Monday, July 30, 2007

Is it possible to be friends with someone you dated?

I was forced to ask myself this question by an ex. The answer from my side is a definite yes... but I have to question why he doesn't want to spend time with me alone.

I have my theories, but... let's hear what you think.


Jason said...

He either still wants you or can't stand you - but since you're on speaking terms... I'm guessing he wants you.

Anonymous said...

If he still wants you, he will want to spend time with you. It's that simple (disagree with you there jason). Possible explanations that I can think of ... (a) he just doesn't really like you, (b) maybe there is a new woman, or potential woman, in his life who doesn't want him spending time alone with his ex's. Another possibility, (c) Some types of guys (who may not have been too serious to begin with) may avoid a woman who 'doesn't put out' (i.e. he might want a 'friend with benefits' and if it doesn't look like he'll get that from you he may decide to focus his efforts elsewhere.

Anyway, to come back to your question, I don't think it's possible to remain friends with an ex indefinitely (IF you are talking about GENUINE friendship, which I believe in, not the nonsense 'casual/shallow acquaintances masquerading as friends' common in our culture). If the guy is physically interested (which is likely if he's straight and the woman is even moderately attractive), then he will probably always be frustrated and may sometimes get amorous. The woman in turn will probably lose respect for him then and may slowly start subconsciously treating him like a loser (especially once someone 'better' appears on the scene).

Most importantly, one or both will eventually meet someone else and enter into a new more serious relationship, and when that happens a proper friendship comes to seem inappropriate (or one will lose interest in the friendship) ... one's primary partner should also be one's 'best friend', or the 'best friend' should be of the same sex otherwise there will always be a "cheating" feel to it).

Finally, and this is just based on my own experiences (but my female friends agree), women tend not to make terribly great friends (again IF one means true friendship). They tend to be a bit more self-absorbed than men ... especially if a woman is even slightly good-looking (sorry, but it's a fact, if people treat you like a princess and want you your whole life you can't help but end up with your benchmark of normality in the wrong place), and are also more status-oriented than men, e.g. if the woman loses respect for the guy he will come to seem 'beneath' her. Also, *true* friends should give you support when you're going through a rough time, but when a man is going through a rough time and wants support from a woman she will tend to see him as weak and pathetic.

So if by "friend" you mean someone you have coffee/drinks/smalltalk with once in a while, sure. But not a true friend, I've never seen that work.