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Delicate Situation, a bit complicated
August 29, 2012 2:36 AM   Subscribe

How long should I wait to tell my friend about my feelings? So here goes (sorry in advance for the very long post, please stick with me). First time around that I ask for advice on any website...

I am a 26 year female. I have a circle of a few friends, all of them men between the ages of 22 and 32. We hang out a lot on a weekly basis, and are all very comfortable around one another. They are the most important friends I have in my life and each of them matter immensely to me, in their own unique way.

6 months ago, I was in a serious relationship that started to get rocky and go down the hill (especially in bed). I no longer felt happy and fulfilled by the direction in which things were moving, and I realized that I was losing motivation to make things work between us. Meanwhile, I was also having difficulties with my work. To be brief, I was going through a very unstable time. I had a lot of repressed emotions, mainly due to the fact that I had adapted my personality and day to day lifestyle a lot to better suit the thinking mode and lifestyle of my significant other. I missed my carefree, expressive old self.

As things started silently dissolving in my relationship (in my mind, at first, before I voiced anything out to him), I started noticing myself drawn to other men, only physically and sexually though. This was probably a result of my lack of sexual satisfaction in the relationship (looking for what you don't have somewhere else, classic). Aware of this, I tried to deny these feelings in my head without talking about them to my SO, knowing that it would bruise his ego and he might dwell upon it, so if these feelings disappeared after a while it wasn't worth saying anything. But as time went by, things did not get any simpler. I noticed that one of these men whom I was physically attracted to was one of my friends (mentioned above), let's just call him "XY" to makes things easier to understand. I could not distinguish my sexual desperation from my emotional desperation, and started wondering whether I might have more than just sexual feelings for "XY".

As a result, I ended my relationship (for many reasons I will not explain or this story will go on forever), feeling that I could not be with one man while thinking of others, for me this seemed dishonest. I was tired of relationships, extremely sexually frustrated, completely lost in my mind and my thoughts were messed up and not very clear nor concise. I lost a lot of weight, was not eating or sleeping properly. At the time, I thought that what I needed for myself was immediate sexual relief, a fling. I also needed to ease my mind as to whether or not I actually felt something for "XY", or whether what I was feeling was simply a fantasy I had developed as a result of wanting an escape from my former relationship. Shortly after my break-up (much too soon), I made a move on "XY" and we ended up having sex together. The agreement was that we are friends and neither of us was interested in anything else than sex as a benefit of friendship. This is something I had never done before (sex with a close friend for the sake of sex only). I am someone who is very close to her emotions, so this was a first for me. Quite enjoyable, although extremely awkward at times. Although at the get-go we did not make any plans for this to happen more than once, we did have sex a couple of times, during the course of a month in which I was still an unstable mess. I remember thinking, just before I initiated it the first time: "you know you will regret this, but you need to do it to get this doubt off your mind, so do it".

Doing this DID clear things for me: I did not have any emotional feelings for "XY", as I had wondered. I just needed sex, and it was convenient, simple, and fun with him. Looking back on this now, I probably would have figured this out eventually without sleeping with him, but of well life makes us do stupid irrational things sometimes... even when we can guess the consequences...

A couple weeks later, as I started recovering, I felt guilty and saddened towards myself for having done what I did. Offering up sex for free for nothing else, it felt degrading, I felt like shit and my self-esteem went down the drain. I continued hanging out with my friends as before, and nothing much had changed. The others still do not know that "XY" and I have slept together, we decided to keep this quiet. I worked on trying to forgive myself for doing this to myself, and made myself a promise than I would never let a man have me in this way ever again.

Then time went by, my state of mind cleared, I gained weight again, felt more relaxed, things in my work started improving, and I slowly became a happier person again. I still felt like trash for what I had done, sleeping with a friend for nothing else than sex. A month went by. "XY" moved out of the country, and the rest of my friends all went on holiday. I began opening myself up again to emotion and accepting/believing that I was going to be ok. First by loving myself again, gaining the self-esteem and confidence I had lost through my fling, and then just trying to be a loyal friend to all the guys and an overall good person. I began hanging out one-on-one with another one of the guys from this same circle, let's call him Peter. These past weeks, I have felt some very strong feelings developing for him. A feeling similar to one that I have felt once in my life, 5 years ago, but this surpasses it by light years, even more beautiful now that I have gained more maturity.

I am so very afraid that these are feelings of love. He has shown quite a few signs of interest, but has not voiced them since I have not been explicitly clear that I am interested as well. Since I know I am still recovering a bit and that there is a possibility that my mind may be playing tricks on me, I am not acting upon my feelings, nor voicing them to Peter. First of all because his friendship is invaluable to me, and because I deeply respect him, he is the most amazing man I have ever met (critically speaking from an exterior perspective, I am not saying this purely biased by my feelings). Secondly, because I am definitely not ready to be with a man again, and need to focus on developing myself and being single and independent again. And thirdly (and here is where I need the solid advice), because I feel that he would never want me should he know that I had sex with "XY". I do not want to be "that girl", that sleeps with every guy in the circle of friends (especially since I am the only girl in the circle), even though "XY" was just casual meaningless sex, and Peter is.... well... i feel like a bird. For now, "XY" is out of the country, but he might return and if something has happened between Peter and I, well he might make a joke and lt it slip that I had sex with him... catastrophe scenario... then all the men lose their respect for me at the same time.

As time goes by, and Peter and I hang out more, if this feeling grows as it continues to every day, I would like to let him know at some point (I am taking things slow, focusing on our friendship first and just having a good time with him). Living with this feeling and being in his company provide me with so much happiness, I would sacrifice ever letting him know about my feelings just to keep the friendship and the bond we have. But at the same time, it would break my heart to sacrifice a relationship with such beautiful potential.

So what would you do in my shoes? How long should I wait to tell Peter about my feelings (at least when I'm certain they are strong enough, for sure)? Should I even tell him I have feelings for him, since he might one day find out that I slept with "XY", and this might completely destroy so many things? I feel like he deserves a better woman than me, his happiness matters to me more than our relationship.

And thank you so much for taking the time to read this and answer!
posted by 560fence_cat to Human Relations (31 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
[560fence_cat, moderator here. I added the basic question to the front page part of the post since you weren't specific in the beginning of the post or in the title, and not many people will read so much text just to find out what sort of question you are asking. ]
posted by taz at 3:06 AM on August 29, 2012


There's a lot to address here:

You seem to have some fairly conservative feelings about when sex with someone is appropriate, and that it needs to be a part of some sort of emotional transaction ("Offering up sex for free for nothing else [sic]). If you didn't feel a strong emotional connection w/ "XY" and he didn't feel a strong emotional connection w/ you, what exactly is the issue? You both agreed it was just physical, stood by those boundaries, and have now moved on. This needs exploring -- you sound like you've bound up your self-worth in the act of sex, and that you've lost something by getting w/ "XY," and it might help to try and separate those two things.

I'm confused about why you consider this group of dudes such great friends while still seeming convinced that they (and "Peter" specifically) would lose all respect for you if they knew the "horrible" truth that you had a brief fling w/ "XY." If they're those sorts of people, drop 'em like hotcakes, friend, because that sort of dynamic will do absolutely nothing positive for your quest for higher self esteem.

Bottom line? It sounds like you need to put some distance between you and Peter, and possibly w/ all of these guys, so that you have adequate head space to work on your personal stuff. Otherwise, this is all just muddying the waters.
posted by catch as catch can at 3:08 AM on August 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


There is nothing inherently wrong with having consensual sex with a friend.

Repeat that!

There is nothing inherently wrong with having consensual sex with a friend!

Seriously. There isn't. It's a perfectly okay thing to do. Doing so does not make you lesser, or dirty, or compromised, in ANY way. XY agreed to have sex with you, right? He was present during those activities too, and you didn't force him into anything? That means half of it is his doing. You both agreed to it, you both enjoyed it. Did you both agree to stop doing it? Or did XY want to still sleep with you when he moved away? Is he under the impression that you'll still be up for sex if he returns? If that's the case, be sure to clearly communicate to him that you appreciated it at the time but you want to be platonic friends only from now on. If he denigrates you in any way for that, he's entirely the one at fault. You did nothing wrong!

You need to work more on your self esteem. Why do you think Peter doesn't deserve you? Because you have sexual desires? Do you think that Peter would want a woman who has none? Having one person in your sexual history that you slept with for purely physical reasons is absolutely okay. So is having a lot of them! But really really, there is nothing about having had a fling that makes you a bad person.

See if there are other areas in your life where you can work on feeling good about yourself. You're clearly already making progress in this, because you've got your health back in your control and you even talk about loving yourself in your question up there. But there must be plenty of things left for you to work on because you're thinking so lowly about yourself in comparison to the object of your affections.

You will not be "that girl" for having slept with two people in your group of friends. And even if you do sleep with even more of them, it is absolutely not something that would make you a bad person. You will have simply had sex with some of your friends. If your friends don't see it that way, you need new friends. Sex can be part of a loving romantic relationship AND it can be a purely physical thing, and both kinds are really okay to have. You just have to engage in it with all parties on the same page. That's what you did with XY, right? You did everything right - you respected your friend and kept to the boundaries you agreed upon and had fun physical sex with him. If XY comes back and jokes about having had sex with you, your friends should not lose respect for you. They should remain your friends. If they don't, you are absolutely in the right to lose respect for them and find people who will appreciate you regardless of sexual partners. There is no place for loyalty in a friendship that hinges on crap like this.

Anyway, as far as your feelings for Peter goes, I would cool it a little bit. Still spend time with him and give hm opportunities where he can make a move on you if he's feeling the same way as you (some one-on-one time every now and then), but right now you're obviously really worked up about a lot of things. So spend time on yourself a lot, and make sure you're finding some happiness that's not entirely Peter-derived a little bit every day. I can't say how long you should wait or anything like that because I'm not the one living your life. But I'd probably wait until I wasn't feeling like I was a bad person for having had enjoyable consensual sex with someone else.

I'm going to say it again, okay? There is nothing inherently wrong with having consensual sex with a friend!
posted by Mizu at 3:12 AM on August 29, 2012 [10 favorites]


Living with this feeling and being in his company provide me with so much happiness,

his happiness matters to me more than our relationship.

Oh stop. Let me tell you something. No matter how much joy you might derive from making the object of your affection happy, no matter how much "his happiness" means to you, do not fool yourself that this is anything but a proxy for "your happiness."

At some point in your relationship, sharing with you from some of my own hard-earned personal experience, you providing for "his happiness" isn't going to provide for "your happiness". If you build your relationship on "his happiness" you will find with time that your relationship really isn't anything other than the reflection of your own diminishing affections. That's not a good place to be.

Do the things that make YOU happy.
posted by three blind mice at 3:30 AM on August 29, 2012 [6 favorites]


Okay, I slept with both of my now husband's best friends back in the day, before we were a couple.

most awkwardly, I'm pretty sure the first night we lived together as housemates he heard me having sex with one of them

Now, 10 years down the track we are married, one BFF was groomsman at our wedding, my partner was groomsman at his, I'm good friends with his wife and all is well. The other friend is no longer spoken about for somewhat unrelated reasons (not because we slept together but because he's a vile human being and acted in vile ways).

It was probably four, maybe five months between realising that the friendly casual sex I was having with BFF wasn't what I wanted any more and accepting the fact I was in love with my partner. I told him, and he felt the same way, and we've now been married six years and have a little girl.

Now, if he didn't know I'd slept with either of his friends and found out about it later on? We probably would have broken up. These things only work with all your cards on the table. It doesn't have to be graphic (do NOT get graphic) but 'we had a thing, once/months ago/last year/whenever' is mandatory in my opinion.

But all of that is secondary to the way you describe sex and keep debasing yourself to make your partner happy. If all that matter his Peter's happiness you will be in this same position in three years time. You cannot drown your personality in being who your partner wants - who you are will always win out.
posted by geek anachronism at 3:39 AM on August 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Offering up sex for free for nothing else, it felt degrading, I felt like shit and my self-esteem went down the drain... How long should I wait to tell Peter about my feelings (at least when I'm certain they are strong enough, for sure)? Should I even tell him I have feelings for him, since he might one day find out that I slept with "XY", and this might completely destroy so many things? I feel like he deserves a better woman than me, his happiness matters to me more than our relationship.

I'm very sorry not to provide an answer but it is imperative that you clarify if all of this is taking place in a place in a country outside the angloshphere, or if your family is from a culture outside the angloshphere. Otherwise I am not getting the huge hangup on the totally predictable rebound sex with XY. Please clarify.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:58 AM on August 29, 2012 [10 favorites]


"Offering up sex for free for nothing else" - sex shouldn#t be something you 'give up' in exchange for something, or offered as part of a package deal. You say you needed sex, so you had it. It would only have been an issue if he had thought it was something more.

"The agreement was that we are friends and neither of us was interested in anything else than sex as a benefit of friendship. This is something I had never done before (sex with a close friend for the sake of sex only). I am someone who is very close to her emotions, so this was a first for me. Quite enjoyable, although extremely awkward at times." - see, you know why you did it. You wanted sex, you had it, nothing more is needed for either party. It does not seem like you expected anything else. You offered up sex in return for...sex. And that's fine.
posted by mippy at 4:04 AM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I hate to throw out the therapy card, but it might be in order.

I worked on trying to forgive myself for doing this to myself, and made myself a promise than I would never let a man have me in this way ever again.

You did not do anything wrong. XY did not do anything wrong. Please work on believing this. You have no
reason to be ashamed. You didn't "let" something happen. You have agency. You made it happen. And it was pretty good, right?

I wish there were stats on what percentage of the 18-35 demographic have slept with a friend (or two, or three...).

Anyway, stop thinking of the XY fling as a BAD thing. (Unless there's some religious/cultural thing you are leaving out). If you want to purse Peter, give him a heads up about XY because the deception, not the sex itself, has the greatest potential to ruin a relationship before its starts.

No need to lay on how you feel degraded, etc., because that's talk that would creep out a potential sex partner.

And listen, all my advice aside, you can think whatever you want about casual sex. A lot of people, me included, are going to tell you what happened between you and XY is no big deal. If it makes you feel bad, don't do it. Just please take it easy on yourself.

Lastly, aside from your self-blame, getting involved with 2 friends can be tricky and uncomfortable. If it were me, I'd probably work on developing other friendships, meeting people, and expanding your circle. I agree with the above poster that suggested a little bit of distance from all these guys to get your head straight.
posted by murfed13 at 4:37 AM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thank you all for taking the time to answer my question, your thoughts and advice are extremely helpful.

Let me clarify a few things to make it simpler.

1) I am very happy in my daily life, and live independently. My world does not revolve around any man. Peter adds a + to my life, and these feelings just make ma a happier person than I already am.

2) I know that I engaged in sex with XY just for the sake of sex, and thought of it no more than just that, and was fine with that. I realize I did not explain this at all, but the hit to my self-esteem (me feeling like trash) came as a result that I am not at all "XY"'s physical type at all. So although we had sex, I did not feel as though he saw me as very womanly (which is a strange feeling to have during sex). I am usually a very confident person, comfortable with her body image and have no problem with myself.

3) I have a multi-cultural background, from both America and Western Europe.
posted by 560fence_cat at 4:52 AM on August 29, 2012


I think there are two issues here; one, the simple issue of telling your new interest how you feel (i.e., make a move), but two, the broader issue of why you feel so used and worthless after a fling that you initiated.

My advice to you would be to get the second issue sorted before you jump in on the first one, because major issues with intimacy, self slut-shaming and the like can be an absolute destroyer of new relationships. You obviously have some residual feelings from your previous relationship and the things that drove you to a friend hook-up and you should really talk to someone about those issues before engaging in something new.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 4:57 AM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I realize I did not explain this at all, but the hit to my self-esteem (me feeling like trash) came as a result that I am not at all "XY"'s physical type at all. So although we had sex, I did not feel as though he saw me as very womanly (which is a strange feeling to have during sex).

Did he say or do anything to make you feel this way? If so, you're projecting your own feelings onto him, which suggests that there may be some cracks in your self-image that you're unaware of, which is the kind of thing therapy is good at addressing.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 4:58 AM on August 29, 2012


I realize I did not explain this at all, but the hit to my self-esteem (me feeling like trash) came as a result that I am not at all "XY"'s physical type at all. So although we had sex, I did not feel as though he saw me as very womanly (which is a strange feeling to have during sex).

Did he say or do anything to make you feel this way? If so, you're projecting your own feelings onto him, which suggests that there may be some cracks in your self-image that you're unaware of, which is the kind of thing therapy is good at addressing.


Well, he has often commented women (and we have joked about sex and women many times), and has made many outward sexual comments (not towards me of course). I know he respects me a lot and truly sees me as a friend. If I had not initiated the sex myself, he probably would not have initiated it himself. So this issue comes from the fact that I have trouble accepting that I slept with a man who I knew from the get go that he did not find me sexually attractive. To me, this makes the sex into much more of an "anatomical" thing (hence where the "self-worth" issues come into play, because the need to feel desired as a woman is primordial).
posted by 560fence_cat at 5:09 AM on August 29, 2012


I think you have things backwards. You feel that you did the right thing in ending your previous relationship and that you're doing the right thing by silently basking in the glow of your new crush's aura, but you feel awful about a consensual, honest arrangement you had with a friend.

In reading your story, it seems to me that in the relationships where you feel strong emotions, you don't communicate with the other person. You felt sexually unfulfilled by your partner, but didn't tell him because it would bruise his ego, so instead you broke up with him. (Which surely bruised his ego!) Ideally we learn things from each relationship and carry those lessons on into the next ones. What is he taking into his next relationship? What was he able to learn from you? He doesn't know he's an unsatisfactory lover, he doesn't know that his girlfriend felt stifled and uncreative with him. Communicating your concerns with your partner is scary, risky, but it's honest and it's the only path to true emotional intimacy and human connection.

You also seem to be enjoying the silent internal drama of your new crush. You don't want to take the risk of talking to him about your feelings. There are risks. He might not return your affection. He might be interested too but it would change the dynamic among all the friends. You might get into a relationship and have him find out that you are sexually experienced and have sexual needs. (This is a good thing but you seem to see it as a negative.) Etc. This internal conflict gets a lot of your attention, and just as you did with your previous partner, you are choosing to nurture your internal conflict instead of nurturing the relationship itself.

But conversely, when you had a friends-with-benefits situation, you stated your preferences, agreed to terms, enjoyed each other's company, remained friends, and got exactly what you wanted out of the relationship! I wonder if it isn't the casual sex that makes you feel so uneasy about yourself, but rather the honesty and straightforward communication that occurred with your friend.

That kind of honesty is what you should be working toward in relationships, not retreating away from. I'm not suggesting that you go through life having a string of casual sex partners, but that you take the confidence and sureness you felt when you got together with your friend, and apply it to relationships where you feel more emotionally invested. Your emotions/fears are getting in the way of your connections with people you actually care about. Life is risky, and you are going to get hurt. But you are worth the risk, and the other people are worth the risk, and real emotional intimacy is pretty sweet.
posted by headnsouth at 5:11 AM on August 29, 2012 [11 favorites]


How long should I wait to tell Peter about my feelings (at least when I'm certain they are strong enough, for sure)?

How can you be certain about your feelings when you're not in a relationship? That's what dating is for. You know all there is likely to know that a non-girlfriend can know.

Should I even tell him I have feelings for him, since he might one day find out that I slept with "XY", and this might completely destroy so many things?

Yes, go. Tell him. And if XY is still your friend, tell him to be discreet. But even if it did come out, it won't matter to an emotionally mature person like XY (who you seem to put on quite a pedastal)

I feel like he deserves a better woman than me, his happiness matters to me more than our relationship.

You don't have a relationship. And how do you know that being with you won't make him happy? You don't get to decide that for him. It's just your shitty self-esteem won't allow you to fathom that you can be a + to his life, too.

Take him off the pedestal and tell him how you feel.
posted by inturnaround at 5:22 AM on August 29, 2012


I think you have things backwards. You feel that you did the right thing in ending your previous relationship and that you're doing the right thing by silently basking in the glow of your new crush's aura, but you feel awful about a consensual, honest arrangement you had with a friend.

exactly!


In reading your story, it seems to me that in the relationships where you feel strong emotions, you don't communicate with the other person. You felt sexually unfulfilled by your partner, but didn't tell him because it would bruise his ego, so instead you broke up with him. (Which surely bruised his ego!) Ideally we learn things from each relationship and carry those lessons on into the next ones. What is he taking into his next relationship? What was he able to learn from you? He doesn't know he's an unsatisfactory lover, he doesn't know that his girlfriend felt stifled and uncreative with him. Communicating your concerns with your partner is scary, risky, but it's honest and it's the only path to true emotional intimacy and human connection.


that could well be. We had a pretty solid communication though. The relationship did not work more for "personality compatibility" reasons than sexual reasons. The sexual frustration arose only after a long time. Although an important aspect of the relationship, unfulfilled sex is not a valid reason for me to break things up, it's something that can be worked on. We had very different personalities, and there were aspects of emotional connection that I need to feel with a man that I simply wasn't feeling. In short, although great as friends, we were not meant to be in a relationship together.
posted by 560fence_cat at 5:22 AM on August 29, 2012


You will have simply had sex with some of your friends. If your friends don't see it that way, you need new friends. 

There is no "simply" when you start having sex with multiple friends within a small circle.

You stand to lose both friendship and respect, as well as the impact of the atmosphere you begin to create among the guys themselves (just takes one to be jealous).

If these friends start to react negatively, that does not mean they are bad friends and you just have to find better - this can easily occur with future circle of gut friends.

Just be careful in your decision making, don't be so hard on yourself for the XY encounter, and best of luck.
posted by Kruger5 at 5:38 AM on August 29, 2012


So this issue comes from the fact that I have trouble accepting that I slept with a man who I knew from the get go that he did not find me sexually attractive.

Full-blooded male here with an extensive number of partners. I have never slept with someone I did not find sexually attractive. I don't know why I would've. I've turned sex down a number of times from partners I was not interested in. Unless this guy sleeps with anyone who makes a move on him, you can assume he was attracted to you.

Again, I think you're projecting something on your friend. He would not have had sex with you if he was not interested in you sexually. You may not have been his conventional "type", but types are really only a general rule and when push comes to shove, people still find people outside of their "type" attractive.

For example, I typically find myself attracted to younger, blonde women, but I also slept with a 44 year old brunette college professor with tattoos and was really into her. I do not find many others in her sphere attractive, but that doesn't invalidate the fact that I found her, as an individual, attractive.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 5:46 AM on August 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


Your followup reconfirms what I said earlier about being more invested in the internal drama than in actual communication/relationships.

If I had not initiated the sex myself, he probably would not have initiated it himself. So this issue comes from the fact that I have trouble accepting that I slept with a man who I knew from the get go that he did not find me sexually attractive. To me, this makes the sex into much more of an "anatomical" thing (hence where the "self-worth" issues come into play, because the need to feel desired as a woman is primordial).

You are way overthinking this, after the fact, and creating internal drama where it didn't exist. And as Rodrigo Lamaitre points out, your post-coital angst is wrong-headed anyway. Get out of your head.
posted by headnsouth at 5:54 AM on August 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Reading your post was excruciating, but only because I identified with it. Not the situation, but your reaction, how much you are clearly beating yourself up for your mistakes.

I was the same way for a long time. It took me years to get over mistakes I made in one long-term relationship, and mistakes I have made in other romantic, platonic or familial relationships.

Therapy may be in order, but first, try forgiving yourself. Interacting with other people is messy, and they do things to sabotage our plans to do everything perfectly! Forgiving yourself is hard, but it is easier when you look at your mistakes as a learning opportunity, ways to learn about what your values are and your character.

And don't do anything with Peter.
You can have platonic male friends that you admire and love and you don't have to make it into a romantic relationship. You need to make some priorities more clear; is it more important to have friendships than a romantic relationship? Then don't try to turn friendships into romantic relationships! But if having a partner is more important that having friends, feel free to burn through your male friends to find a husband. (Hint: the former is more important. A lot of your post strikes me as having unhealthy attitudes toward men. You should keep that in check if you have a lot of male friends.)
posted by peacrow at 5:55 AM on August 29, 2012


then all the men lose their respect for me at the same time.

Wow. If this is how they treat women, you might want to find a different set of people to invest your time and emotions in. If this is how they feel about you, someone they've known for years...wow is all I can say. You are way, way better than to be disrespected over consensual sex with someone. Maybe this is why you're the only woman in the group, because it sounds pretty hostile to women in general.

Start finding other friends, decentralize these guys, and then go for it with Peter.
posted by the young rope-rider at 6:01 AM on August 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


then all the men lose their respect for me at the same time.

Wow. If this is how they treat women, you might want to find a different set of people to invest your time and emotions in. If this is how they feel about you, someone they've known for years...wow is all I can say. You are way, way better than to be disrespected over consensual sex with someone. Maybe this is why you're the only woman in the group, because it sounds pretty hostile to women in general.


no, i think i may be projecting my fears here. They are all wonderful, respectful people. My insecurities I guess lead me to put too much emphasis on my fears.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to make this an internal conflict, or turn this into a dramatic situation. I do not feel of it as dramatic at all in fact, it's all very simple, just a delicate situation. Unnecessary drama is really not my thing :) I was more wondering why I feel the way I do, and where this may be coming from, and if so what would be best for my personal development. It's difficult to make these decisions critically when I know that my own opinion about the situation is biased by many things. Also that my own experience is limited since I am fairly young. That's where the advice from you all is valuable.
posted by 560fence_cat at 6:15 AM on August 29, 2012


As someone who has been booted from (or left, or a mixture of the two) groups of friends due to sex or relationships gone bad...sometimes it's worth it, sometimes it's not. The worst possible scenario emotionally speaking would be if you dated Peter, became close to him, had the friend group treat you as a couple, centered your social life around that friend group, and then had to break up with him for whatever reason (him dumping you, you dumping him, things just not working out, whatever).

You'd be highly likely to be dealing with the loss of a relationship and the loss of multiple friendships at the same time, which is extremely difficult.

The safest way to go, as someone who has the benefit of experience, is really to diversify your friendships and social life, and then go after Peter. Even if it works out with him, keep a significant number of your own friends, friends who have nothing to do with this particular group.
posted by the young rope-rider at 6:20 AM on August 29, 2012


You are way overthinking this, after the fact, and creating internal drama where it didn't exist. And as Rodrigo Lamaitre points out, your post-coital angst is wrong-headed anyway. Get out of your head.

Yes, I am definitely overthinking this. I should probably just let it all go and go just slowly go with the flow of things...
posted by 560fence_cat at 6:21 AM on August 29, 2012


Yes, I am definitely overthinking this. I should probably just let it all go and go just slowly go with the flow of things...

No, you should talk to the people you are thinking about. Stop thinking, start talking. Stop assuming, start listening. Communicate. It's hard, but it's worth it.
posted by headnsouth at 6:38 AM on August 29, 2012 [7 favorites]


I've said it before, I'll say it again, what is so wrong about telling Peter, "Dude, I totally have a crush on you."

You do. You don't know if it's love, you don't know if he feels the same, more or less, but you can totally cop to having feelings for him and it can be sweet and carefree.

Only a few things can happen:

1. He has a crush on you too. You start to date.

2. He likes you, but doesn't feel that way about you. It's a bummer, but you can laugh at yourself and then get over it.

3. He's a total ass about it, in which case, now you don't have a crush, and you can drop him as a friend, because a friend wouldn't act this way.


If number 1 happens, be sure to give a very short history of what's gone down. "I'm still nursing my wounds from my last relationship. I had a FWB thing with XY, but I'm getting my shit together, but I'd like to take it slow."

That's it. We're all adults here.

Stop obsessing and start living.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:11 AM on August 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


If number 1 happens, be sure to give a very short history of what's gone down. "I'm still nursing my wounds from my last relationship. I had a FWB thing with XY, but I'm getting my shit together, but I'd like to take it slow."

That's it. We're all adults here.


So, assuming #1 (it's either 1 or 2), you would really tell him from the get-go about XY? I'm really hesitant about this one...
posted by 560fence_cat at 8:18 AM on August 29, 2012


One man's perspective to what Ruthless Bunny just suggested :

Make sure dude XY is on board with this revelation to "Peter." There could be ramifications on all sides. The ideal would be to treat XY as a previous sex buddy, whom you would never think of mentioning to future crushes.

You see how complicated this already is?
posted by Kruger5 at 8:39 AM on August 29, 2012


I would absolutely tell him about your fling with XY. At the beginning. If your relationship becomes romantic. Not in great detail, but you (and other commenters) are right - if XY comes back into town and makes a joke about it, and you and Peter have already become involved, he will probably feel hurt, or jealous, or confused. Better do it now!

You can partly use this time to clarify your interest in him - "Hey, I just want you to know. I had sex with XY, and it was a mutual arrangement that worked out well for us, but it was only for a month, and I was not interested in him romantically. At all. And I wasn't ready for a relationship. I feel differently now, with you..."

If you're feeling guilty because you were promiscuous, please find reassurance in all of these comments - particularly in (most of) America & Europe, this is entirely normal and understandable and even healthy behavior for young women. In any group of friends I've had, an involvement like yours with XY may be joked about, but usually not judged harshly, or argued/dissolved over!

If, instead, you're feeling remorse because in some way you think sex with XY was harmful to you, or to him, or both, or just not the right thing at the time, that's fine! But it's nothing to feel ashamed of! Most people value openness and honesty and self-reflection - if Peter's as awesome as you say he is, he'll understand!

Good luck to you!
posted by Isingthebodyelectric at 8:44 AM on August 29, 2012


Make sure dude XY is on board with this revelation to "Peter." There could be ramifications on all sides. The ideal would be to treat XY as a previous sex buddy, whom you would never think of mentioning to future crushes.

I move in circles where this would be HIGHLY unlikely. People talk. I mean, it can't hurt, if you're still in touch with XY, to just check it out with him - "Hey, Peter and I have started dating. I wanted to tell him about us hooking up, in case he hears from someone else. Is that okay with you?" But the reality is it would probably get around to him if they're in the same social group.
posted by Isingthebodyelectric at 8:48 AM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


hm... thanks. well whatever i decide to do (and i agree that honesty is always best), i think there really is no rush in any of it, in this situation especially it's best to really take my time with things.
posted by 560fence_cat at 9:01 AM on August 29, 2012


You appear to have an issue involving conflict avoidance, to the point of avoiding situations that have no conflict in them.

If you're not ready to be with Peter, don't say anything. Nobody will judge you for sex with XY. Just say it was a fling.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:06 AM on August 29, 2012


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