My Ex Wants to be Friends

Visitor's Question from a 13-15 year old Female
Ok. Two months ago the guy I was dating broke up with me (this was after a couple of weeks of something feeling not quite right... he seemed distant so I confronted him finally and that's when he told me it wasn't working) He said it was because we were too different (I'm the straight A college student and he's kind of a burnout) and that I was too quiet and he didn't feel like he really got to know me. I told him that I thought that he wasn't trying and that we never had any alone time it seemed... he never took me out just the two of us. Instead, we always went to parties and hung out with his friends. (He also told me that part of the problem was that I didn't seem to feel comfortable with his friends.)

He told me that he was always worrying what I thought of him. He also said that he was really afraid that he was going to regret the breakup, and later, he said that he knew he would regret it. He also said that he was going to miss me and that maybe he'd try harder if he missed me. He told me that I was beautiful and that it was hard for him not to kiss me. He said that there was too much pressure to make things work and that we should be friends, that better relationships start off as friendships.

I asked him if he thought that we would get back together. He said he didn't know right then, that he didn't know what would happen. WHen I asked him if I should find someone else, he avoiding answering.

I left that night feeling confused. Was he just saying all of those things to make me feel better? Was he really going to regret it or miss me? He wanted to still be friends and the next day checked up on me and asked me how I was doing and told me I was welcome to hang out with him and his friends. I said no and haven't much spoken to him since.

Somehow I always feel like he's just being nice out of guilt and I can't forget how later in the relationship, he made me feel so uncared for. I thought it better to keep my distance from him (did I forget to mention that we work together?) I pretty much avoid talking to him or being around him although I do talk to his friends.

Now he's been hanging around and trying to talk to me. Like he followed me into the back at work and then just started to talk about nothing and I've caught him staring at me. My question is do you think he regrets it and also what should I do about it? Advice
It does sound like there were problems in your relationship before - that he didn't think he knew you, but he didn't make any effort to know you either. He wanted things just to "work" by themselves instead of working on them with you. All relationships require time and effort, that's part of how relationships keep going.

In any case, he was definitely right that all great relationships start as great friendships. And it seems like he's still interested in you and is trying to talk to you, to build up that friendship. It sounds like you're not making this easy on him!

Stop trying to second-guess him and his motives. :) That's just as bad as some of the things he was doing. People rarely spend a lot of time doing things out of guilt. They do things because they want to. You need to trust and accept him as having good motives instead of always looking for the nasty hidden agenda. Otherwise things will definitely not work (and if you have that outlook, other relationships will suffer as well).

He's actively taking steps to try to be friends with you. So be friends back! There's no reason to dive into a serious relationship again right away. All good relationships begin with good friendships. So work on the friendship. He wants to learn more about you. So share information about your background, your family, your childhood, your dreams. Help him learn more about you. Learn more about him. Think of this as wheel-oiling - you're learning how to talk together, hang out together, be comfortable together. These are the KEY foundations in any friendship, and any relationship. Even if you just stay good friends, that's a pretty valuable thing to have.

-- from Jenn
One of Your Friendly Advisors at

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