In my last blog on 13 July, I wrote about whether you can really be friends with your ex and how, in theory, that’s possible if you both want it and already have a lot in common, especially if there’s a shared history too.
However, that’s very different from being friends in the first place but the relationship has never gone further than that, but now you’d like it to progress to something deeper, preferably including romance and sex.
First of all, if you’re in that position – you like them a lot, you’ve been friends for ages but, actually, you really fancy them and like to take things to the next level – you might feel awkward about doing anything about it. So, you need to test the water by talking to them, maybe saying that you’re feelings have changed, grown deeper, or however you want to phrase it. Remember, ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’.
If they pull away, it’s awkward, but it’s also important not to blame yourself or think that there’s something wrong with you. Going down that path will only lead to more pain and hurt but if you can be there for them as a friend again, the awkwardness will slowly disappear. It may not be what you want but staying friends means that you’re still an important part of their life.
It won’t be easy if you’re physically attracted too them, but nor will it be impossible. It’s hard seeing someone whilst your feelings for them are still really strong, but if you really care for them, you’ll make it work.
One thing to take into account is how they told you that they didn’t like you “in that way” – if they were hurtful in what they said, you could challenge them on that otherwise it will come between you. Emphasise that it’s not what they said so much as the way they said it. Not wanting to take things further isn’t a reason to be nasty about it.
Time passing may mean that they change their minds, but don’t wait around thinking that this might happen. You’ve tested it out, they said “no” and now you have to try to get your previous friendship back on an even keel.
To do this, turn to other friends in your life and spend more time with them; try to distract yourself from what you hoped might come about and appreciate all that you’ve been through together and separately. Don’t forget all those great conversations that you’ve had, all the fun times and what you’ve learned from them. Those things are still there and for the friendship to thrive again, they need to continue. So, carry on thinking of fun things to do together, still have their best interests at heart and don’t try to ‘fix’ them.
Sometimes, people need a gentle push in a certain direction, but you can’t do that for them and it’s not healthy to even try. Any changes that they make have to come from them and be what they want. Some friendships last forever, but if this isn’t one of them, you have to try to accept that the future looks different from how you hoped. That acceptance is the key to being happy and contented in the here and now.
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