Question: Thank you so much for your honest and direct approach. My ex and I broke up 6 months ago, we were together for 3 years. The first two months were hard for both of us but after many talks we agreed to being friends. We were good friends before dating and we both wanted to preserve the friendship. We talk every other day and get along quite well.
The problem is that I’ve not told him I still have feelings for him, he thinks we’re just friends and really makes effort to be a good friend. I read your dating your ex eBook and you say one should never just agree to being friends with an ex if they want them back. I didn’t do what you recommend in the book to define what “friends” means and now I’m afraid that if I tell him I still have feelings for him, he’ll think I tricked him to begin with. I don’t know what to do. Help me.
The Love Doctor’s Answer: It’s a tight spot you are in. I think that like most people, you rushed into “friends with an ex” before you had time to really grieve the end of your relationship.
First thing you need to do is decide for yourself what it is you want more than the other: the friendship or him back as a boyfriend.
If it’s the friendship, then work on moving on and stop using friendship with your ex as a way of avoiding moving on. If necessary tell him you need a little distance (only if you really feel you need the distance), and be honest and tell him why. If you truly are friends, he’ll understand. Then when you have had enough time to grieve, heal and maybe even met someone else, you can try to be friends again.
If on the other hand, getting him back is more important to you than “just being friends”, it’s best to be honest with him and let him know you still have feelings for him. Right now you are lying to him; friends aren’t supposed to lie to each other and if he finds out or even suspects that you are not being honest, it may not just be the end of a friendship, but he may end up not liking you at all.
Tweak the script in the eBook to suit your situation and lay it on the table. No conditions, just state how you feel and let him decide what he wants to do with the information. He might decide he doesn’t want the friendship or he might say, he understands but the two of you will never be more than friends. Friendship is all he can offer you. Of course it’d be absolutely fantastic if he were to say he still has feelings for you too. But he might also just leave things open-ended. As I write in the eBook, that’s not a bad thing. Actually, it’s a good thing. Follow the steps on getting things to “more than friends”.
If after telling him how you feel, his attitude towards you changes and he is not a friend like before. Have a “friend’s” talk about what’s going on. Let him know your friendship is very important to you but so is honesty. You’d not be a good friend if you weren’t completely honest with him. If the two of you agree that you still will remain friends, then be just friends.
For your own sake, and for the sake of your friendship, don’t use the “just be friends” as excuse to be close to him. Not only might you end up with nothing, not even a friendship, but you are wasting time and energy that you could be putting into getting him back or developing a new relationship with someone new.