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

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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!!!


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10 Comments on "Your Call: Can You Start from Scratch with an Ex?"

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5 years 9 months ago

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!!!:(

6 years 5 days ago

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.

wicked opinion
6 years 7 days ago

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.

6 years 9 days ago

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.

6 years 24 days ago

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.