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Just 'friends' after love- is it even possible

(26 Posts)
TraineeBabyCatcher Sat 23-Feb-13 00:55:33

I've split with my dp on nearly 3 years. I have a ds who exdp was like a father to, so we have agreed that he will have contact. The split is of exdp choice because he's not happy but not sure why. He wants us to be friends, which I would love to think we could be, how but do I just be friends who the man I love with all my heart and 4 weeks ago was discussing moving in together and saving to get married?

alittletime2 Sat 23-Feb-13 01:05:36

I don't know, seems unlikely to work when you have such strong feelings. A friendly, civil relationship maybe, but true friendship could be tricky. Why the sudden change of heart from him? Has he done this kind of thing before? How old is your ds?

TraineeBabyCatcher Sat 23-Feb-13 01:08:30

He's never done anything like this. I don't really know why, he just says he's not happy atm and its not fair to string me along when he doesn't know what hr wants or what's making him unhappy.
Ds is 5 and doesn't remember a time before ex dp was in his life. He loves him more than his 'real' father.

BertieBotts Sat 23-Feb-13 01:14:26

I suppose if you're in touch because of DS and respectful of each others' feelings then it could develop into a friendship over time.

It would depend on the real underlying reason for the split though, and if it feels one-sided then that's a bit strange - if you were just not compatible in that way then surely you'd have had some niggles about the relationship too?

alittletime2 Sat 23-Feb-13 01:25:08

It's lovely that you want to keep him in your ds's life. Only you can decide how close you want him to be. 'Doesn't know what he wants' sounds classic, having his freedom but doesn't want to burn bridges with you. Make sure he doesn't mess you around xx

badinage Sat 23-Feb-13 01:26:06

If he was talking 4 weeks ago about moving in together and getting married, chances are he's met someone else and something's happened with her in the past month. He probably wants to 'stay friends' so that you can be the fallback kid if it doesn't work out, but he probably won't tell you the truth and if it goes belly up with the OW, wants to be able to come back and say he's been 'doing a lot of thinking and realises it was just cold feet talking. Can we try again?'

At which point, you might deduce that friends don't treat eachother like cars that can be parked and returned to later.

TraineeBabyCatcher Sat 23-Feb-13 01:26:33

None what so ever. Literally hit me completely out of the blue, we have always had a very easy wonderful relationship. We enjoy all the same things (except sport), we have never fallen out and we were totally happy as far as I was aware.
The only thing that might have been a possible problem was that we are both very busy, me doing a degree and him in a new job with lots of hours. But he said that isn't the issue, he said that he'd been unhappy for a while and that for the last 2 weeks before we broke up he had spent more time with his friends and was happier.

badinage Sat 23-Feb-13 01:29:47

New job?

That's where he met her then.

melbie Sat 23-Feb-13 01:30:15

I think it is possible to be eventually friends. Initially one person will be further along in the grieving/recovery process because they ended things- your DP has already started adjusting in his head whereas for you it is all brand new.

Over time you will get through the grieving process- no one can say how long that is because everyone is different. At that point when you have mentally moved on then yes friends is possible. Sometimes you need a decent break away from each other to be able to get to a place where you are ready to be friends. I don't think you can be friends if one of you is still deeply in love

Be aware though- revelations may come forward making it clear why he has had a change of heart and you might get angry about that. It is perfectly possible he is telling you everything but it is a bit strange. I don't necessarily mean someone else btw- I had a very similar separation and it just turned out all the talk of the future was genuinely meant but was actually sort of a "project" for us together to improve things but he realised he just did not feel like that any more about me. I had thought everything was fine!

Once you get over the initial shock it is worth delving for your peace of mind and so that you know you are working from a place of honesty which is the only way you will keep a friendship

EllaFitzgerald Sat 23-Feb-13 01:30:19

I think it's one of those situations where it's impossible to generalise. I was very good friends with someone I'd been planning a wedding with, mostly because I came to realise that he'd done me a favour by ending things and as much as I cared about him, we weren't right for each other. The one after him... Not so much.

Were you friends before your relationship began? And does he want a friendship where you spend time together or does he just mean saying hello if you bump into each other?

TraineeBabyCatcher Sat 23-Feb-13 01:36:13

He still wants to chat and sometimes meet up- mainly with ds I think, I'm not sure if he means just us two.
We didn't know each other before we started dating, we met and were dating within a week. We practically lived together until he got this new job then he was so busy working so many long hours and doing sleeps at work.

I'm trying not to read to much into the way things ended up, he did seem genuinely cut up, but I don't know how you can't when he said 'I don't think this is the end for us'. Why the fuck did he have to go and say that?!

badinage Sat 23-Feb-13 01:40:25

Why?

So that you'll wait for him if his new relationship doesn't work out, I should think. Now that you've said he's got form for getting involved quickly in relationships, the 4 week turnaround is more explainable isn't it?

badinage Sat 23-Feb-13 01:43:49

Oh and he said he'd been sleeping at work? I don't think so, do you?

TraineeBabyCatcher Sat 23-Feb-13 01:45:37

Having fun are we badinage ?

badinage Sat 23-Feb-13 01:50:12

No, not at all. I feel very sorry for you and your son, actually. I'm sorry if my anger with this patently dishonest bloke is coming through as me poking fun at you. That's actually the last thing I'd do. But I do think you'd be better off seeing that this is a well-worn script that men who've got someone else use, when they don't quite want to burn their boats and be left with nothing and no-one. It's better that you protect you and your son from a person who could treat you that badly and leave you so suddenly without any warning.

EllaFitzgerald Sat 23-Feb-13 01:50:34

"I don't think this is the end for us" sounds suspiciously like he's keeping his options open in a rather manipulative way.

So do you actually like him? Is he someone that you'd have wanted to be friends with had you not fallen for him? My immediate feeling is that if he treats his friends like that, why would you want him in your life? By all means be civil for the sake of your DS, but I'd be inclined to keep him at arms length, especially as it must still be quite raw for you.

TraineeBabyCatcher Sat 23-Feb-13 01:57:20

It's hard to explain what he's like over the internet, he sad it quite sadly as though he's just really confused but I just wish he hadn't said it at all because it just makes it harder for me.
I think we quite easily could have been friends if we hadn't started dating because we hit it off straight away and just clicked (i don't mean romantically).

EllaFitzgerald Sat 23-Feb-13 02:11:25

That's understandable. You know him, good and bad, whilst strangers see it from a more black and white point of view. Feel free to tell me I'm talking out of my ear, but if he's breaking things off, he would come across as being sad, even if only to show he's not a complete arse. What's raising a red flag for me is that his comment seems designed to either keep you hanging on in case he wants to come back or to placate you. Assuming there's no one else involved, wouldn't it have been kinder to tell you that he needs to sort himself out and can't guarantee anything? It just seems like a total line.

And you must be in bits at the moment. Could you really cope with seeing him and pretending that all is ok? Doesn't give you much of an opportunity to heal.

EMS23 Sat 23-Feb-13 02:32:35

If you were one of my best friends, I'd be gently advising you to cut contact with him for now.
Whatever his reasons for ending things, you're still in love with him, you're hurting and confused. The only way you'll find peace and perhaps some clarity on the situation is away from him. Seeing him at this stage would, IMHO, be upsetting for you and you'd probably find yourself trying to win him back.

If he's serious about contact with your DS is there anyone you could ask to help facilitate this for a while? So do handovers for you or if contact is to take place at your home, that person could be there while exP is there and you go out.

I think friends with an ex is only truly achieveable once you're both over it and recovered from the split and that can take a bit of time.

You sound so hurt and confused, I'm so sorry for you and can feel your distress in your posts. It's a shit place to be but in time, you will be fine and your life, with or without him, will be good. Do you have friends in RL to lean on right now?

jynier Sat 23-Feb-13 03:16:12

TraineeBabyCatcher - So sorry that you and your partner have split up; take care of yourself and your little one.

Red flags waving - my guess is OW!

Think that you need the wisdom of AF and MN "royalty." They're brilliant at analyses of situations like yours!

Mimishimi Sat 23-Feb-13 05:33:46

I think they say a month for each year of the relationship before you can begin to move on right? Do you think a friend could help you with contact for your DS for that time?

sashh Sat 23-Feb-13 05:51:49

My best friend is an ex of mine. He's the only ex I'm in touch with. It can work.

akaWisey Sat 23-Feb-13 05:55:41

OP I think your DP is asking a lot of you at the moment.

I speak as someone who suddenly ended a relationship two weeks ago. For my DP it was also a bolt out of the blue and he was terribly shocked. There is no one else for me btw, but I wasn't happy and couldn't see a way for us to change things in our situation - and no, I wasn't having an affair either.

The thing is, I am still very fond of him, I want to be friends and I miss him but I knew I would be asking too much of him right now. Actually I didn't even ask if we can be friends because the right thing to do IMO is to respect his decision to break all contact. I think in this situation what your DP wants is secondary to what you need to do for yourself and your DS.

I don't automatically subscribe to the OW possibility btw. He may be genuinely sad and upset to have hurt you and yes, he may selfishly ask you for friendship as a way of assuaging his guilt for leaving you. Also I don't think that doing a post-mortem on the speed of your involvement with DP is going to do anything but cast doubt on the quality of ALL the relationship - you did what you did as adults and from what you have described it worked very well until now. Not all relationships are forever after and nor are they meant to be however sad that is.

I agree with the poster who suggests asking someone in RL to facilitate contact for a while, but you would need to carefully explain that to your very young DS - why mummy can't see 'daddy' with him.

If it's any consolation whatsoever OP - if your friendship with him was solid in your couple relationship then it's possible that time away from each other will give you both a chance to build something different and good for the sake of your DS. If it doesn't then you won't have invested any more time on something which neither of you would be happy with.

HTH

TraineeBabyCatcher Sat 23-Feb-13 10:03:16

Thanks aka. I don't believe there is someone else, I have been with people before where I could believe it of them and I don't of exdp.
He was incredibly upset when he told me, he was saying that he was just so confused because he loves me, loves our family and nothing has actually happened, but just isn't happy and doesn't know why, he wanted to have a break to sort his head out but it was me that said it has to be the end because it hurts too much to think you might come back to me, but then you might not.
He is a wonderful person and I would love to think he will still be in my life but I just don't know how to transfer from relationship to friendship.

puds11isNAUGHTYnotNAICE Sat 23-Feb-13 10:08:00

I am friends with my Ex. We split about 6months ago. He was actually over the other night to watch a film. The only issue is that neither of us has met anyone else, and I think there is a bit of tension about if the other one is seeing someone and hasn't told the other (IYSWIM).

That really is the only source of contention. I can be a bit silly about the whole thing as I suffer from anxiety, so I am nervous about how a new GF could change the dynamics of our relationship and my DD's life.

He is still one of my best friends, and he is the person who knows me the best.

tessa6 Sat 23-Feb-13 10:26:30

I think there is someone else in some regard, op. that doesn't mean he wouldn't be very very upset to end things. It doesn't really matter i suppose but knowing might make it easier for you to move on. Which you'll have to do. You must start living a new life for yourself, it's the only route to happiness, whatever happens. Good luck. Sorry for your loss.

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