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Chances of reconciliation with an ex you're 'friends' with?

(325 Posts)
cherrysparkles Wed 21-Aug-13 10:58:12

Hello, I've just signed up to post this thread, I hope that's ok smile

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 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 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?

Nerfmother Wed 21-Aug-13 20:41:01

Would you listen to yourself woman! You are checking and keeping score of how he interacts with others on Facebook, you are coming up with intricate questions about why he hasn't done x, y , z when the only important fact is the he does not want to be with you.
Go on , play at being friends and guaranteed within a week you'll be analysing everything he says to see if you can move it up a level.
No one normal actually takes an exit route - how rude would that be? And how brave, considering your intensity?
Do yourself a favour and caste your net wider.

cherrysparkles Wed 21-Aug-13 20:49:44

No but if I'd said "if you want me to leave you alone now then just say, and I will" then surely at the very least, he could have said "oh don't be silly" and then not replied to my texts after that? As I'd given him that option through text, on the phone and in person, multiple times. I gave him enough chances.

Daphne - I don't know what I want, truthfully. I like his company, there is a lot about him that makes me a bit hmm, a lot that totally pisses me off, I can see his flaws and they're quite off putting, it's not like I'm thinking about him the minute I wake up or checking my phone for texts every second of the day; I'm definitely not in love with him or anything like that, I suppose I just wanted the option of something happening and his company (occasionally) in the meantime.

NameThatTuna Wed 21-Aug-13 20:51:55

Well I have been making these points all thread and no one has answered yet... it's a fairly simple question; if he is shit scared of me or just 'nice' then why would he want to keep meeting up? Why wouldn't he say he just wants to text and call from now on?

<<head hits desk>>

If YOU don't know why, why do you think WE would know?

If you want to keep seeing him, as friends or for sex, just do it. You're an adult, you can do whatever you like, but don't expect him to suddenly have an epiphany and realize you're 'The One'.

I've been in this situation, nearly everyone I know has been in this situation. Some become committed relationships, some don't.

You're kidding yourself if you say you will just be his friend. Come on now, stop lying to yourself. You want more and friendship will never be enough for you. You're already tying yourself up in knots.

You will end up looking stupid.

But seriously OP, I suggest you cut contact for a while until you chill out. When you do, read all your posts on this thread.

I think you'll cringe when you do!

Br0na Wed 21-Aug-13 20:52:17

It 's very hard to be so so brutally honest though. I think he 'softened' it a little thinking that you'd go away, thinking about it, read between the lines...........

daphnesglasses Wed 21-Aug-13 20:54:30

I'd say don't waste your time on him any more unless you can really handle and want platonic (why confused) and would be ok with him bringing a girlfriend along if you went out etc. You're flogging a dead horse. Don't take it personally just move on

NameThatTuna Wed 21-Aug-13 20:55:08

I don't know what I want, truthfully. I like his company, there is a lot about him that makes me a bit hmm, a lot that totally pisses me off, I can see his flaws and they're quite off putting, it's not like I'm thinking about him the minute I wake up or checking my phone for texts every second of the day; I'm definitely not in love with him or anything like that, I suppose I just wanted the option of something happening and his company (occasionally) in the meantime.

^ ^ This smacks of desperation. Get a grip woman!

NameThatTuna Wed 21-Aug-13 20:56:47

Are you that desperate to be with anybody, even if it's someone you don't really like? confused

cherrysparkles Wed 21-Aug-13 21:02:27

How does liking a person's company, as he says he likes mine (ok granted, that may not be true but still, he said it) and wanting the possibility that if feelings were to develop then they could, and if not then at least we have a good friendship (hopefully) out of it, desperate?

At the moment, I wouldn't be able to handle that daphne - but I also know he won't find anyone anytime soon.

As I said before, I was planning on letting him come over (assuming he wants to) next week as he said he hoped he could, and if I spend the entire time wanting to be 'more than friends' then I know I need to step back and get my head straight first. I want to try seeing him first though, as for all I know I might be totally fine with just having a coffee and a chat.

Tuna - but if I still felt that I wanted a relationship (or the possibility) in say, a few weeks and he's still not showing any sign of...anything, then I more than likely will end contact - and ok I'm dragging it out for potentially another couple of months but I do believe he wants to be friends, or I at least want to try and see whether him not getting me into bed, makes him fade off into the sunset or whether he sticks around for "my company".

cherrysparkles Wed 21-Aug-13 21:05:34

Tuna - no it's not that at all. I'm a complete and utter loner. Prefer my own company, never entertained the idea of sex, or a relationship, or the thought of having to share and adapt my life to be with someone, until I met my husband, but back then we were both young and I kind of got caught up in it all.

This man caught my eye the first time we met, but not in a 'looks' sort of way, we just connected and then started to talk about shared spirituality and that kind of thing. We both played in bands too, so that was unusual (we felt at the time).

I don't usually feel that connection with someone so when I do, it means something - and he said the same back when we started out, in fact he said it first.

Br0na Wed 21-Aug-13 21:08:51

Well, I don't know, it doesn't sound like much.

I would just leave it. Don't contact him. If he contacts you, you can take each offer as an individual thing, ykwim? cinema? well, what film. Dinner? hmm, what day.

I'd relegate him. You don't have to nail every feeling to the mast I guess. He's relegated you. If you're fine with that and you like him enough to not be hurt by that, then knock yourself out being his friendly acquaintance!

daphnesglasses Wed 21-Aug-13 21:10:28

It can be hard to let go when you've had feelings for someone, but think of it as making space for someone new. Let go! good luck

scrazy Wed 21-Aug-13 23:05:43

Please OP, listen to your instincts and what he is saying to you. He means it, people tell you who they are and you need to really listen.

Stop over analysing everything he is doing and focus on yourself. If you want to stay in touch then do but don't see him at all. Get on with your own life and even sleep with/date other men.

I feel for you I really do. Been there done it plenty of times and very recently at a ripe old age (we never learn). Thank god I've wised up and it took longer than 6 months.

If he wants you/me they will do it anyway, more so if you stop seeing him and then who knows you just might have met someone else that is better.

gingerpig Wed 21-Aug-13 23:54:41

the main problem as I see it is you are not friends. you don't want to be friends - you want more. you really need to be honest with yourself.

friends do not obsess about each other and their future like you are. friends do not try and manipulate each other in the hope they will get a relationship out of it. friends do not play games. you are playing a game. friends do not have dramatic rows ending in regretful sex. friends respect each other and their wishes. you are not detached enough to be his friend and you are not respecting his wish to not have a relationship.

you will never stick at your pretence because the first hint you get at him distancing himself or becoming interested in another woman, it will be back to the pleading etc. and all the other pieces of you that aren't 'real' but probably feel very real to him.

ps. I've learned this the hard way.

SolidGoldBrass Thu 22-Aug-13 02:01:15

FFS get a hobby. Do you really want to spend the rest of your life trotting after this man with your tongue hanging out, while he runs away screaming?

Leavenheath Thu 22-Aug-13 02:09:45

Is this man a janitor at your children's school by any chance?

Cavoodle Thu 22-Aug-13 07:23:27

Every single man who has broken up with me claimed they wanted to stay "friends" and wanted to "catch up for coffee" every now and then and that "our breakup is different".

In reality, nearly all of them stopped contacting me within a couple of weeks, maybe a month or two at the most after a couple of awkward coffee dates or lunches.

Being 'friends' and making half hearted attempts to stay in contact is just what people do. It's a way to lessen the blow, and make the dumper and the dumpee feel better about the breakup. It's also a way for them to exit the routine of being with you without going completely cold turkey, and if they're especially canny or undecided, keep you on the hook while they sniff around for a better option.

The best thing you can do for yourself is stop questioning why he wants to be friends and let him go. Chances are he's saying this stuff out of politeness or self interest or simply because he likes the ego boost of having you wanting him in your life. If he takes this time to think about the relationship and decides he wants to come back, he will let you know. No amount of talking, sex, coffee dates or catching up now and then will change his mind. As a general rule though, if someone <b>breaks up with you</b>, they've already made their decision. All the best.

Br0na Thu 22-Aug-13 07:27:16

true, I had to break up with somebody last year and even though he was an incredibly mature person so if he'd been a colleague I think we could have been friends, but the truth is I thought about it carefully before I broke up with him. Most people think about it before they go ahead and say the words.

EhricLovesTeamQhuay Thu 22-Aug-13 07:36:04

Wow! You really are behaving like a teenager. Ok try being 'friends' with him if you like (what does this mean? You manipulate him into coming to your house weekly where you berate him about not looking pleased to be there and pretend you don't want to shag him?) but you really should let this fizzle out now, he has been as clear as he can be that he's not interested.
As to why he keeps coming round - maybe he's bored, lonely, maybe he wants to keep the sex option open, maybe he's spineless and can't say no. Who knows. But he has told you with words and actions that he doesn't want a relationship. Respect him, and yourself, and believe him.

PookyWooky Thu 22-Aug-13 09:24:53

What we have here is a dumping cliche. Just like "I need some space", "it's not you it's me". Most of us will have said/heard these lines at some point in our lives.

Accept that this is over/going nowhere, walk away with your dignity and get on with your life and find someone who wants to be with you without question.

'Damaged' or not, ime men are very clear if they do actually want to be in a relationship with someone. They do not dither.

Everyone in this thread has said he does not want to be with you and to walk away. Some relationships end. It can be hard to accept. But at some point you need to do just that.

scrazy Thu 22-Aug-13 09:30:39

I thought about loneliness too as a reason for saying he will come round. He might do this until he meets other people who are willing to let him come round. Sorry to sound harsh.

Leverette Thu 22-Aug-13 09:42:24

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

cherrysparkles Fri 23-Aug-13 08:33:55

Thanks everyone.

There's a lot of history I haven't gone into - I have a severely physically disabled child and there were concerns over whether he could cope with that (and his part as well as mine), whether I could allow him to be a part of our life as it is very stressful at times - I agree that if you love someone then those issues maybe aren't as big of an issue as otherwise, but there were A LOT of 'little things' that all add up to huge barriers when put together.

This is why I said - genuinely - I don't know whether I wanted a relationship; I don't even know whether it's just a case of wanting what I can't have or not liking to be told 'no'.
Maybe it's the inner child stamping my feet, I'm really not sure at all.

BUT his past relationship history and the issues surrounding us which would make it very difficult for us to be together, coupled with the fact that he only finished a year-long relationship back in January so was probably still in that rebound stage when he met me, I really feel that he WAS genuinely confused, the idea of a relationship seems like a nice idea to him (as it does me), but when I started panicking as soon as he started saying The L Word, then he finished things and I turned into the epitome of the stereotypical nagging wife; keeping tabs on him, asking him to come over every few days and then when he wasn't able to come over, having a go at him saying he should make time for me - we weren't even together at that point yet I was acting as though we were in a serious relationship - I'm not blaming myself completely, not at all as he had his part to play in it, but I can see why if you're a bit tentative about getting into another relationship, my behaviour would freak you out.

I spoke to a (male) friend of mine, told him exactly what I've written here and all the extra details and issues, and he reckons that this guy is still hurt over the loss of his last relationship, his marriage and everything in between, has been almost permanently on the rebound and that the idea of getting into something serious again, scares the life out of him.

scaevola Fri 23-Aug-13 08:48:47

Could you answer the question from levenheath ?

CinnabarRed Fri 23-Aug-13 09:18:45

My thought exactly Leavenheath!

cherrysparkles Fri 23-Aug-13 09:31:57

What does career choice matter? For the record though, no he's not.

I have already told everyone my child is severely physically disabled and attends a special school with about 5 staff and I don't think there even is a 'janitor'. Don't schools have teams of cleaners nowadays anyway?

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