Ask A Dude: My Ex Won’t Be My Friend

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Dear Dude,
My boyfriend and I recently broke up. I told him we could still be friends and everything wouldn’t be awkward. Then I find out a couple days later he deleted me as a friend on Facebook. What confuses me is that he is not the first ex to delete me. In fact my other last 2 exes have deleted me as a friend on Facebook as well.

Dude, I know there can be a millions different reasons why they would, but I think it’s strange when I said I want to be friends. Why would they do that?

Sincerely,
Girls Just Wanna be Friends

Dear GJWF,

A relationship consists of two people that cultivate a bond of trust, friendship, and vulnerability between each other. You grow together (or apart), you make room for that other person as a new constant in your daily life (even long distance where it arguably takes more effort), and gradually your inner lives are shared, until “I” becomes “We”. When that delicate and deeply emotional/psychological/physical/sexual/economical/sociological bond is broken then it’s often advisable for one or both people involved break from each other.

It’s wonderful that you want to remain friends. Often times, that’s a sign of wanting to retain some semblance of value to the relationship you had, a way of preserving what it meant to you, if you will, rather than erasing it from your memory. But you have to understand that what you want and what the other person needs may be different. While you might want to remain close, the young man may not be emotionally capable or willing. And you have to give him that space. Here, let me simplify my answer a little. Let’s see, how else can I-oh, yes, think of it like this: IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU SO WHO CARES WHAT YOU WANT!!!!!

Let the boy go. If he wants to be friends, he’ll call you. But guess what? He ain’t your man and you ain’t his woman. Once you set him free then what he does, or you do, is none of the other person’s business. You reached out and said “let’s be friends.” Great. Sounds like a pretty mature thing to do (unless you’re being selfish and want him around for your whimsy) but what he decides to do with your offering is not up to you.

If he doesn’t want to be your friend on Facebook, MySpace, stops following you on Twitter, and crosses the street when he sees you then you’ve got to accept those actions. Because they’re not yours, they’re his. If he ignores you then you probably don’t want to be friends with him. Onward and upward!

There are a ton of reasons why guys get rid of any traces of the women they break up with or are broken up by. Maybe he hates your guts and thinks you’re the devil (like Sarah Marshall) or maybe he’s scared he won’t be able to let go if you’re still in his life (aka Tom Hansen from 500 Days of Summer), or maybe he’s a narcissist and once you’re out of his orbit, you might as well not exist (does he live in Manhattan? Because that would be my guess then). Bottom line: the reason is his, not yours. What you had is past tense, so you focus on your present and leave him be to focus on his. You can always be civil when you see him in person. You made the offer to be friends, now leave the ball in his court.

When you feel broken then you need time to heal and rebuild your inners. What that means is making sure you don’t set yourself up to keep reopening the wound. The best medicine is often distance and time. If he doesn’t call, doesn’t e-mail, text, tweet, send you a birthday card, come to your next party, then here’s what you should do: nothing. Leave. Him. Alone. Because odds are he needs to protect himself from you. You may not like it, it may sound immature to you, his actions might be hurtful and seem disrespectful to what you two shared, but they’re his decisions to make. You take care of yourself and do what’s best for you. He’ll deal with himself, you just deal with yourself. And hopefully you’ll both live happily ever after.

Excelsior!

The Dude

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