Staying Friends With Your Ex?

Don't even try it

Dear Monica, I dated a man for two years and we recently broke up. I have tried to remain friends with him but he has kept me at a distance. Why can’t people remain friends after a break up? — L.H., Paoli

In rare situations people who have been in a relationship can break up and remain friends. This tends to happen when the relationship was short-lived. A little sex maybe, but not passionate love.

Usually when people decide to split they cannot transition to being friends because there was a profound emotional and intimate connection, making it too painful to still be around that person. Why remain close to someone that you no longer choose to be with? Life does not go in reverse. It’s not likely the two of you are going to double date or make toasts at each other’s weddings.

Furthermore, as each of you begin to see others any lingering feelings from your time together will only complicate matters. Have you considered how deep his attachment was to you? Perhaps he is keeping you at a distance because he does not want to dwell on the past, or it is just too painful to be around you because he is still in love. Quite frankly, if you really care for him, you would get the hint and let him go. It is silly to think that one can go from a deep emotional and physical relationship to having brunch and a peck on the cheek.

My suggestion is to stop focusing on the benefits of having him still be a part of your life. This is selfish behavior. Once you have a bond that was special it cannot be remolded into a casual friendship. The relationship is over. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. Move on. If you can’t move on, look in the mirror and wonder why.

Monica Mandell, Ph.D. is the Director of the Philadelphia office of Selective Search, the premiere (off-line) upscale matchmaking firm for the most eligible singles. Please send your questions to: