Does anyone think I *should* ask my ex to give things another try?

posted 2 months ago in Relationships
Post # 46
2188 posts
Buzzing bee

You have clearly already made your decision, so I’m very confused as to why you continue to come to an online forum and ask a group of strangers for advice.  

Do you want validation?  Then yes, go for it.  Hell, follow him to another county and uproot your life for someone who has told you that he doesn’t want a serious relationship with you.  Continue to be at his beck and call, because maybe there is hope that he will come around to the idea of dating you.  There is always hope, right? 

Post # 48
4258 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: January 2017

rachel351 :  do you feel like you can’t be alone? That you are empty without a relationship/a man in your life?

Post # 49
1015 posts
Bumble bee

rachel351 :  

Let’s break down the real timeline and events of this relationship, in your own words:

At date 4: “we fooled around some but didn’t have sex – he actually admitted he is inexperienced compared to me and clearly felt nervous about it.”  

You instigated intimacy, which made him uncomfortable, which he reveals a bit to you then, and later very clearly. He tells you that he is a virgin.

After date 5: he cancelled. “So today was meant to be our sixth date….The truth is I am feeling quite vulnerable as this is the first person I really opened up to after my last break up and I think being naked together last time has exacerbated things. Am I reading into things too much and should contact him again to confirm the date tomorrow?”

5 dates in, less than 5 weeks, and you are panicking because he cancelled a date suddenly. When he says he is sick, you immediately follow up with, “Ok, how about TOMORROW” which isn’t a realistic recovery period to someone who is actually ill. You were pressing for him to see you again, as soon as possible, because it provoked insecurity in you. Except that you also know that he is a virgin, and that intimacy at the level you instigated made him uncomfortable, because he has told you this AND started trying to have “in public only” dates with you.

Then, you say this in response to someone suggesting you let him make the next plans and pursue other potential TRULY available men: “I guess I can, but I feel I’m working pretty hard here. He should have reached out to cancel/reschedule. I then both made the reservation on phone and had to change it again.” 

You are guiding and forcing the relationship already, at date 5. In fact, you say after your first “taste” of intimacy with him that you want to keep GOING INTO PRIVATE PLACES LIKE HOMES, and not make out in public, because he is clearly trying to keep you in public places. And you don’t like that he has set that boundary. 

Date six HAPPENS, and he is indeed sick! You say: “So he does look a little sick/pale & he tells me he was not going to blow me off, but was waiting another hour in the hopes he would feel better. Sounds plausible. However, he mentions that he doesn’t feel ready to be in a relationship and would prefer something more casual right now.”

He tells you that he does not want a serious relationship with you. At date 6. He goes on to say that he does not want a physically intimate relationship to the level you want. You now know that he is a virgin, is uncomfortable with sex, and is reacting by pulling back. He asks to take things very, very slowly. But this is what you say:

The bad: He has outright said he wants casual/not a relationship and I don’t think there’s 100% clarity on what that means yet. Like, does it mean he is just going to contact me/arrange dates whenever he fancies it? Because if so that puts him in the driving seat & where does that leave me?”

Your friend says, “a friend also suggested that because he said he doesn’t feel equipped to have a relationship right now, he might have no intention of sleeping with me at all or coming home with me again etc. Hence why he is intimate in public, but not asking me back etc”

You mention understanding, and say you’ll take things slow and respect his feelings. Great, you are going to respect his boundaries and not force intimacy yet!  But, wait…no you aren’t, because then somewhere between date 6 and date 10 while you pretend you are ok with that, this happens:

“For a new relationship things have intensified quite quickly. On the last date he intiated things sexually, but at one point he stopped me and told me that he was abused as a child doing this particular act frownClearly it triggered him, and we talked. I asked if he wanted to stop the sexual part of the relationship for a while? He said no, he’s happy to continue, just not doing this particular thing.”

And again, predictably, because you are pushing his boundaries, he pulls back away from you. This is how you respond: 

“It makes me feel he is NOT into me, which is bizarre given how INTO me has been behaving.”  “…It’s blatantly clear that he is purposefully not contacting me.”

So you need him to disregard his own boundaries and feelings because you kept provoking intimacy and then it made you feel exposed. Mind you, this is a (now former?) virgin with sexual assault as his childhood background.

Predictably, your relationship (likely) sends him into a deep depression while he tries to work out what he went through in the past, how to handle his relationship with you, and process his physical and emotional feelings. This is two months in, right when you are starting to insist that he needs to text you regularly (more regularly than your ex, who texted every 3 days and then you “had to talk to him about it,”) and that you wanted to discuss sexual exclusivity with him. Seeing that he was a 23 year old virgin, I don’t think him cheating on you physically was the problem. Instead, you felt rejected right when you were feeling most vulnerable. And you want his fulltime reassurance, attention, and continued physical affection to reassure you.

This eventually leads to you breaking up with him after a romantic night, possibly because you were trying to press him to give you something he couldn’t in commitment and communication amounts he was not able to provide while working through his issues. And then, when he doesn’t fight you on the break up, you are shocked and sad and want to find a way to keep dating…or…be his “friend.”

And now, just 3 months later of playing politely in the friend zone, you think you can make it work again. By, what else? Taking the lead (again) and pushing him to ask if he wants to try again.  Here is one of the sympathetic to his turmoil things you said:

“– We have already been intimate, so I’ve had a taste of it and I suppose crave it more”


Stop pursing and forcing a relationship that isn’t working. Every step of this journey he has been honest with you about what he can handle, what he can’t, what he wants and what he needs from you. Every step of the way, your own insecurity and needs push his out of the way and demand something of him and push him into the discomfort zone that has put you in the “not quite friend” zone that you want to change. It drove you crazy with insecurity, it literally helped spark a bout of depression in him. 

Post # 51
1015 posts
Bumble bee

rachel351 :  Of course you aren’t the big bad wolf, nor did you make his life miserable. You clearly enjoy each other or you wouldn’t still be spending time together.

It does, however, point to early incompatibility that will likely continue again if you begin a non-platonic relationship. 

Post # 53
819 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2019

I guess the question is – are you interested in the physical attention and friendship if it doesn’t turn into a committed relationship?  I also think you need to be really honest with yourself.  Based on your experience with him before I echo a PP in that I wouldn’t assume that because he enjoys your company and being physical with you that he wants a relationship.  Personally unless he tells you otherwise, unprompted, that he is interested in more.

IDK bee, I can understand wanting the answer to ‘what if’ but at the same time if being in a committed relationship and eventually marriage is something you want, the more time you spend with someone who is emotionally unavailable the more you’re keeping yourself from finding someone who will give you what you want.  I’d HIGHLY recommend reading the book Attached if you haven’t already.  A lot of your behavior reminds me of me in past dating/relationships and I am definitely the ANXIOUS type and realized that part of my problem was dating AVOIDANT types.  The book made me much more purposeful about who I sought out and as soon as I started sensing that someone wasn’t able to be emotionally available to me or give me the security I needed in a relationship I bailed.  And it made me realize my husband is so, so different because while we have an amazing connection, anytime I felt insecure or anxious he acted in ways that made me feel more secure and loved in our relationship and the dynamic was so different.


Post # 54
1015 posts
Bumble bee

rachel351 :  I think that for you, sex and physical intimacy leads to further emotional attachment. That attachment, if you aren’t given reassurances in the way you interpret demonstrations of reassurance in people, can lead to anxiety. The anxiety leads to inner turmoil, which impacts your relationship. Negatively, in this case.

What reassurances you have mentioned you need are: frequent contact in the form of talking (texting, phone calls, etc), continued and constant physical attention (whether it is sex or just physical touch), a defined “title” (girlfriend, partner, exclusive sexual partner) so that you know where you stand, and a relationship that “progresses.” 

Someone who is a good match for you would give reassurances, keep in close communication with you naturally/eagerly, keep and increase intimacy, self-designate titles without you taking the lead, and make you feel secure enough for you to not have to have to prompt reassurances from him.

What your friend does when it comes to relationships and intimacy is the opposite: he withdraws to process, disconnects, engages in gaps in communication. The post Kelbrimale just posted above, as well as Tatum’s comments are very good comments that point to why this dynamic won’t work for you. This is why I say that you two seem naturally incompatible. This doesn’t mean you don’t have great chemistry together, it means that you two have behavior patterns that don’t meet the needs of the other person. You felt quickly relaxed with him, and then just as quickly emotionally vulnerable and exposed. He seems to only truly let his guard down when you two are not pursuing a relationship. 

You are already emotionally invested, so the “cool girl” act won’t work for you. It also appears that he likely will not be living in the same area that you are, and he already expressed disinterest in a long distance relationship. I don’t think that would be ideal for you because of your relationship needs. 

Does that make a little better sense to you in what I’m trying to say?

Post # 55
2188 posts
Buzzing bee

kelbrimale :  that book changed my complete outlook on dating and helped me so much!

Post # 56
544 posts
Busy bee

It’s not going to work out between you two, so why would you revert? You’re clearly not compatible and you’re exes for a reason. To be honest bee, it sounds like you’re seeking attention and because he made you feel good you’re thinking things are la dee da. Things were so great because there was no pressure. Focus on your emotional development and don’t worry about a relationship. You’ve gone from one to the other and never stop focusing on finding one. Get a handle on yourself before and avoid getting tied up with someone who has their own difficult hang ups such as this guy. 

Post # 57
408 posts
Helper bee

rachel351 :  

I have to say, I think you are brave to continue coming to this forum, given the comments you are getting. With a lot of these comments, the analogy of a hammer and a nail comes to mind. I’m glad you came to update – your story stuck out for me, and I have wondered how you were doing.

I’m going to go against the grain and disagree with many of the comments here – which will not surprise you, OP. I’m also not going to get into a back and forth with other commenters, but if you want my opinion, here it is:

* To me, you do not strike me as an overly anxious, needy, clingy, predatory woman at all. I think you are sensitive, but that is not a crime. I also think it’s admirable that you noticed some of your pushing or anxiety-provoked behaviour was not working for you, so you have taken steps to self-correct, and you have seen results. You feel happier within yourself (the main benefit), and he seems to feel safer and more relaxed with you.

* You clearly do have a special connection with this guy, otherwise it would not have endured 6 months, despite the fact that the two of you broke up. Regardless of what other people tell you, such connections are not a dime-a-dozen. Yes, there are plenty of great guys out there, many of whom will be more commitment-oriented, and I encourage you to keep meeting them, but people whom we “adore” (as you put it) do not come along every day. For this reason, the fact that you too seem to love each other’s company and have a beautiful connection, I don’t see a need to kick this guy out of your life for no real reason. It is pretty clear that the two of you have been becoming closer, and him asking about the possibility of the two of you landing up in the same city is proof of that.

There’s no reason not to enjoy this friendship if it works for you. I know some bees here are suggesting you can’t handle it, but I see no evidence of that. Wanting to talk it out with other people is hardly a sign that it is making you crazy. Honestly, that notion blows my mind. Some people talk about things and like to get different angles (I am one of them), and there is nothing wrong with that. It is not a sign of gross psychological instability.

* Having said that, to answer the original question of this post, No, I do not think you should ask your ex to give things another try. In one way I do agree with the previous posters in the sense that, if he was ready for a romantic relationship, you would already be in one or moving in that direction. Him moving his face to *maybe* kiss you is not a sign of that. It’s a sign of interest only. If he is at all avoidant or emotionally unavailable or uncertain about things, asking him for another try is just going to come off as pressure and needy to him.

If you can handle it, I would say continue to spend time with him as a friend, don’t push for more, and see what evolves. Continue to date other guys and keep your options open as it feels right for you.

I know it doesn’t seem like it now, but this will resolve itself naturally one way or the other given time, and it will most likely be just right for the two of you and what you needed to do to grow and learn from this experience. That is why I do not agree with the stern advice from the bees to cut him off and block him and who insist that you are obstinate for not doing so.

Either you two will move to different cities/countries and find other people to be in relationships with, or you might remain friends then drift apart or get over your feelings and find that just being friends is fine. Or, you might find your way back together romantically sometime down the line. It’s all good, just remember to put your own feelings and needs and priorities first.

(You are welcome to PM me if you want to chat. Like I said, I’m not going to get into a back and forth here.)

Post # 58
398 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2019

Hi Bee!

I haven’t read through your previous thread. But I want to give you some insights from my experience, as I’ve been in a long distance relationship for two years and am suffering from depressions/anxiety and we are getting married next week after five years of being together.

So, I met him when I was abroad for my internship for my masters degree and I wasn’t looking for a relationship at all. And less for something that would be long distance. I have been very anxious about my ex boyfriend even moving some cities away and would have never imagined me being in a long distance relationship. So I was with my doubts etc. but he was so sure about me and it wasn’t even a question for him to reconsider his feelings or anything because of it going to be a long distance relationship that I felt so secure about everything. And by long distance I mean that it was me in Switzerland and him in Mexico with a 7 hour time difference.

What I want to say is, don’t get yourself put off by the simple thought of a long distance relationship that seems to be scary, if you two are interested, you should openly talk about it and talk about options to be in contact etc. I’m always having the approach of why wouldn’t I try it? If I see that it doesn’t work out, I at least tried and don’t need to think about “what ifs”. And although never in my wildest dreams I could have imagined me being in a long distance relationship it turned out well. But you have to be sure, as it’s no physical contact or reassuring hugs. It’s all about communication, but one can grow into it. 

And then to the depression/anxiety part: if the two of you get to know each other better you’ll eventually start to understand him more and be able to read him better. I don’t deny that sometimes it’s not easy for a partner, but it’s nothing that should set you off. Of course you have to look after yourself and prioritize yourself. But again, I don’t see it as a deal breaker per se.

I don’t know if that’s the case with the two of you. Being scared and unsure is ok, but the thing is, that with difficulties presenting themselves so early in a relationship, it is really important that the two of you are committed and willing to grow together. Because this is the common ground and security that the both of you need. And I want to add that it’s maybe not you absolutely not capable of having a casual relationships, but there are persons that trigger exactly our weak points and we end up more hurt than anything else. I think we are not able to answer your question, only you can.

Post # 59
2884 posts
Sugar bee

rachel351 :  what is the ‘incompatibility’?

The incompatibility is that you have totally different emotional needs, totally different physical needs, and very different ways of approaching relationships. 

Getting along and having chemistry is the easy part. The hard part is finding someone who whose needs, relationship style, and lifestyle/life goals line up with yours. I get it. it feels hard to let something go when the pieces of the puzzle ALMOST fit. But the parts that don’t fit are enormous and aren’t likely to change anytime soon.

The guy with ‘commitment issues’ I mentioned earlier and I got on like a dream, we could talk for hours, laughed constantly and were incredibly attracted to each other. And he did really love me – it took him over a year to stop reaching out to me after I ended it. But his emotional and relationship needs were very different from mine and that’s not something that just changes because you want it to. (I keep using my own example, but I’ve had several friends have similar experiences as well)

We’re not saying this guy doesn’t have feelings for you, but you’re ignoring signs of deep incompatibility and you’re going to torture yourself trying to make this work. 

A half-relationship isn’t actually halfway to whole one because the half that doesn’t fit, doesn’t change. It just blocks the space in your heart/life so you can’t find someone that actually fits. 

Post # 60
6003 posts
Bee Keeper

Are you really so desperate, or is he like the only dude in a 500 mile radius? I don’t get your weird obsession with him. He doesn’t sound like all that, but you sound so sad and clingy, desperately looking into every word and action to see if he loves you. Move on already.

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