He Wants It Both Ways
Q: I was with a guy for a year and two months. I broke up with him for many reasons. We are still friends, and he still wants to remain broken up but have the pleasure that comes with a relationship. I still have feelings for this guy but I know that if I do this to myself I will be hurting myself in the long run. We're both in our 20s. What should I do? -- Jane
Dr. Susan: Follow your gut, Jane. If the "pleasure" that your ex-boyfriend seeks is about having sex while avoiding the commitment of a faithful relationship, just say no. Unless that's what you want, too, of course. It's easy for ex-lovers to slip back into old patterns, and that may be just fine for one of the partners and not at all fine for the other. If being close to him makes you uncomfortable, brings up old issues, leaves you feeling uneasy or exploited, you can do better than that. Real friends figure out a way to get past the erotic temptations. If the feelings you still have for your ex are bothersome, you won't get any help getting over them if you spend much time with him. It will take some will-power, but consider taking a total break from him. That will free you emotionally to go out with other guys. Back-and-forth relationships are such a waste of energy and time.
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Advice for Her
Advice for Him
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.