transition from being lovers to being friends? How do you also deal with the loneliness at times?


kaplods
04-07-2010, 02:29 AM
I've never had it work. I've never seen it work, except in one instance that was a bit of a Will and Grace story (in the show Will and grace date in college and he realizes he's gay during the relationship). In college I had a housemate with a similar story (except she and the boy were high school sweethearts and had never gone beyond heavy petting. He discovered or admitted that he was gay before they went off to college).

Oh, and I had one coworker who claimed to still be bet friends with her ex-husband (but it was very obvious that he wanted her back, and she kind of knew it).

I think it can work, but only if you really do have no interest in rekindling the relationship (and the same is true for him). It is probably very important that you not use the pet names or use the word "love" even if you do use it with other friends. It has a very different meaning for people who have been intimate - it just does.

I only tried it once and it was miserable. We thought it would be great, because if we didn't have a date, we could still do stuff together as a "platonic couple." The problem with that is that it's easy to get lazy and because you have a "back-up date" there's not as much motivation to find someone else (because even for men, at least the ones I've dated, having something to do on a Friday night trumps having someone to have sex with). And other people still see you as "sort of" a couple.

When you've broken up with someone, you're going to deal with loneliness regardless of whether you're still friends and regardless of how many friends of either gender you have. The mourning process is almost always part of the breakup process (unless you were never that into the person in the first place).

Shytowngal
04-07-2010, 02:46 AM
I agree with Kaplods. My best friend has remained friends with her ex. They talk almost everyday and go out to dinner a couple times a month. The thing she doesn't realize is how she alienates other men without even realizing it.

She has a fall-back, so even though she says she wants to date someone, we all can see how she puts her "best guy friend" first. They dated for 4 years and have been broken up, but "friends" for 3 years. This has been going on for 3 years...

One other thing to consider is that when you do get in a new relationship, this friendship will most likely have to end. You can't expect a new guy to be comfortable with you hanging out and saying i love you to someone you used to be romantic with.


nelie
04-07-2010, 09:18 AM
I tried to remain friends with my ex but I found that I really couldn't move on in doing that. We emailed once every few months for a while but I couldn't do constant contact.

Glory87
04-07-2010, 09:32 AM
An extended break without any contact to let the embers die would work best for me. I am "facebook-level" friends with a couple of my exes, but both relationships ended over 10 years ago. I have a pleasant fondness for both of them, but I don't love them anymore. I can comment on pictures of their cute families and laugh at their status updates and I am happy we are in contact again, but they are just small bits of my past and no part of my present.

If you are still calling your ex your special pet name and still telling him you love him, that doesn't sound like a break-up, more like "on a break." (/salute Friends).

astrophe
04-07-2010, 09:32 AM
I'm with Glory. I'd take a break and have no contact to bring closure to the lover phase first. Then we could see about renewing a friend thing.

If you made a new friend today you wouldn't call them things like "honey bunny" or tell them you love them. If it isn't appropriate to a new friend stranger, it isn't any more appropriate for a new friend ex just because you have some history.

It is no different here. You had a friendship. It ended when you became lovers. You were lovers. It ended. And now you are thinking about making friends again. This is not "going back to being friends." That phase ended!

This is "making friends anew." A brand new relationship that has to be defined.

"Arms distance and go slow" seems to be the best one can do. It would take pretty exceptional people to do it closer than that and NOT need a contact break otherwise you keep the boundaries blurred and that's no good.

Things you used to know as lovers aren't your business any more.

A.

milliondollarbbw
04-07-2010, 11:58 AM
Thank you so much, everybody. I really appreciate your advice.

I do realize that since my ex and I acted more like friends than lovers anyway, that we could still maintain the same way of talking, etc., but just minus the romance. I see how that could be misleading, and I also worry that my ex may feel that I haven't ended the relationship if I say the love you part. Sigh.

It is so weird because I do realize that it is our love for each other that kept us together, because we don't have a whole lot in common to be honest. We might night even just hang out that much if it wasn't for the love and care part. Sigh. Love is weird, ya know?

I am going to talk all of your advice and relax a bit on the way that I speak with him. It is weird because while I can rationally see that maybe we would have had a tough road in the long haul because of our differences, I still feel a bit bad when he doesn't seem to want to spend time with me. I also feel bad for him because he is still dealing with so much stress, and that is why we couldn't date much even when we were together. Sigh.

Thank you everybody. Big hugs from me.

milliondollarbbw
04-11-2010, 10:24 PM
I am feeling better in some ways. I am realizing more that there were often times in my relationships where I would accept certain things that may have bothered me or made me uncomfortable. I would usually accept what a person told me about their situation. I would always try to give them the benefit of the doubt. There is nothing wrong with that, but it meant accepting certain situations that I wasn't 100% okay with. I realize now that I can like a person, or think very highly of them, but I don't necessarily have to accept things that make me uncomfortable or cause me to have excessive worry. This is a huge step for me as usually, I am more shocked that the guy likes me, and accepts him totally without really thinking about the things that I may need or want in a relationship. sigh.

I am also working through the process of figuring out why I may miss past relationships where the guy was a jerk. Why do I miss people that treated me badly? Why do I focus only on their good parts and not on some boundaries that they may have crossed (i.e., when they were very disrespectful or acted in ways that suggested that they really didn't care about me much). I feel now that though I want to be in a relationship, I am not in a hurry to rush into one. I am going to focus on other things in my life to deal with the emotions and everything around the breakup, and just improve myself.

bonnnie
04-14-2010, 04:01 AM
I was on the other side of this equation - I was the new girlfriend of a man who was still best friends with his ex-girlfriend. They still had a beautiful relationship - only without sex. They still said the friendly 'I love you'. They called each other almost everyday. They still planned shopping and brunch together faithfully every Saturday.

Then comes me, almost four years after they 'broke up'. He tried to integrate me into 'their lives'. She was a nice person and friendly to talk to.

I liked the guy enough to stick it out for 9 months. But I eventually ended up virtually hating her (she never did anything personally wrong to me) and hating him. This was the MOST frustrating relationship I've ever had in my life. It was ****, feeling like the 'other wife' is always around for him.

If we had a fight, he would simply go sleep at his 'good wifes' apartment - spend time with the nice one.

Now that i'm writing this... it sounds like I was really stupid- I suppose it was something I had to learn. I was stupid. I'm a bit embarrassed.

What is also interesting - from the other side of the equation, the ex-girlfriend had not had another real relationship with anyone since they broke up. She was also ultimately unfulfilled. She also had no impetus to move on - she was still occupied with her ex.

I broke up with him - because of this behavior. I cut off contact with him, we only talked if it was over something that was more 'business related'. He HATED me for this. He wanted to stay best friends with me, despite the fact that our love relationship didn't work out.

I was very sad - but stuck to my resolutions. 2 months later, I happened to meet the most wonderful man alive. We have so much fun together. We are now living together in a beautiful apartment, jogging together in the park 4 times a week, etc. I love my life and I'm so much happier than i was with my ex.

The other girl, sometimes I see her around. She still doesn't have a boyfriend, despite the fact that she is getting a bit older and would love to settle down and get married (she has said this).

After this experience, namely feeling like I was made to suffer so that they could still be 'best friends', I am of the opinion that tight bonds and friendships should be broken after the love relationship is over.

It is harder for one to move on if they remain good or best friends and it is also hard on any new people that might enter into the equation. It also inevitably hurts if your 'best friend' moves on before you do to a new partner. So many reasons....

Start fresh!

Sunnigummi
04-14-2010, 08:00 AM
I'll add my 0.02 to the conversation.

A good friend of mine was dating a guy for 3 years (?), a long time regardless. They broke up but they remained really good friends. I think it helped that they were geographically separated so that it wasn't possible for them to hang out often. Then, he met a girl and was planning on marrying her (he did). SHE demanded he end the friendship with my friend and never speak to her again. Although my friend and her ex were upset by this, they agreed and haven't spoken since. At first I thought the new gf/wife was being extreme, but then I realized that she's doing it for her sanity. Nobody wants to feel like they come second to the number one person in their life, especially a spouse.

I agree with taking a break and pursuing something else. If you really want to be friends after a couple months, say, then go for it but break it off once he or you enter a relationship.

stillwagontsl
04-14-2010, 10:42 AM
I'm currently in a friendship type of relationship with a former lover. The friendship wasn't my choice...it's just something that evolved over a period of time. It's strange, especially on those days when I remember what we shared and what I wanted from him (marriage). I do have those moments of nostalgia that haunt me. I always tell myself that it's a choice. I can either have him in my life, maybe not as I want him, or I can NOT have him.

The best thing you can do, I think, is set up ground rules.

Suzyszoo
04-14-2010, 11:03 AM
I really needed to read this today...thank you all...

milliondollarbbw
04-14-2010, 12:05 PM
I'm currently in a friendship type of relationship with a former lover. The friendship wasn't my choice...it's just something that evolved over a period of time. It's strange, especially on those days when I remember what we shared and what I wanted from him (marriage). I do have those moments of nostalgia that haunt me. I always tell myself that it's a choice. I can either have him in my life, maybe not as I want him, or I can NOT have him.

The best thing you can do, I think, is set up ground rules.

Thank you. I really like this quote.

I do feel that I can be friends with him, because I am able to clearly see our differences and why things may not have worked out marriage wise. In other relationships, I don't think I would have been able to stay as just friends because it would have been that constant longing. With my current ex, I love him on a very deep level----a more humanistic level? In any case, I am able to see our differences and our communication problems, and also how if they did not change, then it would have not been a great relationship long term.

I want him to be happy, and he wants me to be happy. I want him to be happy even if it isn't with me. I am able to see my faults and also understand that we both may need different things in a relationship or in a partner.

It is hard at times when I am having those nostalgic feelings and worried about being alone. When he texts me to see how I am doing, and shows care, that is the hard parts, at times, because very few people I was with romantically really cared about me.

I feel silly because I do have exes that I miss, but they were so disrespectful and uncaring and just made me feel worthless. Why would I focus only on their positives, and not their negatives, and miss them? Why do I do that to myself?

stillwagontsl
04-14-2010, 12:29 PM
I feel silly because I do have exes that I miss, but they were so disrespectful and uncaring and just made me feel worthless. Why would I focus only on their positives, and not their negatives, and miss them? Why do I do that to myself?

Why waste your energy on someone who doesn't want you? I've spent alot of time pining over guys who very easily cut their ties with me and moved on with their lives. They didn't care about my feelings or how they ended things. But you have to realize that you deserve to have good people in your life, people who love and support you. You are worth it. Sometimes it takes a long time to retrain our brains to think positively about ourselves...it's a long process and I'm still working on it myself.

milliondollarbbw
04-14-2010, 12:43 PM
Why waste your energy on someone who doesn't want you? I've spent alot of time pining over guys who very easily cut their ties with me and moved on with their lives. They didn't care about my feelings or how they ended things. But you have to realize that you deserve to have good people in your life, people who love and support you. You are worth it. Sometimes it takes a long time to retrain our brains to think positively about ourselves...it's a long process and I'm still working on it myself.

Thank you. You are so right. I don't know why I try to focus on the good parts (like, that I used to be able to have great conversations with one ex, but who cared so little he didn't even look back when he just stopped calling after dating for half a year), and not realize that the bad trumps the good. My friends have told me that I always refer to an ex as a "good guy, but something in me made him not treat me well"---weird, huh?

Well, I have started to realize that I do not have to accept certain things in a relationship. I do not have to accept dates that seem only lacksadaisacal in their liking of me. I do not have to accept situations that seem uncomfortable or seem to be red flags. I can accept that a person I date or love or care for be respectful to me.

mom4life
04-16-2010, 10:42 AM
I had an ex suggest that right after he broke up with me. It was hard, I told him I needed a break mainly because all our mutual friends thought it was a crock that he just wanted his cake and eat it. Which did look like that, he was calling me probably more then he did when we were together. After the break he calmed down a lot. He called me once a month then a year later he called to tell me he met his future wife. 2 months later he insisted that I go to his wedding. I did go and it was weird only because her name was Rachel too. LOL
I must say that when he told me about his future wife it did hurt because we were so "In Love" that it made me wonder what was wrong with me that he couldn't commit to me.
Years later dh and I started dating. We happened to run into my ex at church and I introduced them, he later called me telling me that dh wasn't the one. Well dh and I have been married for 9 yrs now....guess he was wrong. LOL
Three yrs after dh and I got married I emailed my ex to update him that dh and I had gotten married and we were (at the time) expecting our first child. He was very happy for us. He told me about his two little girls. From there I ended the conversation as if it would be our last and it was. I still care for him as a friend as I know he does for me but we never became "Best friends" just more like semi-friends. We rarely talked but we never held hard feelings for each other.
The same happened with dh and I, our relationship lasted for a year then we broke up. We never mentioned "friendship" we just parted as usual. We went our separate ways, dating others. A year later he called me just to chat. We met up to chat a couple times for coffee but it was just friends. Then 4 yrs from the day we broke up he started going to my church, he was dating someone so it was a sure thing nothing would happen. We became pretty much best friends, we hung out every single day. This lasted for a year, and it was starting to cause people to wonder if we were dating again, which angered us because we weren't (he had ended his relationship with his girlfriend a couple months before). I brought up my frustration about this and told him we should calm down and just hang out on the weekends, he didn't like this and said he couldn't be without me and from there we decided to take it to the next level and start actually dating and as they say the rest is history. LOL

milliondollarbbw
04-16-2010, 11:33 AM
It is a weird thing, because me and the ex talked yesterday, and I still got a bit weepy. It is so weird because we do love and care for each other on this really deep level. I want him to be happy in his life, as he is a very good person. I feel bad that he is going through a lot of family issues and I worry about him being worn out and stressed.

He says he wants me to focus on treating myself well, and that he thinks of me as a good person. It is so weird...our conversations are that we care for each other, and how great we think each other is, and yet, we aren't together.

I also feel a bit bad because he doesn't want to tell me where his new place is. That is kind of weird. He has been saying for a while, and I believe him, that he is very worn out by the expectations and requests from his family, and that he just wants some space for himself. I totally support this, and wish that he could take a bit of a vacation just for himself to relax, and not have to worry about helping certain people who always stress him with their last minute requests.

What hurts is that when he says he needs to get away from things, and that he hasn't told his family about his new place, it makes me feel like there is something wrong with me, too. If I were in his position, I would probably turn more towards my partner, than away from my partner. I feel like maybe I nagged him too much, or something, and so he is kind of lumping me in the group of people who want things from him. I tried to make the least amount of requests from him when we were together. I only asked for help with things like food, or remembering a birthday. Sigh.

I am glad that he sounded better yesterday. And a bit sad that I wasn't as an accepting person as I could have been.

astrophe
04-16-2010, 04:09 PM
It is so weird...our conversations are that we care for each other, and how great we think each other is, and yet, we aren't together.

That reminds me of something I told one of my ex's years after we'd broken up and I was married. It was on one of those out of the blue, every few year merry xmas/bday kind of calls.

He'd broken up with someone and was sad.

I had to remind him that there isn't just one "Right One." There are MANY "Right Ones" out there. It is meeting the "Right One at the Right Time."

While it is natural to take time to grieve a relationship, and perhaps possible to be friendly toward ex's... having ex's take up a huge chunk of your time isn't opening up enough room in your life for the Right One at the Right Time to come. Could very well miss the boat just because you weren't paying attention and making the space.

A.

milliondollarbbw
05-04-2010, 12:03 AM
I have taken all of your wonderful advice, and changed how I speak with him. I am also working on not being disappointed when he cancels us meeting. I think he is still dealing with the family stuff that he was dealing with when we were together.

Most of the time I feel ok, other times I feel very, very sad. It hurts when he doesn't respond like he used to. I feel like he is just pulling away more and more. And, if that is what he needs to do to be able to focus on himself and his family, then I am okay with that. I don't want to be any added stress for him. It still hurts a bit, though, and I get all weepy. I think he is doing better in some ways now that he is living somewhere else. It just makes me feel bad at times because it makes me think that I failed a bit in some ways.

I realize that I am NOT really good at dating right now. I need to just focus on making myself feel better and improving myself. I don't want to date right now because I worry that because I feel lonely, I may not notice an issue with a guy that I wouldn't be okay with if I felt better about myself.

Airforcechick07
05-05-2010, 07:07 AM
I am dealing with the same issue of breaking up with a guy wh, now looking back, would have been better as my friend and not as my BF. Although I would like to stay friends with him, he wants more...... Is it selfish of me to want to keep him as a friend knowing that he wants more and I am denying him????


On the other end of the spectrum I am now seeing someone new...and he sorta has the same case senerio except him and the girl never dated because she wasnt interested and he was...he was for a very long time but he says now she is nothing more then just a friend...I still find myself disliking her even though she is a nice girl, simply put....jealousy. So I wonder if I try to remain friends with my EX if my now BF will have these same feelings and is it wrong for me to make him feel that way because I want to stay friends with my ex? and would it be hipacriticle if he got mad because he is still friends with his crush???

milliondollarbbw
05-05-2010, 11:57 AM
Yikes! that sounds a bit like one of those romantic webs. I think you are right to be cautious, I just wouldnt envy the person too much. I would wonder if the guy was totally over the girl, as your ex is totally over you? If your ex isn't totally over you, and your new bf's female interest is recent, I would probably just take things slow.

My ex has a friend who is beautiful. just so beautiful and more of the kind of personality he likes. he says they tried to get together, but it didn't work out. personally, seeing the kind of guys she is into, I dont think she liked my ex in that way, even though he is great. i always wondered somewhat if she were more his type than I am. :(

the ex and I talked yesterday and it was hard in some ways. there were big lulls in the conversation. part of the issue is that I want to have a deep conversation and really open up about feelings and thoughts, but since we talk so infrequently, and because he seems stressed, and because he doesn't like to talk about our breakup because I usually end up crying, I avoided talking about anything heavy, and just stayed more upbeat and supportive. I think I am just going to have to keep doing that for a while, until he is at a better place where he is open to talking that way. right now I think he is just overwhelmed with stuff, and going into an emotional conversation would take a lot of energy. Sigh.

Love is hard. :(