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Your Call: Can You Start from Scratch with an Ex?

Tue, Nov 3, 2009

Advice, Dear Em & Lo, Your Call

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Dear Em & Lo,

I broke up with my boyfriend a few months ago, due to some problems with the relationship and some awful things that were going on in my personal life — it was just too much stress. I still have feelings for my ex, however, and recently we started talking and he wants to get back together. However, I just don’t feel ready to jump back in to a full fledged relationship. What I’m wondering is, can we date causally for a while first? I don’t want to just jump right back in because I feel like we’ll gloss over the whole getting-to-know-you part that we initially missed. We never had a casual dating period where we were seeing each other as well as other people, and though I don’t have any other interests on the horizon, I feel like a period where we just take things slowly and understand whether we’re truly compatible would be smart. But is it too late for that? Would it be unfair for me to request it? Is this a case where I have to go all or nothing? Help!!!

Sincerely,
Gun-shy

What do you think Gun-shy should do? Let her know in the comments below:

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10 Responses to “Your Call: Can You Start from Scratch with an Ex?”

  1. Kaz Says:

    I’ve had the same thing happen to me. It depends purely on the problems that caused the break up in the first place. If it was more a personal thing then follow your heart. Tell him you want to take things slow. There’s no harm in getting to re-know each other as things may have changed. this will also help you decide if he’s serious about a relationship.
    Good luck

  2. Heather Says:

    i think you can definitely have a getting-to-know-each-other period again, as long as he’s willing to do that. just because you were exclusively dating before doesn’t mean you have to jump right back into that and you broke up for a reason. and even dating casually doesn’t mean you have to see other people too, it just means you can ease back into a relationship and make sure it feels comfortable and right for both of you.

  3. Elizabeth Says:

    Yeah, this happened to me as well. We dated for 2 months, broke up and had a casual relationship for another year, and now exclusive and happy for one. It took us a while to get it right.

    You don’t “have” to go all or nothing at any point in time. Tell him how you feel and see if he’s willing to give it a (slower) go. Just see how it flows and take it from there. Good luck :)

  4. Henry Says:

    The last time I dated an ex, it took exactly 3 hours to remind myself why I didn’t want to be in a relationship with that person. There was a 1 year separation there.

    I did on the other hand marry an ex after a 20 year separation.

    Maybe it’s all in the timing.

  5. nyxmoxie Says:

    Sounds to me like you need to figure out what you want out of life first. Its unfair to your bf if he wants an exclusive relationship and you just want a casual one.

    At some point he will tire of it, and might try to find someone else who will want to be with only him. Perhaps its better to be friends for awhile until you figure out what you want.

  6. Eric Says:

    I am in this exact situation now, things were just not working out for me and my girlfriend of a little over a year, we both had things going on in our own lives that neither of us had the capacity to work through and be there for each other like we wanted to. So we decided to step back and see if we can start over after we both got some things sorted out for ourselves.

    We took about two months off, and have been dating exclusively but casually for about two months again now, and I am very happy with how things are progressing. We are taking it slow and focusing on getting to know each other and spending time together doing things that we enjoy. And on establishing a solid friendship and a basis of mutual trust.

    The situation is not always easy, but we are open with each other about our feelings, our expectations and our boundaries. I really thought long and hard about what I was getting myself into before I decided to try it again, as did she. Because in some ways it is definitely easier to just try it with someone with whom you have had no negative experiences.

    I think that it is definitely possible (even with my situation not yet resolved), but the most important thing is that both people are completely open and honest about the situation, and about the boundaries and expectations. Which of course applies to any relationship no matter how long or how fleeting. And in my case, it is important for me right now to not get swept away by my own feelings and assume that she feels things for me that she doesn’t.

    So to openness and honesty I would also add caution. Caution about what you are feeling, and caution about what the other person may be feeling. You don’t want to lead yourself on, or your partner.

  7. Lexx Says:

    It depends on the reason you broke up and the situation you both are in now. I dated a guy for 2 months fell head over heels, ignored all the bad signs my friends and family told me about and stupidly gave him my virginity. 3 days later he said his life was really complicated and he just didnt want to like anyone right then and that he didnt want a relaationship with me. I heard from him about a month after that and he said he still had feelings for me and wanted to start hanging out again. At first it was what I thought i wanted to hear all along, but I realized he was too late and my feelings for him could never go back to normal. I would always remember how he took my virginity and then left me.

  8. wicked opinion Says:

    The best thing to do is to let him read this letter and some of the responses and have a grown-up discussion about it. At 35, I still have a knee-jerk reflex of not bringing up anything that may start an argument. I realize this is a result of dating abusers in the past who would fight about EVERYTHING. If you think a simple adult discussion about an important topic is scary or “not allowed”, examine THAT first. Sounds like your man really misses you. Ask yourself if you missed him, too, or if you are just rebounding, lonely, or flattered.

  9. juanez Says:

    I had the same experience with this girl I met 2 months ago. I fell head over heels with this woman. We always had a good time and she liked the way I used to make her laugh, and the way I just treated her, with alot of respect and a lady. But she said she had to many issues and wanted to take care of them and find herself. She was honest up front and said she was not ready for a relationship at the moment, but was happy the way I treated her. Should I give her her space and then try again down the road ,or should I move on, Please help.

  10. Lynz Says:

    My ex and i have been on and off for around 3 years now..(i know)but now this situation is getting me down now. I thought we could try again but he seems to pull back when i mention a relationship. I think you have to be careful if you are going to try and sort things out 2nd time round as you need to know exactly what the other person is wanting..casual or serious? I’m on the verge of giving up as i’m probably letting the wright person walk by me because i’m trying to figure the ex out!!! Somebody Slap Me!!!:(


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