He wants to be friends but I'm still in love with him

Steph & Dom solve your sex, love & life troubles: He wants to be friends but I’m still in love with him

  • An anonymous reader asked for advice on being in love with their ex-boyfriend
  • UK-based singleton explained her former lover now has a new partner
  • Steph advised the reader to walk away from her ex and to take time healing

TV’s Steph and Dom Parker, 52 and 54, draw on their 20 years of marriage to solve your relationship problems . . . 

Q: I’m in my 40s and divorced. My ex-husband and I split when my daughter was still a baby. After she started primary school, I met someone. It was amazing. But, out of the blue, three years ago, he broke up with me. I was devastated. Then after seven months, we decided to give it another chance.

We dated for six weeks, then he walked out again. Shortly after, I found out he was dating someone else. It hurt like a knife through the heart.

An anonymous reader who is in love with her ex-boyfriend, asked for advice on how to be happy that their former partner has met someone new (file image)

That relationship ended and we decided to just be friends, but then became friends with benefits. I thought I could handle it, but I couldn’t, so we went back to just friends. He has now met someone else and as his friend, I want to be happy for him. The problem is, I am still very much in love with him.

I don’t know how to be happy about him meeting someone new when I hurt so much?

STEPH SAYS: It is a frustrating fact that we do not choose who we fall in love with. We may think we make a choice, but the truth is, we don’t. Love is love — it cannot be fabricated or calculated.

It’s clear to me that you know you need to move on — in fact, in your longer letter you say you know what you need to do. So let me try to help you do it. You need to stop being so hard on yourself and get savvy — you must structure your exit.

As you have sadly discovered, when you love someone, you can’t just turn that love off. There are people who would say: ‘Delete his number, block him on your social media, crack open the wine and Just Move On.’ But I would never be so disrespectful of your feelings, because, frankly, real life isn’t like that. Real life is messy and painful and it’s rarely as straightforward as simply ripping the plaster off and expecting the wound to heal immediately.

I think you should start by accepting that no matter what you do, this is the man you love. You are asking too much of yourself to expect to be happy about the fact he has met someone else. In an ideal world, we should all be happy for our exes when they move on and find love, but this is not often the case. You are still in love with him. Of course, you’ll be hurt seeing him so happy with someone else.

I’m so sorry for your poor heart, but this is your reality.

Steph (pictured, with Dom) advised the reader to seek advice from a professional, as she takes time to heal 

I think if you are strong enough to accept this as truth, you may be able to start to see a future in which you put yourself back in the driving seat. You can’t control how you feel about him, but you can control how you react to the situation. Accept you may have to live with your love for him, but that doesn’t mean you have to keep putting your heart in his hands.

Take time to decide how much of this you share with him.

I suspect he is probably unaware of the pain he is causing you. I’m sure he is not deliberately setting out to hurt you.

If it were me, I would have an honest conversation with him. Explain you are cutting yourself free to start building a future without him. You may decide that telling him how much you love him will only make you feel more vulnerable. However, it can have the opposite effect.

I want you to feel empowered and I think the advice of a professional throughout this period may help you achieve this. You will need support — as you’ve found, it’s not easy to walk away from the one you love, even when you know it’s for the best. You can do it, though. You will heal and you will love again.

DOM SAYS: I’m so sorry to read about your heartache. You’ve really been through the mill with this chap. Life has been very up and down, and you must be emotionally exhausted.

It seems likely your friend has a problem with commitment. For some people the grass will always be greener and that can be a kind of curse. I know someone like this, and I’m not sure he’ll ever truly settle down and commit for good, to the detriment of his own happiness.

Dom (pictured) told the reader that the pattern will keep repeating if they don’t decide to make a change now 

No matter how much you love this chap, and no matter how much you sympathise with the wider reasons for his behaviour as detailed in your longer letter, a decision has to be taken.

A leopard doesn’t change his spots, after all, and if you don’t change the current set-up you will continue to get hurt.

You are in a terrible situation at the moment, as you keep getting your heart broken. How awful! I feel so sorry for you. It must be truly terrible to hold a torch like this and continually wonder if he might come back to you soon. You must have very little peace, and I really think you deserve some.

You are just friends at the moment and have been for some time, but previously you were friends with benefits, which is a situation I’ve often thought must be quite awful for the partner who secretly longs for more. It is OK to wish you were together, but sadly I think the time has come for you to accept that you are not.

Every relationship is different, and some exes can forge friendships which are helpful and supportive, but I fear this is not the case for you. I think you need to be the kind of friends who are civil to each other if you bump into one other, perhaps send a Christmas card and a birthday text, but beyond that, it seems to me that if you remain so closely connected, you are simply destined to keep being hurt.

If you can’t bear the thought of not being friends, then perhaps the best thing to do is to tell yourself you will be again — in the future. Give it five years and things may well be different.

Imagine how you want your life to look then — and if you choose at that point to invite him in again, then so be it.

If you decide not to change anything now, then the pattern will simply keep repeating.

I think deep down you know that, and I’d like to give you the boost you need to make the break. He is not treating you as you deserve to be treated.

This is not how love acts. Clear the space for someone whose priority is making you feel loved — not insecure.

If you have a question you’d like Steph and Dom to tackle, write to: [email protected] dailymail.co.uk

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