My advice is to take things the way they are and don't try to find hidden meanings or messages. "Go with what you know" a wise man once said and i'll add a "and not with what you're told" at the end of it. Friends can be tricky business and i see you miss their company, but as in any social relationship it takes two to make it happen. I don't really believe you ex is a Hugh Heffner type of guy, filthy rich, and all your mutual friends don't have where to live or meet you except his turf, so this begs the question: why instead of socialising with you as "just you" and value you as a individual person, they choose to apply pressure? looks to me that "you in a relationship with him" is like a requirement for you in order for them to welcome you into their circle. As far as the ex goes, he's a big boy, go with what you know, he has a mouth and a brain in his skull. I have a feeling you're past the age of playing teenage hide an seek games. If he's serious, he'll come around knocking.