How long before we can be friends?

Discussion in 'Relationships' started by cnor7585, Sep 29, 2015.

  1. cnor7585

    cnor7585 New Member

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    Hi All,

    I know that this is probably something that I shouldn't even be contemplating. I know that most people say, "you can't be friends". But lets be honest about lesbian world, it's a little bit different to straight world, it's small, TINY in fact and making friends can be tough. Especially once you're over the age where you go clubbing all the time (i'm 27) and you no longer make gay friends just because you're gay and they're gay. I finally have a group of like minded girls that I like spending time with but they are our mutual friends. My "other friends", ie. straight friends, I have mostly lost contact with over the last few years due to some of them moving away.

    So, I just broke up with my girlfriend of 2 years. I still love her very much. I know that we weren't working and I have accepted the break up, even though it was not my choice at the time. I sincerely want to be friends one day but I don't want to rush the process because.... well, I am, honestly, still very much in love with her right now.

    I'd love some advice from those that did, or didn't make it work as friends, post break-up. How long should I wait?

    I know some people say: not until you can see them in the arms of a new lover and you are 110% ok with it. But I am afraid that that by the time that happens, we will lose contact, we will lose friends, we will lose the connection we have and grow apart. That is what has happened with previous ex's of mine and I don't want it to happen to this one.
     
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  2. sallyseton

    sallyseton Member

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    First of all, I'm sorry to hear about your break-up and your pain. This is a tricky one, and it's actually one I could probably use a little advice on too! I'm about 8 months out of a really long-term relationship, and it still feels painful to see her or talk to her (which I have to do a few times a week because we co-parent my daughter). Like you, it was her decision to end things, and though it was the right decision, it hurts like hell.

    One thing I've thought about in regard to my ex is that we could be friends when I can get to a place where I could have a conversation with her that wasn't driven by a secret desire in me to make things work out with us somehow or to just sleep with her. Maybe you'll always love your ex, but you need to reach a place where you're not just thinking the whole time about what used to be and subconsciously trying to turn things romantic again. I know in my case, I need to accept it's over, more fully, so I can talk to her like a person and friend.

    I don't like the answer about being able to see them with another lover either. I think it's possible you could be friends and still keep some boundaries for awhile about being with other people around one another.

    Another thing that will help is seeing your ex in a group setting as soon as possible. I had to see mine at a school thing last month, and it did take the sting out of it to be surrounded by others. We couldn't fight or get into the worst of it again. Plus there were other people there so we didn't have to focus entirely on each other. I bet this would be even better for you with mutual friends.
     
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  3. JLee12

    JLee12 Member

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    Sorry to hear about your break up and I share your thoughts. From what I am currently going through there is no exact amount of time to define whether or not we can be friend with our ex partner. From my case, I was trying to cut the contact once the relationship ended by living someplace else, completely separating myself from her. It took me about a year before I came back to the city. I know it is hard and not every circumstance allow us to do so but It helped me so much to clear my head, to love myself wholly again and to accept the break up. After I came back to the city we're still seeing each other because of our mutual friends, like you said it is a tiny world. It still bothers me sometime but I know I am getting better.
    I am not suggesting you to move out from where you live now. What I am trying to say is give yourself some space. Sometime to be alone, to find yourself back again and wholly. Take as much time as you need to take care of yourself, in my case it helps me to be friendly with her again. (Once you get the inside right, it will get better on the outside). For me, I don't think I will be able to be friend again with someone I used to love deeply, being friendly is okay but being friend probably not. It is just a sense of wanting to be back with her again and again and we can never move on because of that. I hope it helps :)
     
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  4. cnor7585

    cnor7585 New Member

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    Thank you so much, sallyseton, for your reply. And I am so sorry to hear of your break up and of your pain. I cannot imagine what it must be like after such a long relationship and with a child to think about also! How difficult. I admire your strength.

    I think that your comments here have resonated with me. I would like to say that I could see her and not expect anything, that I would feel nothing but "friendly" emotions. But the truth is, deep down, I do desire things from her still. Even if it was only a simple act of affection or a lament about the past.

    As for the group interactions, that is probably a good idea because it will force me to keep my feelings in check. I avoided her this weekend at a group "event" as countless friends told me that I was not yet ready. But when I am closer to being ready I think that I will do that.

    Thank you for your kind words, JLee12. I actually live an hour away from my ex at the moment. I used to stay at her place a lot (she lives in the city, I live on the city outskirts) and so it has felt a lot live "moving away". I am also entertaining the idea of moving to the UK for a few yrs, something I was thinking about even before the break up, and I think that will help immensely.

    I do need to learn to love myself wholly again. I spent so much time and energy on her that I really did lose myself. I even spent most of my time at her house. At the moment I blame myself a lot for the break up, not that I did anything "wrong", but I feel that I can be difficult to live with and can become quite co-dependent. Learning to be alone and happy is going to be essential before I can be her friend.
     
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  5. Bluenote

    Bluenote Well-Known Member

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    I don't think that there is a set amount of time. Nor do I think 'waiting until you can see her with someone else' is a realistic bar.

    I think that if you are still in love with her you first need to grieve the break up. You are probably going to go through some strong feelings for awhile (and some periods of denial). Once the roller coaster of feelings calms down, then see if you have a different perspective on things. Are you still 'in love with her,' or do you 'love her, but aren't in love with her?' Can you see her flaws and strengths? Have you forgiven her (and yourself) for what happened? Do you go into an emotional tailspin when you see her? Do you find yourself secretly trying to get her back?

    As long as your feelings are still so raw, it is hard to be friends. Because you just slip back into the same old fights, or the same old feelings of rejection. When you have some space from the hurt, it is easier to see how to be friends with her 'in the present,' instead of just rehashing past baggage. True, you probably will have to have some talk about boundaries (don't call me pet names, it feels to weird to hold hands, etc...) Affection and closeness that feel ok with other friends might still be to painful for you (or for her).

    That being said, it can be hard to move on if you don't have 'closure.' If you aren't clear on why you broke up, or there were things that you needed to say but she shut you down, or if you made mistakes and want to apologize - then it will be hard to be friends and pretend that stuff is ok. So it might be a bit of a back and forth process. Grieve a little, have a talk that gives you some closure, grieve that a bit, feel in a place to be friends.

    I am sorry that you are going through a tough time. If you are meant to be friends with her, you two will figure out a way. If not, you can just be polite to each other and not make a big deal out of things.
     
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