Auntie SparkNotes: How Can I Be Friends With My Ex?
Dear Auntie Sparknotes,
I broke up with this guy about a little over a month ago, after dating for over a year and a half. He was really shocked by my wanting to break up with him, it definitely caught him by surprise. At that time I also expressed that I still wanted to be friends with him.
He really is a sweet guy; the problem was that I just wasn't attracted to him.
The days following our breakup were very awkward, especially since neither of us had gone through a breakup before. I ignored him out of embarrassment at first, but after a few days I tried making eye contact with him in the hallways at school to establish a friendly connection between us. However, the guy has been ignoring me every time I look and smile at him.
I still really want to be friends with my ex, but I don't know how he feels. Sometimes I feel like he hates me for breaking up with him, mostly because he hasn't been very friendly around me for the past month. However, I feel like we can be just as friendly as we used to be if we built a new friendship completely unrelated to when we were dating. The question is, what should I do reestablish a friendship with him, considering he's not making an effort to do the same? Or is it too late? Should we even be friends?
Or, in other words: How do I force a friendship with the guy whose heart I just broke and who'd rather have his face mauled off by wild badgers than have any kind of relationship with me?
Because alas, Sparkler, this is the question you're really trying to ask. And not to beat you over the head with it, but do you really not realize that this guy doesn't want you around? He's ignoring you, avoiding you, refusing to make eye contact... I mean, short of hurling a box of tarantulas at your face and running screaming in the opposite direction every time you approach, it's hard to imagine how he could be more unambiguous about his feelings.
And while it is perfectly legitimate, valid, and good that you ended the relationship when you knew you wanted out, it is perfectly gross, myopic, and selfish to prod him for a friendship just because you want one, you want one now, and you think you should be able to have a friendship "completely unrelated" to your romantic history (which is straight-up impossible, by the way. No matter what new relationship you build together, it's going to be sitting squarely on the ashes of the one you used to have.).
Plus, you're violating an ironclad rule of breakups wherein the dumpee gets to determine when, if ever, to reestablish contact with the dumper. Your ex, who you describe as having been shocked and totally blindsided by your ending the relationship, needs time to heal and get on with his life without you looming around in his periphery. He's hurting. Give him some space, okay?
But before you do, if you want, here's the one thing you can do: apologize—via email, text, or some other non-confrontational medium that doesn't require a response from him—for being all up in his business with the let's-be-friends smiley stuff, acknowledge that you've been insensitive, and tell him you're backing off... but that your door is open if and when he ever wants to reestablish contact.
And then, for real, leave him alone. If he wants to be friends, he knows where to find you.
Have you ever been insta-friends with an ex, or did you need time to heal? Tell us in the comments! And to get advice from Auntie, email her at email@example.com.
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