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I just want to be friends, he says

A reader’s partnership breaks down after three years but he says she won’t listen.

QUESTION:

I am currently in a relationship that I am trying to get out of. We have been together for three  years and I don’t want it to go any further, but my partner does.

I have told her time and time again that I don’t want to be in a relationship but it’s falling on deaf ears. She wants a future together whereas I don’t. I have been a bachelor all my life and she is divorced and wanting to start again.

How can I make her understand all I want is friendship and nothing more? She is very clingy and doesn’t want to let me go.

ANSWER:

Your letter highlights the difficulties which arise when hopes and expectations are not shared, running the risk of individuals assuming the relationship will mature in ways not acceptable to the other.

However your letter does not sufficiently explain what it is you want, and do not want. “Friendship” can be interpreted differently from one person to another. Perhaps you haven’t clearly spelled out to your partner exactly what you mean.

If the relationship you’ve had for three years on a certain level has seemed successful to her, she will be confused if you are now wanting less.

It is optimistic to expect her to be a future friend in the circumstances. Separation would appear to be the logical step to take.

Try to assure her you understand her position and regret the hurt this will cause her, but then be firm in your resolve.

The panel recommends you seek counselling to clarify your expectations now and in the future, and to help you in your approach to your partner.

Submit Your Questions

Have you got a question you’d like us to tackle?

Fill out the form below or send questions to Family Forum, The Advertiser, 31 Waymouth St, Adelaide 5000.

We treat communications in strict confidence except when the law demands otherwise, as in child abuse.

Relationships Australia (SA) appoints panels of general practitioners, medical specialists, lawyers, therapeutic and financial counsellors to discuss each letter before the appropriate professional answers it.

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