Messy involvement with someone sort of in another relationship.
April 2, 2011 4:29 PM Subscribe
I got involved with a friend who was in a relationship. He is confusing me and I am backing off. What now?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (38 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I was attracted to a friend I've known for almost a year, but considered him off-limits as he was in a long-term relationship. We began spending more time together and he asked me if I'd consider being more than friends with him if we had the opportunity. I said yes. I should mention that his girlfriend wasn't in the area during this time.
I had a lot of hesitations and cognitive dissonance about all of this, and initially wanted to wait until they were very, very broken up. At his initiation, we talked about this a lot. He repeatedly said he was interested in a serious relationship with me and led these conversations. I'm introverted and historically not too impulsive, but I also don't usually feel strongly about anyone. So this is doubly weird for me.
He said his current relationship was mostly a practical issue. He explained to me that he had been emotionally checked out his relationship for years, would leave her immediately and that his girlfriend would most likely not return from where she was.
We became a lot more than friends very quickly. Bad idea. I thought he had "officially" left her when it started based on things he said. I guess I let it keep happening because I am attracted to him, was confused about his relationship, felt like I had to jump at the opportunity, trusted his character from being a friend and saw a lot of similarities between us that helped me create excuses for the situation.
I now get that I probably helped hurt his girlfriend or was at best in a very grey area. I feel guilty about this as a separate issue, but that's not the main focus of this question. If you can, please try to focus your answers on what to do now.
Anyway, his girlfriend returned and things predictably deteriorated. A month later, he says they've broken up but hasn't been forthright about whether he is or isn't involved with her anymore.
He knows it makes me uncomfortable. He's volunteered a lot of conflicting (and honestly, extremely weird) details. He implies that she's stubborn and kind of crazy. I do know that they're still living together, even though both have other places to stay. Nothing he says regarding this makes practical sense to me, so I assume this has more to do with emotions than anything else.
I don't think that this person has bad intentions, although I don't know anymore. Opportunistic, yes, impulsive, yes, unrealistic, yes, and maybe too excited by the idea of me after being with the same person for so long.
We've continued to see each other sporadically until recently, mainly because he's been seemingly eager to maintain this pseudo-dating scenario. This made me feel terrible each time. I finally stopped it via an e-mail and explained that, while I like him a lot, it's hard to see someone while they're not fully out of another relationship. I asked him to contact me if he was still interested in seeing me when he was free.
He responded vaguely about when they would be separated but said he hoped that I would feel the same way when he was completely free.
In an ideal world, before all of this happened, I would have liked to simply date this person and see where it would go. I have no idea what to think now.
1. What is the appropriate contact level after sending an e-mail like that? Right now, I have set it at zero. Before that, we were communicating daily.
2. How long should I wait for him to sort things out, given that this is hurting me a lot? Am I asking for too much? Let's define "sorting things out" by not living together for the purposes of this question -- unless I should be thinking about this differently. That seems like a first step to me.
3. Should I just stop? I like this person, but there are a lot of big warning signs. Conflicting details about his involvement with his current/ex-girlfriend, extreme initial enthusiasm, being generally secretive and asking for a lot from me are among them. I want to give him the benefit of the doubt because he has many positive qualities.
4. If I decide to wait it out and they do seem to unequivocally split up, how could we try to start over? Has entering a relationship with someone initially tangled up in another worked out for you, and if so, how? What happened in the short-term and in the long-term? Anecdotes of failed attempts are equally welcome.