- December 5, 2019 at 10:02 am #863129Dear WendyKeymaster
From a LW:
“I’m seventeen years old. You’re probably thinking I’m awfully young to be desperately seeking advice about love, and you would be right. The thing is, I’ve never loved anyone before. In fact, I spent most of my life believing that love was just an illusion that people convince themselves of in order to feel less alone. I thought unconditional love was for idiots and I thought it was stupid to let one person have such an effect on your life. And then, in the most predictable twist, I fell in love.
He’s my best friend, Wendy. I’ve known him for over a year now and loved him for six months. He’s the first person I want to tell when anything happens in my life, and the thought of him gets me through even the toughest of days. He makes me laugh even when my whole world is falling apart and I could honestly talk with him for days without ever getting bored. We bounce off each other and have the most fun together. Last October, we got lost on the London trains for a whole day. With anybody else, I would’ve been stressed out of mind and just about dying to go home to my bed. But with him, it was the happiest I’ve felt in a really long time. I could spend the rest of my life laughing with him, Wendy.
The problem is, he has a girlfriend. A girlfriend he didn’t tell me about, nonetheless. He invited me to his house three times, shared a bed with me twice, cuddled me, spooned me, held my hand, flirted with me constantly. He acts like we’re a couple without doing anything that could confirm it. All of our friends tell me that it’s obvious how much he likes me, from the way he looks at me to how he’s always at my side. And I know that I should be furious, that he’s lead me on and had such little regard for his girlfriend, but I just can’t bring myself to be. Because deep down I know he’s not a bed person, nor did he do any of this out of spite. I think he’s an idiot, and a bit of a coward, but not a bad person. In fact, he’s the best person I know. He’s the type of person who can’t walk past a homeless person without giving them his sandwich. The type of person who makes conversation with random people on the train because he likes making other people smile. The type of person who’s unbelievably smart but still modest enough to shake his head and say he isn’t. I know he doesn’t want to hurt me, nor does he want to hurt his girlfriend. I think he cares about us both. It’s hard to know what he’s thinking sometimes.
I just want to know what I should do. Should I keep being his friend and hope my feelings eventually go away? Should I cut him out of my life completely and let him take a piece of my heart with him? Or should I tell him how I feel and watch my whole life crash and burn? Maybe I’m a coward as well, but I’m terrified of losing him. I’m terrified of putting myself out there and being vulnerable. And even if he did feel the same way about me, how would I be able to trust him knowing how he acted with me when he had a girlfriend? What if he does the exact same thing to me?
My head hurts and I keep drinking a lot of alcohol hoping it will somehow make things clearer. It never does. Please tell me what to do. I’ve never learnt how to just like something without letting it consume me, and Wendy, this is consuming me so much that I can’t breathe. Please help me”December 5, 2019 at 10:52 am #863137Prognosti-gatorParticipant
I don’t want to be dismissive of your feelings, because you feel what you feel, but as you gain more experience, you’ll (hopefully) get better able to separate the whirlwind of feelings you get early in a relationship with what’s actually going on.
Love isn’t just a feeling, it’s also an action. What your friend is doing isn’t very loving to either you or his girlfriend. I’m not saying that he’s a bad person, because I’m guessing he (too) is young, but stringing someone along when it’s obvious they have a big emotional investment isn’t nice. It’s not fair to you; it’s not fair to the girlfriend either (assuming the three of you aren’t ALL looking for some sort of open relationship).
I think it would be good to step back from this. It doesn’t need to be a big explosive thing. It’s going to be hard to get clarity from inside of it. Maybe he’ll stay with his girlfriend, maybe he’ll want to be with you, maybe you’ll no longer want him, but you need a little time to have this play out.
And the drinking. Drinking to GAIN clarity is a losing proposition.December 5, 2019 at 11:28 am #863149SkyblossomParticipant
Alcohol will never make things clearer. If you are hoping it will numb the pain it isn’t working in that way either. Alcohol won’t help you deal with this. You have to face the situation and decide what to do.
What you are currently doing feels wonderful while you are with him but is also hurting a great deal because you know he’s committed to someone else. He may not be a bad person but he certainly isn’t being a good person. He needed to protect his relationship with his girlfriend. If he felt himself getting too connected to you he needed to pull back in order to protect his relationship and to keep from hurting you. That’s what you do when you are in a relationship. His other option was to break up with his girlfriend. He didn’t do that either.
You can’t make decisions for him but you can definitely take control of your life. At the very least cut out all situations where you are cuddling and spooning. Save girlfriend/boyfriend type things for a boyfriend. Cut out the physical contact. I’ve been reading a book about the brain and one thing it mentioned was that, on average, women have a larger hypothalamus than men and because of that they are more apt to become emotionally attached when having sex because women produce more oxytocin than men do. Physical contact helps to build emotional connection.
Cutting out many or most of the things the two of you do that are just the two of you should also help. See him mostly in groups.
When he suggests the two of you do something tell him he should invite his girlfriend instead of you.December 5, 2019 at 12:40 pm #863173golfer.galGuest
Ahh to be a teenager again. Ok, so first of all, I know this feels really, really big. That’s reflected in your language. But this stuff does get easier. Having this guy out of your life will not ruin you. You will have many, many romantic adventures after him. You will move on and feel better.
There are a few general rules you need to know. And the first one is, a man who wants to be with you will be with you. He will dump his girlfriend BEFORE starting something with you, he will make the time, he will be honest with you and not lead you on. He will get his shit together in any way he needs to in order to be with you. If he wants to.
The second rule is you should never, ever accept the crumbs of a relationship someone is willing to throw you when you deserve the real thing. I know you think this guy is great, but he’s hurting both you and his girlfriend and he knows it. You said yourself he’s really smart. He knows exactly how spooning you in bed makes you feel, and he knows how it would make his girlfriend feel if she knew. He’s doing what’s best for him even though it’s not what’s best for you, which tells you he isn’t boyfriend material.
You’ll be sad over the next few weeks after you stop being his “friend”/side chick. Remind yourself how crummy you feel right now, because you’re being used and he’s dangling something in front of you that he’ll never actually give you. You can tell him that being his friend is too difficult because you have feelings for him, and if he ever breaks up with his girlfriend and wants to start something real to let you know, but otherwise if he’s really your friend he needs to back off. No more hanging out all day, no more spooning, no more sleeping in the same bed. Save relationship behavior for someone who commits to a relationship.December 5, 2019 at 12:46 pm #863175Part-time LurkerGuest
Alcohol is a depressant and it’s only intensifying your sadness and confusion. It can continue to affect your feelings for days even after just one drink. I promise you, alcohol is not the way to get thru this. Listen to the other posters and really think about what they have to say. Don’t just cherry pick the answers that agree with what you want to hear. Virtually everyone here has ” been there, done that, bought the t-shirt” when it comes to relationships.December 5, 2019 at 1:11 pm #863185ronGuest
Your best friend is already cheating on his gf with you and you are enabling that cheating. It doesn’t matter that you haven’t actually had sex yet, you have gone WAY farther than just being friends. This has passed beyond being just an emotional affair, which also isn’t fair to his gf. It’s become too physical to call it just that. You need to back off. If you can’t go back to being just friends again, then you have to back off completely, at least until such time as he doesn’t have a gf.December 5, 2019 at 1:11 pm #863186anonymousseParticipant
I’m so sorry this is happening to you. I know it probably doesn’t help, but most of us have been through similar things at that age. I can absolutely remember being in love with my best friend. I never told him. It was painful and torturous and I was friends his gf. Our friendship wasn’t a secret, either. I had to step away for my own mental health, and I’m glad I did.
Please stop trying to drown your feelings with alcohol. It’s not helping. Alcohol is a depressant. Instead of making you feel better, it’s making you feel worse and probably doing no good for your sleep or your mood. If I drink too much, or too often I have headaches and just generally feel shitty with low energy. I try to stick to a limited number of drinks.
I’m going to be brutally honest with you. Your “best friend” didn’t tell you he had a girlfriend? I think you need to reframe what a friend is. The “best person” you know didn’t tell you about his relationship with another person? I know that you know that he is indeed not the best person you know. He’s a guy who you find attractive and clever and you have romantic feelings of love for him. I know it feels overwhelming and maybe like it will never end. It will though. You have to be realistic about what his behavior tells you. Don’t give him the benefit of the doubt. His behavior is beyond shady. He knows exactly what he was doing. He knew how you’d feel, and that’s why he hid it from you.
I would agree that he is cowardly. Making conversation with strangers and giving homeless people a sandwich is an easy way to seem/feel valiant. I’m not saying those aren’t good things for people to do, they are. But there is little to no investment or energy needed to do those things. Those actions are not acts of real love. Taking care of the people you love and treating them with respect is being a good person. That’s basic human decency. Lying to you is cowardly, and keeping you a secret from his gf is, too. I think you’re kidding yourself if you think any of this happened for any reason other than he is a young dude looking out for his own interests, and selfishly one of them being having fun with you on the side while he has a relationship. He enjoys it and that’s why he’s done it. There’s not hidden, “good” motive behind that. If he really wanted to be with you, he would have broken up with his gf. If he respected you as a person, he would have told you about her.
Girl, you gotta aim higher. He’s not the best person you know if he doesn’t respect you. I’m sure somewhere in his ego, he does care for you, but not enough to break up with his gf. Not enough to give you information pertinent to your spending time with him.
You could handle this in a number of different ways.
-Quietly, by slowly fading and semi ghosting him. He’ll understand, trust me. He’d probably do the same to you.
-You could be honest and tell him how you feel and that you’re really disappointed in the way he never told you about his gf/not told her about you and let him feel the full force of what his behavior has led to. I would then recommend moving on, taking care of yourself and only spending time with people who treat you well.
Please take care of yourself. Stop drinking to numb the pain. You will find another person who will respect you and make it clear that they do. I hope you have better luck with guys, and especially that you learn to spot people who respect you and treat you well and keep the shitty dudes with gfs looking for fun in the side far away from you.December 5, 2019 at 1:22 pm #863193PDX816Guest
I also want to be respectful of your age, I remember my first big love in highschool (and the first big heartbreak). I understand, but I wish I has known then that he wasn’t treating me right. He isn’t showing you or his GF any respect. Put yourself in her shoes for a moment, if your BF were doing all the things with some other girl that he does with you would you be OK with it? if the answer is no then you need to stop.
You are all young, and figuring it out so I won’t be too tough on boundaries. But if the man I am seeing told me he did those actions with someone else it would end our relationship. Those are not respectful actions.
It will hurt when you pull back, but I think you should. At least until your feelings fade. I know it feels like a lot right now, but you will be ok.December 5, 2019 at 1:22 pm #863194BB22Guest
First of all, none of us want to diminish the love that you feel at 17. All of us remember our first loves and the all-consuming, overwhelming nature of it. It makes your whole world ache. And then each love after feels just as wonderful, but also a little less painful, a little less all consuming. Your love becomes something you learn how to give only when it’s deserved, and you slowly learn who and what actions are deserving of that love.
You learn that sometimes the ‘good guys’ do bad things; but you still can’t make excuses for their actions. And you learn sometimes ‘good guys’ aren’t actually that good. They just like the world to see them that way – that in reality they’re actually entirely selfish.
All you can ever do is learn to love yourself first, not make excuses for other peoples actions and know that if they truly love you they will do what it takes to prove that to you. You love him and if you were with him, you wouldn’t cuddle with someone else. You should expect that of him in return – both with you and with someone else.
Walk away from him, start loving yourself first at 17. You’ll be ahead of the curve and build the tools to find true, real love sooner.December 5, 2019 at 3:41 pm #863231FYIGuest
Don’t drink to gain clarity. Seriously. Just don’t. It doesn’t work.
Re: this guy. Just read your post back to yourself and realize that every. single. thing. you’re describing came from you. You. Not him. You. You created those experiences for yourself just be being you. He didn’t confer those experiences onto you. You are an essential part of what you’ve experienced. It’s your innate Self that brings those qualities forth in him, and therefore you can bring those qualities forth in others — maybe even stronger and better. He isn’t some force outside of you; you’re the one with the love and capacity and charisma. He doesn’t hold the keys to the universe. You do.December 5, 2019 at 4:21 pm #863236EssieParticipant
Trust me when I say that getting away from this guy isn’t going to ruin your life. I thought that too when I was madly in love for the first time at 17. It hurt for months when he dumped me for one of my friends, but now I barely remember him. Because every man I dated afterwards was superior to him in every single way. Every relationship I had was better.
It feels like the end of the world because you haven’t been through this kind of heartbreak before. You haven’t learned that yeah, it hurts like hell when it’s over, but then it stops hurting and everything’s not just OK, but better, because you’ve learned things that make your future relationships better.
You say he’s not a bad person. Someone doesn’t have to be a cartoon villain, or intentionally evil, to make you miserable and screw up your life. Your guy is immature and selfish, and lies to get what he wants. Those are traits that make him the worst kind of boyfriend, as his poor girlfriend will soon find out. What he’s doing to the two of you is just awful, and no, he doesn’t get points for playacting the part of a sensitive, woke guy to impress women.
Walk away. Walk away from the friendship, because it’s bringing you nothing with pain. And no, waiting for him to break up with his girlfriend isn’t going to work, because even if you “win,” all you’re getting is a selfish, immature liar who cheats on his girlfriends.
You’ll feel so much better once you get this painful mess out of your life.December 5, 2019 at 7:01 pm #863266SavannahAnnaMember
What an insightful answer, FYI! And spot-on, IMHO. I hope the LW takes this to heart: “…Every. single. thing. you’re describing came from you. You. Not him. You. You created those experiences for yourself just be being you. He didn’t confer those experiences onto you…”