Can You Go From Lovers To Just Being Friends?
Question of the Day:
I was involved with a man for the last 6 months who is going through a nasty divorce and not ready for a relationship. He is also a complete mess so I have gone into high life coach mode—which is what I do very well and he loves this about me. We have decided it is best to not be romantic and intimate anymore as I deserve a healthy partner, but want to proceed as dear and loving friends.
My question is once I was in “lovers mode” with a man how do I transition into “friend” mode? My mind and heart have a difficult time with this transition. – Rebecca
I want to commend you for recognizing that this man is not in the right frame of mind or the right headspace for a relationship right now. As you know, he needs time to heal and process his divorce. What an amazing friend and lover you’ve been to him, and I understand how challenging it will be to you to make the leap backward from lover to friend.
So the first thing I need to ask you is… do you truly, in your heart and head, believe you can do that and be happy, or even satisfied, with it?
The reason I ask is that if you’re doing this with a hope that after X amount of time, he’ll return and be yours, I need to gently tell you that it might not happen. Often, a man who is doing his inner work finds that he doesn’t want the woman who supported him through his divorce. He wants a new woman, one who sees him as a bright, shiny penny… unspoiled and perfect. What you said about acting as a life coach triggered that thought, so I brought it up as something to keep in mind.
So, with that said, here are a few ideas for you to make that transition.
- When thoughts of him come up, remind yourself that you are now just friends and that is all it might ever be.
- Begin dating others fairly soon. This will put you back out there and help you take your mind off him.
- Limit your contact with him to public activities, so neither of you will be tempted to slip back into a friends with benefits situation. That’s one real danger I see, that you two might decide to go ahead and have sex without strings attached. That’s a road to heartbreak.
- When he contacts you, don’t respond immediately. Treat him as you do the rest of your friends.
- Don’t jump at every invitation. You aren’t always able to go out with your other friends due to life obligations, and he is no different.
If you find that you can’t have limited contact with him without wanting him back as a lover, you may need to go no contact for a while. You may also find that he tries to keep you around just enough to suit him. If this happens, to keep yourself happy you may need to cut ties, painful as it could be.
I hope this works out however you want it to.