Should I Be Friends With My Ex Girlfriend?
February 1, 1999 Ask Dr. Love Advice Column
Dr. Turndorf, Thanks for your reply.
Well in a nutshell my problem is that I was engaged to a woman for about a year, and the reason we are not still together is because we had differences, and now that I think about it insecurities, about what we meant to each another.
She started to pressuring me into marrying her when I was, and still am, applying to medical school and she would say things like 'If you know you are going to marry me then why wait?'and I would say things like 'If you are going to marry me why can't you wait'.
So this feeling of insecurity of the relationship snow balled into November when she moved out on me and said that if I did not marry her then she wasn't going to wait around for me.
Various other things such as experimentation with hard drugs, and constantly hanging out with her friends with out me ('Girl's night out') and the fact that the relationship was moving very fast (We had sex on our second date, moved in after a month, and were engaged three months into the relationship)
I wanted to wait because I did not know if this was truly the woman for me, and more importantly if I could handle a life long commitment.
Within the last two months I was looking back and wanted to give it another try, but she had said that that she has gone on with her life and she likes playing the field since she has never done it before (She was always involved in a serious relationship since she was 15 and went to serious relationship to serious relationship, she dated 7 guys, having sex with all of them, since she was 15 and she is 21 now).
So now I feel like it did not work and I feel the reason is because she is still exploring who she is and what she really wants in her future mate, and that it just was not the right time for us. We are still maturing and trying to find out what we want in life and I look back at the memories as being good ones and I had fun (most of the time).
Basically she wants to see what is out there and I do as well, it not good to get married when you're in your early 20's :)
Now my question is should I stay friends with her and to what degree of a friendship should we have, or should I just chalk it up to experience and have no hard feelings for her and move on like she has done. Should I let her make the first move, should I wait, for how long should I wait, and I am afraid that if I start a friendship with her I might have resurfaced feelings of us and might try to get back what we had, putting both of us especially me in a weird situation?
Thanks for any advice you can give me.
Dear 'Should I Be Friends With My Ex Girlfriend?'
In answer to your question, should you stay friends, realize that there are no formulas here. You need to listen to your inner voice and follow what it says. What are the reasons why you want to stay friends? How would it benefit you and her? What are the risks?
You alluded to the fact that you might feel like trying to get back together again, which would be uncomfortable. I think the real issue here is that you aren't entirely sure that you wouldn't like to be lovers again. And, you are afraid that a friendship with her will stir up your feelings again, and then you find yourself locked in that old power struggle about when to marry.
Likewise, you are concerned that she might want to begin the love affair again and you won't, which would be uncomfortable. Obviously, you don't have a crystal ball, and you can't predict how either of you will feel in the future.
So, all you can do is go with your feelings now. If it feels like a friendship would enhance your life, then go for it. If the friendship begins to evolve, then you can deal with those feelings if and when they arise.
So, for now, live in the moment and simply decide if a friendship would be good for you now.
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