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Deborah, Nurse (RN)
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 3217
Experience:  Patient Advocate/Domestic Violence
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what does it mean when an ex wants to be freinds

Resolved Question:

My boyfreind and I broke up about a week and a half ago it was not the first time that we broke up and he strung me along in the relationship i became like a door mat , he recently called and wanted to apologize for being mean and tell me he just does not want a relationship with anyone , and i am a great person and he wants to remain freinds, but that it is up to me that I finally have the upper hand. what does this mean freinds was he just feeling guilty thinking he hurt me or could he think he made a mistake?
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Deborah replied 9 years ago.

It appears your boyfriend wishes to basically "have his cake and eat it too." meaning he knows that in the past you have allowed him to take advantage in the relationship. He seems unable or unwilling to make a commitment of a relationship and is using the "let's be friends" line to maintain an open line of communication so he can waltz in and out at his whim and fancy on the premise that you will be right there waiting for him.

This is a sure fire way to to continue to be his "door mat". It is good to [art on good terms, but to successfully maintain a relationship as friends what is important to understand is that the actual relationship should have the foundation of being healthy to begin with. From what you have stated it does not appear to be the case.

My suggestion is that you carefully think this over. Review the positive aspects and the negative aspects of this relationship. Carefully think things through and decide what it is you would like. You will have to decide if maintaining the relationship as friends is going to work for you. You will have to set the parameters of the friendship, stipulating that in essence remaining "friends" allows you to date other men when and as often as you want without your "ex' interfering.

If you decide to remain friends, what needs to be addressed is precisely what does "friend status" involve.   Does it mean that you "ex" can come in and out of your life with all the privileges of actually being your boyfriend once again without the commitment? What defines friend status is an integral key to you future happiness.

Sometimes, it is best to just move on if the the relationship was stressful or unhealthy to begin with. Your other option would be for you and your boyfriend to go to counseling to work on your relationship even if it only remains in friend status as this will alleviate stress of unresolved issues that from the relationship that would carry over to the friendship.

Please let me know if you have further questions or concerns. I will check back.
Deborah and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
So you don't think that him saying he wanted to be freinds is just a way to relieve any guilt he may have felt for treating me badly? also if a man says he does not want a relationship with anyone that it wasn't you what does this mean?
Expert:  Deborah replied 9 years ago.
He could wish to use the "lets remain friends" as a way to let you know he is sorry for how he treated you, but that in itself is not an adequate apology, because, think about it - good friends do not treat each others as "door mats".   If he wanted to apologize, he should have left the "friend" aspect out of it until he truly let you know that he was aware of how he treated you and would refrain from doing the same within the confines of the friendship. So in essence, when ending a relationship, the "let's be friends" suggestion as previously mentioned will more than likely bring the same dynamics from the relationship into the friendship and the ugly problems will follow along.

When a man says he does not want a relationship, this routinely means he either does not want to pursue or continue any type of commitment. It often means they want to be able to come and go into your life as they please. By stating "no relationship" or "let's be friends" for some men, this allows them to continue in a relationship but not be accountable for anything.

It can also be an indication that the man is simply does not want to be involved with a woman romantically any longer, but he does not want to hurt her feelings by simply stating "I do not want to see you anymore."

What you need to decide is if this was a long term relationship, do you feel that it can be worked out and would the two of you be willing to go to counseling.   

What you also need to consider is why you allowed yourself to be treated with disrespect and used as a "door mat". It might be a good idea to go to counseling on your own to work this out so that you do not perpetuate the same pattern in your next relationships. Learning to be assertive and say no, being confident with the confines of a relationship is not only healthy for you, but makes the relationship work better. Men often state that they find confident, assertive women attractive and sexy, beyond the physical characteristics. They often state that they find these type of women a challenge and that in itself can keep the chemistry going in a relationship.   Door mat type relationships for either partner grow old fast and the worst part if you are the proverbial doormat, you begin to find that is debilitating to your self esteem and confidence, so learning to break the cycle is a good thing.

I will check back to see if you still have questions.
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
i wish that I never let him see me as an unconfident woman he often called me insecure I just want to prove that I am not but I have no idea how to do that
Expert:  Deborah replied 9 years ago.
I would suggest that you go to counseling. It is a great way to get help to learn why you are not confident and insecure. It will not only make you feel better about yourself, but it is the most integral part of learning how to maintain a healthy relationship with a man.

If you have medical insurance, look on the back of your insurance card for the member services phone number.   Call and ask the customer service representative to explain your coverage and benefits for psychotherapy. They can also provide you with a list of preferred providers under your insurance plan in your area. You can also ask your family physician for a referral to a reputable psychologist.

If you are employed, many employers have an EAP (employee assistance program) that is free to employees. EAP is a firm outside your company that confidentially assists employees with all sorts of life challenges from adopting a baby, to domestic violence to simply arranging counseling for those individuals that wish to improve their relationships. It should be noted that you employer simply funds the service, but has no access whatsoever to any of the services you choose to utilize.

If you let me know your city, state and zip code, I can send you a list of psychotherapists that offer this type of counseling. Just let me know.