Note: Mumsnetters don't necessarily have the qualifications or experience to offer relationships counselling or to provide help in cases of domestic violence. Mumsnet can't be held responsible for any advice given on the site. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Chances of reconciliation with an ex you're 'friends' with?(325 Posts)
Hello, I've just signed up to post this thread, I hope that's ok
I read about 'friendzoning' on another forum and apparently, it's bad when it comes to being friend zoned by an ex.
I recently split up with a man I had been seeing for 6 months. We were seeing each other quite casually - as in, we hadn't been seen together in public around our town, as I'm still in the process of going through a divorce (split up a long time ago) and didn't want that reflecting badly on me...despite all that, this man said he loved me fairly early on (within a month) and seemed to be planning for the future; talking about future events he will be attending and mentioning it would be nice for us to go together, and so on.
He spent a while after we split up saying that he doesn't want a relationship with anyone for as far into the future as he can see, but that he liked me a lot, we did continue to sleep together but then both felt awful the next day, and then he told me he was going away for a couple of weeks with work, and needed complete space; I.E no contact for the time he was away. He said he was hoping to see if he missed me, and to work out what he felt for me; whether he wanted to never see me again, just be friends or something more than friends.
I spoke to him yesterday on the phone, and he said he was hoping to see me next week when he was back home, just meeting up for a coffee and a chat then going home to see if we can actually get on (we've been arguing a lot recently, due to his 'confusion'). I asked about how he felt and first of all he said I'm lovely but not for him, then he said he could never say never and that two people could never have a relationship if they can't be friends. He wouldn't say if his actual feelings had changed, just saying that he had made a decision that if he can't have a relationship with anyone at this moment in time, then he can't have his cake and eat it by sleeping with me - which seems fair enough to me.
He seems to want to meet up next week, chat and get on and then just text and stuff as people do, with a view to meeting up "some time in the future...in a week, or two or three, whenever feels right".
He says that he will still be attracted to me, but won't ever act on it. I asked what would happen if he comes to see me and still feels the way he did the last time he came over (which was beginning of August) - the same feelings that were confusing him at that time, and he said he would just try to enjoy the feeling of enjoying my company.
Is this a bit weird? Putting aside the issue of whether the dumped party should be friends with an ex when they still have feelings for them, would it be so bad in theory to meet up with this person fairly regularly but not planned regularly, just chat about casual things and then we both go home having had a pleasant time...is there potential for feelings to develop on his part (if they were ever going to, I know there is only a slim chance anyway) or will he 'friend zone' me and therefore never see me in 'that' way again?
I admit, I'm confused as to how feelings come about anyway - my ex said that he realises now that he has to be friends with a woman before getting involved with dating or a relationship, but can you ever be friends with an ex (genuine friends, with no physical contact) and then rekindle a relationship?
I didn't say I couldn't stop texting him...I said I CAN
Some will call it manipulative, and I guess it is in a way; but as we've had so much bad feeling/negative experiences between us over the past 6 months, I just wanted to see him once or twice to talk 'normally' (nothing about us, just friendly, light general chat and banter, which is something we've rarely done in the past 6 months since we split) and then cut it right back and give us both some space.
We are both at a friend's wedding in December anyway so I will see him then; if he'd had some nice positive experiences with me before then, followed by a couple of month's no contact then maybe it will either give him more of a chance of missing me, or I will feel better after 'redeeming myself' with the positivity and then starting the process of moving on through the no contact.
Wow that was quite garbled but hopefully you get what I mean.
Start the no contact now, don't try and redeem yourself, just stop contacting him, politely say hello in the village and carry on walking. You are going to drive yourself mad at this rate!
I feel for you, most of us have been here. I spent 5 months texting a man that was too
cowardly polite to tell me to bugger off and I needed him to, because my giant ego didn't understand that he was no longer into me! As soon as I caught on, I stopped contacting him - still cringe every time I see him though
Your ex sounds like an arse, all this "woe is me, I'm soooo confused" crap is deeply unattractive and one massive head fuck. This man is no friend - friends don't fuck with each others heads.
So, does his opinion of you leave you feeling wounded so to speak, and in a position where the only way to repair that wound is to regain his approval? you need his good opinion of you not because you want a relationship but because you can't bear for him to think badly of you?
Remember that old saying "what you think of me is none of my business". You have to believe that. And your sense of your self needs to be independent from how others perceive you. Others actually do have a right to perceive you how they wish, but if your self-esteem is healthy and you have a strong sense of your self, you can shrug over losing the good opinion of one person especially when you can identify why you might have lost it.
apologies if I'm quite obviously coughing up my own psychotherapy on to the table here, but, it was all quite useful to me. if i'm barking up the wrong tree totally forgive me.
ps, agreeing with pp there. Don't try and go back in time to fix his opinion of you. Be strong enough in yourself that you can live with it. YOu don't need his approval. And his perception of you is his business and is not linked to you. So, don't let it "deflate" you. Can't think of a better word. What he thinks of you is his business. Not yours. You are out dating again now! I admire you for that. That is pro-active. You are certainly no coward when it comes to getting out there dating.
Hmm, yes you're right Chl0e.
It's not restricted to him; my child's father was violent towards me and when he ended it, I still felt like I needed to prove to him I was a decent person.
Not only men...there are many many people in my life that I want to 'prove' myself too, I can see they're not very nice people but I still want to gain their approval.
Probably some deep rooted reason for it
Who do you need to prove that you're nice to? to the man who was aggressive to you when you left him? He's not worth it. I left an abusive relationship. I wasted a long time trying to get his approval for having left him. I was crazy. Because he knew that 'being nice' was central to my identity so he could really manipulate me by accusing me of being a cold hearted bitch etc...
So, I know exactly what you mean by feeling that need to prove yourself, and that uncomfortable feeling when other people don't perceive you how you want them to perceive you..... It's impossible to just shrug over it when you're in that mind set. I had psychotherapy to get past this!!!! So I'm not typing it like a trite little platitude here thinking it's easy.
Years ago, before the abusive x (lucky me huh, all these fabulous exes) I had a bf who was nice while I was with him but then he dumped me with a ridiculous character assassination. At the time though, it hurt me so badly. I felt I had to prove him wrong, prove our mutual acquaintances wrong. I didn't stop to attach any value to what I thought. Rationally I thought he was just facilitating a dump with moral high ground, but I didn't place any value in my OWN take on his dumping me. I needed to control what other people were thinking about me, because what I thought about me seemed to have so little value.
I felt that I could only be redefined (as something good) if I proved to him and to mutual acquaintances that what he'd said about me was wrong. NOW I just think back and realise he was deluding himself about being a fine caring decent character ykwim? he was capable of such cruelty but because he put all my flaws out there at the time he believed he had the moral highground dumping me.
ps, i'm going to sound so LA here, but another good thing that came in to sharp focus for me at psychotherapy was that ability to draw a really precise line between what I wanted and what other people wanted me to want. Before, if I was thinking of buying something and my mum wrinkled her nose up at it, I wouldn't know if I'd allwed her to talk me out of buying it, or if I was buying it to annoy her and assert myself, or buying it to prove to HER that I make my own decisions. Now I know I make my own decisions.
It all sounds so obvious but you don't need to prove yourself to anybody. YOu don't need the good opinion of some ship that passed you in the night, ykwim?
Yes I do understand and it makes perfect sense (and strikes a few chords).
All the way through this thread, I've been kind of agreeing with everything that people have said; yes I acted crazy and irrationally, yes I was a rebound whether he knew it or not, yes he never really cared enough as a friend or anything else...and although I'd been thinking that in the back of my mind all along, having people confirm my suspicions wasn't nice as deep down, I wanted to be wrong.
Because I know, that right back at the start when I had doubts about his feelings towards me or the first time he asked me to give him "space", I should've retained my dignity and walked away.
As it is, we spoke today and he's refusing to come over on Thursday, because "I was planning to come and see you on thurs, all the way through this 2 weeks away I said I'd see you when I got back but you just couldn't wait until Thursday could you? You had to nag at me now and it's all ruined".
This was in response to me phoning (but he had agreed I could), him saying he's been frantically grasping at affection for years as that's what he never got from his ex wife, and has now realised he needs to be truly alone to sort himself out, me admitting that I was confused and hurt by how coldly he can treat me now, after only 2 weeks ago still saying he had feelings for me and wanting to see me; and then he accused me of nagging and ruining any chance of him coming over on Thursday.
If I was him, I'd have cared enough to stick to coming over anyway to talk, but maybe he now has your way of thinking Chl0e and just wants to please himself; or more likely he just doesn't care enough. I think it was cruel to say I'd ruined the chance of him coming over, felt kind of like him dangling a carrot then snatching it away, but hey.
I slept with my ex the other day...my child's father, the one that has been violent in the past. I hadn't had a response from this guy over a text I'd sent, so I texted my ex and asked if he wanted to meet me for a meal as I was hungry and didn't want to sit on my own (my child was with grandparents for the night).
He agreed, we had a meal and a drink and then we went back to mine to have sex - yes it was that calculated, he couldn't believe his luck and we had the type of sex that this guy could never do (he's more 'loving and slow' in bed), I was totally taking control, confident, pretty much completely different to how I have been in bed with this guy (as he always wanted to please me and look at me, tell me I was gorgeous etc and it actually made me feel more self conscious), my ex tried to kiss me but I kept avoiding it, he told me he loved me (just words, he's just rowing with his partner) and I shipped him off subtley once I'd...you know
How messed up does that make me?
You're not messed up, this is a straightforward case of Low self-esteem. I had it for years and I made some really bad decisions until I got a different perspective on it all. It's hard to pass on to somebody else, but one day I just started to value myself.
Glad to read that you are newly aware now of how he is pleasing himself here! Brilliant. That's the first step. Realisation. Seeing it. SEEING what is before you.
I reckon you knew before but the awareness was buried. Now it's been put to the forefront you can't help but see that he wants you there for when he wants affection or company or sex, but it's all on his terms.
And there's no subtlety about it either! In fact he feels comfortable being very sharp with you if you ring him. So he can initiate contact - but by being snippy with you or mocking you - he is creating a dynamic where he can contact you whenever he fancies it!
That is so unequal. I'm sure he sees that. What sort of man is comfortable with an arrangement that 100% suits him at the expense of somebody else's well being!? Not a decent man. Maybe he's confused. Maybe he's Taurus, Maybe he's bald. Who cares, the only point is that the arrangement is not good for you. Stop analysing him and start analysing yourself. Seriously A little bit of well-timed navel-gazing is not self-indulgent. It's what you deserve. Give yourself as much thought as you've wasted on this guy.
And wrt your child's father, Please don't sleep with a man who has been abusive to you in the past. How can you nurture your self-esteem if you are so lonely that you will reach out to a man who has hurt you. Nobody who has hurt you in the past deserves your company. How can you love yourself if you sleep with assaulted you. What message are you internalising there every time you sleep with a man who has hurt you? You are sending a message to your psyche every time you do that, and it's not a message that is going to stand you in good stead, ykwim.
I think I remember back to when this stuff was just words to me. Even before psychotherapy though, I knew I would never let a man treat me badly again.
It's facebook wisdom here, but I read this yesterday and clicked like!! "what you tolerate is what will continue".
I have just ordered a book off amazon. Somebody on here recommended it to me. It's by Anne Dixon. It's about assertiveness, but I liked the fact that it's not just teaching you what to say, how far to 'push it'. It's about raising your own sense of self worth, and when you have that you will obviously expect more for yourself.
there's another book by sherry argov that I found useful. It's called holding your own in a relationship 'Bitches'. don't let that title put you off. It stands for something. I have only been in one relationship since I read that book but it helped me a lot. My bar was higher. And I was treated well.
I'm still waiting for the Anne Dixon one to arrive! I think it's a good one. It gets very good reviews. Maybe somebody else on mn could recommend a really good book about self-esteem!? I'd read it. I'm a work in progress myself. But I'm a lot happier and more confident than I was ten years ago.
Haha no Chl0e, you're the only one on the thread now ;) You can stop replying now and let it die, it's fine.
I think it's maybe more self respect than self esteem...not sure though.
The frustrating thing is, when I was 19 I got into Wicca and was big into the spiritual side of things, working on 'helping' my inner child, meditation and all that; I'm still spiritual and I can share those facebook quotes you mention all day long - but never seem to apply any of it to myself any more.
About the guy I started the thread about - I really did see it before I even posted the thread. As I said earlier, I knew all along I was the rebound woman, and he's been chucking out these "it's all about me" hints for months.
And you know his latest weird ass comment? Not that it matters but I'll mention it anyway as it's cathartic - I asked about the time I mentioned up-thread (I'd gone to his house, he'd let me in and told me to sit down then ignored me for 30 mins while staring at the floor and then suddenly lay down and pulled me on top of him, only to put his hands just on the waistband of my jeans and stayed there like that for ages, not saying a word or doing anything).
His reply when I asked why he'd done that?
"you wind me up so much that I feel like I want to hit you. But I'm not that sort of person".
So, I asked if he'd pulled me on top of him as an alternative outlet to hitting me and he said yes.
That is beyond bizarre to me...why the heck would someone want to 'cuddle' or be close to someone they want to hit!?
He also reckons he tried to kiss me after he pulled me down onto him but I turned my head away "which gave me a flash back to my ex wife, as just before I left her, I tried to kiss her and she turned her head in almost exactly the same way".
That isn't me analysing, just realising how bloody weird some of his actions have been.
Oh and thanks for the book recommendations, will look into them.
And get back into the meditation/inner child work.
The inner child worksheet was given to me by my counsellor and it seemed to work before, so will again
Blimey. He is abusive. You make him want to hit you but he's not that type of guy? Run.for.the.hills.
I don't mind being the thread-killer!
No, it's just there's nothing else to say is there really
I know - should have seen him for what he is (possibly) when we were in bed one time, he started rolling around the bed like he was in pain (literally rolling and going "argh" and holding his head in his hands...he said that reaction was because he was 'confused about his feelings'), then he kind of laid on top of me, gently held my face in his hands and said "I feel like I want to hit you, and want to hold you all at the same time".
There have also been times...the time I went to his house in fact, was one of them - where he said "do you want me to just have sex with you? Do you want me to rape you?! would that make you happy!" He wasn't saying it in a threatening way, more of a frustrated "what the hell do you want form me" kind of way - but that was a massive red flag at the time that I ignored...I mean really, who uses the R word towards a woman, even to illustrate...whatever point he felt was making at the time.
Ugh, so that's two 'abusive' men in a row. Maybe it's me.
God, he really is completely screwed=up and indeed now looks verging on EA, all this rubbish about comparing your head movement to his ex
But OP, why the heck didi you sleep with the ex? if you want a shag, it's quite easy, just meet someone in the pub or go online and choose someone after establishing he's sane. Do NOT sleep with ex again, it's almost like you are punishing yourself for failure with the thread guy. Or, even better, take up some gym/jogging/swimming activity to release the stress instead of sex. Purely as your choices atm are not to be trusted.
oh, some more 'gems' in your last post! he badly needs a psychologist!
But could I have pushed him to be that way?
I need someone truly objective to tell me honestly - because on this thread you've seen how I act; some people have said I've acted crazy and have come across as "a nutter" - so would 2.5 months of complete torture and harassment from someone (it wasn't as bad as that but maybe he feels that way) make you do and say the things I mentioned in my previous two posts? Would a sane man ever ask whether a woman wants him to rape her? Or that she drives him to the point he wants to hit her but isn't 'that type'?
He does martial arts you see; really into it and is an instructor at a kid's martial arts class. So he should be able to control his temper and thoughts of 'wanting' to hit someone, surely?
So I must have been so bad that I drove him to feel that way?
And I don't know why I slept with the ex; I can live without sex anyway, I had only had a soft drink too so can't even blame alcohol! But won't do it again.
I wouldn't say there's nothing more to say! we're just getting to the crux of it finally!
It's not that you pushed him away! no, it's that he sensed your low bar and knew you would be a girl who would march to the beat of his drum. You didn't do anything 'wrong' pushing him away.
The bit that you need to analyse is why losers and abusers zone in on you. Do you advertise your low self-esteem? I guess you will tolerate a bit of shit at the beginning and then that leads to a bit more shit, and before you know it you have three x boyfriends in a row who are all shit heads, losers and abusers.
You were not bad. You didn't demand enough!!
I am going to link some really interesting articles if I can find them again. They are about needs. If you have been brought up to believe that it is high maintenance to have any needs (reasonable needs, such as the need to be respected, the need to be treated as an equal, the need for affection) then you will sublimate your needs and focus on meeting somebody else's needs instead. If you never ask for anything, then you surround yourself with people who'll do nothing for you. That is the basic gist of the article but it's explained very well. Hang on.
I don't know if you identify with being nice or not. Maybe not. I know I did and it meant that abusing types had a speed dial to manipulate me. Being 'nice' was central to my identity. It felt like all I had, so any insinuation that I was not nice (ie, not meeting somebody else's needs, or briefly prioritising my own) lead to accusations that I was cold or heartless etc.
Being nice does not mean that you have no needs. It is perfectly acceptable to have needs and to be quite upfront about that.
Read this Tell me if it strikes a chord?
Hmm maybe, Chl0e; in the sense that I actually feel quite uncomfortable with receiving help, I always saw myself as 'independent' but maybe it was actually just that it doesn't feel right to need or accept support.
But I don't really feel like if I refuse or never ask for anything then people will like me better....
Funny how little things pop into your head when you start analysing a situation/relationship.
I know I asked 'thread guy' at one time when we were together, "how do I know you're not just trying to manipulate or control me?" because I had some doubts in the back of my head, he just said "if you think that way of me then you shouldn't want to be with me" and I dropped the subject.
BUT I told him early on that I'd been abused by my father as a child.
He told me that a lot of women had divulged stories of their abuse to him, "they seemed to be able to talk to me, where they hadn't been able before...it's scary how many women have had similar experiences as you".
Sounded great at the time...finally a man who understood and didn't push me for sex when I didn't feel ready etc...now I wonder whether he was seeking 'vulnerable' women out.
I'm going to stop thinking about this now, I'm just relating it all to him and freaking myself out.
But do get your point Chl0e and I'll look into trying to sort my self esteem out
I know but these things that I feel uncomfortable letting other people do for me (female friends for example) I would do it for them!! So it is not a friendship-killer thing to ask of somebody.
You were abused by your father? Oh chicken you poor thing. I don't know what to say. It's no wonder you don't value yourself like you should. Did this guy encourage you to talk to somebody ?
You don't have to fear men who push you to have sex before you're ready because it is your absolute prerogative to say no to sex if that's not what you want. You don't need to accept a sexual relationship if the 'terms' of the relationship aren't to your liking you know what I mean? You have control over who you sleep with! so nobody who pressures you to have sex with them when they have done nothing to earn your respect or trust or affection is ever going to be a 'prospect' for the new you.
I don't mean to sound patronising by the way. I have rebuilt myself Jamie somers style over the last ten years. I was a wreck 6 years ago. I'd just got out of a 7 year relationship wth an abusive man.
I've only had one relationship since my children's father. And this stuff works, this navel-gazing, self-esteem building focus works because the guy was so respectful to me. At the beginning it felt odd, like more (?) intrusive to have somebody be so nice to me. But I made myself ride that out and I did 're-calibrate' something in me I think. I didn't love that guy. He was too quiet. But he was never anything less than considerate to me so it is worth 'working on yourself'. work on yourself cos you're worth it'!
Well flame me for this but I went to see him last Tuesday - I'm very impulsive so it was totally spur of the moment but I feel it helped me - I'm going to copy and paste what I wrote in a message to my friend to explain what happened, save retyping it all - so sorry it's a bit jumbled and badly formatted but:
I went to see him last Tuesday afternoon. Totally spur of the moment.
He said he had a migraine when I got there, and after a few minutes talking, he walked off to his bedroom and I followed, saying that I wasn't going to allow doors to be shut on me while I was talking, he told me he wasn't going to shut his door - but by then I was in his bedroom, and he had lay on the bed covering his eyes with a pillow.
I told him that I was confused how he's been doing his over dramatic "I don't know how I feel but why can't I keep away from you" routine for the past 4 months solid, and he snapped back "well I've been trying to get rid of you for the past 3 months, haven't I".
He then pulled me down on top of him, and pushed my head down onto his shoulder (firmly but not roughly), then just wrapped his arms tightly round my back. I tried getting up a few times and he gently pushed my head back down (I could have got up if I'd wanted to, really), and every time I started to apologise saying that I know I've been a bit much lately, especially with turning up at his home unannounced, he smiled and said "no you're not sorry, you love messing with my head" and then tried to kiss me. Every time I turned my head away, and then he said "you never seem to like me touching you or kissing you, do you?".
That carried on for a while, at one point he said he thinks he really did love me at one point, I responded "yes, for two whole weeks" (which is really all the time we actually tried for a relationship proper; before that it was casual dating) and he said "no, longer than that. And I'm shooting myself in the foot here now because it will probably be used against me until kingdom come, but I'm not sure whether in fact I STILL love you".
A little later on he undid my bra and then took my top off (he whipped it off quite quickly before I had chance to react, lol) - this was just after he had said he had felt guilty every time we slept together, as he can't handle a relationship and wants to be on his own, so I said "you feel guilty but now you're going to try anyway?!" in quite a snappy way and he said no, then gave me my top back and apologised.
I then stood up (quite cross by now) and said "do you really think I'm sitting here thinking you're going to turn round one day and say you're madly in love with me and always have been?! I'm not that deluded you know!" (and I meant it - I know I was always just a rebound) and he sat up and snapped back "I don't know whether I'm STILL in love with you!".
We then got onto the subject of him needing to be alone and why he feels that way, he said "I need to be on my own, until I'm happy on my own again.
He then suddenly came out with "I like you a lot, if I felt ready to be in a relationship, I'd really want to give it a good go with you. You have made me feel so many feelings I've never felt with anyone else before - wound me up so much, I've never sworn so much in my entire life, but at the same time the positives feel like ecstasy and they feel like love. But, I don't know what love is...I can't handle feelings, okay?!"
After that, I didn't contact him for a week, until yesterday when I asked him to meet me at lunch for a few minutes.
He told me that the part he had said about not being sure if he might still be in love with me was wrong of him, as he'd been thinking about it after I'd left and thought I was right; he wasn't feeling 'love' last Tues so shouldn't have used those words - but when I asked why he HAD used those words (as he's a grown man and should know what love feels like imo!) he said he didn't know, it's just how he felt at the time.
He then said "I like you, I'm very very attracted to you and I can't cope with it...I'm fucked. My entire life in general is messed up. I don't want to take you out, so I shouldn't sleep with you. But whenever I see you all I want to do is hold and kiss you".
I told him he shouldn't beat himself up about not having enough feelings for me or whatever, because really all we had was a short few weeks where he felt that he loved me. He then went "but then what was all the other stuff?"
I don't get what he meant by that, or why he didn't just stay silent as usual - why counter what I had said?
As it stands, he's coming round tomorrow evening to give me some answers as to why he said that stuff last Tuesday - I need to know, if he only said it too get me into bed or because he's a manipulative sod then he needs to man up and tell me.
Sorry this is epically long but is this just another example of 'mind games', does he want rid totally or could he still be genuinely confused?
But it doesn't matter what he wants, fuck what he wants, it's about what you want, which is not some tosser giving you the crumbs from his table.
I feel for you I really do, but he's playing you. Seriously, just stop contacting him, it's always you that texts, phones, goes round there. You're basically stalking him. Even if he did originally like you he wouldn't like the way you've been acting surely!!
Get Some Fucking Therapy Woman
You went to his house without being invited after he said he wanted space
You followed him into his bedroom when he had a migraine
You harangued him and forced a conversation about feelings
You ignored the fact that he told you to leave
You allowed him to take your top and bra off in a weirdly passive way
You need help. Seriously. Leave him alone. I'm not saying he sounds like a nice man (he doesn't) but your constant harassment of him is distressing to read about.
You're a pair of prize arseholes who deserve each other.
Please, go and find a therapist. You sound completely mad, and about 12. You're both nuts. Were you abused as a child? I don't mean to sound dismissive, I was too, and I was like you when I was a teenager, completely off my head and with no boundaries whatsover. Please please please get some proper help.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.