This month I began talking and hanging out with my ex-boyfriend after more than a year of separation. I have some lingering feelings for him, and an attraction still exists between us. However, because the relationship was so tumultuous and damaging to me in the past, I'm trying to proceed carefully in this present situation.
From the beginning, I told my ex that I wanted to keep things pretty neutral, i.e. no touching et cetera. I need time to gauge our interactions, to get an idea of where things stand. I want to make sure I'm on solid footing emotionally, and that we're able to communicate in a fulfilling way. I want time to evaluate his character and my feelings. Basically I would like for us to get to know one another again. (I told all of this to him).
However, also from the beginning, I got the sense that he was interested in rekindling the relationship. Yesterday he tried to kiss me and I turned away. It felt like he was crossing my boundaries, albeit in an innocent way. Afterward I reiterated my need for time and neutral relations. Yesterday he also expressed his desire for us to be together again.
Here are my questions: 1) Is what I'm doing acceptable, or am I being unfair to him? I'm not sure whether I want to be in that relationship again; there are a lot of factors to consider. Is it okay to demand neutrality from him for an indefinite period of time (especially since he has already made his interest clear)? 2) Where is the line between being emotionally unavailable and cautious? It's not my intention to string him along...I really want to do what's best for myself and the situation as a whole. 3) Should I just bow out altogether?
Thanks for reading.
Posts: 106 | From: Florida | Registered: Aug 2008
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It sounds to me that you are very clear on what you are looking for: time to evaluate things and to get to know this person "again". Kudos to you for communicating this, in what seems to me, a clear manner.
However, it sounds to me that despite knowing all of this, your ex- isn't being respectful or consider of your needs here. (Does this sound familiar to you about his behavior in the past?). When someone is crossing our boundaries, they are crossing our boundaries. Period. "Innocent" or "non-innocent" ways don't make it any less that they are violating and being inconsiderate.
It sounds like you are feeling some geninue and real feelings about your recent interaction with him. My question is: what is keeping your from trusting, and validating / believing your feelings?
In regards to your questions: 1. I don't think it is wisest to demand/ ask anyone to behave in a particular way from anyone, esp when you aren't in a relationship with them. You can only control your behavior and what you will and wouldn't do when someone is acting in way that isn't in line with your wishes/wants/needs/feelings.
2. I don't think that "being nuetral" means emotionally inavaliable. You stated already that you already acknowledge that you have some lingering feelings for him. To me, that's not how someone who is emotionally inavailable would say. You are paying attention to your needs, wants and feelings in this interaction with this person. To me that's totally sound and normal. healthy.
3) If what he wants is a similar version of a past relationship, while you are seeking ways in which there may be a whole new relationship, then it's unlikely that this would be a interaction where both of you aims/desires match, makes sense? Have you discussed with him what impression you are getting about what he wants and also how you feel that you aren't being heard/respected in your needs to have space, and for things to go slow?
Generally most people would dicuss such things. However, you mentioned that you had difficulities in communicating with him even during the time you were together in a relationship. Often times, unless something drastic change has occured, most people tend to repeat similar behavior patterns. So may be worth for you think about how you are feeling now and what's happening now between you and him is or isn't similar to the unhealthy dynamic that you have when you were in a relationship with him.
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