When the Writing’s on the Wall



Dear Dharma,

So this is kind of a long story. My ex and I dated for about 2.5 years. It was the first serious relationship for both of us (and that includes first sexual relationship) and we were very much in love.

He was sweet and romantic and genuinely caring and I had never felt so close and connected with anyone before (or since). We had so much in common and truly “got” each other.

Then things started going downhill. I felt like he was drifting away and wasn’t as into the relationship as before. It could have been that the initial rush of a new relationship was naturally wearing off over time or it could have been that he was just getting really busy as he was starting his first real job (adulting yay!!).  Or it could have been that his feelings for me were wearing off, which is what I was scared of.

I was so inexperienced and didn’t know how to handle it and would get really upset and we would get into arguments and fights. Finally, he broke it off saying the whole thing was just too much pressure and too demanding and exhausting. He still claimed he loved me; it was just an issue of different expectations and incompatibility. He said he wanted to remain friends.

I thought he was just saying that to be nice but it turned out he really meant it. It has now been years since the break up and we are still close friends. Neither of us has found anyone new.  We have tried dating others, but it’s never led to anything real.

We still talk regularly, go out together, and joke around with old inside jokes and cute nicknames. Sometimes people think we are a couple when they first see us. I’m pretty sure he is still physically attracted to me although he tries to keep things distant and not touchy-feely (we did have sex a few times in moments of weakness when I stayed over at his place but that doesn’t happen often).

I think he gets jealous when I get attention from other guys because he gets kind of uncomfortable. He is also very curious about whether I’m dating anyone else and how it’s going with them, always asking me about that.

Despite all this, he insists that we are friends only and tries to keep things neutral and distant, especially when he feels we’re getting closer again. So basically I feel like we are in this limbo state and I’m just waiting for us to get back together again. I have tried talking to him about it, but he just tells me he is fine with the way things are and does not want to change anything.

I want to have a real relationship, though, and preferably with him as he is very special to me and I can’t just date someone else…

So my question is, how do you think he feels about me? Does he still have romantic feelings for me and if so, is there a chance of getting back together in the future? How do I make this happen? Or am I just wasting my time and should focus on moving on and finding someone else?

I would really love to get some advice on this issue, it’s really confusing and I’m not sure what to do… Thank you for your time and help!

Living in Limbo

Dear Limbo,

Amazing, isn’t it… how love can get us so tied up in knots, we can’t see the forest for the trees.

Your first question is actually pretty easy to answer, mainly because he’s already answered that question… more than once.

What’s that saying…

When people show you who they are, believe them…

Dr. Maya Angelou

So believe him when he says he doesn’t want an actual relationship with you.  He’s told you in both actions (breaking up with you) and words (he is fine with the way things are).

And of course neither of you has moved on.  You’re both too entwined in each other’s lives, with everyone else thinking you are a couple, to attract anyone who stands the chance of becoming even close to the real thing.

And really, why would he move on?  He gets to hang out with you, exchange funny and sweet little anecdotes, and even sleep with you every now and then.  He has complete freedom to come and go as he likes, and gets nothing but benefit by this arrangement.  Pretty good deal, wouldn’t you say?

And when you say you “can’t just date someone else”… by that you mean, you choose not to date someone else, right?

Look.  I completely understand – completely! – what it means to look at a situation with glasses tinted with so much rose they are practically fuchsia…  And sadly, I don’t hold out much hope that anything Dharma’s going to say here is going to give you the shake you need to realize there’s nothing good about this.

But the bottom line, my friend, is there’s nothing good about this.  You need to ask yourself why you’ve chosen to play out this drama for so long.  Yeah, yeah, I know, he was sweet and romantic, and not a whole lot trumps “true love”, or even worse, “first love”.  It’s hard to understand how something that was written in the stars could play out less than perfectly.  Key word = was.

You need to start reading the writing he’s putting on the walls now (today and for the past few years – that’s a lot of writing!!) and ask yourself if this is what you want to keep reading for the rest of your life.

Answer that question, and you’ll know what to do next.  It won’t be easy.  Doing the right thing seldom is.



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