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Typical mid-20's crap.
November 27, 2011 9:14 PM   Subscribe

I feel unbelievably shitty after a close friend hurt my feelings. I don't know what to do.

I'm a guy, friend is a girl. We've been friends for over a decade. We've slept together twice. The first time, a few months ago, she expressed wanting to just stay friends because she had just gotten out of a serious relationship. The second time, about 3 weeks ago - initiated completely by her - we did not discuss afterward because it ended very embarrassingly and neither of us wanted to talk about it. Both of these times were after a drunken night out.

Cut to a few nights ago. She invited me to a drunken night out. I stupidly set expectations that, with this recent development of hooking up on drunken nights out, and activities that took place only a few weeks ago, I had a shot.

She began heavily flirting with another person in our group who was unavailable (had a girlfriend). It became painful for me to watch after their flirting turned very physical. My jealousy boiled over and I pulled her aside and asked her "are you seriously doing this?" She told me to leave her alone. I told her then I'm going home, that she can do whatever she wants but I don't need to see this. She told me to calm down, that he has a girlfriend and I'm overreacting and need to stop worrying. I stayed out. She proceeded to go back to him, make out, went home with him, etc. Basically I was just in her way cock-blocking her.

It feels so awful and I'm not quite sure what to do. The only thing she technically did "wrong" I suppose was facilitate this guy cheating on his girlfriend. But every other bit of hurt that I feel seems to have been brought on by myself, by a lack of communicating to her how I really felt.

I guess I feel angry that by expressing my jealousy to her that night I was, essentially, letting her know my feelings (no matter how bad the timing) - and she lied to reassure me so she could continue what she was doing anyway. I also feel extremely rejected and unwanted that she was SO uninterested in going home with me that she'd rather go with a guy who was not even available. On top of that, I feel hurt by how callous she was about going about all of this right in front of me, even though one of the last times we saw each other was extremely intimate.

I just don't know what to do. How angry do I get to be? Part of me wants to just stop talking to her because I just can't face someone who made me hurt this much. Is it wrong to feel this way? How am I supposed to continue staying friends with someone who made me feel this hurt?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (35 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
You need to back off from this girl (seriously, she's acting like a twelve-year-old trying to prove how "mature" she is by jerking people around) and clear your head. She's messing with you because she knows she can, ESPECIALLY when alcohol is involved.

You know this, dude. And you also know that the way she's taking advantage of this is not representative of a real friend.

Take some time off from your "friendship" (at least several months). Pay more attention to 1) yourself and what you need, and/or 2) someone who cares about you and what you need. Most likely, you'll come out knowing that there are better things and people out there.
posted by Madamina at 9:21 PM on November 27, 2011 [7 favorites]


The only thing she technically did "wrong" I suppose was facilitate this guy cheating on his girlfriend.

She also created a situation in which she hooked up with another man when a man she had been sleeping with watched, and didn't allow him to leave when he expressed discomfort.

That's mighty unfriendly behavior. Since you have been friends for a long time, she may have earned an explanation, although that's up to you, but I likewise recommend taking a break. She's already demonstrated a willingness to hurt you.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 9:25 PM on November 27, 2011 [26 favorites]


Sorry man, this really sucks. It hurts.

The thing is as soon as you sleep with a friend, all bets are pretty much off. This is why people get really nervous about crossing that line.

Your friend is doing her thing. She's just out of a relationship, she doesn't want to be back in one right away, etc. Like you, she's in her 20s, figuring it all out. She may even figure out that fooling around with attached guys (or her good friends) isn't a good idea in the long run.

It hurts, yes. If you need to take a break from being around her, do that. But I think you chalk it up to lesson learned - don't screw your friends.
posted by miles1972 at 9:26 PM on November 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


So you slept together, she said she didn't want a relationship.

Then you went out again, under similar circumstances, and slept together at her initiation and then didn't talk about it because it was embarrassing.

Then you went out again, under similar circumstances, and she hit on your friend, in your direct view and with someone who was with someone else. You stayed to watch after communicating how hurtful you found her actions.

Yeah, that's not a friendship. It's not even friends with benefits. It's drunken mistakes. She communicated that clearly to you when she did the same thing with your friend that she did to you.

Stop talking to her, going out with her, or communicating with her in any way. Find someone who is more mature than a thirteen year old girl.

(sorry if this sounds harsh - she's just trouble. You do not want her brand of "drama" - seriously)
posted by guster4lovers at 9:27 PM on November 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Let yourself feel whatever you feel - at the moment you feel angry and shamed - and then wake up in a few days committed to eradicating this particular gal and this kind of drama from your life.

nb: you made a faulty assumption about drinks=sex later which has heightened your anger and disappointment. Having sex casually once or twice doesn't give you claims over her at another party, but fwiw I think she acted cluelessly here.

I don't know whether it's a 20-something thing but she's playing around with her sexual powers in a a selfish, tactless way that I've seen many, many times. Stay clear of that and develop proper dating relationships with other gals. [My motto is "Good Drama" and this all smacks of "Bad Drama" so shake it off and leave it behind.]
posted by honey-barbara at 9:30 PM on November 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


Dude . . . if you didn't tell her you had feelings, and there was no expectation drunken hookups would continue (after the first she said she had no interest, the second ended badly), then she how is she supposed to know she's "off limits" to anyone? She is allowed to flirt with whomever she wants, whenever she wants.* There were no declarations of monogamy laid down. The way hookups go is sometimes someone wants to hook up with someone else more than you. It is the harsh truth of it. It's got nothing to do with uninterest in you and everything to do with greater interest in the other guy.

OK, so you let her know you're feelings, kind of, in a jealous drunken outburst. Yes, ideally, she stops things then, or at least says something along the lines of "I'm sorry, but I'm not interested in you like that and I understand if you have to leave". At the same time, you are being pretty unfair there--she is in the middle of getting her groove on, and you decide you are going to dump a bucket of ice on it. If it was making you uncomfortable, why didn't you just leave and talk about it when you were sober? Why drop the bomb then? It's not like she knew you were head-over-heels for her and flirted with this guy to piss you off--you decided when it looked like you weren't getting laid that it was time to try to put the breaks on it so she couldn't either.

Right now you are dealing with having your heart broken. It will probably require time and separation to get over it. I'm sorry it happened, and it sounds like everyone involved needs to drink less, but this is not really her fault.

*Scuzziness of flirting with the unavailable aside
posted by schroedinger at 9:30 PM on November 27, 2011 [15 favorites]


This is not about you. Really, this is not about you, but about this woman's need for male attention. Coupled with alcohol, this is not a healthy combination.

Do you really want to be involved with someone who is so callous with your feelings and who is more than ready to be the other woman? Sorry, that's just not friend behavior, and definitely not behavior from someone who is ready to give you the kind of relationship that it seems that you might be looking for.

For your own sake I hope you stop being part of her drama. Trust me, you can find someone who is way more considerate of your feelings.
posted by so much modern time at 9:31 PM on November 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


Ignore this girl. She sounds immature and attention-starved. She's doing this to get your attention and a reaction from you (who knows exactly why) and it sounds like something a high school junior would do.

I say give her the silent treatment. Total silent indifference. That'll give her time to think about why she did this and to see how shitty it was while you get past it and find an awesome girl who can respect you and treat you like an adult.
posted by fantodstic at 9:34 PM on November 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


then she how is she supposed to know she's "off limits" to anyone?

I'm not getting that from this. It's fundamentally insensitive to ignore somebody with whom you've recently been physically intimate in favor of hitting on somebody else. It's even more insensitive to ignore when they express discomfort, and shame them for wanting to leave.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 9:35 PM on November 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


Before we all dump on this girl for starting "drama," I guess I feel angry that by expressing my jealousy to her that night I was, essentially, letting her know my feelings (no matter how bad the timing)

Did you only express your feelings for her by acting jealous? I don't know if, in that situation (ie, drunk) I would have even picked up on those feelings, and pulling her aside probably only clicked as "hey, that dude has a girlfriend, wtf?" not "I long for you." I suggest a sober, face to face conversation about all of this.
posted by troika at 9:38 PM on November 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


Listen, even if you were just a friend, if somebody wants you to act as wingman, they have to let you know first. There are few experiences less pleasant than thinking you have been invited to spend time with a friend, only to discover they only want to spend time with you until the moment they can hook up.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 9:45 PM on November 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


she told you she didn't want anything serious. You should believe people when they say that. So, yeah, it's a little your fault for getting too emotionally invested in her. And yes, she's also being immature and inconsiderate. You *get* to be as angry as you are. You just shouldn't totally take it out on her for failing to meet your unexpressed expectations. Don't agree to any more drunken nights out.
posted by parrot_person at 10:09 PM on November 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Chick acted like a douche, no question. She hurt you and you have the right to feel hurt. It's not for us to say, really, whether this was out of character for her and whether in a clear-eyed view, this was an out of character fuck-up or a clear sign that she's a thorough bastard.

Either way, as far as this friendship remaining a friendship...from what you've said, it seems pretty clear you had hopes of more than that. Don't quite know how long you've had them, or how long you've admitted to yourself that you've had them, but they were there. It also seems quite clear from her behaviour that those hopes aren't going to be fulfilled. You can't be friends in those circumstances, man. Because she will continue to provide ample evidence that she doesn't think of you like that and it will continue to gut you, and while you do get to be mad at her for acting like an ass, you don't get to be mad at her cause she doesn't love you back. Le couer a ses raisons, you know? That's gonna sting and keep stinging for quite a while, and you'll bear it better apart from her.
posted by Diablevert at 10:12 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not getting that from this. It's fundamentally insensitive to ignore somebody with whom you've recently been physically intimate in favor of hitting on somebody else.

It had been a month, which in college terms is almost a lifetime. She had in the past expressed disinterest in forming any kind of relationship and their second encounter went very poorly. If they're in college, or even young, then if every time a prior hookup showed up people were not allowed to flirt with anyone else flirting would drop 90%. It's one thing if they'd been dating a while but their intimacy had been minimal.

It's even more insensitive to ignore when they express discomfort, and shame them for wanting to leave.

I'll agree with you that it was insensitive, but his approach was passive-aggressive. It is not fair for him to try to blackmail her into ending flirting when he had never expressed his feelings--he basically said told her to stop because if he couldn't have her, nobody could. Like I said, if it made him uncomfortable he should have either ignored it or left, and then spoken with her about it the next day when they were sober. He was a dick, she was a dick.
posted by schroedinger at 10:19 PM on November 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


I don't know if it was typical. Regardless, it was immensely thoughtless, and the fact that he might have handled this better doesn't clear her behavior, which, even if unintentional, reads as manipulative. It hurt him, and he has every right to decide whether this is within the boundaries of behavior he accepts or not. That's a big part of growing out of typical college behavior.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:28 PM on November 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Distance.

You need distance because you're emotions aren't exactly friendship. It's not because she's a problem - though she may well be - it's that you are in a vulnerable place of having feelings that aren't reciprocated.

You're hurt and you asked if establishing some distance is warranted. Establishing distance is a fabulous idea. Probably the best thing going.
posted by 26.2 at 11:10 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


This sucks! But as a pair of consenting adults, your friend also has the right to do whatever she pleases, just as the dude she took home has the right to cheat or not cheat. Was what she did considerate? No, not really, but maybe she had very different expectations than you did.

Basically no one in this story is a saint, but they're also not, as is being suggested by some other commenters, attention-craving monsters. They're drunk and horny, just like you were when you slept with her.

So now you can either get over it- however you do that is up to you- or you can stop spending time with her. A combo of the two is probably the best answer. But it doesn't look to me like she did this just to hurt you, she simply didn't place as much value in your hook-ups as you did.
posted by GilloD at 11:23 PM on November 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


As you've described it, all of this has happened with lots of alcohol consumption which reduces inhibitions and amplifies feelings. If this person has been a friend for a long time, perhaps you could just let it rest for a while (no arguments or ultimatums for heavens sake) and then have a reasonable discussion with this person. Allow some space and give an old friend the benefit of the doubt - if you want to remain friends.
posted by lois1950 at 12:03 AM on November 28, 2011


That's horrible.

I don't agree with any suggestion that it's your fault for not telling her how you feel and she has the right to hook up with whoever she wants.

Yes, she has that right, but exercising it in this manner in a way that she knew was causing you distress (because you told her you felt that way, oh look, see how big a difference telling her your feelings about *anything* actually made) is not the behaviour of a good friend.

Should you have told her directly hiw you feel? Yes you possibly should have, but that doesn't make it your fault. I'm guessing part of the reason you didn't tell her your feelings until she DELIBERATELY AND CRUELLY PROVOKED YOU TO was because part of you suspected she'd stomp on them if you did.

No wonder you are distraught! You have every right to be!

You've been friends for a long time and even if this started out as a misunderstanding it didn't end as one. No, apparently she doesn't place as much value on your hookups as you do, or on your feelings as you do. That doesn't make her a good friend who just happens to have different expectations, it makes her insensitive and a bad friend. You absolutely have the right to expect better than such cruel, ruthless emotional bullying without apology. I am actually furious on your behalf and I don't say that lightly.

I always say that I don't have "friends" who treat me this way and I strongly suggest you don't either. What I'm about to suggest will be very hard but I think it's the right thing for you, even though you'll have to fake it till you make it and be very very tough.

You need to hellban this anti-friend. Don't draw attention to it just do it. Hide her on social media even if you have to go out of your way to find the right apps to do so. aif you can't hide, quietly unfriend. Change her number in your contacts list to come up as BANNED if she calls. You may want to listen to her messages/read her emails for a while, but unless they turn out to be really excellent, truly convincing apologies (and if you're not sure, you have the option of memailing me to check) don't respond. It's crucial that you not react to anything she says, don't believe any of it, she'll be trying to manipulate you I guarantee. If you see her out and about, give her the cut indirect (pretend not to see her) or the cut direct lite (hello, goodbye, finethanks hopeyouarethesame).

You both seem to be young so maybe you can be friends again in a couple of years if this is just a phase she's going through. So no need to nuke any bridges. If she asks outright just say "I don't think it's a good idea for us to be in contact right now," and leave it at that.

Don't do this in the hope that she'll come around. Do it for yourself. Even if it seems unimaginably hard at first, in time - a long time - you'll see it was the best thing to do. This isn't an insignificant betrayal. You cannot let her fuck with you. Her only hope is if she learns that treating people this way results in serious losses for her, though IME she probably sees individuals as much more replaceable than you ever suspected.

Sorry dude. It sucks.
posted by tel3path at 12:19 AM on November 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


My $.02:

I also feel extremely rejected and unwanted that she was SO uninterested in going home with me that she'd rather go with a guy who was not even available. On top of that, I feel hurt by how callous she was about going about all of this right in front of me, even though one of the last times we saw each other was extremely intimate.

This is completely understandable.

Part of me wants to just stop talking to her because I just can't face someone who made me hurt this much. Is it wrong to feel this way? How am I supposed to continue staying friends with someone who made me feel this hurt?

I don't think feeling hurt and embarrassed is wrong, and I don't think not wanting to face/continue a friendship the person who made you feel hurt and embarrassed is wrong either.

Now here's the flip side.

How angry do I get to be?

Your feelings are your own and none of us can tell you what you are or aren't allowed to feel. But being angry in this situation implies a sense of entitlement, that you were entitled to something that you weren't given. (I don't mean that "something" is necessarily sex per se.) And I feel like what you are asking us is how justified you are to be angry that you didn't get what you feel entitled to.

What did you feel entitled to here? Here's what you say concretely about why you are angry:

I guess I feel angry that by expressing my jealousy to her that night I was, essentially, letting her know my feelings (no matter how bad the timing) - and she lied to reassure me so she could continue what she was doing anyway.

Something really rubs me the wrong way about the idea that, once you reveal your feelings of jealousy to a woman who has explicitly said she doesn't want to be in a relationship with you, she would then owe you a truthful accounting of her intentions towards someone else, and also could not justifiably "continue what she was doing" with regard to him. So no, I don't think you were entitled to that. Not that she behaved well herself. But just because she's well into inconsiderate/callous territory, doesn't mean you're not also edging into "none of your business" territory.

I think you both made a ton of mistakes here.

-On your part, going into this with the expectation of another hookup when the last one almost a month ago went really badly and you didn't even talk about it, is something I don't understand at all. I'm not trying to harp on this because it seems clear you know that was a mistake.

-On the other hand, it sounds like she's bought into the fairly widespread idea that after casual sex with someone, it's normal not to think or care about their feelings. And she's probably also bought into the idea that guys never have feelings around/as a result of casual sex. It sucks, and it's really sad. And it was wrong of her. She should be been conscientious about the fact that you might have had feelings, and you guys should have talked about it. All I can say is that if she's someone who has a lot of casual sex, she's probably been on the receiving end of this quite a bit. It doesn't make her not thinking about your feelings okay, I'm just saying that's where the mindset probably came from.

-When you were at the party, and you started feeling upset and jealous, you should have told her about how you were feeling in a mature way. You should have told her in a calm, factual, non-aggressive (and also non-passive-aggressive) way that although you totally respect that she has the right to do as she wants, when you see her flirting with other guys, you feel jealous and upset, so you're going to take off.

Instead when your jealousy boiled over and pulled her aside and asked "are you seriously doing this?" that would have come off to me in the situation as this aggressive, controlling, caveman style thing that would have seriously pissed me off, even if I would have been really sympathetic to your feelings if you had told me about them maturely.

I totally understand that when you're drunk and emotions are running high, and you're in the moment, it's hard to react in the best way. You just know for the next time, that you need to really calm down, take a walk, sober up a bit, and really think things over before reacting.

She told me to calm down, that he has a girlfriend and I'm overreacting and need to stop worrying.

It was seriously shitty of her to try to make you feel delusional/stupid over something that was actually true. That in and of itself, apart from anything else, I think would be a good reason not to be friends with her, if this is a habit with her.

Bottom line, this whole situation could have been avoided if both of you had just talked everything out maturely, and instead at every stage, starting from when you had the embarrassing hookup, both of you pretty much did the opposite.

So, I agree with this, even though I definitely think she made her mistakes also.

But every other bit of hurt that I feel seems to have been brought on by myself, by a lack of communicating to her how I really felt.

But I don't think you need any justification if you really just want to not see her again. If you don't, I think that would be okay. Just don't dig yourself into the same hole again with immature lash-outs. If you want to end the friendship and she wants to know why, and you want to tell her, be calm, matter of fact, and just mature about it.
posted by cairdeas at 1:14 AM on November 28, 2011 [9 favorites]


After two drunken nights out followed by hooking up, it's hard not to come away with the impression that inviting you out on a drunken night out and then hooking up with another guy was not intended to send you a message. She probably already knew you had feelings for her and was trying to prove to you that she doesn't feel the same way. Which is fine, but its pretty messed up to do that by humiliating you, not even giving you the chance to withdraw gracefully. I think your next move is to let her know you got the message and stop being friends with her.
posted by AlsoMike at 2:03 AM on November 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


Being your friend in this situation for a second...

I guess I feel angry that by expressing my jealousy to her that night I was, essentially, letting her know my feelings (no matter how bad the timing) - and she lied to reassure me so she could continue what she was doing anyway.

Out of all the possible things you could have done, this is probably the one that would have solidified my decision to sleep with Mr. Unavailable the MOST.

Yes, what she did made you feel shitty, but jealousy and conveniently-timed confessions are manipulative, and I would probably be annoyed at YOU over those things, were I her.

It'll take time, but it'll blow over. Take a breather.
posted by mokudekiru at 2:08 AM on November 28, 2011


Yes, typical mid-20s crap. Let's have walk through it, shall we?
The first time, a few months ago, she expressed wanting to just stay friends because she had just gotten out of a serious relationship. The second time, about 3 weeks ago - initiated completely by her - we did not discuss afterward because it ended very embarrassingly and neither of us wanted to talk about it. Both of these times were after a drunken night out.
So the first time, she made it clear she did not want a relationships. The second time, it ended poorly. So your expectations should be that you are not ideal sex partners.
With this recent development of hooking up on drunken nights out, and activities that took place only a few weeks ago, I had a shot.
You have stopped being her friend at this point and now see her as a sex partner.
She began heavily flirting with another person in our group who was unavailable (had a girlfriend). It became painful for me to watch after their flirting turned very physical. My jealousy boiled over and I pulled her aside and asked her "are you seriously doing this?" She told me to leave her alone. I told her then I'm going home, that she can do whatever she wants but I don't need to see this. She told me to calm down, that he has a girlfriend and I'm overreacting and need to stop worrying. I stayed out. She proceeded to go back to him, make out, went home with him, etc. Basically I was just in her way cock-blocking her.
You do not have to enjoy watching someone you're attracted to flirt with someone else. At this point, it looks like you are trapped in denial of reality. You are taking your shot... and it is not going so well. Your initial response is to leave, but then you don't leave. Either you think you still have a shot, or you are trying to act as a friend. Either way, you are not being authentic with the present reality in this moment.
It feels so awful and I'm not quite sure what to do. The only thing she technically did "wrong" I suppose was facilitate this guy cheating on his girlfriend. But every other bit of hurt that I feel seems to have been brought on by myself, by a lack of communicating to her how I really felt.
It is only wrong because you didn't like the result! Who knows what's going on in that other relationship. And the hurt was not brought on my lack of communication with her, but not being honest with yourself about how you feel.
I guess I feel angry that by expressing my jealousy to her that night I was, essentially, letting her know my feelings (no matter how bad the timing) - and she lied to reassure me so she could continue what she was doing anyway.
Very romantic my friend. Drunken jealousy as a statement of attraction. What every woman swoons for. And as mentioned, she didn't lie to you. She calmed you down with what you wanted to hear.
I also feel extremely rejected and unwanted that she was SO uninterested in going home with me that she'd rather go with a guy who was not even available.
You should look at your self-esteem my friend. Why is it a binary option? She was not "so" uninterested in you. She was simply interested in him. You've set it up as a binary choice, but indeed it is not a binary choice. I am going to be harsh here, but you seem to want it, so it was not a binary because you were not in the cards for that night.

And obviously he was available. You want him not to be available. Why does he get to have two women and you don't get to have any? Thus you set it up as a false choice on her end.
On top of that, I feel hurt by how callous she was about going about all of this right in front of me, even though one of the last times we saw each other was extremely intimate.
To me, it looks like:
1) you were friends for ten years
2) you slept together -- she said she didn't want to go further than that
3) you slept together again -- and it was embarrassing
4) you didn't tell her how you felt...
5) ...until she was about to go home with someone else...
6) ...and when she did, you blamed her for that "wrong" decision...
7) ...while putting her into a situation where she chose someone else over you.

Can I offer an alternative narrative? You've been friends for 10 years, and you've grown to care for her deeply. You like having her around but slowly started to want more, and then one night, sex happened. You began feeling possessive of her, yet declined to say anything, for the stakes are now quite high.

If you're right, you win a great sex partner/girlfriend/wife, whatever your fantasy was. If you're wrong, you lose both the fantasy and a good friend.

I would surmise that you knew the answer after the second time you slept with her, but you didn't like it. Because otherwise, you could have called her sober and invited her on a date.

There is the possibility that there was some messaging in her behaviour that night. Showing you that she's really not interested in another relationship at the moment -- with you or anyone else. But we can't mind-read too much.

Maybe you're not as much hurt as you are disappointed. Yet to be disappointed may feel like you're giving up. And to give up on someone you really like feels shitty. I would like you to admit all of your feelings to yourself. That you started falling for her. That you didn't know how to handle that. That you could have handled it differently. And now that you don't like the result.

Let's just be very honest here. Feel that shit. Feel it deeply. Listen to some sad music. Go to an art gallery and make awkward comments to the other guests about how the artist was shallow and only is being shown because of family connections.

Maybe it even feels like a break-up. But the worst kind of break-up. The un-entitled break-up. The one your embarrassed to talk to your friends about. The relationship that happened in your head.

So treat it like a break-up. Chances are, it will go a lot faster than a break-up. But be easy on yourself man. You had love going on, and it got thrown back at you. That's got nothing to do with being friends, that is a male-female dynamic.

Please do me a favour however. Preserve your friend circle because that is important. It's not about being friends with her or not, it's about keeping the peace and not poisoning the water. Distract yourself for a while, let the edge fall off your emotions, and when you're thinking a bit more clearly, then take a decision about how you're going to approach it.

And don't expect too much from her. If you go at her for some closure, she may say that she doesn't have anything to apologise for because she didn't do anything. It's not her fault you are attracted blah blah. And fair enough. This your thing.

Man up and tackle this beast. And know that in a year, it won't matter anymore. Overall, this is not the right girl for you -- I can tell you that -- because she should have been able to read your emotions. And the fact that she either cannot, did not, or did and doesn't care, indicates that you really need someone a bit more in touch with you.

And don't worry, you're not alone.

Carry on.
posted by nickrussell at 4:06 AM on November 28, 2011 [19 favorites]


People can place varying amounts and kinds of importance and meaning on hookups, which is fine but can lead to misunderstandings. The major thing here is that you've been friends for over ten years, and at best, she showed a lack of concern for your feelings. That's not what friends do.

Your feelings also are not merely friendly; they are romantic. Add those things up, and it's clear you need to stop pretending to be friends and hanging out with her. Neither of you is acting or feeling like a friend, and placing yourself back in that situation is just going to lead to more miscommunications, drama, and pain.

Finally, she hooked up that night with another mutual friend who is in a relationship. Obviously he should not have done it, but she shouldn't have, either. There's a ton of drama and bad news going on here, and you should avoid it. This just reinforces that you shouldn't be friends with this chick, at least not right now.
posted by J. Wilson at 5:29 AM on November 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


I've been both you and her in this situation, and it sucks. But because of that, I've got some hard-learned truths that I'm about to share, so try to listen, even if it's not what you want to hear.

How angry do I get to be?

As angry as you want to be. But you don't get to take that anger out on her. Even from your version of it, it seems she made it very clear that you were long term friends who had become friends with benefits, and she was uninterested in it being anything more. While her actions may have lead you to later believe otherwise, unless she was living in your head, she can't be responsible for what you may have thought.

Part of me wants to just stop talking to her because I just can't face someone who made me hurt this much. Is it wrong to feel this way?

Again, it's not wrong to feel that way. But how you act is another story. Her behavior could be construed as insensitive. But what about yours? You were friends who had a good time once and an embarrassing time the second, and you'd had one discussion (as far as I know) that was meant to clarify where things stood. Then suddenly, you start acting like a jealous boyfriend when she has made it clear that she's not interested in that kind of relationship. Despite how you view her behavior, from her perspective, you've completely broken the cardinal rule in the 'friends with benefits' relationship -- putting the benefits before the friendship -- and ignored both what she's told you (that she's not interested that way) and her agency in regards to being able to decide what she does and doesn't get to do -- including making really bad decisions re: hooking up with allegedly unavailable guys.. which brings me to this:

How am I supposed to continue staying friends with someone who made me feel this hurt?

The best way to get to a point where you can get over your hurt feelings, if you truly do want to remain friends and are not expecting this friendship to possibly lead to something else, is to realize you've both made mistakes, and that from some perspectives, you've made the bigger one. She took you at her word -- that being 'just friends' was okay -- and you, in perhaps the most inopportune moment, dropped a bomb on her that it, in fact, wasn't okay. She acted insensitively, but only in response in your insensitivity. That doesn't make what she did right, but perhaps it will make it easier to forgive. She didn't intend to hurt you, but she did; however, you're going to have to take some responsibility for getting yourself to that point.

There's a reason why a lot of peoples responses to "can you be friends with benefits?" is "hell, no" -- because it's hard. But it's not impossible. You just have to be honest with what your feeling. The reason why this is hard isn't just because communication is hard between two people but because it's sometimes very hard to communicate honestly with yourself. You don't realize how you'll react to seeing this person with another person. The jealousy surprises you -- so, of course, it comes as a surprise to the other person. And when you tell them about it, it feels like the rules have changed mid-game. Because they have. Just take it slow, try not to react when non-sober, and it can happen. Just deal with the hurt and the real feelings, not the anger and the drunken actions.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 5:35 AM on November 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


How am I supposed to continue staying friends with someone who made me feel this hurt?

You two are in different places in terms of your feelings of one another. You should probably pull back a bit, no hanging out when drunk and sticking to non-dating group situations. You should probably tell her that, say you have feelings but realize she doesn't, so you're gonna pull back, to protect yourself.

Note: if she offers to do drunken hangouts, you've seen how badly it can do. If you choose to go into that situation again, do it with eyes open, i.e. not only may you not get laid, but you may get to see her propositioning someone else for sex. Can you handle that? Be honest and direct with yourself and her with the answer.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:43 AM on November 28, 2011


No wonder you're feeling crappy; she's not acting very much like a friend. I'd keep my distance a while until she gets over herself.

And you can tell her that a stranger on the Internet told her, one woman to another: "girl, you need to learn how to stop thinking with your pussy."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:59 AM on November 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't know what to do.

From my perspective in the late 40s, this does indeed look like typical mid-20's crap.

So what you do is, you ride it out and wait for it to go away. Because it will.
posted by flabdablet at 6:27 AM on November 28, 2011


She also created a situation in which she hooked up with another man when a man she had been sleeping with watched, and didn't allow him to leave when he expressed discomfort.

She acted poorly, but this is overstating it. The OP could have left whenever he wanted to do so. He allowed himself to be persuaded. Yes, her actions were not ideal, but casting it in this way puts far too much responsibility on this woman, and not enough on the OP.
posted by OmieWise at 8:57 AM on November 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Be honest with yourself. You don't want her as a friend.

Bottom line is, you want to be with her, she doesn't want to be with you. If you played this perfectly by being super cool, fun all the time and never putting any obligations on her, the best you'll get is a few more nights that she will immediately disavow.

You can run this over and over again and try to determine the exact percentages of fault. Or you can just move on and be in a lot less pain.
posted by spaltavian at 9:19 AM on November 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Casual sex seems to be absolutely commitment free for her. She seems to think that she can sleep with old friends without affecting the friendship and sleep with someone else's boyfriend without affecting his relationship.

It's possible she thinks everyone should be as casual about sex as she is.

It's possible she thinks everyone is as casual about sex as she is.

It's possible that she's a time traveler from the 23rd century, where sex is just another way of saying hello.

It's possible that she thought you knew her well enough to know that sex is meaningless to her. That would explain her not talking to you about sex the morning after she slept with you. Would she talk with you about bowling the morning after? It's conceivable that she mistakenly thought you understood this. It's hard to give her the benefit of the doubt if she didn't spell this out for you.

It's possible that she just doesn't realize how her actions will affect others.

It's most likely that she just doesn't care about how her actions will affect others, and that' pretty shoddy.

Your anger is certainly justified, and you're justified in thinking of it as a friendship-ender. I doubt you're going to get an apology. If you just want to stop talking to her, you're well within your rights to stop talking to her. You have the option of being the bigger man and patching things up, but you don't owe her that.

Question: has she always been this casual about sex or is it a new thing? Has something good/bad happened in her life in the past few months? If this is a new thing, some degree of concern might be in order. Is she OK? If the friendship is really important to you and you can get past your own hurt you might want to ask.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 9:23 AM on November 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I guess I feel angry that by expressing my jealousy to her that night I was, essentially, letting her know my feelings

That's not really true. Not only that, but you don't even let us know your feelings. I think, from reading your question that you'd like to be in a relationship with this woman. Is that true? Because, read your question again: you never say that. Your question is worded as the question of someone who thought he was going to get laid, and then gets pissed when someone else does instead. The fact that you have feelings for her only peeks in around the edges.

I mention this not because I think you should Tell Her How You Feel - that ship has sailed, and it's pretty clear that she's not interested in being with you that way. But, for the future: do not have casual sex with women you have feelings for if they do not return those feelings. It will lead to... well, what's happening now. Also, and I can't stress this enough:

If you have a friend whom you cannot bear to watch go home with another guy, that person is not your friend.

You should stop hanging out with this woman. Don't worry about whether or not she did anything wrong, or how angry you get to be - those are red herrings. You have feelings for her, she doesn't return them, and remaining friends with her will bring you nothing but pain. So do yourself a favor and bury this friendship - it's already dead.
posted by Ragged Richard at 10:30 AM on November 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


My take is different-ish.

What exactly are you angry about? Are you angry that she didn't want you? Are you angry that she was hooking up with someone else in front of you? Are you angry that you "showed your cards" by how you acted? Are you angry because she led an unavailable man astray? Are you angry that she lied to you about her intentions?

Because really, you should only be angry about one of them - the last, which you should have expected from, I don't know, her prior behavior up this point. As you put it yourself, your expectations were the real problem, and while your hurt is understandable, what she does between the sheets with other people is really not any of your business. You can be hurt about all the other stuff, but angry? To me, not so much.

Now, is she a good friend? Well, no. She's insensitive, at the very least -- but I'm guessing that because of the nature of your prior two encounters (not leading to a relationship, then awkward and no one talks about it) that she thought you both had moved past the incidents. Casual hookups are just that, and they tend to lead to just this kind of mess. Don't sleep with your friends.

On the flipside, would you consider yourself a good friend to her? You weren't intruding on her potential hookup because you were concerned about her, or to try to prevent two people you know from making a drunken mistake. You were jealous that she didn't want to go home with you. Your feelings for her don't get to trump her feelings for anybody else - and I'm not even sure you have feelings for her beyond sexual jealousy, because you didn't say otherwise. But once your feelings have stopped being "friendly," regardless of whether you tell her that or not, you really aren't friends anymore.

But honestly, the opinion of the MeFites about who was right or wrong don't mean much - you have some sort of feeling for her she doesn't reciprocate, you must move on from this. You both need to learn some better boundaries, frankly. I wouldn't suggest staying friends at all unless your 10 year history can survive this, but at the very least some distance is sorely in order.
posted by sm1tten at 4:47 PM on November 28, 2011


And also, please don't think I'm just trying to dump on you, because I'm not. I'm just pointing out that I can see it from both sides.
posted by sm1tten at 4:48 PM on November 28, 2011


At worst, you were invited out for the specific purpose of making you watch her hit on / go home with another guy. At best, she's utterly clueless to the idea that somebody she'd recently slept with might have some emotional hang-ups. Either way, it sucks pretty hard, and you're right to be hurt. Just stay clear for a while - a month should be enough to clear your head, and hers.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 7:00 PM on November 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


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