Why Would a Guy Keep in Touch After He Already Dumped Me?

Hi Evan,

I’ve been dating an amazing guy who’s only just recently become “too busy” for a relationship. I know that is really just code for him losing interest and that’s okay… Disappointing indeed, but okay.  Oddly though, he suggested that we have another conversation in a week’s time to see where things are at. Shortly after our breakup tonight, he sent me a text message saying he was sorry and that he’d really like to keep in touch. I told him I was open to that but that he’d have to take that step.

Evan, I’m OK with him not wanting to date me. To be honest, he is such an amazing guy (opposite of the loser musicians and wannabe actor types that I usually end up with) that I often wondered why he was dating me in the first place. But that’s obviously another issue. Why would he bother texting afterward or bother suggesting that we have another conversation about things in a week? I don’t get it. Why wouldn’t he just walk away after doing the dumping?

Just Dumped

Have you ever dumped someone, JD? It’s a horrible, horrible feeling, right up there with, well, being dumped. And this feeling, if you can imagine it, provides the full explanation for why people act inconsistent.

Step outside your own shoes and put yourself in your partner’s shoes.

As always, the best solution to being your own dating coach is to step outside your own shoes and put yourself in your partner’s shoes. Why would he possibly do what he did? There has to be some rationale. I’m just going to channel him right now and see what I can come up with:

“Well, I really like hanging out with JD, but I get the sense that she’s starting to get attached to me. And since I’m such an amazing guy, and I’m at a particularly busy time in my life, why would I want to tie myself down to just one person? Plus, the longer I continue to see her, the more I’m going to end up breaking her heart in the end. And I hate that feeling. I once dated this girl who strung me along for months and crushed my spirit, and I don’t want to do the same thing to JD. So I’m going to break up with her. Yeah. That’s the right thing to do.

Why do guys keep in touch after a break up?

Mostly because you let us.

On the other hand, it’s not like I ever promised to marry her or anything. I mean, she already knows I’m not fully committed. So maybe after I dump her, we’ll just stay in touch. Maybe do the occasional ‘friends with benefits’ thing. That way, I’m not technically hurting her. We have sex from time to time, I don’t have to commit, and I’m allowed to see other people. Perfect! If she lets me get away with it, she can’t get mad at me for being a creep. In fact, I think she likes me so much, she’ll just be glad to see me once every few weeks. I’m gonna send a text message to her and see how she feels…”

But that’s just my perspective as a 35-year-old single guy who has done the same exact thing. Why do we keep in touch with you after we break up? Mostly because you let us.

Readers? What do you think?

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Jen from NYC

    Hey Just Dumped! Oh my gd, I was in the same situation a few years ago with a guy I totally liked and cliked with and well, wanted to date. We dated for a short time, than he went back to his ex, than we saw each other again and eventually he ended the sexual aspect to our “relationship” but called me all of the time and wanted to hang out and keep in touch. You know, I took his calls and we even went to a few movies together as I thought he might change his mind and want to date me again, but it never happened. In fact, he went back to the ex girlfriend he was with before me for the second time and a year later married her and wound up divorced 9 months later. Gd strike me down if I am lying. Needless to say, I did not lose such a good thing, but at the time, I was heartbroken.

    Evan is right on! No, really he is. Perhaps the guy you dated is thinking he has nothing to lose, and he never stated to you that he was commiting to a relationship with you. If you are game for something with no strings than why not? In my oppinion, again in agreement with Evan, this guy does not want to string you along and easier to end things now than make it even more complicated or painful for both of you by not hinting to you that he just isnt interested. He is interested in staying in touch to fill his own needs, whether it is EGO or just the idea that he “someone” familiar in his life that he does not have to commit to.

    Long story short, move on. I can promise you that you a man who is interested is never too busy to make time for you and will do anything to be with you. Well, at least the first six months. Just kidding. The man who is truly interested in a long-term, commited relationship will always have time for you.

    I have always told myself and my friends who “hang out with” guys that unoffically broke up with us that if you expect him to wake up and suddenly realize he made a horrible mistake, it is not likely going to happen. Harsh, yes. But rarely have I seen it or known it to happen.

    As to why did he want to date you? I am sure he was attracted to you and liked you but just maybe did not feel everything he needed to feel for it to be right. Don’t seel yourself short. Why should he not want to date you?

    By all means, you do not have to take my advice, but just remember by answering his texts and keeping in touch, you are prolonging the inevitable. Why give this guy the upperr hand? If you are done with him, than send him on his way. And yes, if you let him stay in touch, he will and you will stay dumped and hurt. On to the next!

  2. 2
    Marc

    I’m with Evan. I believe he was motivated by both guilt and his penis. The post break up text was meant to assuage his own feelings of guilt over dumping you, and to allow future opportunities “to stay in TOUCH”…both metaphorically and LITERALLY. He still wants the opportunity to touch you from time to time without feeling guilty about it. You can choose to allow him to do that, but every time you do, you’ll likely just get sucked back into all the emotional drama of whether he still likes you, and whether you’ll get back together, etc.

    I’m not a dating expert by any means. I’m just some dude who knows how guys think.

  3. 3
    BeenThruTheWars

    Jen is right on with her “move on” advice. This guy is keeping his options open and salving his conscience, nothing more.

    Now, if you are okay with accepting crumbs, then by all means, respond to his texts, see him next week, take his calls, sleep with him. But if you want a real relationship — whether with Mr. Amazing or someone even better, who is truly in love with you — then here is what you do:

    You are Nowhere To Be Found On The Planet for the next eight or so weeks. This guy has hurt you once, it’s very likely he will hurt you again as many times as you let him. He has told you “I don’t want you, I want someone else instead, but I don’t like being the bad guy so I’ll tell you I want to stay friends; plus if there isn’t anyone better out there, I might want to come back for a little while to remind myself why it was I didn’t want to stick around in the first place.

    Being NTBFOTP means NO contact. Zero. Of any kind. You might even want to change your outgoing messages on your voice mail so he doesn’t get a fix off your voice. He needs to feel your complete and total absence in his life for about two months if there is any chance at all of him saying “Hey! I made a terrible mistake, I want you back” and meaning it.

    During that two months, you don’t open emails or letters from him, you don’t answer your door if he happens to just show up out of the blue. You say “that’s nice” and change the subject if a mutual friend mentions him. You return anything he sends you unopened (unless it’s your stuff from his place). This guy has to camp out at the end of your driveway with tears rolling down before you will even think about seeing him again.

    Meanwhile, get out there and meet new men, date others, take up a new hobby, call up your girlfriends or family members and spend time together, go to a spa, the gym, trick-or-treating, whatever it takes to get your life back so it feels like 100% YOURS again.

    And you can kind of keep it in the back of your mind that Mr. Amazing might still be out there, missing you… or he might not.

    I experienced my own version of Mr. Amazing a few years ago. We’d only dated for two months when told me (on a date, of course) that the girl he REALLY wanted a relationship with had just broken up with her boyfriend and become available so he wanted to pursue that instead; but gee, I was a really great person, and would i like to keep seeing him clandestinely?

    In other words, here he was breaking up with me — hurting me — and telling me he was going to explore a new relationship with some dreamgirl he knew — whom he admitted knew nothing about me — but he wanted to lie to her and see me on the sly, and eat his cake and have it, too. Charming. I said no thanks! ‘Bye! Don’t let the door hitcha in the butt!

    I ran into him a year later on a nature trail. He was with some very mousy, nondescript woman and I was with my very hot new boyfriend at the time, and just happened to have had my hair done and looked especially pretty that day… butter wouldn’t melt as I said hello, long time no see, ta ta, without making any introductions and walking off. Now THAT was closure!

    1. 3.1
      Krystal

      Excellent advice! 

    2. 3.2
      PaulaAZ

      I love the NTBFOTP and am instituting that right now … I am sure I am much older than most of the people who have posted on here (early 60s) … but it just goes to show that you do not always learn with age!  I am moving on and know that the “excuses” he gave for wanting to see other people were just that, “excuses” and not the “reason.”  Big difference!  He wants to remain friends as he says I am one of only two friends he has … what does that say about him???  A LOT now that I have stepped back and taken a hard look at it.  But I have learned two very important things … one is that I still do have the ability to feel those “butterflies in the stomach … really cannot wait to see that person” feelings that some believe are just reserved for the young(er) in age … and (2) that you have to put yourself first and move on and not worry about that other person, because they certainly are not worrying about you!!!  I am so glad I found these posts!  Thank you all! 

  4. 4
    a&v

    Yup, Evan is right on this one. I say this as a woman who has had even her dumpees try to stay in contact for the fwb thing. (Oddly, I have never wished to stay in contact with my exes for “side business.”) After my heart was smooshed last Februrary, the smooshee tried to stay in contact for precisely the reasons Evan mentioned. I wouldn’t have any of it and told him off rather soundly, which I regretted for awhile (because being mean and volatile isn’t my nature). But the end result has been excellent: no needless pining, no complicated feelings, no feeling used. Wonderful!

  5. 5
    a&v

    (Ooops. “her dumpees” in my previous post should read “guys she’s dumped.” Hazards of lunching and typing simultaneously …)

  6. 6
    mrs. vee

    Yep. I have to agree with everyone here. Guilt, ego, horniness and perhaps the willingness to exploit your vulnerability to him is what’s motivating him.

    Try not to feel encouraged by his breadcrumbs. You deserve a whole sweet, piping-hot loaf.

  7. 7
    Bev

    I loved Evan’s answer because after all, he has been there as a guy. I’ve been there as a woman and broke up cause I was in love with someone else and was taking a break when he came along. I wanted to be friends just in case my ex and I didn’t make it again and also cause I wanted the dumped guy to think I was still nice. A few years later I hooked up with the dumped guy and he treated me like dirt which proves you can’t go back again.

  8. 8
    downtowngal

    Evan, you’re spot on! I’ve always contended that guys are simple, and if he’s interested in pursuing a relationship with you you’ll know it, none of this mix-messages thing. I had an experience similar to JD’s, as many women have. Unless you’re not interested in having a committed relationship with this guy – only thing is to move on.

  9. 9
    in the trenches

    Evan, your emails are incredibly timely! I recently dated a guy whom I met a year ago. I felt perhaps I’d misjudged him ( and dusted him quickly the first time) I ventured back in to the same situation one year later expecting different results. Insanity reigns! Needless to say my first intuition was right on. This time round, once we had become intimate he disappeared…what else in new. Oh, I had the odd “I’ll call you” text and emails a couple of times then nadda! So the last couple of weeks I was wondering if, in fact, he did contact me, how I’d respond. I was very attracted to him but as always…packaging is nice but I’ve learned that SUBSTANCE OVER FORM is still the best measuring stick.
    I’m feeling a tad vulnerable with a residual emotional sting, however, after reading through all the posts, I don’t feel alone on this and thanks for exactly what I needed to hear!

  10. 10
    John from Dallas

    NTBFOTP…Perfect! I’ve never heard that before but such good advice. Women, people…..after being a nurse for 20 years there is one thing I know for sure, LIFE IS SHORT! Life “time” is not endless, it is finite and you don’t know how much you have been granted. Stop wasting yours on losers or repeats and get out there. Every minute you spend with Mr. Wrong is a minute you’re taking a chance on missing Mr. Right…..or Mrs. Right….

  11. 11
    alaskagrrrL

    Oh how very timely–Just-girl, beware, in my experience this can last indefinitely. So I’ll pose a related question to the group… From New Years I dated a man for several blissful months and right at Easter (when I’d sent photos of us to all my friends, of course) he abruptly stopped any intimacy and little by little withdrew his body/mind/self farther and farther away. I think he might have given me up for Lent! It was maddening/saddening and I made a gentle ultimatum that he could initiate contact with me if he wanted to be a part of my life, since other way around seemed very uncomfortable for him. He pretty much flew out the window, with lots of praise for my “remarkableness” and “how he wanted to keep me closer than most as a friend” and with the exception that he saw me a number more times, he then faded away mid-year. It was a scorchingly hard separation for me. For many weeks now, he calls me like clockwork every 7-10 days to chat–he’ll also take/return the occasional call from me if I have something to say. No sex, no invites, no face to face at all–just a friendly curious chat to say, “Hi how are ya, what’s happening in the world, etc.–call ya sometime” I very much like this gentleman–a decent, caring and very Catholic man (hence the no sex) and feel as a grownup I should be able to handle the rebuff with some dignity and try to sustain some kind of friendship. No its not what it started out, but this is someone who means alot to me and I’d like to have him in my life in some way. But it can be hard for all of the reasons you’ve all given. I want to be adult and give this friendship a chance, but also want to manage my sanity and feelings so as not to get sucked into the evil vortex of hope and despair again. Any words of reason out there? Has anybody managed to fashion a platonic friendship out of something that was once more? What were the ground rules you laid for yourself and how did you convey them to your “friend”? Can this work if expectations are realistic? I’d appreciate any voices of experience here :)

    1. 11.1
      DaveG

      Alaskagirl, hard as it is you must carve this man from your life. Your motivations and his are irrelevant because it’s a toxic scenario. I suspect he’s feeling guilty and will dump you sloooooowly as long as it suits him. He’s sabotaging both of you and you’re letting him. Move on.

  12. 12
    Chris

    I am going to play Devil’s Advocate and suggest that this guy did nothing wrong. He broke up with the girl when the time came, thereby not wasting her time. Everyone says that he’s being a jerk for wanting to continue to see her, but why is that so bad for him to want to have sex with his ex-gf, as long as he treats her well on dates and is honest about no committed relationship ever developing.

    If hanging out and having sex are mutually enjoyable, then to say no just for the sake of getting the guy back is spiteful. JD admitted that he was “amazing.” The guy might even offer JD advice on other guys she’s dating.

    1. 12.1
      human nature

      I have an epic fwb’s relationship with my ex and I like it. All these posts are making out that men are the only benefactors of this type of scenario.  Why can’t we (girls) admit we love it when are ex’s show interest or even a smidgen of regret it helps our egos. If that guy just dumped her never to call again then deep down she would be more hurt. The fact that he contacted you must have softened the blow. My ex tries to contact one way or another once in a while normally after drinking on a Friday night. But even so when I wake up to find a missed call from 4am or a drunken text I smile. We may never get back what we had and I am not sure I want it back, but fond memories die hard simple!. Until I meet Mr putupwithmybs I will allow the mind games to continue : ).

      1. 12.1.1
        Marymary

        If you want something more substantial than a missed booty call, you have to endure the loss of short term gratification.
        no you won’t ever get back what you had. Real reconciliation is rare and doesn’t look like this. (Neither does friendship).
        Its your decision if this works for you. It won’t for most of Evan’s audience. I’ve even known men who’ve not liked it.

      2. 12.1.2
        sadiesays

        That’s all fine and good until you stop getting those middle of the night texts because he is engaged to someone else. Oops, he forgot to tell you that part, well that’s because you have ZERO value to him in the long run. Get out of this sham while you still feel ok, it will only hurt you in the end.

  13. 13
    mrs. vee

    Chris, the guy who dumped jd may not be a jerk, but he is at the very least, obtuse and insensitive to her feelings. Definitely not the best person to decide what is or isn’t good for her. That’s the reason she should guard herself from his influence.

    To suggest that, given her state of just-dumpedness, she might benefit from casual sex with the guy is just plain unrealistic. Undoubtedly, casual sex will stir up confusion and hurt and insecurities which would far outweigh any benefit from “dating pointers” the man might give her after a roll in the hay.

    Moreover, your suggestion that she just go ahead and sleep with her ex highlights the differences between the emotional makeup between men and women. Discussing this topic on the blog is a good way for the 2 genders to better understand each other.

    JD, your ex- may think like Chris here – no awareness at all of your vulnerability to him. Which is why it’s important for YOU to be the one to set parameters for yourself in this situation.

    And Chris, the next time you dump a girl and pursue her for sex, consider that her feelings for you may be a little too complex to endure a casual romp. You’re not a bad guy, but if you understood the high likelihood of negative emotional consequences of a girl sleeping with an ex she still cared for, could you, in good conscience, ask her to go through with it?

  14. 14
    Jen from NYC

    This is a comment back to alaskagrrrL. Oh the days of “lets be friends.” Yeah, it all sounds good and feels good for the time, but in the end, it just never works out quite the way you want it to. So, I ask you this? Do you have good friends? It does not matter if it is just one or two, but you have friends right? Those are the only friends you need. Men you date and do not continue to date, are not friends. They are men who you learn from and move on.

    I do not mean to sound harsh, but I will be. This guy is calling you for his own needs, and obviously is not interested in meeting your needs as far as a love or dating relationship is concerned. So, if you want to attempt friendship, more power to you, just remember, you don’t date your friends.

    I dated my BEST FRIEND of six years about 5 years ago. Long story short, we dated for six months, I called it quits because of my hunch that he just was not that into girls (though he did get married and has a kid, but a lot of gay men marry women) and I loved him more than one can imagine, but after we stopped datiing, we never spoke again because he was not able to be the boyfriend that I needed and wanted. Everyone told me when I was contimplating dating him that if it didnt work out, we would NEVER be friends again. Well, they were right. When you love someone, and they don’t love you back the same way, it usually feels impossible to be friends with them when the dating falls apart. That was my experience.

    The SINGLE ONLY TIME I truly believe friendship after dating actually works is when you didnt leave that relationship still liking the guy in the romantic way. If you both agree and part because you BOTH realize you are not meant to date eachother, than of course you can friends! In fact, had I not loved the guy I just told you about, we would probably be getting mani’s and pedi’s together to this day. If you feel anything, and I mean even the little tiniest bit of love or something more than friendship for this guy, than end it. Friendship is just not an option.

    And hello, I hear you about trying to substain a friendship and be “decent” but have some pride and be honest with yourself. There are tons of decent, good men (Catholic men, though you are asking a Jewish girl so I have more expeirence with the Jewish boys) out there and it is time for you to find one who wants the same things as you; not a phone call to say hi or who sometimes returns your calls. The time you are spending talking to him, is time you should be dating and working on your on-line profile, or attending events where other single men may be.

    Don’t get sucked in even more………you create the vortex, but you sure as hell can climb out of it and seal that vortex up! You deserve a man who is 100% into you and not your “friend!”

    Jen :)

  15. 15
    Chris

    Mrs. Vee,

    Sometimes and with some people, a friends with benefits situation can be a good thing, for at least a short while. In my opinion, the mortal sin of dating is dishonesty, and a friends with benefits situation is an honest situation. The guy isn’t stringing the girl along, the guy isn’t having sex with her and then not calling back. Presumably, JD’s ex actually does care about and like her, he just doesn’t see her becoming his wife. If he’s truly a decent guy, he’s even continue to do mutually fun things together that aren’t sex (movies, museums, ballgames, whatever).

    You and I both know that guys can be real jerks. A guy who keeps on having sex with his “girlfriend,” without ever introducing her to his parents, without calling as often as she wants, without saying “I love you,” is worse than JD’s ex. In short, a guy who strings a girl along is the worst. JD’s ex is frankly admitting that “he’s just not that into her.” JD’s ex is saying “I hope you find another boyfriend, but I’ll be here for you until you do.”

    Even though I wouldn’t criticize the the guy, he shouldn’t be surprised when JD says no. I know that hanging out with an ex & having sex in general are bigger deals emotionally to the average woman than to the average man.

    (btw, I’ve never proposed a fwb arrangement with any girl I’ve broken up with. I’ve only proposed it with two girls who broke up with me. A third girl, after she broke up with me, did propose a fwb. I said “I don’t know, I’m really mad at you, but I guess so.” I have another girlfriend now, but the girl who proposed fwb to me is my best friend.)

  16. 16
    Jenny

    Hey Alaskagrlll,
    What are you thinking? You are clearly sening out the message that you are a ready and waiting anytime emotional relationship with this guy. You might want to know that men usually do not have all the emotional perception and comprehension, let alone processing that us women do so translation: you are providing him emotional support and a relationship – for nothing? If you are doing this out of kindness and genuinely helping the guy, then go for it; otherwise you are in some ways manipulating him, and keeping him on a hook that he should not be on.

  17. 17
    Ava Mazur

    Well Im going to have to go against Evan on this one. Perhaps Im mean spirited but Ive seen this happen to people before…and I guess it depends on the mental state of your ex. Some “dump” thier significant other because they quite frankly dont want to be with them anymore, but they like being liked (hey who doesnt). Once they break up they realize they loose that little ego boost. Im just saying be careful especially since you like this guy so much. You dont want him stringing you allong thinking there is hope when there isnt any. Im a firm beliver in no contact for a month or so and then if you really want to be friends and your over the whole breakup thing then by all means go see a movie. You will know its just as friends w/o any benifits or hidden agendas on either part.

  18. 18
    alaskagrrrL

    Thanks Jen & Jenny for your thoughts–not necessarily harsh, just realistic different perspectives based on your experiences (though I can’t buy into the manipulation charge–I’m the one that was “hooked” frankly, and largely of my own doing). Its good to be challenged in one’s actions and I asked, right?!

    You are probably much younger than I am being in my mid-40’s, but I’m here reading, learning and listening because I have NO dating experience. And when I say “no” I mean zero, zip, zilch, nada–married someone straight out of school and stayed w/ him for 25 ill-advised years–the relationship I refer to here is the only other man I’ve had in my life. I have exactly ONE each single friend, daughter and sister (and Jen, thankfully a number of really good friends who are life-savers :) Needless to say, I’m at a distinct disadvantage on the learning curve here…

    There is a lot of encouragement/pressure these days to pursue relationships online and I just happened to stumble on this site which has been a real revelation–great honest dialog by articulate people about the perils and challenges of looking for someone to share life with. And no offense to the women here, you’re great, but the male perspective is also pretty fascinating and invaluable when you’re in the midst of trying to figure out the opposite sex. I haven’t tried internet dating and I don’t know if I ever will, but many thanks to Evan for creating such a multi-faceted resource.

    As for the original “let’s be friends” question, thanks to the many viewpoints & suggestions here from both genders, I’ve gained a lot of clarity which will help make real space in my life for new adventures. I’ll take the kindness & concern that my new/old friend have to offer each other at face value, but in a realistic (and, after looking at myself through others’ eyes) probably more self-respecting way. Appreciate the great reminders, frank appraisals and “you go grrrL” encouragement–I hope JD felt that, too.

  19. 19
    Jen from NYC

    hey alaskagrrrl. you are correct, i am bit younger (31) but i do really beleive one thing never changes when it comes to love and relationships; men persue the women they want to date. men string along the women they dont want to date, but may want to sleep with OR just need a woman in their lives for support or comfort. I do not judge the men for either of those two reasons, but i do know that eevery woman, young and older has the choice of which they want to be. men, believe it or not, are really not that complicated when it comes to love. so my boyfriend reminds me all of the time. when they want you, they do anything with in reason of course, to get you and than to keep you. when they are unsure, then the games start OR they let you know either straight up i am not into you, or they begin to pull away.

    so….with all that said. as much as it may not be fun at times to be dating, particulalry after spending so many years with one man…i like to think of it is a blessing when you get a second opportunity to find REAL love. this is one of the few things in life many people take a risk on seeking when they are already comfortable, but not necessarily content with whom they chose to spend the rest of their lives with. i give you major props for getting out there and dating. as for believing you are at a major disadvantage, i think it is quite the contrary. you have been in a relationship and had the strength to walk away and move on, and now you know what you need and what you want. dating at any age is stressful, scary, and sometimes really annoying, but in the end, when you find a great man, you appreciate every single minute of it!

    good luck….and happy dating!

    jen

  20. 20
    LP

    Alaskagrrl you are bypassing your concious will…lying to yourself, and waiting for him. If you had no hope of having him, you would not pursue the friendship, unless you had some kind of a money/business need for him. He is not helping you write your book. He is not your guitar player. He is not your stock broker. You believe he is lying to himself, not you are lying to yourself, and you are lucky if he is not clever and cruel because that is an excellent medium for swindling. And, by the way, you do not really believe he is such a good quality friend if he lies to himself. Thus, you are honouring your relationship/previous connection more if you just stay away. You are right to say “fashion” a relationship with him because there is none there…you have to invent it. Do you think the friendly side of his personality needs a workout? Because that’s all it is to him…an occasion to practice being friendly. If you seek to change his ability to be friendly…i.e., to begin ANY new relationship/friendship/acquaintance, you are definitely not a very good person for him to be rickocheting off of. Either his personality bends/caves in/dents/warps, etc, or he finally successfully brushes the bit of fluff…you…off his suit, because that’s what he was trying to do in the first place. Been the fluff! Or was it dandruff? Worse?….

  21. 21
    Andrea

    I agreed with Evan until the second paragraph. Who says that he’s just in it for the sex? All of the comments have run with that, but there is no indication that he wants anything other than something platonic.
    You say, “But all guys do” right? Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe he wants it but won’t act on it. Maybe he’s not attracted to her but think she’s a cool girl.

    Furthermore, many of the above comments have suggested that you can’t stay friends with people you’ve dated. I dispute this. I’ve stayed friends with most, one of whom I fell for and took a while to get over. In fact, we went for lunch earlier this week and it was fantastic. He’s amazing but parts of our personalities aren’t suited for a relationship.

    Also, I agree with Chris. The guy in question broke up with the girl when the time came, thereby not wasting her time. If he does want sex, and she’s okay with it – and yes, I believe that both people can be okay with it – then what’s wrong with that? People are so judgmental when it comes to casual sex. People think that the fact that some people can’t handle it means that EVERYONE can. Everyone’s different with their own capacity to handle situations.

    Bottom line: If you can handle a friendship with an ex go for it. If not, don’t. Gauge your own comfort level and, *consider* the opinions of others, but don’t let a bunch of strangers with only part of the story tell you the way it’s SUPPOSED to be. It’s crucial for you to be honest with yourself about what you can handle and about what you want.

  22. 22
    Selena

    To Alaskagrrl:

    I’ve found it possible to be friends with a couple ex’s, but it did take an appreciable amount of time after the breakup for that to happen. To be able to be friends you need to make an emotional shift –from romantic feelings to ones of solely friendship. You have to really “be over” that person and not harboring a secret hope that they will come around and want you romantically again. This takes time. Usually quite a bit of it. From your post it seems clear that you are not there yet and that’s hardly surprising, it hasn’t been all that long since you stopped seeing this man.

    You also didn’t date all that long either and you should consider that perhaps he did you a favor– in that once he realized you were not the one for him, he let you go rather than stringing you along and letting you become more and more attached. He may genuinely want your friendship, but if his calls do nothing more than leave you in a state of yearning, you are better off not taking them until such time as you can truly feel detached–romantically–and thereby possibly open to what friendship he has to offer.

    I understand this was a rather unfortunate experience for your first time out dating Alaskagrrrl, try viewing this as ‘pratice’. He wasn’t the one for you, but someone else will be.

  23. 23
    Selena

    The thing about ‘wanting to stay in touch’ after a breakup is that it’s so ambiguous. Do they really just want to see how you’re doing? Testing the waters about getting back together? Angling for the possibility of a booty call? Or waffling through all 3 possibilities? How can you know?

    I think it serves best to have no contact after a breakup for a period of at least 4 mos.-longer if the relationship was particularly intense. This gives each person time to “get over, move on” and sort out their feelings about the other and why the relationship ended. Hindsight often brings clarity and hindsight is by its nature not immediate.

    If someone kept contacting me after a breakup I know it would just make me more confused and be a stumbling block to healing.

  24. 24
    Illinoisgirl

    Hi there, I recently had an ex-boyfriend email me out of the blue and it didn’t see the email. Then he showed up in my city ten days later and sent me another email. I think he is trying to re-contact me and rekindle the relationship, but I was busy didn’t see him. He sent me an email saying he was glad to know that I still cared for him and he still cared for me. We have been on and off for a year, and he broke up with me to see another woman last spring. He aslo came to town late in the summer and I saw him briefly for coffee and to return his things. When he broke it off in May, I was devastated. This guy had talked about marriage and went cold on me about six months into the relationship. What do I make of this behavior? I don’t trust him anymore.

  25. 25
    lorelei

    In response to Andrea who said: “Also, I agree with Chris. The guy in question broke up with the girl when the time came, thereby not wasting her time. If he does want sex, and she’s okay with it – and yes, I believe that both people can be okay with it – then what’s wrong with that? People are so judgmental when it comes to casual sex. People think that the fact that some people can’t handle it means that EVERYONE can. Everyone’s different with their own capacity to handle situations.”

    Yeah, but from reading JD’s letter, it seems fairly obvious to me she’s not in a place to handle casual sex with her ex. So the folks on this blog who speak out in favor of her not polishing the guy’s knob WHILE SHE’S STILL NOT OVER HIM aren’t necessarily being judgmental. Just realistic in this situation.

    Sure, casual sex is fine for some people. I think Mrs. Vee put it best at some point, though, when she said that many women use the “language” of sexual liberation while having casual sex to mask their motives of securing a longterm commitment, or to hide the pain from the hollowness of the sex.

  26. 26
    Selena

    Illinoisgirl:
    I wouldn’t trust him either. For one thing, the off and on deal (I’ve been through it) is a big indicator of incompatibility on the whole. You may care for each other, but you find yourselves so frequently at odds–gets tiring after awhile.

    In the case of your ex-bf, my guess would be that gets motivated to contact you when he doesn’t have something else romantically going on, when a new relationship proves not to work out. The woman he dropped you for last Spring perhaps as an example. It would appear that this has become a pattern, and if you don’t want to be devastated again, I’d suggest saying “No thanks” to any more of his attempts to hook back up with you. Unless ofcourse, you don’t mind being his back-burner girlfriend while he leaves his options open to keep scouting for a trade up.

  27. 27
    Andrea

    I think Selena nailed it with with her reply to Alaskagrrl.

    lorelei –
    I don’t see indication in JD’s letter one way or another about whether she’s in a place to handle casual sex with her ex. Nowhere in her letter does sex come up. Evan’s the one who raised the issue. As I said in my earlier comment, people who commented ran with that, but there is no indication that the ex wants anything other than something platonic. I think that all of this talk about sex could confuse her even more.

  28. 28
    Anita

    I got an email from a man I’ve been seeing for over a year. We reconnected after many years of not seeing one another. We were hot and heavy over 20 years ago. We have survived marriages, illness and other events. Now, he wants a “moratorium” on our relationship to see how things work out with someone he just met in a walking group. He wants to continue to email me jokes, etc. and be friends. By the way, he’s no spring chicken. He’s 78 and I am 58. I’m not the beauty queen I once was either. I told him “Auf Wiedersehen.” Things never change even with age. Men akways want to leave the door open for a return engagement when they desire IT!

  29. 29
    same position

    First, I want to thank everyone for this posting – it helped me to end something similar that had been going on for way too long. Second, although I agree with a lot of what is said, the truth is that each situation is different. I was seeing someone for about 6 months before he broke up with me. 2 months later he was apologizing and, I thought, trying to get me back. Because I had fallen for him, and not lost that feeling during the break up, I was ecstatic and jumped right on board. The problem was that I was already emotionally involved, and never sure of what he wanted. The lack of communication caused us to end up in a booty-call scenario, which lasted another 6 months. I kept telling myself that no one would sleep with someone for the better part of a year without any feelings, and kept going. Finally I realized that we felt different things for each other. I don’t doubt that he cares about me or wants me in his life, but he’s not emotionally attached because it became just sex – which I allowed (and sometimes even pursued). It took all the strength I could muster (which wasn’t a lot because I had become so emotionally exhausted from the relationship) to finally put an end to it. We spoke once after and that is when I realized he had to be completely out of my life – so I cut him off. It hasn’t been easy but I know it will get better. So, thank you for all your words of wisdom to each other because it really made me realize that I am not going to get what I want when I demand nothing.

  30. 30
    Anita

    Dear Same position, You sound like you got your act together. I wish you “good things.”This posting also helped me and it’s only 4 days since I got my “moratorium” email. Cheaper than shopping to ease the pain which occurs at any age when you really care for someone.

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