By Valerie Chen
My ex-girlfriend and I were in a long-term relationship
but had to break up about a month ago, due to the long distance and
her parents’ disapproval. We promised to be friends but because she
started dating someone only two weeks after our break up, I decided
I wasn’t ready for a friendship. She didn’t listen and still texts
me, even informing me about her dates with her new boyfriend. Do
you think it would be good for me to pursue a normal friendship
with her, even if I feel like it’s just going to hurt me? I feel
like she’s just trying to keep me on a leash.
— A wayward soul
I’m a firm believer in staying friends with an ex. After all,
the person may have been a significant figure in your life, albeit
now a significant figure in your past. There’s no reason not to
sustain a pleasant but unromantic relationship.
Conversely, this can only occur if that ex-boyfriend or
ex-girlfriend deserves your friendship. An ex that disregards your
feelings to the point of hurting you definitely does not.
To begin with, the break up seems to be based on only external
factors; out of your or her control. Therefore, it was not a
result of fading feelings or wandering eyes.
The fact that she already has a boyfriend a mere two weeks later
might mean that she is a serial dater ” someone who always needs to
be in a relationship. Also, it might mean that she has simply has
moved on. On the other hand, maybe she hasn’t moved on, and her
actions are a fa_Òå¤ade to appear superior and independent.
“[The continued contact] might be some sort of ‘payback’ or
attempt to get even for perceived hurts he caused her,” said
Michele Willingham, director of Cal Poly Pomona’s Counseling and
Psychology Services. “It could also be that she feels insecure and
doubts her own worth, so she needs to continue getting attention
and affirmation from her ex as well as the new guy.”
Yes, the two of you are no longer together, so technically she
can do whatever she wants. She’s allowed to date other people.
After all, the two of you are now single.
Nevertheless, you told her that you need space. Contacting you
and even having the audacity of sharing unwanted details about her
new boyfriend shows extreme insensitivity on her part.
At this point, it is not a good idea to pursue a friendship.
Her actions prove she is not ready; however, you might not be ready
It’s natural for the time following a breakup to be tinged with
nostalgia and a slight bitterness. Therefore, it is good to have a
buffer zone of recovery: a time to embrace being independent and
having fun in the company of other people you love, such as friends
Willingham also believes that continued contact after a break-up
keeps wounds fresh.
“It isn’t healthy to ‘wallow,’ which is what we all tend to do,”
said Willingham. “We put on ‘our song,’ scroll through old
pictures and read all the texts we saved. The same is true for
contact with our former partner. It is possible, after time has
passed, for some romantic partners to be friends, but most of us
need a break first to give our injured emotions a chance to
Cut all contact until she realizes and understands the
repercussions of how her actions might hurt you, and then possibly
cultivate a friendship.
If you are still experiencing trouble with handling the
situation, schedule an appointment at Counseling and Psychology
Services, (909) 869-3220.
Don’t hesitate to ask a ques-chen at
Valerie Chen, Asst. LifeStyle Editor / The Poly Post
A mile in another man’s shoes
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