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Can we be friends?

Montana12 posted 3/6/2018 06:41 AM

It's been nearly 2 years since dday...I've made some mistakes...the biggest one not holding out on the last separation.

I just believed what he said because I wanted to and because I had been able to in the past but he is not who I thought he was and this cycle has got to stop.

The hardest part?? It's not horrible. We don't fight; there's no obvious tension...but I just can't do it. I have a friend who determined to stay in her M because she wasn't going to split up her family. I admire her but I know that I can't be that woman.

And it's not even that I want something better. I just don't want this. This jaded, broken thing.

I've come to the conclusion that I don't mind WH as a person - but I don't want to be in a relationship with him. I've been working extra hard this past week with family away and I've stayed at the family business a few nights. We split the time up with the kids and I got a small taste of what it might be like. And I wondered if perhaps D wouldn't be as horrific as I've conjured it up in my mind to be.

We sat around the dinner table and ate and talked and than we put the kids to sleep and I left. Not having to talk about "us" or wonder why we never talk about us was a relief.

I'm tired. I'm weary. I've fought hard but my WH's lack of effort to rebuild intimacy and figure out why we're in this mess in the first place has worn me down. I've lost faith in his ability to actually do anything. I feel like if I didn't have to have any expectations than we could get along just fine and it could all be about the kids. I mean, it is right now anyway but at least I'd be free to live my own life if we made it official.

The anger is gone now - I don't hate him. In fact, I have empathy for him for the demons he was facing to get into this mess in the first place. I'm not as much afraid of the repercussions on my kids - that will never go away completely but I know that I am not able to live in this and be a person that I respect so in the long run, it will be better for them.

Am I dreaming? Is it possible to be friends?

Heart posted 3/6/2018 06:53 AM

Yes...if you both can put your kids first and move forward. It will take time. Friends might be too strong of a word for quite a while. The friendship you had has forever changed. I can trust my ex with many things like a bill or taking care of fixing something broken. But he will never be someone I could trust with personal things like feelings. There are people out there who are able to be friends with their ex. I thought no you have to heal some before you get to that point. Each person is different.

Tigersrule77 posted 3/6/2018 08:29 AM

I agree with Heart. Would you want to be friends with someone who treated you like this? Maybe you can move past it.

However, you don't have to be friends to be good co-parents. You can be polite and respectful to each other. That will allow you to be good parents and take good care of your kids.

I am not friends with my XWW. We rarely speak. But we communicate well by text regarding the kids and things have been pretty simple and stress free.

Strutter1960 posted 3/6/2018 09:05 AM

Our kids are grown. WW is in an upward climb (in her mind) after her bariatric surgery while her weight falls off. Sheís getting smaller than sheís ever been in her life. Guys hitting on her or she on them. Itís exhilarating to her Iím sure. Sheís destroyed all 3 of her marriages by cheating. Sex,food and money were her go to comforts

Can I be her friend? Itís not possible yet for me because of the reality I witnessed in her through her actions during the discovery month. It was ALL about her. Everything. Nothing else mattered. Family? poof, friends? she never really had any. I didnít know she was capable of destroying me in front of my eyes and having zero empathy while pushing the throttle to full speed ahead Ďdatingí (acquire next appliance).

Sheís found her next appliance and has transplanted herself with him. Sheís spiraling downward in debt to facilitate her image management. Sheís out of control. Would she turn to a true friend who only cared about her well being (aka-me)? No. Would she use triangulation to reserve perceived benefits, Yes.

Iíve got nothing to work with here. I find it hard myself to Put down the hopium pipe & Breath in some healing no contact. Divorce is the way I must proceed based upon the statistics Iíve seen on marriages and the impact of gastric bypass surgery. Sad but true. Post divorce? FWB maybe? Damn! There I go slipping into that fantasy euphoria again!!

nothisfriend posted 3/6/2018 09:09 AM

I've decided I will never be friends with WXH. My parents divorced when I was in high school and they were always "well-behaved" when they attended a family function.

I strive to be "well-behaved." That's the most effort he will get from me. And it's more for DS's sake than anything.

NiceGuySF posted 3/6/2018 11:48 AM

I think you 100% deserve to be in the marriage you want to be in. And it doesn't matter if there's something better out there or not, the marriage you have now is not one you can stay in.

I have a good co-parenting relationship with my xWW. We can talk about our son and issues about him just fine. We both share a care and love for him that no one else has, so we have that in common. We can also joke a bit.

In terms of friendship, as other's have said, that's not what we have. A friend is someone you spend time with and enjoy their company... and a good friend is someone you can trust with your feelings, etc. She's neither of those.

She's more akin to a relative. I care about her (especially as it affects my son), I talk to her relatively often, but I don't particularly want to hang out with her, and I certainly don't talk about personal things with her.

I think you can do the same with your WH. But I think if you do things with intention and communication, and support the kids, then things can go smoothly.

But also worry a bit about how things related to finances/support/assets/etc. will play out. While your focus right now is on the kids, on your marriage (or lack of one), things might go south once you are splitting up the material possessions.

suckstobeme posted 3/6/2018 12:21 PM

There are no hard and fast rules. There is certainly a possibility that you can be friends with your ex. Maybe not now, but down the road when things have settled and there is a routine of being divorced co-parents.

Please know though, that it's not a mark against your character if you end up not being friends. You don't need to settle for being friends with him just so that you can exit the marriage that he decided to ruin with an affair. You should feel no guilt about wanting to divorce after realizing that your marriage will never recover from this trauma.

I personally will never be friends with my exwh. I don't have the white-hot anger toward him that I used to, but I also won't ever forget what he did and that he left me and our kids to fend for ourselves while he ran off with his secretary. I won't ever forget that he ran off to "save" a single mother and, in the process, turned the mother of his own children into exactly that.

I can be "friendly", but there is a big difference between friendly and being friends. I'm friendly because we rarely argue, I don't get into his business, and I'm polite when I see him or have to talk to him.

To me, though, there is a certain intimacy makes up the core of a friendship that will never be present with my ex. I want to hear about what's happening in my friends' lives. I want to hear their opinions and thoughts about a variety of topics. I trust what they tell me because I know whatever they say comes from a place of love.

I will never have that kind of relationship with my exwh. I don't want to know what's going on in his life since I don't particularly care. I hear about how OW is mean to him and how she yells at him and bosses him around - it's like hearing about a reality t.v. character at this point. I'm not involved in his decisions and don't want to be. I don't want him involved in mine. I don't care about his opinions unless they have to do with our kids. I trust virtually nothing that comes out of his mouth. I think he says whatever he thinks people want to hear. That kind of person can simply never be my friend.

All I'm saying is that whatever happens in terms of the relationship you craft or don't craft with your ex is fine. There is no obligation to be his friend.

Oftencheatedon posted 3/6/2018 16:55 PM

True friends are people that one can trust to be there for you. Cheaters and liars do not qualify.

My friends who have remained ďfriendsĒ with cheating exes have almost never recovered. They have often still had sex with their ex.

Phoenix1 posted 3/6/2018 17:55 PM

I, personally, do not want people who are capable of doing what my ex did as friends. I prefer friends that have character, integrity, and morals. My ex simply does not fit that requirement so no, we will never be friends. HE would love nothing better than to be friends because in his warped thinking that will mean he is not such a bad guy. He would also use that as leverage with the kids when they get snarky with him, i.e., "your mom and I get along just fine so there is no reason for your venom toward me." I've actually seen his attempts to do that very thing. Unfortunately for him it won't work because my kids know my real feelings, just as they know I am simply being civil when I talk to him to keep the drama at bay.

However, I am civil and polite. I don't see the need to be outright antagonistic with him because, well, he simply doesn't matter to me any longer. I treat him as I would an annoying colleague I must endure. Polite, professional, but we sure as hell are not going out to share a few beers together and talk about personal stuff!

Everyone's situation is different in terms of what they can/cannot tolerate with an ex. As was mentioned, being friendly is not necessarily the same as being actual friends. And being actual friends is not necessary to be good co-parents. Whatever works for you is okay though so don't sweat it. Just be cautious and keep your eyes open if you ever let your boundaries slip. He might be waiting for that moment of vulnerability to take advantage of the situation.

[This message edited by Phoenix1 at 6:12 PM, March 6th (Tuesday)]

CanWeFixIt posted 3/6/2018 18:03 PM

I struggle with the same question. But then in the end I think it probably boils down to this:
There is a massive difference between being friendly and being friends. I call someone my friend and I will be loyal to them, protect them, be kind to them, hug them when they need to be hugged. But I can be friendly to the stranger I meet in the shop, down the road, wherever. There can be crossover between these categories. But to be in the friends category you have to be worth it. My WH IS not, at least not at the moment and perhaps not ever.
Is yours? That's the question and I know that it's what you asked but really you are the only person qualified to answer.

GGFinisHLast posted 3/6/2018 23:31 PM

With this last D-Day and D following, our adult kids finally figured out the hidden history. One of the first things they told me is that I should have divorced a long time ago, they'd have been okay.

The D road isn't necessarily easy, but it is more clear. There's still plenty of hurt as one truly closes the door on the possibility of recovering the dreams that we once had for our M and future.

Friends, maybe. Some people achieve something similar. With my situation, amicable avoidance is already doing well.

ConstantLearner posted 3/7/2018 12:53 PM

There arenít many (if any) WS posting here but I wanted to throw my experience in. I had a brief affair last summer the specifics of which arenít important. I came completely clean to my husband very quickly and we set about trying to manage through therapy and much processing together. My affair was a symptom of bigger issues within myself and a pretty toxic cycle that impacted our he health of my marriage. At any rate, Even as we worked through the affair it became apparent that we (or I) didnít want to be married anymore. It took months of trying and waffling and both of us becoming really intimately self aware to realize that we may be able to figure out who we are authentically outside of our relationship. It has been a tough call that we have only just come to. But we both feel a peace about. Tough thing is that we are friends. We are friends who are trying to figure out how we can be such good friends and not make our marriage work. It seems like if we are both working to better ourselves we should be able to make it work because we genuinely care for each other and we are GREAT at being parents together. I think the root of that (and many of our problems) lay with the unhealthy place we were in when we got married. Either way, he isnít holding a grudge about the affair and Iím not holding a grudge about what came before. We can look at it all fairly reasonably. And we can still love each other at the end of the day. Because for us our issues and my affair didnít turn into a lack of trust in the other as a person. It was just an acknowledgement that we canít trust each other to be our person. We can be friends because a friend can love and support you without doing that at the deep level that a spouse would. We just arenít good for each other at that level. Right now, at any rate. I think if you are both honest and you set the boundaries that work for you and we each allow space for the other person to feel their feelings about the affair or any of the pieces that came before it you can have a good relationship. I think you have to be prepared for when your relationship shifts upon introducing new partners. Because it will shift.

FWIW, my husband and I donít have physical intimacy which would make setting a boundary really difficult. If you are still doing that you might want to consider how itís serving you as you move forward or whether you want to move forward. Just thoughts from someone going through it.

Montana12 posted 3/7/2018 14:35 PM

So maybe friends was too strong of a word.

I think I am just surprised at this process - when I was so angry; I thought of divorce and it scared me because of the brokenness of it all. I was scared of what it would do to my children.

Now that the anger has passed and my decision is not emotionally fuelled - I am surprised to find that it doesn't have to be as terrible as I once feared. I guess you just read so many horror stories and meet people who can't say one kind word about their ex. I don't want to be a victim. I don't want to carry the emotional baggage around for the rest of my life and I certainly don't want to allow hate into my life.

I can't say I follow your way of thinking ConstantLearner. My WH and I are very different people and have never really seen eye to eye on things but I made a promise to him; one I was ready to honour all of my days regardless of the ways we were incompatible and to work our differences out. I would never have considered divorce simply because we didn't agree on some things. Marriage to me was supposed to be forever. If divorce was acceptable just because people don't "fit" anymore than no one would stay married. People change over time - to me, that's not really an excuse to end a marriage. That's why marriage is so hard...if everything stayed the same all of the time there would be no such thing as divorce.

Without infidelity and if there are kids involved - I can't say I think divorce is a good idea especially if the two persons say they love each other. Why would you do that to your children? Just for the chance of finding someone you feel you click with better?? Sorry - don't get it.

I've come to realize that intimacy is a basic human desire. We get into committed relationships to have it. When it's missing in a relationship...that is breeding ground for affairs. As of now, our M is devoid of intimacy from my WH's lack of effort to rebuild it (though I have been willing and pretty direct at what was needed to rebuild) . At this point, I want freedom so that I can feel whole again. Maybe someday I might want intimacy again - but I'm not willing to live in a M without it. It's too phony and highly unsatisfactory.

Gooblish posted 3/7/2018 18:05 PM

Good luck trying to stay friends.I thought it was possible for a while and I suppose to a degree it succeeded but friends is to strong. Bond for what we managed.
It was going Ok until it came to money and then I saw how selfish my ex was. That is has stopped us being friends as you donít behave towards a friend as my exH did with me.

Gooblish posted 3/7/2018 18:05 PM

Good luck trying to stay friends.I thought it was possible for a while and I suppose to a degree it succeeded but friends is to strong. Bond for what we managed.
It was going Ok until it came to money and then I saw how selfish my ex was. That is has stopped us being friends as you donít behave towards a friend as my exH did with me.

ConstantLearner posted 3/7/2018 19:56 PM

Montana12, I think you misunderstand me. I also believe that marriage should be forever. I think you work on your issues and you see the good in each other and you try at all costs. I also know that for us, we have been limping along for eight years trying to make it work. Our issues were not about a difference of opinion. They were about some seriously co dependent behaviors that turned each of us into people who were unable to keep going the way they had been. People who had betrayed each other and wounded each other in serious ways (and I donít just mean my affair.) Neither of us is looking at divorce as a chance to meet someone ďbetter.Ē What is better? Everyone has baggage. We just canít seem to get outside of the damage and the unhealthiness of our romantic relationship without some amount of detachment. Please do not hear me saying that our reasons are frivolous or that we are throwing our marriage away. I donít think very many people throw their marriages away. I think a lot of us just get to a point where we say we donít know how to do it anymore with all the damage.

So we move close by and we have family dinners and we go to therapy and we work on being the best versions of ourselves. For ourselves and for our kids.And we acknowledge that this is a better life, at least until there are dramatic changes, for everyone involved.For the record we are just separated. We talk about divorce, but much like neither of us got married thinking we would get divorced if it didnít go smoothly, neither one of us wants to divorce thinking we will just get back together if we change our minds. We may have rushed into marriage but we love each other, at least on many levels, so we are reticent to rush out of it.

I just wanted to clarify.

[This message edited by ConstantLearner at 8:01 PM, March 7th (Wednesday)]

Marz posted 3/7/2018 20:36 PM

Definition of friend = loyal, honest, trustworthy.

I don't use the term "friend" lightly

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