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One of my closest girl friends that I dated for a while - and then remained close friends with even after we decided to just be friends - got married over the past two years and also just had a baby. I was invited to neither the wedding nor the baby shower. On my birthdays, she still sends me a nice Facebook chat message, and it's always nice to hear from her. We never had a falling out of any kind.

In fact, after we stopped dating, we always met up in the cute coffee houses and tea rooms that we used to go to -- but this time, we'd share gossip about the new people we were dating. It was always a really fun time with her, and we were really supportive of each other. I usually initiated these meetups, more so than her - but she'd always choose the places that we'd go to, e.g. "let's go back to tea room X!", which I'd always happily agree to, and the meetings were always really fun, since we'd have so much to catch up on.

The few years that we remained friends, she was great about meeting up during the holidays, our birthdays, start of summer, fall seasons, etc. We always had reasons to meet up -- and sharing gossip about our new dating lives was pretty entertaining for both of us, I'd say. However, the contact stopped pretty much completely, once she got married, except for the birthday messages she'd leave me through Facebook messenger.

I still saw her after her being engaged, but closer towards her wedding (which I had no knowledge of), we stopped meeting, and I found out about the wedding and her new child through her Facebook status updates. I congratulated her by emails only, not in person; realizing that I hadn't gotten invited to either event, I then stopped inviting her out altogether.

We haven't met up in over two years now.

My question is:

Now that she's married and has started a family with her husband, how can I reach out to her to see whether we could catch up over coffee or dinner?

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    Are you sure her husband is the cause of it? Could it also be the case the contact just died out little by little? – Peter Feb 16 '18 at 19:34
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    Sooo.. what is unclear, does not show research effort or is unuseful about this question that this is getting five downvotes, while it to me has the same quality as other 'How do I ask' questions that aren't this heavily downvoted? If there's anything the OP should improve, tell him. Downvotes aren't for disagreeing with the goal, that's what upvotes on 'Don't do this' answers are for. – Tinkeringbell Feb 16 '18 at 22:44
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    @Tinkeringbell that's probably a better discussion for meta, right? – apaul Feb 17 '18 at 19:32
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It's a little telling that you edited out the part about having dated this person in the past and that you suspect that her husband is the reason that contact has dropped off...

It's telling me that you're very concerned about the way you're perceived in the situation. Sometimes it's the ones who protest the loudest about the purity of intentions that have questionable intent. Removing the context here definitely gives that appearance, as there's a pretty big difference between a friend diminishing contact and someone you used to date diminishing contact.

All that aside, it's fairly normal for newly married people to focus on their marriage and pull back a bit from other social situations. Much more so when babies first enter the picture. This is pretty normal, a new marriage and infant are really very time consuming and much more personally rewarding than tea with friends, and naturally takes priority.

On the other hand... You're her ex. Whether you want to edit that out of the question or not, you can't unring the bell. Being her ex complicates things considerably. She may not feel comfortable meeting with you now that she's in a much more serious committed relationship. Going on pseudo dates and engaging in playful gossip about people you dated may have felt harmless when she wasn't in a serious relationship, but that situation has changed and it may not feel so harmless anymore.

So that leaves you with the remaining question of what to do about it. Your best bet is to let her go, until you're both fully comfortable with reframing the relationship. No more one on one pseudo dates. No more comparing notes about romantic partners. Just regular old platonic friendship. That's not saying that discussing your relationships will forever be off the table, it's just saying that the tone and nature of those conversations will probably have to change.

  • @DaveG If you have questions about how this site operates the place to ask questions is Meta or chat. Comments on main are not the place for discussions of site policy. – sphennings Jul 27 '18 at 20:46
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This feels like one of those situations where you're making a mountain out of a molehill.

From the comments, it sounds like you stopped the contact as her life events changed, and you decided it was inappropriate.

Since it doesn't really sound like she had any input in this (beyond doing normal sorts of life things, as people do), I don't see why just messaging her (on Facebook or email or however you have contact) with something like "I was thinking of you and how we haven't gotten to catch up since your wedding/baby/etc and thought it might be nice to reconnect over coffee. Do you have time in the near future to meet up?"

Keep it non-committal and light in tone - after all, you want to make it clear it's friendship you're looking at, not anything more. After that, it's in her court, and she will respond or not as she feels comfortable.

You've made a lot of assumptions about why she stopped talking to you - maybe it's just a case of her having a lot of busy things in her life - marriage and babies and such do take a lot of time.

Keep in mind - the more big of a deal you make it about your past, the worse off you will be - if she wants to spend the time with you, she'll find a way to make that happen. If she doesn't, then unfortunate as it is, you will just need to accept this chapter of your life insofar as your friendship has closed, or has diminished. It sucks, for sure, but constantly thinking on it like this and finding someone to blame for it won't help you feel better, either.

Insofar as her not inviting you to the baby shower and wedding - those are more personal events, so perhaps either she didn't feel close enough to you to want to invite you, or because of your past history, she didn't feel like that was necessary to have you there. That alone isn't enough to say "oh hey yup friendship over" - I have a decent number of friends who I meet up for casual things like coffee or what have you that I'd not invite to events like that in my life, and I'd not expect them to invite me either. There are different layers of closeness, after all. :)

I don't think the lack of invites to those big events in her life necessarily is a strong indicator that she wants to cut off all contact with you - I'd still try to approach her and see how she feels about spending time with you in a casual friendship sort of way.

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    Maybe she didn't feel close enough to you to invite you to those events - I have many friends I need for coffee and other things who I'd never expect to invite me to weddings or other large life events, because we aren't that close. – Ash Feb 16 '18 at 20:29
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    @D.Hutchinson You're not owed an invitation to those events. Ever. Weddings can be of various sizes. Baby showers are put on by other people, who make the guest lists, so she may not have even been asked who to invite... Yes, it can be sad to be left out but you're not entitled to them. – Catija Feb 16 '18 at 20:30
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    @D.Hutchinson My updated answer addresses that. – Ash Feb 17 '18 at 19:23
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    @D.Hutchinson We can not guess at her motivations because we have no details about her or her wedding or her baby shower... and even then, we'd be guessing. We can't do that here. The only way you can find out if she wants to hang out with you is to ASK HER. And asking us is just a way of wasting time. – Catija Feb 17 '18 at 19:35
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Now that she's married and has started a family with her husband, how can I reach out to her to see whether we could catch up over coffee or dinner?

Just ask. She will either make time, or she won't.

On my birthdays, she still sends me a nice Facebook chat message

I'd use the same medium she uses, then give her time to consider it and respond. Perhaps something along these lines:

It's been awhile since we visited, and I wanted to catch up. Can we meet for coffee sometime?

Keep it light and undemanding. If she wants to meet, she'll make it happen. If not, then she won't meet.

Don't expect to get a direct response from her, though, the fact that she essentially ghosted you doesn't mean that she did so intentionally, but she was aware that you were no longer a priority in her life and allowed it to happen all the same.

Your guesses and suppositions as to why she's become unavailable are just that - trying to read something into the situation won't help you recover your friendship, so ignore assumptions and guesses, be straightforward, and it'll either work out or it won't.

Or would doing so be disrespectful to her husband and any new boundaries that may have been set, following her marriage?

This is very dependent on culture and personality, but in the US I don't think it would be disrespectful. If she told you to not to contact her and you did, that would be disrespectful. She hasn't said anything like that, so there's no need to assume this.

I am wondering whether married folks are naturally expected to end communication with their exes -- even if they ended things amicably with their exes and stayed close friends the entire time. If that were the case, then I'll just accept that I will lose friends throughout my life, as they get married and move on to start new lives.

Again, this is culturally dependent, and even here in the US some people are concerned when their significant other maintains contacts with former significant others.

It will ultimately be up to her whether to allow you to restart your friendship or not, but she hasn't done it herself, so you'll have to take the first step.

Hopefully she is forthright and tells you upfront whether there's a problem keeping you as a friend. All you can do is extend the invitation, then it's up to her.

Keep in mind that a new marraige and particularly a new baby take up a lot of time and resources. Even if she declines now, it may not be due to lack of desire or freedom to keep your friendship. She may just need time and space, and contacting her occasionally might still be ok.

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    I don't know that not inviting someone to your wedding counts as ghosting (or anything close). The OP mentioned in a comment that he was the one who stopped asking her to coffee rather than the other way around. Otherwise, I think this is a very solid answer. – Rainbacon Feb 16 '18 at 19:59

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