If you're going to keep being friends with a guy you had feelings for, where do you draw the line in regards to how much he can tell you about his love life?
I met this guy and in that time he's become one of my closest friends. For much of the time we've known each other, we've spent a lot of alone time together -- dinner, drinks, intimate conversations, all the emotional closeness with none of the physical. A few times we discussed the potential of being more than friends, but nothing ever came of it. He would broach the subject and then say he wasn't sure what he wanted and we shouldn't pursue it. I agreed, mostly because I didn't know what I wanted, and I didn't want to ruin a good friendship if it didn't work out.
Eventually I told him I had feelings for him and wanted to pursue them, and he said no. Shortly after that, he began telling me, as a friend, about women he's interested in (including people I know). I let him talk to me about it because I hoped it would help me get over what I was feeling for him. Long story short, it did not help. It felt really, really bad.
I called him out on being insensitive. He argued that he was just doing what I told him to do. I basically have two choices: 1) tell him he can't talk to me about his love life and risk losing some degree of closeness in our friendship, or 2) tell him he can go ahead and talk to me all he wants, and risk a world of hurt. How do I make option two work without incurring the world of hurt? Is that even possible? What do you think?
– Wallowing in Washington
A: Option No. 1 sounds pretty good for now. In fact, taking a little break from this friendship might be great for your brain.
It's difficult to maintain a close platonic relationship with someone when you want more and the feelings aren't reciprocated. You don't want to turn the friendship into a lie, pretending you're OK when you're really struggling. It would be better to let the relationship evolve into whatever it's supposed to be. If it feels bad to be the kind of friends who tell each other everything, change your terms. Let him know that you need time and space to sort things out.
Distancing yourself doesn't mean that you'll lose him. Friendships change over time no matter what. It's better to stay honest than to force the closeness and suffer through the misery, a.k.a. world of hurt.
Readers? Should she stay in this friendship? Option 1 or 2?