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Friends with the ex?

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  September 16, 2013 08:18 AM

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Q: Dear Meredith,

I dated a guy for four months. He ended things saying he didn't see a future with me in it. I was sad but not angry, and we ended things on relatively good terms. Two months later, he called. We had a catch-up session and then he asked me out for drinks/dinner. I explained that I really couldn't be friends, not yet, not as long as I still harbored feelings. He suggested checking back in a month later. A few weeks went by and I caved. I thought I was in a place to handle being a friend. I wasn't. We got in a fight because of my emotional wishy-washiness and never made it to even planning drinks. I had assumed the worst of his intentions -- loneliness or guilt. In reality, he genuinely wanted to be friends (and he has a strong track record of friendships with exes to support his intentions). It ended on less than stellar terms. He was hurt. I felt bad. I apologized but the damage was already done. Now, months later, I would like to be his friend and think I can be a friend. Only thing is, I don't know how to approach him. I fear the door may be permanently closed. Any ideas?

– Hopefully a Friend, Boston


A: If the guy can't forgive you for having a tough time adjusting to a friendship, he's not good friend material. You can't dump someone and then demand that they become your friend on your schedule. I mean, why isn't he worried about how this friendship might confuse you? Why is he focused on his own pain instead of yours?

My advice is to spend some time thinking about what you'd really get out of a friendship. Can you be around him without having romantic feelings for him? What does he offer as a platonic companion?

If you think this through and still want him around as a pal, just give him a call. If he's really capable of a good friendship, he'll give this another shot and try the friendship on your timeline. If he doesn't respond well or makes this all about him, please leave the door closed.

Readers? Should she reach out? If so, how? Can he offer her a real friendship? Did she do anything wrong? 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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