Hi! I'll be glad to help you with this issue.
I can imagine how confusing this situation must be for you. You think very deeply about things and you want to arrive at the truth of things to feel good. And also to get to good results. You also feel deeply. So you are aware of your emotional connections and you want to understand them. And again to have them feel good and to get good results.
And this is actually the key to my answer to you that you need to consider and think about. Your ex wants a more "surface", or "superficial" relationship. In terms of emotional connection is what I'm referring to. When you say that you are concerned that to follow her in that path might be self destructive for you, I see you mean that you know yourself to be emotionally too connected, that you cannot separate physicality from your emotional self, and therefore it will become enmeshed in your thoughts/feelings. And you will be hurt because you'll want more than she is looking for.
You're right. And if you look at it objectively, you are really saying you'll get to where you are right now all over again: you'll feel more an emotional connection/need and she'll want more a physical/casual friend relationship. That's the current situation. So it will be destructive for you because you'll have put in a lot of your "heart" and after that emotional climb, you'll fall back to where you are now.
I would like to encourage you to accept yourself as you are. It doesn't have to be a question of which is better. She's looking for what she's looking for based on her self awareness. Your self awareness is what it is: you need emotional connection to be the heart of the dance, not physical connection. That's a good way to be, I believe. But it requires self acceptance and acceptance of others being different as well. That what she needs right now isn't what you can offer and what she can offer isn't what you need can make you sad, but not letting it make you try to change yourself in order to fit her needs is what you're recognizing in yourself. That's a good recognition.
Okay, I wish you the very best!
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