Friendship with the ex: it’s not working

by singlemomseeking on November 12, 2008

When I first told you, my dear readers, about the ex who had come back, a few of you warned me:

“Sorry to throw cold water, but I think the whole turn of events is more than a little bizarre,” wrote my reader, MC.

And he’s suddenly got a blog! (eyerolls). He wants attention from you…. But why? I think it’s kind of weird that he’s going to such lengths.”

Weird, indeed. But the writer in me was too damn flattered to see that might have been screaming for attention — from me, from all of you.

“I was hurt by you once before,” I told him over dinner. “I need you to be honest with me.”

“I will be honest,” he said. He reached out and touched me.

“I will, too,” I said.

But was I being honest with myself?

Or was I too caught up in my fantasy of him?

When he’d first tried to contact me again, after so many years, I knew he was acting from an unconscious place. He’d sounded so confused, but he was persistent. I met him for coffee with my guard up. But as many of you know, unconsciousness can have a rippling effect.

We had dinner, and there was no hiding it: the crush I’d had on him six years ago was still there, stronger than ever.

I wanted to believe that he wasn’t on the rebound. I wanted to believe that his tears were real.


A few weeks ago, we made plans to see a movie. But then I got his email, asking if he could come over instead, so we could “make out.”

He went on to say that he “could use some intimacy.”

Yeah, I could use some intimacy, too.

But something in me said “no.” I suggested that we go on a walk.

It was a beautiful sunny afternoon and we set out on his favorite trail, near his home. He explained that he always took the “high trail.” But today, in order to catch the sunset, he wanted to take the “low trail.”

Within 10 steps onto the dirt path, he stopped. I stopped.

A woman was walking towards us: she was thin, attractive, with big brown eyes.

“This is awkward,” he said.

But I didn’t know what he was talking about.

She paused. He introduced us. It was his ex-fiance!

If this was a sign from the universe, it could not have been clearer. In sixty long seconds, I saw their grief, love, sadness and pain.

Then she went her way, and we went ours. But he was gone. I saw that, too.

Less than eight hours later, he would send me another email:

“I am going to take a step back from everything,” he wrote. “I am concerned that our physical attraction is the wedge that keeps us from being the friends I’d hoped we could be.”

He went on:

“I am still too raw and uncomfortable with my inabilities to cope with the loss of [my ex-fiance]. I’m not even sure how I feel anymore. Until I do, it would serve you, me, and her if I used my time to heal, learn, and grow.”

We haven’t spoken since.

In such a short time, he’d thrown me some crumbs. They were delicious. But I deserve more than crumbs, I know I do.

Talk about cold water! So tempting, but… Photo by coniferine

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{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

BlueBella November 13, 2008 at 9:34 am

Glad to see you’re finally on the other side of this one. They’re none too fun experiences, but they get us where we need to go.

BlueBella´s last blog post…The Little Things


Kelly November 13, 2008 at 9:00 am

He requested a makeout session? Is he 12?

I’m glad you got out before it got serious. You deserve better!

Kelly´s last blog post…Dinner and a Movie


QTMama November 13, 2008 at 8:27 am

Damn Damn DAMN. I remember reading that all of a sudden he had his own blog and I TOTALLY rolled my eyes as well. I almost posted that he’s a poser, but … I didn’t want to crush any happiness you may have had.

However, now, it’s different. I am glad he’s gone and that this got nipped in the bud before you threw your heart into anything. He sounds like an attention whore to me, and looks for the attention from women so he can comfort himself.

You’re better off, R. And you’re right, the whole loaf is what you deserve. *hugs*

QTMama´s last blog post…The Nervous Excitement


Wondermom November 12, 2008 at 8:54 pm

I wish I had something witty or profound to say like most of your readers but alas, I don’t. This is one more lesson in trusting yourself…you knew from the start that it would not end well but wanted to believe otherwise. For you, I’m sorry. For him, I’m even sorrier because he is the one who is missing out. I am proud of you though…you’ve grown a lot since you first wrote about him in Single Mom Seeking. And you’re still an inspiration to me, even if you stumble now and then. You do deserve the whole loaf…and a bag of chips on the side! I know it was particularly hard for you to share this so I thank you.

Wondermom´s last blog post…Counting down to the weekend!


laurakim November 12, 2008 at 8:48 pm

What an awkward moment for you all!

Sorry you had to go through that and sorry things didnt work out but you had alot of unresolved things with this guy which you can maybe let go now?

(my man list is up today btw)

laurakim´s last blog post…Facing my Fears


Leah November 12, 2008 at 8:47 pm

Rachel, so sorry that you ended up hurt, but wow, what a sign from the universe! If you hadn’t been in touch with your own needs and suggested the walk, none of that would have happened. I am always amazed at what happens when we are true to ourselves. Hang in there mama… so much better is on the horizon for you.

Leah´s last blog post…Remembering Ricky


Amy November 12, 2008 at 8:26 pm

Oh Rachel. I am sorry. But I agree with Kim – don’t regret something that made you smile. Boy – I bet he’ll stay away from here for a while. I think some of us are wrangling with the urge to give him a swift kick.

Amy´s last blog post…Journal 111: November 2008 Spring to Summer to Fall


Viv November 12, 2008 at 8:19 pm

I didn’t like this guy in the beginning of this saga, and I really can’t stand him now. He clearly used you while trying to get himself together and from the sounds of it, he’s definitely not together.

The trail thing does sound suspicious, as does his wanting to make out when you were so clear about your feelings and your vulnerability. What a schmuck!

I’m hoping that as Legal Editor Mom says, this was only a “sting.” (And maybe he did make you smile with all his flattery and crap, but at this point, do you really believe anything he said??) JERK.
You do deserve the whole loaf!


Kim November 12, 2008 at 7:48 pm

SMS, I’m with the others who glimpsed those red flags when this all started, but I know you had to give it a try and see where it would go. Who can blame you for that? You have lots of company with the “hopeful romantics.” I’m in a similar situation with a crush from *30* years ago…and I’m determined to take it slow and steady… You’re a role model for me and so many others (and I have quite a few years on you, girl). Thanks for teaching us as you go. You’ll always have our unconditional love and support, while at the same time we will always watch over our sister. <3 Oh and keep this in mind: “Never regret something that made you smile.”


Mommy to the Monsters November 12, 2008 at 7:14 pm

I’m with Tricia on this….

The low trail/high trail seems kind of suspicious to me too…

He did you a favor….You definitely deserve more than just crumbs.


Mommy to the Monsters´s last blog post…Response to Letters


judy November 12, 2008 at 6:37 pm

get a BIG knife…..cut the loses..then cut them again too be sure; you know the ones you thought you had cut many years ago.

He set you up, was rebounding, and I bet he comes back around.

Of course you will stay clear


tanasie November 12, 2008 at 4:49 pm

I want to punch him in the face. And make him cry for real.


He wants to make out with you and then HE says the physical attraction is what’s holding back the friendship he hoped for. Grrr.

But, at least you didn’t sleep with him before he flaked on you.

tanasie´s last blog post…Hanging Up


moody.bitch November 12, 2008 at 4:34 pm

I’ll admit, when I first read about this guy on your site, my alert system started beeping like my house was on fire.

But then again, I’m known for my cynicism, so I didn’t want to poop on the parade when it could have just been me being negative. 😉

Just remember: we have to endure the bad things in order to get to the good ones which are headed our way. {{hugs}}


singlemomseeking November 12, 2008 at 4:26 pm

Nancy: I really do feel like I dodged a bullet. Whew!

SDMktg: That Casablanca reference almost has me on the floor. So true!

Eathan: Thanks for the guy’s point of view. Yes, he was honest. But having the door slammed shut so hard, and so fast, did hurt. He was clearly trying to use me in order to work out his “stuff.”


Legal Editor Mom November 12, 2008 at 4:22 pm

I definitely should have given you credit for declining his offer of intimacy. A year or so ago, I wouldn’t have expected or believed this. So for that, I am proud of you. You treaded cautiously with him throughout this exchange, so hopefully it’s only a sting and not a really deep hurt.
Much love,


singlemomseeking November 12, 2008 at 4:13 pm

LEM: If you hadn’t said “I told you so,” I would have been disappointed. (I know you too well!)

In seriousness, I’m grateful that I said “no” to more stale crumbs.

Thanks to Quest for T, Liz, and SDM for running with the bread analogy!

Here’s to the whole loaf, sweetened with honey and more!


SS+1 November 12, 2008 at 3:49 pm

Admitting that a guy you were/are interested is only throwing you crumbs is a tough thing to do…Coming to terms with the fact that you deserve more is even more difficult! You seem to have things fairly under control. Good things come to those willing to wait (at least that’s what I tell myself every night!) Good Luck!

SS+1´s last blog post…The end of A Bad Night


Eathan November 12, 2008 at 3:12 pm

I’m not sure if I’m the 1st guy to comment in detail on this. So here it goes..

If and I say -IF he was truly in love with the ex-fiance.. that probably was a difficult momemnt. I have one ex that has the ability to confuse my mind.

When you have a 2 women that you care about cross paths. The timing couldn’t be worse. I’m sure he probably has some unresolved issues. He could have some feelings or emotions that makes it confusing. He sounds like he’s not over the ex.(I’m not sure how long it’s been since their break up) The one thing I can say in his defense.. he was honest to admit it. It took a few hours..but he did.

I’ve had confusing moments before. It’s tough trying to make a choice when your heart is torn. He has work on himself and his emotional wellness.

As far as you, Rachel. You’ve done the right thing. I’m sorry that you’re left out. It seems like you made the best decision by not getting physical too soon. You can still be friends with him after he has taken care of all of his unfinished business. And you’ll enjoy it twice as much. 🙂

Once again… I’m sorry for the way this happened. And I hope you find happiness.

Eathan´s last blog post…Vodka Soaked Tampons


Legal Editor Mom November 12, 2008 at 3:04 pm

Everyone’s been so nice so I’m not going to say I told you so. But how many of us warned you? When you KNOW that you’re vulnerable, that you get attached too easily, that warning signs are there, yet you often choose to ignore them, I do not agree that taking chances like this are a good thing. Unless you LIKE disappointment?

For me, crumbs are not an option.
I second SDMktg’s and Amy’s comments.


kevin November 12, 2008 at 2:58 pm

Rachel, I call that good karma for you…That walk and seeing his ex-fiance…You saw everything you needed to see before things got too “hot and heavy.” You must be living good!

kevin´s last blog post…What women want? A runner?


Amy Nathan November 12, 2008 at 2:55 pm

You are a smart cookie. No more crumbs, okay?

Amy Nathan´s last blog post…How much should you reveal?


krizbell November 12, 2008 at 2:36 pm

wow. i ahve wanted to leave a comment so many times- i am in the throws of recovering from my first relationship in a long long time…i became a single mom and after my amazing daughter was born i enjoyed a 4 1/2 year drought. i reunited with an old crush from high school- we hadn’t seen each other for over 20 years and how much fun we had! it was suppsoed to be friends with benefits until we see what happens. he freaked every few weeks, he wasn’t in to playing house after a couple of months and what was presented as the ingredients for a whole loaf turned into crumbs. My question is, if it hurt so much and he obviously doesn’t want to be with me/us, then why i am still hooked on a feeling? so much of my list is about what he wasn’t…but he is still there damn it!

krizbell´s last blog post…The Best Friday- Xoxa’s birth story version 1


SDMktg November 12, 2008 at 2:24 pm

You definitely deserve a lot more than crumbs. You should be at the head of the banquet table.

From the way you wrote your first post on I think you really always knew the deal, maybe you were just hoping it would be different. (Kind of like watching Casablanca and hoping maybe this time Ingrid Bergman won’t get on the plane.)

SDMktg´s last blog post…Need your vote! Our own "Sweet G" makes it to the Tostitos Tailgate Finals


goin-crazy November 12, 2008 at 2:19 pm

I am feeling all philosophical today so this is what you get:

If you do not hope, you will not find what is beyond your hopes.
St. Clement of Alexandra

Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall.

Play for more than you can afford to lose and you will learn the game.
Winston Churchill

Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.
Albert Einstein

You know what you want and what you need. As you told me “Don’t go back for more when there is only less”

goin-crazy´s last blog post…Today


Tricia November 12, 2008 at 2:16 pm

That whole high-trail/low-trail thing has me really suspicious…almost like he knew she was going to be there…

For what it’s worth, I’m glad you took the chance. At least now you know.

Tricia´s last blog post…Nike, you can kiss my ass.


Kari November 12, 2008 at 2:16 pm

I’ve been where you are right now. Karmal Sutra and spa day helps a little as does a little retail therapy and a night out on the town with the girls, all of it or some of it but usually all of it.

There is two men in particular I find it very hard to stay away from. One moreso than the other andI can’t explain it.

You are not worth crumbs anymore than I am, and I know others would recognize that about me more than I would myself and vice versa.

Kari´s last blog post…R-E-S-P-E-C-T.. and other things


Nancy November 12, 2008 at 2:02 pm

Older here, maybe not wiser, but more trips around the block than you *wink*

I didn’t go back and read my comment to the post you are referring too, but I’m sure I side-stepped what I was really thinking.

I’ll be polite and just say (I’ve read a few of his posts) … you dodged a bullet =)

Nancy´s last blog post…Blog Bling and Blob Bling


liz November 12, 2008 at 2:01 pm

Yet again, I can relate to this post in all sorts of ways! (And since it’s your blog, I’ll spare you from outlining them all!)

But Rachel I think it’s great that you know that you deserve more than just the crumbs. You deserve the whole damn loaf, and then some.

I will say that him calling and asking to make out says a lot. It’s one thing to have some sort of established friends with benefits situation but that wasn’t the case here. Which makes that request rather, well, ewwww creepy.

I think The Exception was right from the get-go.


T November 12, 2008 at 1:56 pm

Well… doesn’t this sound familiar. I’ve been reading a book (that I will be reviewing on my blog) about unavailable men and the women who love them.

Upon reading I realized just how much this sounded like my soldier situation and how I was only taking crumbs too. (and yes I do realize a lot of it has to do with his being at war and all) I called him on a few things that I put up with (that I’m now realizing I don’t have to put up with) in an email this morning. He wrote back instantly and threw a fit acting like I was being dramatic.

He wants to keep me in his life… as a fallback girl basically. A ‘friend with benefits’.

I don’t know. These crumbs are starting to taste a little stale now.

I’m looking for the whole loaf. How ’bout you?

T´s last blog post…Relapse


Crazy Computer Dad November 12, 2008 at 1:54 pm

I’m sorry to hear it didn’t go so well. Maybe it just means that person that matches your list is a little closer now?


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