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Going backwards to go forward?

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JoCannon | 15:12 Mon 10th Oct 2005 | Body & Soul
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I met up with an ex last week (for the first time in 4 months since splitting up). We had an absolutely amazing night together, admittedly a little too much alcohol, which lead to a few too many passionate kisses, we went our separate ways @ the end of the night, despite us both wanting to stay together, I felt I had to be strong. Now I can't get him out of my head, I desperately want him back. In a cynical sense I can see I have forgotten the bad times and am only remembering the good, the age old "grass is always greener" scenario. I realise now though what a mistake it was leaving him. We have spoken a few times since, and avoided the issue totally. I really want to tell him how I feel. Can going backwards ever work out? 



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There is no 'yes' or 'no' to this, but you need to go carefully.

First of all, does your ex feel the same way? If not, and you say how you feel, you will end up hurt and embarassed.

Why not agree to meet for a meal, and try to go easy on the alcohol? Seehow the evening goes if you are both sober, not being nostalgic and lusty with beer goggles on!

You will get the vibes on how he feels, but leave it until you meet again, and then broach the subject. If there are no vibes, you;ve had a nice 'for old times' sake' evening, and no harm done, you can move on, knowing that it wasn't going to happen second time around.

Good luck.

Question Author

Thanks Andy, your advice as ever is spot on.

I have no idea how he feels, we managed to discuss everything but our feelings, until we were under the influence of both passion and too much alcohol, and then the meaning of what you say becomes somewhat diluted. So relying on that is risky.

I am doing the typical female thing and reading loads into it and mixing it up with some emotions, he probably was doing the typical male thing (I really don't mean any offence, but it seems easier for men to not read so much into these things) and removing his emotions for the chance that it just might happen, the familiarity of it would have made it so easy.

I suppose I have to weigh up which is easier for me to deal with, the possibility of hurt and embarrassment if I tell him how I feel, or the possibility of not going after what I think I want, and regretting it afterwards!!

Or have I fallen into the familiarity trap too?

Hi again JoCannon - thanks for your kind words.

Obviously I can't comment in detail because i don;t know you, or him. I can't even comment on generalities of my gender because i never discuss such matters - all my close friends are women, so I know their perspective, and mine, which is like theirs, but the 'typical' man is something I can't really talk about with any authority.

i can see that you'd like him to want you back - then your feelings will match, but as you say, you don't know if he does, so you need a couple of 'neautral' meetings to see how the land lies.

The 'what if' element is something you can discoun t, because if you do the couple of meetings, you'll know how it would have gone - which will be nowhere, because if it's going to work, you can pursue it, but you have to be prepared for the fact that he may have already moved on, and familiarity, while an attractive proposition when in the big cold world again, is not enough on which to base a relationship. I'd love it to work out - will you let me know?

A x


Can I ask what the reason was for you two breaking up in the first place? This is obviously something that you also need to address

Rach :)

Strangely enough, Jo, I'm off out tonight with my childhood sweetheart.  Had one hell of an argument yesterday, but have agreed to talk "calmly" tonight.  Nice meal and no alcohol whatsoever.

Difference is that I've never had a physical relationship with her, but she's been in my guts for 20 years.  Have never forgotten about her.  Big problem is that she's recently married, and I'm not going to be the cause of the break up (if there is one.)  Also know deep down that if I sleep with her I'll be lost completely, whereas she could just go home and forget about it. 

Andy is right, as usual.  I've read his answer a couple of times, just to make sure I do the right thing tonight.

Good luck, Jo. x

Question Author

I am so pleased this web site is here, there is something that can be said from hearing things from thoes totally out of the picture, all of my friends have such strong opinions about this, not only do I get their thoughs I get their opinions too, which can often confuse me more, and then you get a moment when your question helps a total stranger too.

Rach, the reason we broke up in the first place...


Please don't judge me too harshly, I have learnt a lot in the 4 months we have not been together and I have realised I had a lot of things I needed to accept about myself, I am no longer so scared of being alone and I have realised my expectations were often too high, I certainly didn't realise how special what we had was.

Madison 68 - I'll be thinking of you tonight, I hope it all goes well, don't sleep with her, it will mess everything up, it could have happened with me last week but thank God I turned him down, dealing with the physical and emotional would be too hard right now. Does her husband know you are out together? Does she know the extent of your feelings?

Andy - I will definatly let you know what happens!! Thank you so much for your answers, you have helped me more than you know.

J C x

Jo - no I doubt her husband does know.

I made my feelings very plain a few weeks ago and it was all thrown back in my face.  I backed off and now she says I've turned her whole life upside down by walking back into it.  I contacted her through Friends Reunited and it was a mistake really.  I love her more than I can say, but well, tonight will be make or break.  I only know one thing and that is that I am not getting involved in an affair.  If she leaves him, then she does it for herself not me, and she needs to live alone for quite a while to sort herself out.  I can foresee her racked with guilt and unable to make up her mind otherwise.  Self-protection from me I suppose.

Please let us know how you get on.

Question Author
Madison - How did last night go?

I was dreading it in a way, sometimes excited and sometimes feeling panic.  When I opened the door to her it took my breath away.  Never seen her look so beautiful. 

We went out for dinner, and neither of us drank alcohol, but we talked about everything.  Our childhoods' spent mostly together, school, work, regrets!  We were very cautious with each other though.  She wants to be with me at the end of the day.  I've told her that she must leave her husband if they are unhappy, not because she thinks the grass is greener.  It's a gamble for me because she may stay with him after what I've said, but I want this woman for keeps and not hindered by guilt etc. 

Oh well, she's staying in my area until Friday, so I'll see her again before she goes home.  We didn't sleep together, and I've no intention of touching her until she's been on her own for a few months at least.

All in all, it was a really nice evening.

How are you?

Question Author

I'm so glad you had a good evening, you both sound like you are dealing with your feelings very cautiously, and not taking any rash decisions.

Incidentally, did you contact her after she got married or before?

You sound like you have put an awful lot of thought into this situation (obviously 20 years thinking about her helped!!) I really hope you both get what you want with the minimal amount of pain and hurt for all parties involved.

I am doing OK, I have surrounded myself with friends in a desperate bid to forget about him, but it's not working, he was the first thing I though of when I got up, and my last thought last night. I'm going to call him today and see if he would meet me for dinner to talk things through. We shall see.


I contacted her after she got married, although I didn't know she was married (if that makes any sense!)

Nothing works Jo.  It's almost as though you are addicted in a way.  Painful at times too.  She's what I go to sleep and wake up thinking about.  Over the past 20 years, I can't honestly think of a day when that hasn't happened.  Seeing her again after so long was just incredibly good and bad at the same time.  My heart ached which I have never understood.  Where does that feeling actually come from?

She surprised me at midday with some lunch etc that she brought into my office.  I could hardly move when I saw her.  I realised how easy it would be to fall completely and want her to walk in everyday.  It scared me a bit.

I've told her that I'll help her find somewhere to live and make sure she's okay, but I refuse to have a relationship until 6 months has passed after/if she leaves.  Hopefully, that will be long enough for her to have sorted her feelings one way or the other.  She's a bit shocked by this because it sounds calculated, but it's the only way I can be sure.  (Well, as sure as one can be about relationships)

Be careful yourself Jo, and put a lot of thought into what you want.  A few weeks of being careful is worth it if this time it's for keeps!

Wishing you lots of happiness with your decisions.  Let me know how you are from time to time.

Maddy XX

I remember your original post Jo and as rach says you may need to think about why you originally broke up. Has he changed? Have you? It sounds as though you have. If he hasn't, be on your guard for the possibility that you may someday feel annoyed that you've done all the work.

None of it may matter if you're truly happy with him. Most relationships involve a fair bit of compromise - ideally, on both sides. Up to you what you feel doesn't really matter - whether it's leaving toilet seats up, being late for meetings or whatever. Only you can decide whether the pleasures outweigh the irritations. But hopefully he will try harder to meet your expectations; and remember, you are entitled to have expectations.

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