Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Can Ex Boyfriends/Girlfriends Still Be Friends?

Dear Danielle,

While in high school and college I had the same boyfriend and although the relationship got very serious, I was not ready for marriage and he was, so we broke up and I moved to Chicago where I got a job in investment banking. We are both now married (to separate people) and his wife gave birth to twins this summer. We have not been in touch since the break-up, except for seeing each other at a friend's wedding a few years back, and he has always been very clear with me that he doesn't think a friendship with me is appropriate. I still respect him and am very fond of him and I feel that because we are both happily married, there is no reason why we can't be friendly. I am planning to visit my hometown with my husband for Thanksgiving and would love to see me ex and meet his twins. My husband is OK with seeing him. Can I contact him and make an effort to be-friend him again since so many years have passed? How do I show him that we can have a platonic adult relationship?

"Exes can be friends"

Dear "Exes can be friends,"

You are correct in saying that exes can theoretically be friends, if years have passed and they both have moved on happily in their own lives. However, your ex has told you that a friendship with you is not something he can handle, for whatever reason, and you should leave him be. I can understand that you want to meet his children and get to know the life he lives now, because at one time you were very close. However, some relationships are meant to be kept in the past tense. Since you ended things, seeing you might bring up difficult emotions for him and it is not fair for you to initiate a friendship. However, if you casually run into him while at home, no harm in being friendly and even suggesting a casual get together. If he says no, don't push it. And if you don't happen to run into him take it as a sign it wasn't meant to be.

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