Last year my girlfriend Ashley and I broke up because we wanted different things. She wanted an open relationship and I wasn’t interested in that. It was a rough breakup, because she was my first serious girlfriend. I’ve tried dating other women but I haven’t connected with anyone. I recently started spending time with Ashley again and we ended up in bed and it was really great to have that sexual chemistry again. So we’ve been seeing each other casually and not exclusively. The trouble is, all of my friends are worried about me getting hurt again. I feel like I need to sneak around with Ashley or pretend like I don’t see her when we’re at the same clubs. I understand that my friends want to be protective of me, but how can I get them to understand this is my choice and I made it willingly?
Your friends want what’s best for you, and they don’t think Ashley is it. There isn’t one perfect sentence that is going to make them change their mind. What’s going to change their minds on this is time passing and you not being hurt by your ex.
So, you say you’re happy with your new connection with Ashley. I don’t doubt that. There’s definitely something to be said for being intimate with someone you have a great sexual connection with, even if it happens to be an ex. If you’ve tried dating and there hasn’t been that spark, or you’ve had mediocre to downright bad sex with new women, it can feel amazing to go back to someone who knows how to get you off.
Watch your heart and talk it over with Ashley as you continue to spend time together. If you’re just having casual sex and you’re both on the same page with that, it’s all good. If you start to catch feelings again and she’s not interested in dating you, it might be time to break it off … again.
In the meantime, I’d suggest you limit what you tell your friends about seeing Ashley. You can and should let them know (it sounds like you’ve told at least a few friends), and make a point to tell them everything you told us: You’re in a good emotional space, you’re not looking to have an exclusive relationship with your ex, you’ve fully and enthusiastically consented to what the two of you have together.
Tell them everything you told us: You’re in a good emotional space, you’re not looking to have an exclusive relationship with your ex, you’ve fully and enthusiastically consented to what the two of you have together.
For example, “You guys know I started seeing Ashley again. It’s just casual and we’re not exclusive. Right now it feels like the right choice for me but I totally get it that you guys are worried I’m going to get hurt. I’m taking care of myself but thanks for your concern.”
This way, if you run into your pals around town, you won’t have to duck out of the coffee shop. Sneaking around will feed your friends’ suspicions that you don’t feel good about what you’re doing — which is not true, you feel great about it. If it no longer feels great, you’ll end it. At that point, you’ll need to fess up that you’re not seeing Ashley (again), maybe listen to some not-so-helpful “I told you so”s and move on. If your friends are true friends, they’ll be there for you no matter what your relationship status with your ex.
Sneaking around will feed your friends’ suspicions that you don’t feel good about what you’re doing — which is not true, you feel great about it. If it no longer feels great, you’ll end it.
If your friends continue to bring her up, thank them for their concerns and change the subject. You know your friends want the best for you, but if they continue to criticize you or question your choices, it’s no longer helpful.
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