Remember that amazing rush of meeting someone you really liked? The slow (or maybe not so slow) process of getting to know each other. Dating. Coupling. Co-habitation.
Then things start disintegrating. The stuff you used to find incredibly appealing now drive you mad. His kids are awful. Her cooking. The lurker ex.
You still have deep feelings for each other, but, reluctantly (mainly because neither of you really want to admit you don't want it any more, or that you've failed somehow), you agree to part ways. You promise to be friends forever- after all you've shared so much, given so much.
And so, you become an ex-couple. But continue to care deeply for each other. After all, your lives are entwined now - shared friends, converged interests, joint property. Maybe you are still co-parenting?
There are skills you have that he doesn't. Things he can do for you that are just plain easier done by him than you. Your friends remain surprised that you aren't together - after all, you get on so well...there appears to be such a great connection. Your kids are pretty happy to see you getting on so well - better in fact than when you shared a house!
You see each other from time to time. Actually quite a bit. There's lots of residual feelings. You start to wonder - could we try again? could the good outweigh the bad? would it be better for the children? but you know, you just know, it's not the right thing to do. After all, you broke up once, right?
What if one of you still harbours a belief or longing for reconciliation? He thinks friendship is a great way to maintain the relationship. You think it's just a break. Or maybe you're congratulating yourself (or him) on how mature you are both being in light of the demise of the relationship.
How do you let go? How do you know it's time?