ask toni & josh

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 31 January, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 31 January, 2010, 12:00am

Dear Toni

How can I be friends with my ex-boyfriend? He has a new girlfriend and it's hard to know how to act towards her. I guess I'm a little mean to her.

He says that if I don't start behaving better to her, he'll never speak to me again. I don't want that to happen.

Ex factor

Dear Outsider

Break-ups are always messy. Both parties are usually very emotional and don't always say what they really think, or behave the way they would normally.

It is even harder for you if you have to accept that your boyfriend has moved on and has a new girlfriend.

I think the most important thing right now is for you to take some time to seriously consider your feelings. Do you still love your ex? Are you angry at him? And if so, why? Are you jealous of his new girl-friend? Again, why?

Perhaps most importantly, why is it so important that you don't lose his friendship? Do you think you could win him back, drop that idea immediately. The majority of couples don't bother maintaining a friendship once they break up. If you started out as friends, it makes sense that you might want to return to that state. But dating always changes the dynamic - it's next to impossible for things to be the same between two people once they've been a couple.

You need to dig deep and be honest with yourself. If you manage to identify and distinguish all the feelings you have, you can start acting on them. If you still love him, then you need to really get to grips with the fact that he doesn't feel the same way anymore. For your sanity, you need some time away from him - don't try to get in touch, reply politely but in the smallest number of words possible if he's the one to establish contact.

If you are jealous of his new girlfriend just because she has replaced you, you need to get over it. That's life.

In order to stand any chance of establishing a friendship, you need some time apart. If you can overcome your negative feelings, and support your ex without any hope of reconciliation, give him a call and ask him out on a purely platonic basis.

Dear Josh

I think I need a girlfriend. Everyone else seems to have one. I don't have my eye on anyone in particular, but it would make me cooler, right?


Dear Desperado

Everyone wants to be cool. There's always a hierarchy, and the popular guys seem to be the ones with the good hair, loads of confidence and the pretty girlfriend.

But seriously, it's not a healthy approach to life. Relationships are supposed to be the result of a meeting of minds, mutual attraction, a desire for quality company, and all that women's magazine stuff. As girly as it sounds, there's something to be said for actually going out with someone you feel something for, rather than just asking someone out for the sake of it.

The downside to desperation is that everyone gets hurt in some way - the girl you ask out with no intention of learning to like, the friends you ditch to spend time with your pseudo-love, and you, too, will probably suffer when the girl realises you're a jerk.

Instead of viewing a girlfriend as a status symbol (and ending any chance of any girl ever going out with you), consider who's already in your life. If you don't have female friends, maybe you're not ready to date.

Befriend female classmates - with no ulterior motive - and see if any of them could potentially become more than just friends. And if not, at least you have a ready supply of advice when things go wrong with your eventual girlfriend.