My ex wants me to be his best friend

Chat at 1 p.m.

Hi Meredith,

My ex and I were best friends before we started dating, while we were both in college. (He graduated in December, I am still in college.) We spent almost every day together. We were both secretly into each other for about five months before we started dating. I fell very hard for him, and he did for me too. We promised that we would do everything we could to make it work, but if it didn't, we would always stay in each other's lives as each other's "number one fan."

After he got his first job, he moved to a city about an hour away. Before he got the job, he said he wanted us to still be together. Then he broke up with me out of nowhere. He said he was struggling with the fact we didn't live in the same city and probably wouldn't for a while. This was a week ago. He wants us to still be in each other's lives as best friends. He still wants us to text each day like we did when we were dating. He wants to send each other tweets, Instagram posts, and Snapchats. I'm still in love with him, and I still have hope we'll get back together. I don't know what would hurt me more – not speaking to him or still keeping him in my life knowing I'm not OK with the change in our relationship. During the day I tell myself it's fine and it's fun to talk to him — because we are friends. But I know I'm not fully OK with it because I cry about how we won't be the same as we were. I promised to be there for him but I'm very heartbroken, and I don't think I can authentically be his best friend and biggest supporter when I'm this hurt.

– Can I be my ex's best friend?


Cut him off.

I don't care what promises you made. You had no idea how it would feel to lose him and then talk to him every day. Now you do, so the plans need to change.

Tell him you need time to grieve the relationship, and that if he ever wants a real friendship – the kind where you could be happy for him if he met someone else – you need to get over him and what you had. Explain that the texting and social media communication is causing you pain. If he cares about you, and I'm sure he does, he'll let you go. If he tries to bargain, let him know that he needs space to grieve this too. The loss probably hasn't hit him yet.

Years ago, someone I loved ended our romantic relationship and then told me he still wanted to be best friends – that he "always wanted to be my first phone call, no matter what." Eventually I had to explain to him that my first phone call was going to be to family, other friends, or a new significant other. He didn't want to be demoted, but that's what happens when a relationship like this changes.

It will feel awful to delete him from your life for a bit, but then it'll start to feel better. Once you have a routine on your own, you can consider how he might fit into your world.

Don't feel bad about this. You're not abandoning him. He broke up with you.

– Meredith

Readers? Friendship? Is it harder to cut someone off from texts right now?