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Strong mutual feelings and attraction for a close opposite sex friend who is engaged
September 20, 2012 6:42 AM   Subscribe

Where is this going?! Strong mutual feelings and attraction for a close opposite sex friend who is engaged...

My friend has been in a committed relationship with his now fiancée for over 11 years, he never had “emotional connection” with anyone apart from her and has not dated other women. I found him attractive when we met and when he said that he is in a relationship I thought I could handle it as I do value friendships and I wanted to expand my circle of friends. Our friendship became very intense very fast, while not physical, it became intense emotionally. We spoke every day, texted almost every day, saw each other every moment we got (sometimes 5 times a week), and I must say that when we spend time together it does not matter what we do, we just feel very happy, very at peace and just have a great time. He told me that if he wasn’t with his fiancée he would definitely pursue a relationship with me, needless to say I felt the same way.

He wanted me to meet his fiancée and I was hoping I was going to like her and be happy for them. Guess what? I did not like her at all, did not like the way they interacted and the way she spoke/acted towards him.

The wedding date is set up, I was invited and I told him that I’m not coming. I cannot help myself but think he’s making a mistake by marrying her as he is clearly more infatuated with me than friends typically are. But he is a grown man and can decisions on his own, so i'm not trying to tell him what to do. In addition she does not know the extent of our relationship, which also is a reflection of how honest they are with each other. She also told him she did not particularly liked me but that did not deter him. I told him that if I was his girlfriend I wouldn’t be happy about our friendship, but he does not want to see anything wrong with it as we are not physical.

He now got a second job so I don’t see him as often although he always makes time for me at least once, twice a week and calls me every day. I tried to withdraw, but it does not matter if I call or not because he initiates communication himself. He made it very clear that he’ll do whatever it takes to have me in his life.

The problem is that I do really like him and this is hard on me. I want to be just friends but I cannot be happy about him getting married to her and our attraction stands in a way of a typical friendship relationship.

Do you think our attraction will just die out over time and we will be able to just be friends?

If we remain friends, do you think eventually he will have a big confrontation with his girlfriend over me? I have no idea how our friendship has affected their relationship… maybe it made it better because he is in a happier mood once he speaks to me? No clue… but I used to wonder how close their relationship is if there is room for me there.

Is this common to have an anchor/cake at home and a cherry you are crazy about on the side? Is this sustainable?
posted by Vareshka to Human Relations (49 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
Is this sustainable?

No, run, find a better friend, do not touch this even with a 10^10 foot pole
posted by MangyCarface at 6:45 AM on September 20, 2012 [20 favorites]


You need to back way off. Cut off contact. You're seeing their relationship through a heavy bias that's coming from your own feelings for the guy and whatever he's telling you, which you have to realize on some level is almost certainly not accurate. You can't make any sort of judgement about their relationship based upon anything you know right now, and more importantly, it's not your business anyway.

Somebody who enters into an emotional relationship with someone and then goes ahead and marries someone else is not a person you want to be involved with in any way.
posted by something something at 6:47 AM on September 20, 2012 [11 favorites]


You are having an emotional affair with a man who is engaged to be married. Are you happy being the emotional mistress, possibly in perpetuity? Keep on keeping on.

Do you think you deserve to have a physical and emotional relationship with someone who has explicitly chosen to be with you? Then stop trying to be "friends" with this guy and look for someone without all those strings attached.
posted by Andrhia at 6:47 AM on September 20, 2012 [16 favorites]


How badly do you want to wake up one day and realize that you are partially responsible for marital strife? Because, sure, why not, maybe you can be friends one day. But if you're talking five times a day with an engaged dude who says things like "if it wasn't for the person I have decided to spend the rest of my life and my intimate moments with, I'd totally be with you." That speaks about as poorly to a person's character in relationships as a forehead tattoo that says "DRAMA BOMB."

Take some goddamn agency in this. You say "it does not matter if I call or not because he initiates communication himself" but you can easily not pick up the phone. Or tell him to stop. I know you don't want to, but, honestly, by your own admission you know what you're doing is totally uncool. I'd like to eat cheeseburgers five times a week, and I am fully capable of doing so, but I don't because of the problems it will cause both immediate and in the long-term. This guy is cheeseburgers.
posted by griphus at 6:50 AM on September 20, 2012 [53 favorites]


Oh, and: Is this common to have an anchor/cake at home and a cherry you are crazy about on the side?

Yes, it's unfortunately rather common, but that doesn't make it remotely okay.
posted by griphus at 6:52 AM on September 20, 2012 [7 favorites]


She also told him she did not particularly liked me - gee I wonder why? It doesn't make her crazy to be jealous of this situation. Meanwhile, he told you what she said, probably because he likes the attention of having two women "fighting" over him. The only way to win this one is to not play at all.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:52 AM on September 20, 2012 [26 favorites]


Is this common to have an anchor/cake at home and a cherry you are crazy about on the side?

Very. One might even say "depressingly so." There's actually a word that describes the general arrangement of such situations fairly well: "divorce."

Is this sustainable?

No.
posted by valkyryn at 6:54 AM on September 20, 2012 [8 favorites]


You two are having an emotional affair; do you really want to be having an emotional affair with an engaged and then married man?

It also reflects really, really badly on him that he wants to continue to have this kind of relationship with you while remaining engaged to his fiancee. Is this the kind of person you want in your life?

I think you need to cut him out of your life completely.
posted by insectosaurus at 6:56 AM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Back off! You can, however, be friends in the long run. Reduce your contact either by explicitly telling the guy that you need to step it back because you have feelings for him or just by saying that you're really busy and being less available.

This feels intense and awesome and meaningful now, I know. Many of us have been in your shoes! But in six months or a year you'll look back and think "he's a great guy, but what was I so hung up on him? That wasn't very fair to his partner."

Honestly, if there's a real connection there it will be better and stronger after you let the messy emotional affair stuff die away. If you're like me, you may still be close friends with the guy (and on good terms with his partner) ten years after the original fuss - long after a rebound relationship would most likely have crashed and burned.

If you're like me in another way, you may also be finding yourself overwhelmed by your feelings and wishes - is this the first time you've really felt something like this? I felt like I grew up without the ability to name and experience my romantic and sexual feelings, so I never really learned to manage them until later in life....and when that first intense adult crush hit, bam!! It really did feel like "OMG it is destiny surely feelings were never felt like this before", because it was new to me. But it was just a strong attraction, the kind that most people get periodically. Most of the time you not only can't act on them, you can rationally see that it would actually be miserable and not fun times after the first week.
posted by Frowner at 6:57 AM on September 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


There's a 50% chance this is all in your head, and a 50% chance it is what you think it is, because he's a sleaze. Either way, those odds suck. You should get out of this little game of yours.
posted by vivid postcard at 6:59 AM on September 20, 2012


Where is this going?

No where. Your instinct to disassociate it the right one. Cut all ties. You are not seeing clearly and he is using you as a backstop. This is where you say, "Congratulations and good luck with your wedding. I couldn't be happier for you and your fiance. I need to have some space here. Please do not contact me until I contact you." Then don't contact him until you hear he is legally divorced or 10 years passes, whichever is first.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 7:05 AM on September 20, 2012 [17 favorites]


It is a good thing you are also an adult, so you can simply tell him that he has to stop coontacting you because he has a fiance, that fiance is not you, and so your ongoing relationship is not appropriate. If he then continues contacting you, you will hopefully then see that he does not respect your boundaries, and hopefully that will start you on the road towards seeing his behavior for what it is (and of course you shouldn't engage his contact.)
posted by davejay at 7:06 AM on September 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


In addition she does not know the extent of our relationship, which also is a reflection of how honest they are with each other.

No, it is a reflection of how honest (or not) he is with her. You do not know this woman, not really, and you don't need to. All that matters here is that he sounds very much like a sleaze.

Nothing about this is okay. No contact is the way to go, or at the very least, polite, non-engaging contact.
posted by dysh at 7:09 AM on September 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


Whenever these questions get posted here, everyone sort of jumps on the people involved - it's dishonest to do this, the other person obviously enjoys having women "fighting" over him, etc etc.

That isn't always my experience. I've been part of (although not for a long time!) this sort of thing and I've witnessed it in others. Often, it's perfectly decent people falling into an alluring but unhealthy emotional habit - emotional monogamy can be just as difficult as physical monogamy sometimes, plus emotional affairs are a bit more of a slippery slope than physical ones. (We all know not to, like, make out with someone when we're monogamous with someone else; but it's a bit harder to be sure how to feel about intense conversations - I have intense conversations with loads of friends and those never turn into emotional affairs!)

It's not always sinister manipulation, is what I'm saying. Sometimes it's just regular folks getting a bit overwhelmed, either by stress and bad habits in the primary relationship or by the novelty and excitement of the new one. Often there is no plan - it's not "hahahaha now I have women fighting over me" or "now I have a back-up if my wife leaves!" It's just people pursuing emotional excitement for one reason or another.

What I'm saying is that it's like any other bad habit - treat it as a pragmatic problem to solve, don't beat yourself up. (Unless you really were planning something dodgy.) You develop an emotionally unhealthy habit that will lead nowhere good - the emotional equivalent of eating cheeseburgers for dinner every single night because you're busy, anxious and feel like you need a treat. So you think about the problem, try to take the pressure off in other areas of life (meet your emotional needs elsewhere/make sure you have non-cheeseburger dinner alternatives handy!) and just dial it back.

Emotional affairs are really common and honestly, as long as everyone is truthful with themselves and dials it back once they notice, I don't think they're that horrible.
posted by Frowner at 7:17 AM on September 20, 2012 [32 favorites]


I would say to tell him that you cannot be friends, period. This is not a situation that leads to platonicness. Tell him you will no longer have contact with him unless he is single and then stick to it. Block him and hang up on him if necessary. You don't have to talk to him, and it's not good for either of you to stay in touch if you both want each other BUT he'd rather marry her even if she's a jerk. He doesn't sound like a prize if he pulls this crap on you both anyway.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:26 AM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Okay, so for you, the ideal outcome would be that he breaks off his engagement, does not marry the other girl and gets with you, right?

So where does that go? You live happily ever after because you are so well suited? Or do you spend your entire lives together knowing your beloved betrayed his fiancee to be with you? Never feeling comfortable when he has a female friend because you know how you got together?

I have had friends in the past do this. One couple were best friends and adored each other, but the girl was told not to try for the guy when they first met. Finally after ten years of friendship, when he was engaged to her best friend, she broke down and told him how she felt. He ended the engagement with the other girl and they are now (as far as I know) happily married.

But heres the thing, you guys have known each other for a while. The feelings have been acknowledged by both and he still asked her to marry him. For one reason or another, he values his relationship with her more.

This is one that will not end well. Walk away and count yourself lucky.
posted by teleri025 at 7:27 AM on September 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


The problem is that I do really like him and this is hard on me. I want to be just friends but I cannot be happy about him getting married to her and our attraction stands in a way of a typical friendship relationship.

"I can't be friends with you anymore. You're getting married to someone and I'm not happy about that because I'm attracted to you. I wish it didn't have to be this way. I wish you luck"

You need to not be in this friendship anymore. You don't fit in with his relationships. Being that attracted to a married or committed man is just torturing you. It's worse that it's apparently a mutual attraction. It's because it's mutual that you need to not deal with him any more.
posted by inturnaround at 7:31 AM on September 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Frowner, I have had a lot of platonic friends of both genders, and I'm a straight married guy who doesn't believe in cherries on the side. So agreed that it's not ALWAYS manipulative, but this guy sure sounds like it.

Nthing - run away. At least set an embargo for a month. Use the excuse that "hey, you're getting married and it's a trippy time..." See if you don't see this situation a little differently after you haven't been around him for a while. Sounds like somethings already trying to tell you something, or you wouldn't be asking the question.
posted by randomkeystrike at 7:38 AM on September 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


I told him that if I was his girlfriend I wouldn’t be happy about our friendship, but he does not want to see anything wrong with it as we are not physical.

I think you're too infatuated to see how weaselly this is, which means you're too infatuated to carry on as "just friends."

I think that Frowner is right that his behavior doesn't necessarily indicate that he is consciously manipulating you, actually enjoying having two women "fight over him," etc. However, I think that Frowner's conclusion--Emotional affairs are really common and honestly, as long as everyone is truthful with themselves and dials it back once they notice, I don't think they're that horrible.--is a recipe for pain.

Honestly, if you're stating what would be your boundary ("I wouldn't be happy about this if I were your girlfriend") and his response is not, "I hear that, but my fiancee has said that she doesn't mind my having this kind of intense opposite-sex friendship as long as I don't do anything physical" but rather, "Well, I don't see anything wrong with it because we're not doing anything physical"--it doesn't matter whether he's a bad person or just a foolish or emotionally immature person. This is not someone showing concern for the emotional well-being of the people he cares about (you or his fiancee).

You ask where this is going: someplace painful for you, unless you pursue other friendships and relationships until your feelings of infatuation for this person subside. Whatever other good qualities he might have, he is not looking out for your best interests and you can't do that for yourself while you're in this fog of infatuation.
posted by Meg_Murry at 7:50 AM on September 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


I think that Frowner is right that his behavior doesn't necessarily indicate that he is consciously manipulating you, actually enjoying having two women "fight over him," etc. However, I think that Frowner's conclusion--Emotional affairs are really common and honestly, as long as everyone is truthful with themselves and dials it back once they notice, I don't think they're that horrible.--is a recipe for pain.

Maybe I wasn't clear - I meant that people commonly fall into emotional affairs - which I think they do! - and that as long as they realize it and stop, it's not that terrible. I feel like the assumption that only careless or sleazy people fall into emotional affairs isn't productive or true to my observations of the world, and that narrating it that way actually makes it harder for people to knock it off. If you think that only careless or sleazy people have emotional affairs, that's a big incentive either to define what you're doing as not an emotional affair or to turn it into Big Dramatic Fate-y Thing Where We Must Break Up Our Existing Relationships To Be Together Because Otherwise It Is Just A Tawdry Emotional Affair. When very often it's just a crush that got out of hand and needs to be treated in a practical, responsible way.

A solid, long-term, loving primary relationship weathers all this stuff - you get crushes, you get a little bored in the primary, you don't spend enough time together, something stressful is making you fight, etc etc. All that stuff happens - it's completely normal. It's not happening because you're terrible or a failure or because the other people in the equation are sleazy manipulators with no morals - it's happening because people and relationships are complicated and in flux. I just feel that a practical, eyes-on-the-goal, not-beating-yourself-up-for-doing-common-things attitude is the best way to preserve important relationships.
posted by Frowner at 8:00 AM on September 20, 2012 [12 favorites]


In addition she does not know the extent of our relationship, which also is a reflection of how honest they are with each other.

No. This is a reflection of how honest he is with the woman he is going to marry. That makes him a poor choice of a partner for anyone, including you. May I gently suggest that your attraction to him blinds you from the obvious--this is a person who does not treat his partners well.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:05 AM on September 20, 2012 [21 favorites]


He likes you. It happens. People develop feelings for others all the time. Despite what other posters think, I do believe there are times when those feelings eventually can build a long lasting friendship.

BUT - I don't think this is the case here. You clearly have it "bad" for him and it seems like its become less of a crush and full on falling for him. He may have a crush on you, but if it was that strong he wouldn't have proposed. Serious love is something very hard to deny. If he wanted to be with you, he would've made it happen.

Dial back on the hanging out - date other people, let the emotions simmer down and bit and then maybe you can re-kindle a friendship with this guy.

If you continue on, you will not be the winner in this outcome.
posted by Danithegirl at 8:06 AM on September 20, 2012


I tried to withdraw, but it does not matter if I call or not because he initiates communication himself. He made it very clear that he’ll do whatever it takes to have me in his life.

Set firmer boundaries. It doesn't matter if this guy understands what effect he's having on you. What matters is that it's happening and it needs to stop. Tell him you're dealing with some things and you need some time and space and then be firm about it. Stop taking his calls, don't reply to his emails.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 8:06 AM on September 20, 2012


Frowner, that's so true, and if the question were posted by the fiancee in this cast, that would be a useful point of view for her... but what we have here is a question from the cherry on the side, and the best course of action for her is to break off this friendship, because it won't end well for her. It'll make her feel sleazy because he is sneaking around to do it with the calls and the texts; and it will take up space in her head and heart that should be going to finding someone who loves her with no strings attached.
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:08 AM on September 20, 2012


Just noticed this: He made it very clear that he’ll do whatever it takes to have me in his life.

If you say, "I can't be friends with you because I have feelings for you and need to spend some time apart to get over them. I'll contact you if/when I'm ready," he needs to respect that. If he can't respect that, he's a creep. It's not a big romantic thing, it's not evidence of how compatible you are for him to refuse to respect your choices and feelings.

Also, Frowner--gotcha. I think of crushes as normal and emotional affairs as something else (pursuing a crush, testing boundaries, actively flirting), so I think I was hung up on the word choice.
posted by Meg_Murry at 8:19 AM on September 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


He made it very clear that he’ll do whatever it takes to have me in his life.

If he means this, then he'll clean up the sh*t in his own life before dragging you down into it. Seriously. If someone loves you and really wants to be with you, even if they're with someone else, they'll get their act together without any prodding from you.

However, if they choose to continue in their melodrama, then they're choosing the comfort of their misery over a new frontier of life with you in it. That's not a reflection on you; that's a reflection of their character in that they'd rather play "I'm life's victim" than use their own agency to resolve their life's conflicts. Besides, what kind of person do you want in your life anyway -- the perpetual victim or the one who faced his inner fears and demons to be with you?

If I were in your shoes, I would go no-contact and make it very clear why -- because regardless of whether there's sex or not, he is choosing to actively hurt people by lying to his fiance about how fulfilling he finds being with her, by lying to himself that he's not hurting anybody (including himself), and lying to you that he'll do whatever it takes to have you in his life EXCEPT clean his sh*t up and be with you.

IMO: Cut him off, and put some faith in that life will sort itself out. If he keeps hounding you, tell him to get his sh*t together if he even wants a snowball's hope in hell of being a constructive, meaningful part of your life. Then don't respond to his communications unless it's "I'm single and available now".

Seriously, if it's meant to be, it'll be meant to be, and you won't need to do anything to control the outcome.
posted by human ecologist at 9:12 AM on September 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


He wanted me to meet his fiancée and I was hoping I was going to like her and be happy for them. Guess what? I did not like her at all, did not like the way they interacted and the way she spoke/acted towards him.

That's... really not surprising. It's very common to fall into the "well, their relationship doesn't seem that great anyway!" mental trap when you're head-over-heels for someone in a relationship. It's easier to picture imminent breakups and a future for the two of you if you can see all the flaws in the existing relationship; it's easier to feel okay about boundary-crossing behaviour on the other person's part if their connection with you just seems stronger; you're comparing crush-y infatuation with the mundanities of an everyday relationship ("I can't believe she snapped at him for leaving the milk out on the counter, I'd never do that!"); and you might be picking up on tensions between the two of them related to your presence anyway, etc. etc.

That doesn't mean you wish her ill or you're a bad person or anything. Just that, well, there's a reason "my wife doesn't understand me" is such a cheater cliche, and that's not a road you want to go down. And even if it is a bad relationship, either because of her behaviour or because of his - well, it's still the relationship he's choosing to stay in. "If I wasn't with her I'd pursue a relationship with you" doesn't mean "alas, cruel fate has kept us apart!". It means "I like you, but I'm choosing to stay in this relationship."

Continuing with this situation is very unlikely to end well for you. You need to carve out some real distance for yourself here, or you're going to get hurt.
posted by Catseye at 9:18 AM on September 20, 2012 [13 favorites]


Because I understand what the talking to someone 5X a day can do to a person's brain...and it is hard to stop that...

Nthing Frowner, people fall into this and are not good or bad, but just human.

But I would end this because 1) it is not fair to his fiance - they should be developing this relationship btw one another and 2) it is not fair to *you*. I would bet that as long as you have him in your life in this way (contact several times a day, attraction,etc.), you may not be able to develop romantic relationships with other people - because instead, your brain is addicted to the potential of what you 2 could be.

If I were in your shoes, I would either send off an email or have a phone call and just say that you want to meet someone in your own life/or that you have begun dating someone/and you want to have an honest effort and relationship with that person. Because you have found him attractive/are attracted to him, but you can't give a good chance to these other relationships unless you stop seeing him for a while. Do tell him not to contact you, and that if you are ready, you will contact him at some point in the future.

Then stop contact for at least several months; no calls, texts, emails, etc. Then mourn the loss for a while and then go meet people who can a partner or significant other for you, OP. Meet lots of people and fill up your life with these other relationships.

Then revisit this again; perhaps a year from now, maybe a few years, and then you can look up your friend again. I would not proceed unless the feelings of attraction are gone. Also, next time, I would try to form a friendship with both him and his fiance/probably wife. All those things saying "it is wrong for him/not honest"....it is your brain lying to you, trying to fill in why you would be perfect.

Good luck, OP.
posted by Wolfster at 9:19 AM on September 20, 2012


As others have said this is depressingly commonplace and leads inevitably to discord, drama and heartbreak if not necessarily divorce.

I tried to withdraw, but it does not matter if I call or not because he initiates communication himself.

I had a friend, an ex in fact, who I thought for a long time I could have a friendship with but in the context of my getting married it became particularly clear that she had not really gotten over us (or the idea of us perhaps) and that our ongoing relationship was really harmful to her. It would have been incredibly selfish of me to pursue contact with her just because our friendship gratified something in me and I could "handle" it. When she withdrew I let it go entirely because it was obviously the right and respectful thing to do. An individual who will not respect a friend's desire to withdraw from communication is not being a friend, they are being manipulative.

Make sure he knows you are withdrawing intentionally and for your own well-being and instruct him not to contact you and tell him you can't respond if he does. Do not respond if he attempts to contact you. Try not to read or listen to his attempted contacts. And remember the fact that he's doing it at all demonstrates that he is more concerned with getting what he wants than your well-being or autonomy.

The less time you spend thinking about/critiquing/trying to figure out his relationship the better. If it's getting into your Facebook feed or whatever take steps to cut that off even if it means pruning back some ancillary friends (if they're good enough friends for it to matter you can explain the situation to them, otherwise just shut off their updates for a year).
posted by nanojath at 9:34 AM on September 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


You are not "friends" with this guy because you want to be with this guy. End it, for your sake and the sake of their marriage.
posted by violetk at 9:51 AM on September 20, 2012


Just joining the chorus but yeah, this dude is openly displaying his total lack of integrity to you.

He told me that if he wasn’t with his fiancée he would definitely pursue a relationship with me

A person with integrity doesn't say this, even if they feel it. He wants you to feel like "the cherry" so you will keep giving him the exciting-emotional-fling-on-the-side without the actual integrity it takes for him to leave his comfortable relationship if he really wants to be with you.

The wedding date is set up, I was invited and I told him that I’m not coming.
A person with integrity definitely doesn't invite their emotional fling TO THEIR WEDDING. This is so many kinds of disrespectful to both you and his fiancee.

In addition she does not know the extent of our relationship, which also is a reflection of how honest they are with each other.


Unless you have other knowledge about what she tells him, then no it isn't - it's a reflection of how honest HE is.

He made it very clear that he’ll do whatever it takes to have me in his life.
But he's already demonstrated that he won't. He won't sack up and leave his fiancee, and he won't be honest with her about the extent of your relationship.

His actions are quite clearly telling you "I don't care if I hurt two people I care about, as long as I get what I want". Is that the kind of person you want to be with?
posted by nakedmolerats at 9:54 AM on September 20, 2012 [7 favorites]


This is depressingly common. Talks with guy friends have revealed a shockingly common prevalence of the idea that as long as there is no physical contact, it isn't really wrong and it isn't "real" or at least that's how they justified the sleazy behavior of their youth. This guy may be fun and charming and intense, but he is not honest or respectful of you or his fiancée. He is not a good partner to either of you. If you want to date him, tell him his options are a)he leaves his GF for you so you can try for real or b)you move on if he isn't interested in this. What's happening right now isn't really good friendship.
posted by OompaLoompa at 10:33 AM on September 20, 2012


Sorry to be the voice of dissent here, but seriously? C'mon. Girl likes dude who is unavailable. Dude makes an effort to keep up the friendship for reasons we have no knowledge of and now everyone is shouting EMOTIONAL AFFAIR, YOU ARE GOING TO RUIN HIS LIFE, HE'S A TERRIBLE PERSON! Sorry, but I don't see it that way. Here's the deal -- people can fall into very fast, very emotional friendship (guys and girls alike). When one side is clearly not available and makes that clear and isn't making any physical moves, then it's up to the person with the crush to either resolve it or move on.

It's not an emotional affair -- we have NO IDEA what this dude is thinking or doing. I myself have lots of male friends that I'm very close to -- I even went on vacation with one of them this summer while my husband was at home. Is that weird? Not unless you subscribe to the outdated silly notion that two people of opposite genders can't be close without it being some sort of affair going on (physical or emotional). If I had gone on vacation with my girlfriends (and I did) and spent time talking with them about my life and etc (which I do) and didn't fill my husband in on every detail (which I don't), then no one would say a word. It's this mentality that men and women are just waiting for the chance to sex each other up all the time that drives me crazy. It's a short step from that to making women cover up all the time because they inflame the male sex drive. And, before anyone decides to blast me, I'm happily married and have been in my relationship for seven years without any strife over these issues, and I plan to be for another 50 or 60 or 70 years.

Either you deal with your issues concerning him (and stop calling yourself a "cherry on the side" if you really don't intend/want to have a relationship with him) or you break things off. It's that simple, but it's not as simple as THIS IS WRONG TERRIBLE THINGS ARE ABOUT TO HAPPEN.
posted by mrfuga0 at 10:38 AM on September 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


mrfuga0, we do know that the guy said "If I weren't with my fiancée, I'd get with you."

That's not an appropriate thing for someone in a monogamous relationship to say.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:45 AM on September 20, 2012 [13 favorites]


I see the statement "If I weren't with my fiancée, I'd get with you" as a polite way to acknowledge the situation in order to prevent it from escalating. A warning: our feelings are mutual -- exercise extreme care. I see the invitation to the wedding and the meeting with the wife as an attempt to reduce mutual attraction to "just friends" level. In my opinion the guy is acting with integrity. Mutual attraction outside relationships happens inevitably -- one is married not dead. Emotions are never good or bad, actions are.

Having said that, while the guy is OK, you are not. It is a very a bad sign if you consider his partner as a bad match. It means that you consider your own happiness over his. He is getting married so he's happy. You should be happy for him to. You couldn't be friend with him until you'll get to terms with his relationship. When you do, I assure you, your friendship can happen and will be free of impropriety.

I smell a gender bias in the answers here. One cannot stop wonder if the OP was male the answers would be the same.
posted by przepla at 11:26 AM on September 20, 2012


If you're worried about whether or not you'll get over it, keep this maxim in mind: "out of sight, out of mind." If he initiates, and you don't reply, those initiations will get further and further apart, and eventually you'll have days when you don't even think about him, until he just becomes someone you used to know.
posted by philosophistry at 12:34 PM on September 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


My husband has a lot of straight women friends, and I would freak. out. if he ever said "If I weren't with my wife, I'd get with you" to any of them.

I have a lot of straight male friends and lesbian or bi women friends, and I would never in a million years say "If I weren't with my husband, I'd get with you" to any of them.

I also wouldn't text any of my single straight male or lady-loving lady friends five times a day, or tell them "I will do whatever it takes to keep you in my life" and blah blah blah. That seems totally unfair to the OP; if he wants to have a friendship with her, he needs to act like a friend, not a suitor.

OP, you need to back off if he won't.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:07 PM on September 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


Do you think our attraction will just die out over time and we will be able to just be friends?

Not if you're referring to yourself as his cherry.

Either establish some kind of consensual non-monogamy agreement between the three of you now or get the hell out of Dodge - because you will wind up sleeping together and then you'll have a slightly more complicated situation on your hands.
posted by heyjude at 1:45 PM on September 20, 2012


Have you considered the possibility that the intensity and drama of this situation is an addiction in itself? And that perhaps you're mistaking the frustration of not being able to pursue someone you're attracted to for feelings of genuine affection?

I feel for you, man. But I have a theory that you should judge people (especially in relationship scenarios) more by what they do than what they say. And what he's doing is marrying someone else.
posted by pink_gorilla at 2:41 PM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I tried to withdraw, but it does not matter if I call or not because he initiates communication himself. He made it very clear that he’ll do whatever it takes to have me in his life.

Actually, I've been thinking about this line, and I find myself thinking: okay, let's take him up on his offer! Make a list, a good, solid list, that contains *everything* he would need to do to make this okay. Here's a sample list, but I assume yours would be somewhat different:


- Break up with your fiance immediately and nicely, including letting her know the reason why, and sever all ties with her, completely;

- Give you the fiance's phone number so that you can call and confirm he was actually honest with her, and wasn't a jerk about how he broke it up*;

- Admit to you that his behavior was inappropriate, and come over to your mom's and best friend's houses to describe his behavior and admit that it was inappropriate.


My point being that you have your own list of things he needs to do to have you in his life properly -- and if it is a shorter list then mine, rope your mother and your best friend into making a better list -- and if he really wants you, he'll do this. Otherwise he's just blowing smoke.

*I wouldn't actually call, of course, except to confirm it was actually her number.
posted by davejay at 2:51 PM on September 20, 2012


Comments above refer to boundaries as being part of this situation. You could read up on boundaries. We all need to understand boundaries and to know how to establish good boundaries between ourselves and others. If we don't, then bad things can happen (even to good people). You might even want to talk with someone who understands boundaries — a counselor, say.

Just for your own education and self-improvement. You could treat this as a learning experience, one that will help you grow as a person.
posted by exphysicist345 at 4:35 PM on September 20, 2012


The wedding date is set up, I was invited and I told him that I’m not coming. I cannot help myself but think he’s making a mistake by marrying her as he is clearly more infatuated with me than friends typically are.

For Pete's sake, stop telling yourself he feels the same way about you that you feel about him. I'd bet money that he likes that you like him, that he's flattered, etc. But he not only loves his fiancée but he values her way way way more than you. He wants to marry her. He knows you are available and eager and you coukd be his jump off, and he STILL thinks the she is the one he really, really wants.

You know what that means, right? It means he doesn't want you. He chooses her every single time. He loves and values her far more than you. He's not scared or stuck or whatever you want to think he is. He's happy, he loves his fiancée and you need to accept it.
posted by discopolo at 7:44 PM on September 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


has been in a committed relationship with his now fiancée for over 11 years

Wait... ELEVEN?

Is it possible this guy is not aces at being emotionally available?
posted by selfmedicating at 7:58 PM on September 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


he always makes time for me at least once, twice a week and calls me every day. I tried to withdraw, but it does not matter if I call or not because he initiates communication himself. He made it very clear that he’ll do whatever it takes to have me in his life.

With him taking up that much of your time and attention, you're going to be spending less time doing things where you might meet someone for a romantic relationship. Cut this anchor loose.

Stop worrying about how this is affecting their relationship, and think about how it's affecting you. Get selfish and get away, you don't need to stay involved with this guy just because he wants his cherry.
posted by yohko at 10:50 PM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is what makes me uncomfortable:
he always makes time for me at least once, twice a week and calls me every day. I tried to withdraw, but it does not matter if I call or not because he initiates communication himself. He made it very clear that he’ll do whatever it takes to have me in his life.

uh- why are you avoiding responsibility in this situation? It doesn't matter that you withdrew, he keeps calling you anyway? Don't pick up the phone, girl. He makes time for you and sees you every chance he can (which is one or two times a week!) even though he has a second job? Even though he is planning a wedding with his friggin' fiance? Why in the world are you at his beck and call? Don't you have your own hobbies? It sounds like you didn't withdraw at all- you just stepped back and waited for him to initiate so it can prove something to you about how much he really cares about you.

You know very well that this isn't good for you. You know very well that your ideal relationship with this man is not "friendship" and that you are sitting around waiting for his relationship to explode. You hoping for a broken engagement is not friendly. It's a mean little seed. All of this stuff about how you don't think they are right for each other and that you don't want to see them married isn't doing you any favors. It's growing the seed. The attraction isn't going to go away- you are just going to find more things to hate about her, more things to prove that hating her is OK and hoping misery on them is OK.

I'm not going to even make assumptions about what is going on in this dude's mind- because I can't get over how he can possibly find time for some new friendship two times a week when he is balancing a second job, a wedding, a primary relationship and who knows what else. I mean, does he have other friends? When does he see his fiance?

Whatever- the point is that if you stick around it's going to get worse, not better. Grow the good stuff in you- not the bad. You know this is a bad thing and that little voice that told you to withdraw is the thing to listen to. Tell him this isn't healthy for you, it's mean to his fiance (on your end, probably on his too) and it's not making his life any easier. And then no more contact.
posted by Blisterlips at 2:33 AM on September 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


Thank you everyone for your input and thank you for everyone who did not judge me or him. I gave him a letter and had a conversation with him about not contacting me again because I NEED TO GET OVER MY ATTRACTION TO HIM. First of all I need it for myself so I can move on and be with someone whom i'd want to walk through life with, and secondly while I tried really hard I cannot be friends with him while there is this attarction as all of our interactions only feed it further. He was very hurt and upset, I know I broke his heart in a way but trust me I'm in pain myself here, and at the end of the day I had no other choice given the situation and feelings involved. At first he was saying how long will this take? i said I didn't know... He was asking if he could have done anything differently, but i don't think he could because what happened came from the heart an he doesn't need to apologize to me for it plus it has already happened, then he told me that I can take my time and that he misses his friend already... I miss him too and I do wish him all the happiness!!! Thank you ...
posted by Vareshka at 7:00 AM on September 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Godspeed and stay strong. You're doing the right thing, and not just for yourself.
posted by griphus at 7:37 AM on September 21, 2012


Thank you!
posted by Vareshka at 7:46 AM on September 21, 2012


He was very hurt and upset, I know I broke his heart in a way but trust me I'm in pain myself here, and at the end of the day I had no other choice given the situation and feelings involved.

Yeah, that's hard -- you're prepared to deal with your own pain, but you care about him, and you're denying him something he wants. But keep in mind that you and he are feeling different things -- he's an engaged man, he has a primary committed partner, he has repeatedly reinforced his commitment to her. The sadness he's feeling isn't something you've done to him; it's the outcome of his own choices, good and bad.

It hurts and it's hard, but it's easier and less painful than it would have been later. Good luck.
posted by endless_forms at 12:54 PM on September 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


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