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Friends with a married ex?

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  April 8, 2013 08:28 AM

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Q: Hi Meredith,

Please help me out with a friends-with-an-ex question. We're both in our late 30s, married with little ones. Almost a decade ago, we had one of those intense relationships that seemed like it was going full speed ahead for a little while there. Until he said he was falling in love with me but couldn't be with me because ... I was not Jewish. Still, it was a sweet romance, a fun time, and we both left it with great mutual appreciation for each other.

At the time, I was too upset to be friends even though he really wanted to be. I was in love with him. I couldn't snap my fingers and make myself Jewish (converting wasn't enough).

We broke up almost 10 years ago and now I want to try to be friends. I have been reflecting on past positive and negative relationships and realize how much I value him.

Full disclosure: when we initially broke up, I consoled myself by thinking we could someday rekindle the flame after heartbreak (divorce, tragedy). Now I realize those happy romances after a sad event usually only happen in the movies. I'm older and more jaded and not expecting that to happen now.

What do you think? Should I take a chance and try to rekindle the friendship? I have to admit I'm not friends with any exes. This is uncharted territory for me.

– Still Not Jewish, Somerville


A: I don't see why you need this man in your life, SNJ. I'm not opposed to organic friendships with exes, but this one seems forced and potentially harmful. You're both married with children now. You used to have fantasies about getting a divorce and rekindling your relationship with this man. What are you trying to prove? What good can come of this?

You can value him without talking to him. You can reflect on your experiences without picking up the phone. It'd be one thing if you ran into him in the grocery store and he invited your family to dinner, but that hasn't happened. This would be a cold call (or Facebook message?) to someone you loved 10 years ago.

If you're going to sit around pondering life experiences, please spend some time thinking about why you suddenly want to reach out to this guy. Are you bored? Do you need to expand your community? Are you seeking some sort of imaginary closure? Figure out your own motives and then find safer ways to make yourself happy.

Again, I'm all for being friends with an ex when it happens naturally, but nothing about this seems natural. It just seems like trouble.

Readers? Should she reach out? Why does she want to be friends? Have you had cinematic fantasies about reconnecting with an ex after a divorce or tragedy? Can she value her exes without keeping them in her life? What's happening here? Help.

– Meredith



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ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
Blogger Meredith Goldstein

Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.

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