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Parallax - Advice

March 10, 2003

Exes 'n ohs

Dear Conversely,

Ask us a Question!There is this guy in my life—my ex. We broke up a few years ago, but I still have feelings for him and we still call each other once a week. When we meet up (which is not often) he grabs me, holds my hand and hugs tight. Meanwhile, I act as if we are just close friends. I'm confused. After meeting, he doesn't call me for a few days...or sometimes weeks. What does this mean? Is he still interested in me or am I just someone he calls when he's bored? What kind of relationship do we have? Email to a Friend

Her view:

Dear Wondering,

Yep, you are the boredom call or the guilt call. I don't have the details of who broke up with whom, but my guess is perhaps he did the breaking up. This would explain the continued attention toward you. He probably feels an obligation to be nice and helpful and giving with you. That said, he still may have some occasional feelings for you, but they're fleeting moments of loneliness or boredom. And he probably really enjoys your friendship.

I'm sure he knows how you feel—people can always tell, even when you think you're being super-clever. He would be very cautious about entering another relationship with you because he knows where it is all going for him and he will break your heart all over again.

I would let this one pass. He's not really a guy in your life, just a friend.

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His view:

Dear Wondering,

You said it yourself. He is your ex. You are his ex. In fact, since a few years have passed, it is quite likely that you are his ex-ex. Or his ex-ex-ex. That is the kind of relationship you're in. Which is not much of a relationship, in case you hadn't noticed. You certainly are not close friends. Close friends see each other regularly and call frequently.

It is possible that he is trying to become friends with you, but friendship is not dating. And it's not courting, where the man might be expected to do most of the calling and pursuing. Friendship requires work on both ends. Why haven't you called him, after a few weeks pass?

Maybe he's not sure whether he is interested in you, so he's feeling you out. Maybe he's bored, and figures he'd rather spend a few hours with you than sit at home playing Nintendo.

I suggest you make up your mind about what you want. Do you want to be his friend? If so, call him up and say so. Then put some time into building that friendship.

Do you want him back as a boyfriend? Then start pursuing him. In either case, don't just stand there looking like an innocent spectator.

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