Q: Dear Tia. I’ve been seeing this girl for about two months. Everything started out really well. We seemed to be getting along great and the sex was amazing. I thought about introducing her to my friends and everything but last night she told me that she was having lingering thoughts about her ex. I was totally shocked. Then she said that she still really cares for me but doesn’t think we’re compatible as a couple and would like to be friends. I know that’s what a lot of people say when they break up with you, but I actually believe her. We do have a lot in common and laugh a lot when we’re together. My question for you is can someone really be friends with an ex? I mean, how does that even work? I’m really upset right now and kind of in shock but I don’t want her out of my life, so I feel like I should at least try it. Thanks. –Dave
A: Hi Dave. I can tell you from my own experience that it is possible to be friends with an ex but that it takes some time to get there. It sounds like you might be in a bit of a rush because you’re afraid to let her go, and that kind of thinking will only lead to pain. You need to take some time apart and let the reality of the situation sink in a little. You want to be absolutely sure that you don’t have any lingering romantic feelings for her before you try to start up a friendship. It might be tempting just to jump in and do what she’s requesting of you now in hopes that she’ll realize how amazing you are and that she made a mistake. That kind of thing really only happens in the movies.
I would recommend telling her that you would like to be friends at some point in the future but that you need space to figure things out. If the sex was good, it’s especially hard to transition into being friends. It’s really easy to fall into the “casual sex trap”, where you think it’s a good idea to salvage that part of the relationship to become friends with benefits. Again, that will only lead to a whole load of hurt for you. It might take you a long time to get over her to the point that you can be friends but it’s worth the wait if you’re serious about it.
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