How do I deal with rejection?
October 27, 2008 4:48 AM   Subscribe

Need help to resolve this situation with my maybe ex-best friend/boyfriend.

Since May, I have been going out with an amazing guy, which happens to be a friend for the past five years. We have "officialised" the relationship during a holiday a couple of months ago and eveything was going well. Up until Saturday.

Before I get into this, let me give you some background: when I met this guy five years ago, he was infatuated with this girl (which I'll call S). S had a lover back in her country and was going out with K, who is a married father of four children. When he decided to move out of their country (same country I am from), she followed him to be his mistress over here also.

When my boyfriend met S, she was in a state that was beyond depression, broke, no friends and brokenhearted as this guy kept pushing her away and asking her to come back (as it often happens in that sort of relationship). So she found in my boyfriend a shoulder to cry on and he was progressively falling in love with this girl. Nothing happened, though I know, as he was just my friend in the past, that he was actually keen. They developed a friendship that last until today and they seem to have a strong bond.

Now fast forward to last Saturday. Everything was going extremely well between us, and he says that he loves me a number of times (just saying that to put it into context). Whilst he was cooking dinner, he asked me to get the laptop in the living room and put some music on. Then, when I open the laptop...there was a Facebook page, with a thread of mesages between my boyfriend and S. THey use really loving terms, like I love you, I miss you, can't wait to hear your voice, etc. I know this is bad, and I am not asking for approval on this, reading his Facebook email. But it said something that hit me like as if I'd been stabbed: a month or so ago, I thought I was pregnant. It was just a scare and I told him, but apparently the whole episode shocked him as he realised he wasnt ready. Then the email said: "it wouldn't be an issue [pregnancy] if I was in love with her (me)."

Then I went to the kitchen and had a semi-confronting chat with him. I asked him whether he simply loved me as a friend or someone he wanted to be with for some time. He said he wasn't sure. Then he started sobbing and a few things transpired. He was actualy investigating ways to get a job at my country (I invited him to go back next year) but never told me, for example. I said I was leaving but he continued crying and asked me to stay.

I genuinely believe that nothing has happened between those two, but I am not sure whether everything is lost or not. I have fallen in love with him but now I feel betrayed, sad and hurt as we never discussed this difference in the way we feel. And the fact that S is a constant shadow in our relationship is something that is hard to live with.

I am going travellinmg until FRiday and we'll maybe talk then. I am not sure whether this has ended or what, but we have an amazing time together, the best sex, we both progressed considerably in life since we have been together, but sometimes I wonder if its a matter of him not knowing whether he is "in love" since I have been a friend for so long? I said he loves me many times, that he really enjoys my company and that he feels emotionally drained and empty after all this and that his feelings for me have not changed since our chat.

Apologies as perhaps I am not being that coherent above and hope it is not too difficult to understand the facts. I have never fought for any guy, but I love him and want to do that if I need to. BUt how? And if we manage to sort this out, how do I discuss the "S issue"? How to revive the relationship after all this stress?

And if it turns out that we have to end it, how do I cope with being rejected by my best friend/lover? Do all the normal break-up rules apply here?

Is there any hope on this situation? Your thoughts are much appreciated...
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (18 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
He may just be too immature right now. Don't blame yourself.

Sounds like he probably has a really wacky sense of what "in love" is; he has a fairy tale idea about that other girl, no matter how screwy it is. (One always wants what one cannot have, yes?) And while it sounds like you have a great relationship, it might be just too easy for him. Maybe he doesn't recognize that real love IS easy and not a big struggle? Sounds like he's not ready for the real thing. He's still chasing the fantasy.

There's really nothing you can do to "fight" for him. He needs to grow up a bit and come to these realizations on his own. From the sounds of it, he's got his head wrapped up in this other girl so much that he's blind to everything else. One of these days he may discover that chasing after a girl with questionable ethics might not be the smartest move; maybe he'll finally get her and then the spark of the chase disappears. Who knows.

If he's talking like that about you behind your back, it's probably time to let him go, as painful as that is. He's not ready. He'll regret all this later, I'm sure, but he's not in the right head space just now. Sounds like he's quietly waiting to get with that other girl.

My sympathies. It's not so much a rejection by him as it is a total, romantic blindness. Hard not to take it personally, but none of this reflects badly on you. He's just got an obsession that he can't get out of his system. I'm sorry you're going through this.
posted by Hildegarde at 5:30 AM on October 27, 2008 [2 favorites]

You can't fight for a guy. He's yours or he is not, and the rest is a romanticized myth.

He's not in love with you. What more do you need to know? Who are you fighting?
posted by rokusan at 5:50 AM on October 27, 2008 [3 favorites]


Part of being in a friendship, let alone romantic relationship, is providing mutual support to each other and this guy clearly can't provide that.

Anyone who talks about you behind your back needs a talking to....but someone who tells a crush object that they don't love you NEEDS TO GO. I'm so sorry, but you not only need to dump him, but you should cut this guy entirely out of your life. I would never be able to trust a jackass like that.
posted by paanta at 5:51 AM on October 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

I`m sorry, this is a terrible situation. I`ve been in a similar one and I can tell you it`s generally a lose-lose one for you. You can`t make someone forget someone else. Fighting isn`t an option. That`s not what you want to hear and maybe you`ll try anyway, if you do, please just realize when enough is enough. You might do your best, be your best, but it still might not be enough. And that`s not YOUR defect. It`s just a matter of timing. My advice, put as much into this as you want, but realize we only have so much time. Don`t waste too much of it fighting what sounds like a losing battle.
posted by heavenstobetsy at 5:53 AM on October 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

Move on. I wound up dating my best-friend-of-a-couple-years, and when she went back to her old ways (serial short-term monogamy, i.e. broke up with me) and tried to step back to merely being great friends again, it just didn't work. I still wanted her as a g/f, she just wanted the shoulder to cry on, and it messed me up for a couple years. Moving on from that nonsense was the best thing I ever did (and in the process of moving on, met my now-wife!).
posted by notsnot at 6:06 AM on October 27, 2008

On the bright side, once he's out of your life, you're almost guaranteed to meet someone who does cherish and respect you. It's not worth the struggle to stay with him.
posted by lizzicide at 6:52 AM on October 27, 2008

A guy that is close friends with a home-wreaker and discusses your relationship in intimate detail with her might not be so amazing. He might not be physically intimate with her, but he is very much emotionally intimate, which can be just as bad. At least that's what I learned the hard way...
posted by idle at 7:14 AM on October 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

I'm only 24, which is pretty young in the grander scheme of things, but there's one thing I've learned after being in and out of several relationships:

Everyone deserves a relationship in which they are cherished, respected, and cared for.

It's unfortunate that I've been on both sides of this kind of relationship like anonymous describes. I had a girlfriend who's heart was with another guy, and I've been the guy who's heart was with another girl. And you know what? It's not fair. It's not fair to either person.

OP, you deserve to be cherished, respected, and cared for. Everyone does. And if this guy isn't doing it, it's your right to leave him and find someone that will.
posted by SNWidget at 7:34 AM on October 27, 2008 [3 favorites]

Oh honey, run.

People almost invariably choose people at their own level of psychological health for relationships of any kind. When there's a emotional stability differential, the person who is healthier either deteriorates or says "This isn't good enough for me. I'm out of here."

This other woman has chosen to be with a married man who can offer her nothing and who treats her badly. That means she's a mess. This guy is in love with this other woman. That means he's a mess. If you stay and try to make this work, that means you're a mess.

Break the chain, and leave. If this guy gets himself straightened out and can offer you something worthwhile, you can think about whether it's a good idea to give him a second chance. But don't hold your breath. And for now, you can't fix this, Leave, and invest your time in something worthwhile.
posted by orange swan at 8:13 AM on October 27, 2008 [11 favorites]

You can't compete with a romantic ideal. The fact that he is still hanging on to somebody else means that, right now at least, he doesn't want to end up with you. Maybe one day that will change, but why would you want to date only half of him while you wait?
posted by No-sword at 8:49 AM on October 27, 2008

someone who tells a crush object that they don't love you NEEDS TO GO.

if you take nothing else from this thread - take this. no matter how sweet or nice he is - no matter how many orgasms he gives you in a row - he lied about his feelings, either to you or to her - both of them are just as bad. plus, he told his crush object about your pregnancy scare with is also icky and tacky.

also - no matter what pretty excuse you're wrapping it up in - stop reading the email of others.
posted by nadawi at 9:28 AM on October 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

If sounds to me like you already did the most important part - you asked him directly how he feels about you and where you stand. And he answered.

I am not sure how you could fight for him. You wouldn't just be fighting issues between you and him, but you would also be fighting against issues created by S. So even if we gave you a good plan, a way to fight for him, you'd have that unknown, S. From the sound of his conversation, and his history, he is emotionally intimate with her. I leave it to you to say if that is worse than a physical indiscretion.

Being with a friend as more than a friend can be really hard. It makes it even harder when something happens that is hard to understand or hurtful. But I think it is important to remember that sometimes we can't control our feelings, and what you think of as rejection is just him moving to another place in his heart, and that might have absolutely nothing, literally nothing to do with you. I broke up with someone once - well, he broke up with me - and I did not understand at all, I remember saying to him, "You will never do better than me. What do you think you are doing?" And he answered, "I know. But I can't help it." Which was completely true.

Whether you want to be with him or not, I would take some time away from him, with no contact. Work through your thoughts and feelings. Pack up your stuff and go. Or pack up his stuff and send him away, whichever.

Personally, I want to tell you to run away and not look back. I want to tell you that he is not worth trying to save.

But I know that you have to work it out on your own. I would do that by yourself.
posted by KAS at 9:29 AM on October 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

Please listen to orange swan - she nails it. This does not look likely to evolve into something healthy and happy for you (provided that that's actually what you want).

I think you've just found out that "he's just not that into you." I know it hurts, but you deserve better - everyone does.
posted by widdershins at 10:07 AM on October 27, 2008

You will fight, and you might win, but you will lose, eventually, and when that happens you will also lose your friend.

You also need to classify what you mean by "happened". If you are saying "well, they didn't boink" it almost doesn't matter. Emotionally they've clearly formed a bond, and as nadawi quotes above - if he is telling a female with whom he has a nebulous relationship - e.g., it's not definitively platonic - that he doesn't love you then HE DOESN'T LOVE YOU.

Or what's worse: he's so fucked up he can't figure out if he loves you or not. Then he'll come to resent you, as he'll see you as standing in his way and try to provoke something to end it.

he doesn't have the cajones to walk away from you. You do. And I know how hard it is to walk away from someone who has been the core of your life for a long time. When I was in a similar situation, it was even more difficult because I did all the things I shouldn't have done to hang onto him, and then it was icky, and then he went off with another woman anyway - and THEN all our friends had to choose because it turned icky, and so I lost everything and everybody at that time. I could have dealt with losing him, but everything else just crushed me for about six months.

Sorry. I wish I had better news. But you deserve better and you are stronger and you will get through this.
posted by micawber at 10:22 AM on October 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

I have trouble constructing a hypothetical scenario where this guy isn't a complete jerk. He's not a good friend and he's definitely not a good boyfriend. Someone who cares about you, and cherishes the sanctity of the relationship, would not be talking about it like this behind your back.

Don't believe his tears. His tears are almost certainly manipulative. They are a means to avoid the consequences of his action and turn this into his feelings so he has the advantage. And yes, normal breakup rules should apply, even more so I think. Quickly run away from this guy and find someone who loves you.
posted by milarepa at 10:24 AM on October 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

Warning! You are entering Ground Zero of a Dramabomb!

I think an easy way to figure out if you should extricate yourself from a relationship is to count the potential number of AskMetafilter questions within your post. The more questions, the more likely a DRAMABOMB IS IMMINENT (or has already occurred). So let's tally it up.
  • Married Man: Cheating on his wife, dragging his mistress to another country to continue the infidelity. Two (2) questions worth. (at least!)
  • Mistress: Dating a married man, moved to another country to be with a married man, dealing with depression and emotional messiness, cheating emotionally on her lover, cheating emotionally with another girl's boyfriend, isn't sure who she loves. Six (6) questions
  • Boyfriend: Crushing on a woman who (probably) won't be with him, crushing on a woman who is dating a married man, emotionally cheating on his girlfriend, can't figure out if he loves his girlfriend. Four (4) questions.
  • You: Dating a man who doesn't know if he loves you, trying to figure out if you should forgive your boyfriend for emotionally (and possibly physically?) cheating on you, dealing with a boyfriend who let others know about a pregnancy scare, trying to reestablish trust in a relationship if you decide to stick with him OR trying to figure out how to pick up the pieces after the relationship ends. Four (4) questions (The last one only counts as one question, because it's an either/or situation)
Now, there is some room for interpretation there, but that's like SIXTEEN possibilities for AskMetafilter questions, each which would be a worthy question on its own. In fact, you can already find some of these questions in AskMetafilter history--even without all that extra mess people still find them problematic enough to need help. Sixteen! That's sixteen weeks of questions! Four months! And that's assuming nothing new pops up!

So here is the real question: Are you a glutton for punishment? Do you want to be in a relationship that has enough drama in it to take you to February 2009? Is it really worth it? Or would it be better to bow out of this nonsense and find a nice, sweet guy who does not come with the emotional baggage of two other people attached to him and who actually loves you?

AskMetafilter will likely be here come February 2009. But do you still want to be on AskMetafilter?
posted by schroedinger at 1:37 PM on October 27, 2008 [5 favorites]


But tell him it's so he's free to pursue his passion.
posted by sondrialiac at 2:08 PM on October 27, 2008

I genuinely believe that nothing has happened between those two

I'm assuming you mean physically. Clearly many emotional things have happened between the two of them.
posted by timoni at 2:44 AM on October 28, 2008

« Older Image capture via Mac OS X from a Canon 400D...   |   Releasing alpha-dog on demand? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.