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How can I stay best friends with my ex when I still fancy the pants off him?(76 Posts)
I'm all in a spin. Can't get my silly head round this at all. I desperately want to keep my ex as a friend as we are very close but I can't bear to hear him talk about his latest date. I'm as jealous as hell but he means so much to me that I don't want to go NC. But maybe I have to? I would miss him hugely. I can't think which option would be worse.
I met ex a year ago. I helped him through a really difficult time - basically I was his rebound after his divorce. I knew from the word go that he was totally unsuitable as he was still broken hearted and floundering about his marriage break up plus he has a very dodgy, unstable past. We were like chalk and cheese. I was the strong sensible one dishing out advice and reassuring him and he was all over me like a rash, completely infatuated - typical rebound. I never felt we were properly matched or that it would go anywhere. Gradually I came to have feelings for him though - maybe I loved him and the sexual chemistry was strong for both of us. But I knew deep down that he was not a longterm option. I thought he would be a lovely fling and we would both move on after the fun stopped.
After 6 months I called time and we agreed to stay friends. As you do. But, here's where we went wrong, we kept in daily contact - lots of texts, saw each other nearly every day and very occasionally ended up in bed together - totally mutual. He did stuff round the house for me and in return I did his washing. A whole lot more than just friends I'd say. He told me that I was his best friend, that he could trust me with anything - and boy has he told me some really big secrets - and that he never ever wanted to lose me. I told him that he needed to get out and date people as I knew our situation was too cosy and was not helping either of us. He agreed and has never led me on in any way. It's my own stupid fault.
So now he's gone and taken my advice and I feel utterly broken hearted. How fucking ridiculous of me. But I'm so jealous. It hurts worse than a wet tea towel on the back of the legs. He's met someone and I can't bear to hear a word about it. He's stayed overnight with her. I feel sick just typing that.
He's been round tonight to explain and ask if we can still be friends. He says he loves me and doesn't want to lose me but he needs to date again and whilst I understand and actually think he's right I just don't know how I can get past my jealousy. I feel like I've been kicked in the chest. Actual physical pain. It's totally ridiculous. He truly is one of my best friends - I'm probably his only friend. I can't bear to lose him. If I really was his friend then surely I'd be pleased that he is making progress and finding happiness again?
Id just come out and tell him you still fancy him....see what he says. Do u want to try again? If so, tell him now before this thing withthe other womsn gets serious.
I don't think you can have it both ways-you feel too strongly about him (I have no idea if you love him romantically but it's very intense and doesn't sound like how I feel about any of my best friends - none of whom I sleep with).
Either nc or ask him if he wants to try again. You're doing him and yourself no favours at present with this so called friendship.
You can always nc and then consider contacting him in a year when you've calmed down a bit.
I've told him I don't want to hear about this new woman as it hurts me so he must know I have feelings for him. I've also told him he's doing the right thing which I believe to be true. I really wish I could see him as just a lovely friend but I can't look at him without wanting to jump into bed with him. He feels the same apparently. My head tells me he is the most unsuitable man for a relationship to ever cross my path. More hang ups and baggage than I've got time to type.
If he ever suggested we try again I'd like to think I'd turn him down but I don't know if I could. Heart versus head.
Defineme - yes, I know we are more than friends. I've known it all along. It's hurting me, stopping me from moving on and he's already told this new date that his best friend is an ex and he sees lots of me so god knows what she must be feeling.
It's going to end in tears all round if I don't call a halt now. I feel like I'm cutting off my right arm.
Either date him or go no contact for a good while
His new girlfriend is probably feeling as messed up as you!
My ex was in this situation when I met him. Best mate was a woman who got jealous when we met. I was jealous of her as he told me she was so good looking and could have any man she wanted. For a time he was seeing her without telling me. Then there was the ex wife!
I wish i had run screaming. Someone will get hurt. Most likely not him. Run.....your instinct is telling you what to do. Good luck x
I just wanted to add that maybe it is the feeling of being replaced that is bugging you rather than you genuinely want him. You have played a big role in getting him sorted so to speak and now it looks like the othet woman is set to reap the reward of all your hard work.
If so....you are probably very wrong...if my experience was anything to go by.
He isn't 'one of your best friends' though, is he? He's a man you've fallen for and you keep hoping he'll morph into the man you want him to be, and one who is ready to settle down again.
He needs to go through a process, and you need to let him. But don't be the idiot who mothers him, listened to his problems, cooks for him, offers him a bed, a cosy shag and some company when he's got
no-one nothing better to do, and then have to sit back and watch in two years time when he walks down the aisle with someone else.
Saying you don't want to lose a good friend is a convenient cliche that just lets you be in denial about what you really wish for.
I think as hard as it is, you need to go NC. It doesn't have to be all tears and slammed doors and anger and bitterness, just that if you keep seeing him as a 'friend' then the relationship will continue to be neither one thing nor the other, until he decides he loves someone else enough that it would be inappropriate to keep in close contact with you.
You say he's unsuitable - well if he's that unsuitable then do yourself a favour; remember it fondly as a lovely dalliance with someone who was interesting but ultimately too much of a liability, and allow yourself to move on and don't look back.
If he's not actually that unsuitable, apart from being newly divorced, then go NC and if he really can't live without you he'll let you know soon enough. But don't accept half a relationship.
You can't stay friends with this person if you're going to be mooning over them all the time. Why do that to yourself? You've served your purpose, it's run its time and he's moved on. You're dumped and all this 'I will always love you' crap is a cynical way of keeping you warm in case he needs a fall-back one day.
So consign him to the past, take a long break from each other and do other things.
Yes. That's exactly what I need to do - all of the above. But I feel like I'm giving my baby away. He definitely became a bit of a project and I do feel peeved that someone else will reap the rewards. He's become such a huge part of my life. I feel so silly.
Yes, you are being silly. He's neither a project nor a baby. He's a man that seems to have played the needy & broken card well, saw you for a while and now wants to move on. If he had any decency he'd realise that the 'let's be friends' idea is just cruel and he'd leave you alone.
I agree with Cogito, one of you is the lucky substitute. Or not so lucky. Please free yourself. Don't be like me.....I have wasted years on a man like this. He will be just fine! It's you and the other woman I would be concerned about! X
Why not just have a relAtionship with him?
Why string him along? He must be so confused by all this!
I don't understand this at all, you went out with him, helped him through loads of stuff (normal) then dumped him after six months because of his 'baggage' but continued to have a relationship with him and then TOLD him to shag someone else??
Taking him out of the equation, why on earth have you done this to yourself? What in you has made you treat yourself so dreadfully?
I think that has to be your question, not what to do about him. I think if you were able to be nice to yourself you would probably realise this is so so unhealthy for you. I think he has been quite vulnerable and that for some reason you have taken him under your wing which is so so confusing!
Relationships are basically about being sexually connected and best friends. What is all this other crap?
I think you have set him up to find something that he just won't find in anyone else because YOU are his best friend and lover... That's all you need there, the rest is just secondary.
There was a very wise poster on one of these threads who said something about it being like gambling on a slot machine. You have put so much money into it that you can't walk away because it may be just about to pay out!!
It is a gamble though and like someone said before, do you deserve half a relationship? He is playing you both. Sorry to sound cynical.
Hey its 2014. So much to see and do. We don't have time to obsess over these men do we?? ;)
You can't be friends with him now.
Either get back with him..It seems weird to me that you split up tbh. .or go NC.
You can't be friends with him now.
Either get back with him..It seems weird to me that you split up tbh. .or go NC.
I think Gecko makes a lot of sense. It sounds like you got frightened and sabotaged what you had. Your situation is mine in reverse.
Talk to him. He should make a decision and you or the other woman is going to be hurt.
How is he 'playing her'? She split up with him, seems to me that he is hanging round like a lost puppy while she plays him tbh.
Flip the situation around, the sexes have nothing to do with it. Imagine a woman had come on and spoken about a man like he was the op?
She is doing the playing, she holds all the cards.
You are right Geckos, I am confusing this lady's situation with mine.
PS. I have no doubt that had the best friend in my situation told my ex that she loved and wanted him, he would never have continued with me - just I am not sure she did or maybe the timing was not right. It was all a bit of a muddle at the time.
My friend had to leave a man who got himself a 'best friend'
Because you can't have a best friend and a proper partner, they have to be entwined.
Well said. I am going to remember those words.
Because you can't have a best friend and a proper partner, they have to be entwined
What you are doing isn't fair. He's not suitable so now you have to walk away. You can't be friends and you both have to go through a sort of grieving process but that means no contact.
I don't think you do truly love him because if you did you would want what's best for him ,and it isn't this.
You can't be friends with him, or at least not at the moment. One or both of you are not being honest with yourself or with each other. This isn't a friendship its a convenient emotional bridge for both of you. I'm not clear what the dynamics of the relationship are but it sounds, frankly, like he is using you as as buffer zone, a comfortable quasi relationship while he adjusts to single life again. I may have totally misread this but that's how it comes across.
You need to have a proper talk about this. Either you make a go of it as a couple or you cut ties, at least for now. Neither of you will be able to move on if you retain this connection.
allo hugs to you
What happened to my friend was bloody awful, for nearly a year this bloke had an EA with this woman who he practically moved into the house and friend was supposed to cook and clean for, under the guise of it all being really normal because they were 'just' best friends and when she finally plucked up the courage to say it was unacceptable, they made out like she was being awkward for no reason! When she spoke to her friends and family they admitted they thought it was some sort of threesome that she was happy with and didn't want to say anything!
So she spent all that time feeling so lonely and like she was being unreasonable and in the end left him and she is now much happier.
It all sounds so similar. The BF in my situation encouraged my ex to go online to find someone but then got quite jealous when he met me.
To be fair to her though, she went NC as I expect she was able to be healthily angry about it all and put herself first. Not sure, as I never met her.
The difference was that she did not fancy him but as Ques said, they had been an emotional bridge for each other. For example he would listen while she told him about her dating experiences, he was the one who was lovesick for her. When she told him no chance, he settled for me!
That's why I have found this thread so interesting.
Anyway, reading all this stuff is helping me work through my own issues and I hope the OP sorts it out.
Thanks Gecko. That hug bought a tear to my eye.
I am glad to hear your friend is much happier.
you shouldn't feel settled for.
There are always ex's or old flames, if you like this guy and he likes you, then there is no reason why you can't fall in love with each other and become each others partner.
It's whether you think there is still a chance she could 'take' that from you though. I would want lots of reassurance about that.
Ah Gecko, it was a long time ago and the relationship has recently ended, but that was how it all started so maybe I am feeling sorry for the new woman in this, but I also understand the OP's feelings too.
It would be good to hear how she gets on though.
Off to work now but it just occurred to me that if I had not gone NC recently, as he wanted to stay in touch and "be friends", then I would be in the OP.s situation and would become the BF in the background for any new woman he might meet! Like a merry go round and I am pretty sure I would be jealous too at the thought of someone else reaping the reward of my hard work!!
OP if you can bear it, do let us know what happened.
You can't be just friends- and you never have been.
You can't be friends with someone you have sex with when you each feel the need AND then be jealous when they go off to find 'The One'.
If he's as bad a catch as you seem to think ( all that baggage) then let it go.
If you are half willing to make this into a relationship and take the risk of it going tits up, then do that.
You ended it because you were wearing your 'sensible' hat. Maybe instead of doing that you ought to have let the relationship run its course- whatever that might have entailed.
It might have worked, it might not have. But at the moment you are pining for something that might have been- and in your eyes someone else is getting it (him)
You are both being unfair to each other- you need to step back if you are sure you don't want him- let him go- and he needs to stop treating you like a cosy pair of slippers whenever he wants his feet warming.
OR you throw caution to the wind and just get on with a relationship and take the risk.
I have a friend who was in a similar situation to you, without the divorce part for him; they went out for 6m, broke up, stayed friends, both saw other people but stayed in close contact - and then after a couple of years, the bloke decided that he couldn't cope any more because he really just wanted to be with my friend. So. He backed off - she realised how much she actually cared about him, they got back together, then engaged, then married and still are 11 years later.
I don't know how much the baggage and chalk and cheese things are real, and how much they are mental safeguards that you have put in place to talk yourself out of this relationship - but in all honesty, I'd stop mucking around and give it another go.
If he'd really wanted a relationship with you, when you advised him to date other people, he could have said no.
I think your head has made the right choice OP, but your heart and your body just need to catch up.
You either need to cut all ties with him or tell him how you feel and hope that he feels the same, if he doesnt then again cutting ties maybe the only option. Its really hard to just be friends with somebody you have feelings for, ive done it tried kidding myself got in another relationship which (no offence to the guy) It just wasnt the same I didnt have that connection, the attraction or anything with him.
Thanks everyone. I'm at work and it's difficult to post but all these replies are really very helpful. I will post a proper reply later.
I know what I have to do. NC all the way. Until at least I feel stronger. He's sapped my energy. And I've let him.
Dorsy I do wish you luck and strength in all this. In some strange cosmic way, you posting about your situation has helped me not feel quite so alone. I am about three weeks out of my seven year relationship and am experiencing so many emotions, longing, anger, grief, panic, relief - it is quite exhausting but I know I have to feel it all to come out the other side.
Thanks so very much for all the advice. It's what I need to hear. I need a big kick up the bum to do this. I planned to meet him tomorrow to explain about the nc but I think I'll send him an email. He fried my brain yesterday telling me that he had met someone else, that he really loved me - first time he's ever said that to me wtf, that I'm his closest and best friend and that he always wanted me in his life. So I can't afford to meet him in person. I love him and will buckle. I'll email him when I feel up to it, sit on it for 24 hours then send it over the weekend. I do feel much more resolute tonight.
Why don't you just make a go of it?
What have you got to loose?
whoa....! if you both love each other then why the heck are you both backing out?
If you are terrified of his baggage and being hurt then I'd say you don't love him. Love is usually optimistic and people just 'go' for it.
You ended the relationship not because you were unhappy but because you felt somehow he was 'bad news' due to his baggage. I think that's an odd thing to do if you are head over heels.
You've either got to overcome your feelings that he's bad news, and give it a go, and maybe regret it for the rest of your life- or take the plunge and the risks that we all do when we start a relationship.
Likewise, if he really loves you then he's got to convince you that he won't make the same mistakes again.
I think his dating other women and telling you about them is a carefully thought out ploy to try to make you jealous and want him back.
It's staring me in the face what you ought to do- what are you so scared of?
I would love to believe that was his motive but sadly I don't think it's true. I can sense his excitement at meeting this new woman. Just as he was infatuated when he first met me. I think I'm being kept as reserve or as was previously said, a comfy pair of slippers who is conveniently local - I live a mile away, she's about 40 miles up the motorway.
He's got a horrendous track record with relationships. 2 ex wives and 7 children all of whom he's left and treated badly, ie not supported the children properly. He is reckless, selfish and self serving. But he can charm the birds out of the trees and is highly intelligent and very interesting. He's pissed a lot of people off over the years and never allows anyone to get close to him - I am the exception apparently. He spent part of his young adulthood involved in fairly serious organised crime and with a significant drug problem for many years - coke and LSD. He's told me stuff that would make your toes curl. The drugs have left permanent physical and mental health problems. However, he now has a very respectable job and you would never guess his criminal past. He carries a huge amount of genuine guilt and remorse about his past life. Very few people know about it as he was never arrested. Even his ex wives never knew the full extent of his behaviour. By the time he told me I had already fallen for him. But I think that's more than enough baggage for me to justify stepping away. And I haven't even mentioned the sexual hang ups.
He's text me 3 times already this morning as I told him I wanted to meet him to explain. But I'm going to stick with the email plan and in my own time, not his.
You love him. He loves you. You are best friends. Both got some baggage. You have a strong mental connection. The chemistry and sex is great. He has known the ow five minutes.
Quite frankly it sounds like the basis for a good relationship. He cannot possibly love the ow in such a short time so he can end that without too much hassle.
Oh dear...cross post. I did wonder what red flags you had about him. X
Yes - step away! Your last post made it clear why you ended the relationship and well done you. Keep fine tuning those instincts for self preservation!
Good for you. Keep strong xx
I think you should try with him.
Tell him that you'll try and see it through to a proper conclusion. Otherwise it will always be there, hanging over you. I'm not saying get pregnant or move him in, but you love each other, you trust each other, you have chemistry. That's more than a lot of people have.
If you've seen enough, then you have to go NC. But that seems very sad. You decided he was unsuitable because of his past, instead of allowing him to tread a new path with you. Has he done anything to make you feel like he would treat you badly? He's changed a lot already if no one would guess his past.
Oh, I'm probably too full of the milk of human kindness... you know him, you made a decision. Stick with it.
Sorry but him coming off drugs is a bad thing?
People can and do change. What a shame for both of you.
well- what strikes me is that for all his faults, he's someone who believes in hope over experience- and you believe in never taking a risk as well as cutting your nose off to spite your face.
All meant in the nicest way!
Everyone has a past. It's up to you how much you think he has reformed. You gave him 6 months of your life presumably when you knew all of this anyway.
Unless you have a strongly ticking bio clock and want kids soon then I'd be inclined to say give this a whirl and see where it goes.
I don't see how you can say you love him but you want to end it because of his past. The past is the past.
He's never done a thing to make me feel threatened in any way. He is the most gentle man I have ever met. When he first told me about his past life I thought he was a fantasist. I thought he was making it up to make himself look interesting or edgy. It was unbelievable. I couldn't reconcile this nervous bumbling gentle giant with the ruthless criminal he was telling me about. Maybe I should have gone nc at that point but I felt he deserved a chance.
It doesn't sound to me like you have ever given him a chance.
I am the most committed and down to earth mum around but 8 years ago I was living very, very differently.
I would hate for people to treat me differently because I loved cocaine and LSD, honestly that would just be ignoring all the things I have done in my life beyond that.
I could have coped with just the drugs and his subsequent very successful recovery but I could never get my head round the other criminal stuff. He wasn't a drug dealer btw. Although he was sometimes paid for "work" in drugs.
I defy anyone to not have a few qualms about getting involved with someone who has got such a shocking past and who has not yet got to grips with it all himself. He is still grappling with lots of these issues. That's how we got so close. I didn't reject him although he thought I would. I said yes, we can still be friends. But it turns out we can't because we have feelings for each other.
I miss him already. The nc thing is torturous and it hasn't even started.
I wouldn't believe you are the first person he has told about all these things in his past
if they are true
I think he sounds a player and you are absolutely making the best decision. Stick to your guns!
He's pissed a lot of people off over the years and never allows anyone to get close to him - I am the exception apparently.
This is a line to charm if I ever heard one. I'm sure the exes and children he has walked out on felt like the exception at some point too.
You're the fallback option. Get thee over to Baggage Reclaim and you'll see him in many of the posts.
You're mad. sorry. If the choice is torturous nc or giving it a chance it's a no brainer.
Actually in his shoes I'd not want a relationship with you because you sound harsh and unforgiving.
Maybe one 'deal' to make with him is he seeks therapy of some kind for his deamons if you are to have a meaningful relationship.
All these people saying she should give him a chance - can you not see he sounds like he spins this "you're the first person I have ever opened up to" line every time?
Because he went from never telling anyone anything, even his ex wives, to opening up to the OP virtually immediately. IMO he is talking bollocks.
And the 7 kids he has treated badly - that alone would stop me wanting to give him another chance. It doesn't sound as though he is trying to repair those relationships does it?
Keep well away OP
I'm sure the exes and children he has walked out on felt like the exception at some point too.
Absolute spot on I would say.
Actually, in his rather weak defence he is trying to repair the relationships with his children and that has been fairly successful. However, it doesn't excuse the way he treated them when he walked out in the first place. Two of the children refuse to speak to him but the others have a good relationship with him although not close.
But that's all irrelevant now as I'm officially nc!
Shall I tell him not to contact me or just leave it now and hope he gets the message?
you sound very mixed up.
You profess to love him yet are very judgemental of his life.
The 2 are not compatible.
As for feeding the lines to other women- the only word that comes to mind is cynical.
Jaffa - "harsh and unforgiving"? I had nothing to forgive him for. I'm being harsh to protect myself. But I would say sensible and realistic.
I do feel confused and mixed up. Torn in two actually.
I do love him but I find it hard to reconcile his past with who he says he is now. Can people really change that much? I defy anyone not to feel wary if someone reveals that they had years of serious criminal behaviour but are now reformed.
I think you are trying to "repair" him. The bad boy thing is quite powerful and he is certainly one. I would just say... he may well be more manipulative than you realise. Manipulative is a strong word but I can't think of another one.
To be honest, I can't imagine how you are going to keep away... no offence OP but I read the words you write but deep down I don't think you will be able to enforce NC. Just try and protect yourself with whatever you do.
Yes I am cynical. It's served me well. I have a lovely DH who I have always believed entirely and have been right to do so.
I kicked the EA's to the curb fairly quickly.
I agree - sensible and realistic. Tell him not to contact you and block his number.
never allows anyone to get close to him? Erm, two women felt close enough to marry him! I think its all been quite draining/exciting etc and that 'special' feeling is hard to get rid off.
Take away the being in a movie feeling and you've got ; bloke with a full on past who you love - either ask if he wants to make a go of it or go NC.
BTW not unsympathetic - had my own version of this in my twenties.
How lovely to be as assured and perfect as you then Handbags.
I think you just need to tell him and live happily ever after<hopeless romantic>
Not perfect but I can usually spot a liar fairly quickly. I would put money on this guy being a bullshitter.
The OP has said herself she has some serious red flags and yet you are telling her to ignore them?!
How nice for you Handrags. Oh if we all had your insight and common sense. And a sense of modesty too.
I think it's a bit rich to call someone you have never met a liar.
The other side of the coin is he's a reformed character- off drugs, steady job, making amends with his children.
Forgiveness is a quality worth having too.
No Jaffa I am sharing my experiences of people. Surely this is the point of people asking for advice on forums?
It's up to the OP what she does of course, I am giving her my feelings on the matter. Of course neither of us knows the exact situation or the people concerned, so neither of us can do anything but offer our opinion.
It happens our opinion differs <shrug>. No need to get shirty.
Anyway OP - I hope you find your happy ending, whatever you decide to do.
Of course it's up to her and yes experiences are helpful. But it makes me shudder a bit when people say how great they are at making the right choices- it comes over as smug and lacking empathy. That's all.
Yes, it's awful when people suffer from high self-esteem.
Anyway, it's all academic because he's with someone else now and I encouraged him to do that. The original question was whether I should try to remain a friend.
My plan is to go no contact but I am very weak willed and will be bloody amazed if I manage it.
The danger point will be if or when his new relationship folds. I think it will as it's long distance and won't be enough for him as he likes lots of attention - see, I'm not stupid! If I'm not sorted by then then I could have serious relapse.
IME no you can't be friends. Not yet anyway and maybe never.
It may be possible years down the line when you have another partner. But now- no. You said you love him and fancy him so any contact is just putting yourself through torture.
Either end it 100% or continue the relationship- he's hardly 'with' someone after such a short time. And if you decide to go NC then tell him and do not return any calls/messages.
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