How to stop being friends with an ex
April 25, 2012 5:32 PM Subscribe
I need to stop being friends with my ex. How?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (16 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
My ex and I only dated for a short time, but I fell for him. We also didn't work. I ended the relationship because I kept getting hurt (read: I cared for him a lot more than he cared for me). Doing this took every ounce of strength I had. He was the one who asked if we could still be friends. At the time, I said I needed a significant amount of time in order for that to be feasible.
But he emailed me a few weeks later -- just sending me some music I’d like -- and I caved and wrote back. This began a sporadic friendly if lazy correspondence between us (usually only a few sentences and a link to some music/art/writing we knew the other person would appreciate), which renewed my feelings, led to my acting on dubious advice from a friend and initiating a meetup with him, which turned out to be just a “friends hanging out” thing. Problem is: every time I heard from him, even though I enjoyed him and the content of his emails or our conversations, I'd feel like dying for days/weeks afterward. About a month ago, after sending another email, I realized that this was a horrible, unhealthy pattern that I'd established. I decided to stop contacting him.
Only, now he really believes we're friends. Last week he sent me another email and an invitation to a get-together at a pub before he goes on an extended vacation. I haven't responded, but the mere existence of these emails has once again made me feel awful.
Just to be clear: I think we could be great friends if these feelings weren’t there. And, yes, I fully realize that I stuck my hand in the fire and not only got burned, but got a cheaper, piddlier version of a relationship that didn't work in the first place.
My counselor suggests that I call him and tell him that, though I enjoy his company and would ideally like to be friends eventually, I’m pained every time I hear from him and need a break from our friendship at least until he gets back…and that I request that he doesn’t contact me until then. Here’s my problem: I kind of feel like a tool doing this, because I ended up initiating contact with him just as much as he did me. In fact, I’m kind of more at fault because I didn’t ignore or put a stop to it. Plus, he’s going to be away and probably won’t even think of contacting me, anyway, and this could be construed as some kind of cry for attention. But it’d also be jerky to say nothing and just defriend him on facebook (which, yes, I should have done originally) and block his emails, right? The other thing is, though we discussed our issues while we were together and knew we were having problems, I broke up with him quite suddenly, because I was hurt. Phoning him would mean doing that again.
Should I make this phone call? How should I phrase it so as not to sound like the insane ex, after I’m just as responsible for this correspondence as he is, if not more responsible for it?