Q: Dear Meredith,
I've known my husband for 3 1/2 years. We're happily married and we're excitedly expecting a baby in a few months.
Before I met my husband, my best friend for two years was a guy I slowly fell in love with. During this time, I was getting out of a bad relationship/breakup, and my friend was long-distance dating someone who turned out to be cheating on him. We had a great time together and were always very real with one another. We didn't start a physical relationship until we were both single.
When we both became single we tried to go slowly, but we got intimate pretty quickly. In a sense we did go slowly because we knew we weren't in a place to commit to each other. I was, since I had been single for longer, but I played it cool. We decided to stay just friends several times but we would always keep coming back to one another. I think we both knew it was inevitable.
Then his housing fell through, and instead of getting a new apartment, he decided to move to a different state to live with his sister and her husband. I was confused by the distance and why he didn't try to stay around me and all his friends. He was also acting wishy-washy at this point, being very hot and cold depending on his mood. Then one day he told me he had never realized how much I loved him, and he didn't want to be with me like that.
I got upset and didn't talk to him for four days. It was during this time that I met my now husband. When my friend and I talked again, he did apologize. But at this point it had been a couple months of confusion with him, and my husband was like a knight in shining armor, even though I hadn't intended on dating anyone else for a while. He liked me, we had a wonderful time, and all my friends and family loved him.
My friend and I talked for about six more months and he visited a few times, but there was never any big declaration for me to be with him and not my now-husband. In retrospect there were a few mini-declarations, but nothing to push me away from my great new guy. Why would I be with someone who had hurt me over someone who never had? As the time passed, our conversations got more superficial, and now we rarely talk, if ever.
In the end, I know I made the right choice. There are many, many reasons why my husband is so good for me, better than my friend. But deep down, I miss my friend so very much. Why do I still miss him so much? And can I write him a letter expressing how I feel, knowing that I do not want to change the way things are now? He and I have both moved on and are very happy. I tried writing him a letter and throwing it away, but it didn't help.
Thanks for any advice.
– Torn Up for No Reason, Atlanta
A: You're never going to get that friendship back because it was never a friendship, TUFNR. Please don't write to him. There's nothing to say. Just know that he's gone. He's an ex.
You've experienced some serious life changes over the past few years. From what I can tell, you met your husband while you were in love with someone else, you got married pretty quickly (right?), and now you're having a child. Your brain is having trouble processing the meaning of all of these big choices.
You never gave yourself time to mourn the loss of your friend/ex. You can't skip that step. That's what you're doing now -- mourning. That's OK.
Be miserable that you can't reach out to him. Feel your feelings, as they say. But make sure that you feel your happy feelings, too. You married a guy who makes you feel good and safe. You're about to have a kid with him. You can be thrilled about that and sad about your friend at the same time.
You're also allowed to feel anger. Your friend was never that great to you. He was actually a pretty bad friend. Anger might help you speed up the mourning process.
Feel all of it -- and then snap out of it. That's your only option.
Readers? Should she reach out to him? Why is she still thinking about him? Is this about the baby? How can she get over the friend? What does this say about her marriage? 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 new novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith here and on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.