I am a 22 year old college student, who has been on-and-off with one of my best friends (he’s 27) for the past 3 years. We met four years ago while working together, and we became good friends relatively quickly. I was seeing someone at the time, and deep down I knew he had feelings for me, but we never addressed it. A year later, my then-boyfriend and I broke up because my grandfather had passed away and he chose to not be there for me. However, my best friend was and helped my family out. Shortly after, best friend and I started seeing one another. It was definitely a significant relationship, not because of the length of time it lasted, but because of everything that had occurred throughout the duration of the relationship.
Towards the end of the relationship, his mother became sick with aggressive lung cancer. Obviously this was a difficult time in his life, and I was always there for him. As soon as he found out his mother was sick, he became depressed and very dark. He turned into a person that was far from the man I fell in love with. I tried my hardest to be there for him, but he kept pushing me away and putting up the wall. That fall he ended up breaking up with me because “he had too much going on, and couldn’t balance everything.” I was devastated to say the least, but I understood.
He and I stopped speaking after the break-up, and his mother passed away shortly after. I was the first person he called, and of course I was there for him. Following his mother’s passing, we started spending a lot of time together again, but then it stopped because he was still in a dark state of mind. A few weeks ago, he got back into contact with me and is trying to rekindle our relationship, but I don’t know what to do. I love him, but I just can’t put down my wall, because of my fear of getting hurt again. Should I MOA, or should I try to mend things? — Rekindling
If you really care for him, try to mend things, but keep in mind that he is still grieving and will likely be grieving for a long time. While he’s grieving, he won’t be able to give you the kind of attention he has given in the past and will need more support from you than average. And, yes, there’s always a chance you’ll get hurt again, but that’s a chance you take any time you enter into a relationship, whether it’s with an old friend, a stranger, someone who’s grieving, or someone who’s never experienced loss. If you do try to rekindle your relationship, be honest with him about what your emotional needs are and ask him to be honest about what he’s able to give you and what kind of room he has for you in his life. Remaining open and honest with each other is key here.
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