Q: My ex broke up with me about a year and a half ago after 7 years together. He dragged his feet through the breakup and it was really painful for me. Despite all of that, I moved forward, took control of my never-been-single-before life, and moved into the city. I got a new job and landed on my feet. I still missed him terribly, but I pushed forward. Because we were together for so long, we had a lot of mutual friends. While it was painful, it wasn't a bad breakup, and we both maintained those friends so we crossed each other's paths on occasion.
When I moved to the city, most of my friends were too far away to randomly hang out, so I took advantage of those who were close by. One of whom was a mutually close friend, and happens to be one of my ex's best friends, since, like, ever. He and I hung out regularly, sometimes in groups, sometimes by ourselves. Our relationship was completely platonic, but we had a lot of the same interests and also had been through similar situations in terms of breakups, so we kind of supported each other. He was the best friend I could have asked for, always giving me advice about what to do and not to do to get my ex back, and also telling me when I needed to just back off and let it be. He called me out when I needed it, and not many people do that for me.
At the end of this past summer, I started texting my ex, inserting myself back in his life and trying to make it "easy" for him to get me back. Our friend told me not to, but for some reason I thought it was the right thing to do at the time. We talked, had a few casual evenings, but all of them were pretty much after a group hang out. We never went on a "date" -- we grabbed a drink together, alone, ONCE. And I asked.
I put in all of the effort. Without going into too much detail, it took me a few months to realize I should have never put myself on that silver platter to make things easy for him because I was clearly not a priority. I backed off. THEN he came running -- when he realized I wasn't there anymore. As far as I'm concerned, I'm done.
Getting back with him, I realized, was the easy thing. I had dated around a little since the break up and wasn't really meeting new people, and this relationship was already established. We already had a history. But how could I go back to someone who clearly didn't have the gall to try to get me back himself? If he wanted to be with me, he would have been with me. He had ample opportunity. I made it clear how I felt. I just wanted him to want it. And to act on it. And he didn't.
And then about a month ago, I got drunk. And I kissed my friend -- our mutual friend. And drunkenly said some things about how I felt about him. And we met up the next day and had a conversation and it turned out we have feelings for each other. Like, real feelings. Like, heart skipping a beat, can't catch your breath feelings. And I can't make them stop. But they are best friends. We both know how we feel and know it isn't going away, but ... it's still his best friend. I'm skeptical about how this all plays out ... but we both really want to try.
– What do I do?, Anywhere
A: What happens next isn't really your decision, WDID. It's up to your friend-turned-crush, the guy who'll have to tell his best buddy that he plans to pursue you.
Is this guy willing to risk his friendship with your ex? That's what you have to find out. If he is, and you can say for sure that you aren't going to run back to your ex (you're positive about that, right?), you can commence this new relationship, which seems to have great potential.
(Honestly, if you aren't sure about the ex, hit pause on everything.)
My guess is that your friend-crush will risk his relationship with your ex in order to move forward because, well, he already has. Frankly, if he wasn't interested in taking the risk he would have set some very clear boundaries with you from the start. But he didn't. And you fell for each other. And you've already kissed. And liked it.
Tell your friend-crush that you're ready whenever he is. Talk to him about all of the possible outcomes with the ex and discuss how you'll navigate any discomfort. Assure him that you'll be there for him no matter what. Because you will, right?
At some point, after the new guy tells your ex about his feelings for you, you should do the classy thing and reach out to let your ex to let him know that you acknowledge the awkwardness of this. Tell him that you will always care for him, that you've appreciated his civility, and that you hope everyone can continue to get along. You were together for seven years and he's in your heart. And that's OK, as long as you're being honest with everyone -- especially yourself -- about what you want for your future.
Readers? Do they owe anything to the ex? Do you believe that she won't change her mind about the ex? Does this new relationship have potential or should she start looking outside of her immediate circle? Should she reach out to the ex to explain all of this? Help.
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.