Try Me: Why Am I Still Thinking About My Ex Years Later?
Welcome to “Try Me.,” Elite Daily’s new advice column that shares the tough love your friends are too afraid to give you. You’ve got questions and we’ve got answers.
Got a life or love related question for “Try Me.”? Email the full details to TryMe@elitedaily.com with the subject labeled “Try Me.” We promise to tell it like it is.
I haven't spoken to the girl who used to be my best friend. I think she purposefully avoided attending a get-together of high school friends Saturday night because she found out I was there.
Here’s the backstory: We were best friends all through high school. We hooked up a couple times while in college, but didn’t sleep with each other.
Fast-forward to our high school Five Year Reunion, she didn’t go because she didn’t want to see people. I went. I got drunk. She invited me to her place. We had sex in her hot tub.
That whole summer she said things to me like, “We hang out so much it feels like we’re dating.” I thought that meant that it was a great time to see if we could go out. But really I guess it was just sleeping with each other.
We hung out a bit more that summer. She went back to school and I didn’t hear from her until December. She was going to NYC. We had a horrible lunch where we said mean things to each other and we haven’t seen each other since. It’ll be three years this New Year’s.
Now, present-day, my friend from Arizona invites the same 10 people over to drink and hang out -- including this former BFF. I show up and this one girl asked if I’ve spoken to her recently.
She said my girl was coming. She asked if I was cool with that. I said it was fine. And then I saw that the two of them were texting for a while. So I was like, Okay, I’m not going to say anything because I shouldn’t be reading these texts and I can’t see what she’s typing. But that’s code for “I’m not coming.”
It’s the same kind of thing like the 5 Year Reunion. If there’s a situation she doesn’t like, she just doesn’t show up.
I’m 25 now. I’m doing okay. I’m single right now. I was seeing someone who I went to college with. Every time I get to the three-month mark, I never feel like there’s a future, and I haven’t had a future with any of these women.
I don’t even know what I want. This was someone who was my best friend. I would have wanted to date her.
It’s hard to throw someone entirely away. Then I feel like a piece of sh*t. After that New Year’s I was like, I’m not going to call her for a while. I’m not going to go out on a limb again.
I wanted to know if you could give me perspective on why I'm still thinking about her, and why there still seems to be a conflict between us even though we haven't spoken in years.
Can you give me some perspective?
Let’s talk about this girl first before we dive into your conflicted feelings.
You’re never going to get what you want from this girl. Part of that is because, like you said, you don’t even know what you want and part of it is because she does what is convenient for her, regardless of other people’s feelings.
Three years sounds like a lot of time to still hold a grudge, especially with someone with whom you’ve already lost touch.
If she avoided a party because you were there, well then, she’s pretty f*cking petty and has issues of her own. Speculating on why she didn’t come when you already believe it was you is a waste of your time.
“We hang out so much it feels like we’re dating.” To her, it feels like you guys already had your moment. That summer was all she needed. You made her uncomfortable by trying to be more -- this is how she’s letting you down without explicitly letting you down (because the last time that happened you got in a major fight).
Now, she’s just playing the role of the ex-girlfriend who doesn’t want to see her ex-boyfriend who she knows still wants her (probably from your mutual friend). This girl has a pattern of running away from conflict, so that’s how she’ll deal with your breakup.
She doesn’t sound like someone you want to be best friends with anyway. If a relationship ended all those years ago and you two have still not reconnected, it’s not going to happen now.
Especially with all the forms of communication to stay in touch, holding out that you two will still be friends -- or even believing that she’ll be the same person for that matter -- is wishful thinking.
Is there conflict? Or is there just conflict built up in your head? Perhaps approaching her is better than the guessing game. Because when you guess, your mind goes to weird places and you spiral. Being in love can make us feel so deep in it.
What would happen if you asked her what is up? Not in an aggressive, “Tell me why we stopped being best friends again I want you back,” but in a genuine, “How have you been after all these years?” She may shut you down because she thinks you’re hitting on her again, or she may respond well to your platonic advances.
This is something you need to work on (as evidenced by your obsession with the future) -- being comfortable with unknown outcomes.
Chances are at that 5 Year Reunion, she didn’t want to see your entire high school. But you probably angrily texted all your friends afterwards, “WHY DID SHE AVOID ME?!” and made it out to be much bigger than two friends losing touch.
Perhaps it’s no longer a conflict between you two, but time. Time to grow apart. Time to move forward with your lives. Mr. Perspective, I am begging you to move forward with your life. When she’s already gone, throwing her away doesn’t make you a piece of sh*t. It helps you to move on.
The great thing about time is that it also heals the wounds. Whatever terms you left on is not nearly as important as what you’re going to do now. Regardless if you muster enough balls to actually confront your ex-best-friend, you need to put your happiness in your own hands.
So let’s talk about you, Perspective.
You’ve become so distanced from this relationship that now when you recall it, you recall it differently. You think of warm feelings instead of the bad ones that led to its ending… And voilà, now you’re thinking about her again.
You’re thinking about her because her absence is related to your own personal insecurities. You haven’t found someone who feels like an adequate replacement as your best friend.
You’re worried about your future with women. At 25, you are not well-equipped for these adult transitions happening in your life and you're longing for the good ‘ol days.
You sound like a hopeless romantic. And hopeless romantics usually get left in the dust because they can’t let go of something that isn’t there.
Something has triggered a specific loneliness in you -- my guess is your hyper-awareness of being single coupled with your inability to understand what you want in the next girl.
You need to know what you miss about her in order to get closer to what you want. You’re ready for the real long-term thing, but you’re also scared sh*tless of it because you’ve been burned before.
Another thing, Mr. Perspective. Throughout this whole letter, you put the action in someone else’s control. You found out she was going to the party, but you didn’t reach out to her beforehand to personally confirm and say hi after all these years.
You want her to fix the conflict between you two. You want someone to tell you what you want. You want me to give you perspective. You want the easy, familiar route with a girl whose future you are certain about and who will find your balls for you.
Stop letting other people dictate your path. Go after what you want. If what you want is closure from her, then seek it out yourself and don’t be afraid of what happens after.
If what you want is to rekindle something that happened three years ago, well then you need to accept that that chapter is closed. And once you do, you can open your life to new people.
The future scares you because you are still stuck in your past. I do have hope for you, though, and definitely some perspective. It’s up to you to see things clearly.