So here's a relationshipish question about remaining friends with your ex following a break up.
My ex dumped me about six months ago. We ended in a long distance scenario and remain that way now, and will remain that way for the foreseeable future. We don't really have any mutual friends. Due to the distance, there isn't a chance that we'll really run into each other again unless something is otherwise planned. Essentially, us seeing each other in social situations or something is not likely.
I've reached out to friends about this, and other more experienced people with mixed results. Some say it's time to move on. Others say that just because you don't love each other romantically anymore, it would be unforunate to throw away somebody you cared about and loved a lot. Importantly, our relationship did not end well. It ended horribly actually. And it was horrible for the last nine months of it. The longer we dated the more we grew apart and the less I liked her as a person. I was forcing myself to be somebody who I wasn't so that I could cater to her needs while neglecting my own. I was an absolute prick to her and treated her like shit as a consequence. And all this was happening simultaneously with my job in the Army crumbling in front of me. Needless to say it was a dark time that I did not enjoy.
However! I get out of the Army in three months, I will be moving to Oregon from the shithole of Tennessee, and I will be spending my time traveling and fucking around. All the things I missed out on doing in my twenties. I am very happy with where my life is at right now. But is it worth trying to salvage a friendship? I am trying to move on from that chapter in my life and take with me all the lessons learned, but at the same time I do have a lot of very fond memories of my ex and I don't want to throw them away.
A Relationship's Meaning Sought
I'm running out the door to go be on the teevee, ARMS, so this is going to have to be quick.
You can hold on to those fond memories, kiddo, without demanding face-to-face time from your ex-girlfriend. And the ex you admit to treating badly and basically driving off may be less interested in salvaging a friendship than you are. But I don't think it would be out of bounds for you to send your ex-girlfriend a letter* that makes three basic points...
• You were a dick to her and you feel bad about that. You wish you'd had the decency and courage to end things earlier, and more cleanly, instead of allowing it drag out. Instead of going the coward's route, ARMS, and making yourself completely intolerable so that she would dump you. Because that made things toxic at the end—wait, no passive voice: You made things toxic at the end. Take responsibility for "absolute prick" and treating her "like shit" and offer an unqualified apology, i.e. omit the shit about catering to her needs while neglecting your own.
• You are in a much better place emotionally—you're happier now—and you sincerely hope she's happier too.
• You wish her well and if circumstances should conspire to bring both together at the same time and in the same place, you hope you can be friends—or, if not friends, then at least friendly.
Close your short letter with a P.S. inviting her to follow you on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram—pick your preferred social media poison—if she should ever care to know what you're up to these days, ARMS, while pledging not follow her on any social media platforms unless she follows you first and invites you to follow her back. Because if she needs you out of her life permanently, ARMS, you will respect her wishes.
* Unless there was violence toward the end, ARMS, or a restraining order or a clear and explicit demand to never, ever hear from your ass again—in which case, ARMS, a letter would be out of bounds.