What to do when everything goes wrong.
June 22, 2010 12:46 PM   Subscribe

Emotional atom bomb. Two best friends have been hooking up with my old flame, keeping it a secret from me, but discussing with the rest of my circle of friends. Announced this last night, and today I was planning on ending my current relationship.

So, the old flame was that girl that you love and tell her that you love, and she kisses you twice and then goes on to hook up with another guy without telling you. I didn't handle it well - too much forgiveness first and too much anger after.

This new thing, from February to May apparently, seems like 'not dating' for either of my friends but hooking up (sex), and repeatedly. I don't think it's continuing. I kind of expect this kind of thing out of said girl, who seems to give me nothing but heartbreak in exchange for the massive amount of support and time that I tried to give her in college.

Now I feel betrayed, and even worse, an outsider to my two best friends in this city and re-wrecked by this girl despite the fact that I would no longer even think of being with her. I'm not the type to have a ton of friends. I only have one or two other friends who I'd consider as close as these two, and both are outside the city. I just don't feel like I can talk to my two best friends because they were not only inconsiderate of how I'd feel, but they blew it off and hid it, which really contradicts their theory that I wouldn't mind because I had found better relationships since that affair.

Now I was planning to break off my current relationship, which is just your basic lukewarm post-college dating in which I just don't feel any romantic connection, and don't want to go through the motions of faking it. I was going to just call today and set up a coffee date and do it. Given the atom bomb of everything, I feel like I could do this numbly.

Also, given that my computer broke earlier today and I can't work without it, I took off work, so I have three or four hours till anyone gets home, and I don't know what to do. What would you do in this scenario?

This day, I think, I'm declaring bankruptcy, emotionally. Yesterday I had friends and a relationship, today, I probably won't have much of either. Thank god for my one friend outside this city, who is supportive, loyal, and wonderful.

What should I do?

Get the hell out of dodge?
Rail on anyone?

Gosh, I need a hug.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (45 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Dude, I'm sorry.

Today you get to do whatever the hell you feel like. Anything. Go to a bar for the next 12 hours. Go to a strip club, whatever...

Tomorrow, pick yourself up, and move the hell on.

You don't need her in your life...and you OBVIOUSLY don't need those 2 "close friends" who betrayed you.

Just move on; they are there to hurt you.

Good luck...and happy drinking/shopping/eating/tv watching.
posted by hal_c_on at 12:57 PM on June 22, 2010 [4 favorites]

Your two best friends in the city, aren't.

You had no claim to the girl, yeah, but the fact that they hid their hookups means they knew it would hurt you. They knew. They placed their own desires over your feelings. Fair enough. That shows you how much their friendship is worth. Zip.

Step one is secure your physical environment. Make sure that when you're at home base, you're safe. I sincerely hope you're not living with your soon to be ex. Step two is connect with some new people. Say hi to a neighbor, take a one-day adult learning class, reconnect with your family, something. Go out for lunch with a co-worker and don't dump on them. Be interested in them. Call the out-of-city friends....time for a roadtrip?

Things are crap right now but you'll be okay.
posted by codswallop at 1:01 PM on June 22, 2010 [2 favorites]

Drink. I think there are plenty of great times to drink, and this one is definitely tops on the list.

My suggestion: a bottle of knob creek (one of the best well priced bourbons on the market IMO), and some lucero (the only thing to listen to while drinking).

If you don't own "that much further west" and "tennessee," get thee to the apple music store.

It won't make anything better, in fact you'll be worse off tomorrow, but it's a good alternative.
posted by TheBones at 1:02 PM on June 22, 2010

Oh, pumpkin! *hug*

I think you need to call a mulligan on today, and maybe the next few days. Go to work, do what you need to do, but just don't engage with your current relationship. (Don't be distant, but do say, "I need a little space this week, so could I call you on Saturday?") Just take some time for yourself and give yourself whatever your equivalent of a self-indulgent bubble bath might be. Drive out to a canyon and watch the sunset. Go swimming all afternoon. Go for a roadtrip -- one tank of gas out, one back. Have a beer or two, but please don't get drunk and wallow. (Non-drunk wallowing is permissible. Get an inner tube and laze in a pool if possible.)

Write, write, write. Write to a friend or two outside the city; handwrite a scorching letter to the offending three and then throw it out/burn it; do whatever you need.

And yes, this was an awful, awful thing for your "friends" and flame to do.

posted by Madamina at 1:02 PM on June 22, 2010 [2 favorites]

You're cleaning house. So, I would clean house. It's a great way to burn off the emotional energy until you can tell your date that you're no longer dating. Take all that junk in your closets to Goodwill. Throw out all the trash. Put on clean sheets. Vacuum. Mop.

Tonight, the conversation(s). Then I would take off tomorrow, too, and find a river or lake or ocean -- somewhere beautiful -- and wash it all off. Bake in the sun, exhaust yourself trying to climb to the top of the bluff, lie in the water, let the past wash away. Maybe even camp out that night. But then get up early on Thursday, get to work early, and start afresh.

I'd also spend this afternoon preparing for the future, both this weekend and beyond. Assuming you've got the money, I'd make plans to go visit your other friend this weekend. If not, I'd go ahead and make some other plans for the weekend, something fun, active, social, and distracting. Then, assuming you're not too upset today, I'd think about what path you want to be on towards the future and do one concrete thing to set you on that path. You need more local friends? Maybe sign yourself up for a summer baseball league or an improv class or something else that connects you with an activity that you've wanted to be doing more, where you can meet new friends. Good luck!
posted by salvia at 1:03 PM on June 22, 2010 [3 favorites]

This is a story from the other side:

One of my best friend's broke up with his long term girlfriend right as I was getting back from college. A few months passed and she had hooked up with another good friend of ours (though he did not know this) and then an opportunity presented itself when she came to visit me. She was friendly, and I figured it had been a few months, why not? (sidenote: none of this involved actual sex, just rolling around in the hay)

I felt bad about it and another friend of mine spun things in such a way that it sounded like he was *really* mad about it all. Regardless, the next time I was home, about a month later, I had to call him up and apologize - what else could I do? The first words out of his mouth were "Don't worry about it, it's not worth getting worked up about". The grace with which he handled the situation was one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me and our friendship only became stronger after that.

Friends are people too, and they make mistakes. If they are true friends then they feel bad for what happened and felt bad at the time, but hey, we're all human. If they really are such great friends (minus this incident) than it is probably worth forgiving them and laughing about it. Plus, you can spend the rest of your days ribbing them for it if they get on you about something bad you've done to them. I'm not saying this is easy, especially if it stings as bad as you make it sound.. but truly, forgiveness will set you free.
posted by mbatch at 1:07 PM on June 22, 2010 [4 favorites]

Oh, I am so sorry that this is happening to you.

Do you have a sort of gut feeling as to anything that might make you feel better? A walk? A beer? A roadtrip? If you have any kind of idea of something, anything that might make you feel even a tiny bit better, do that thing, however ridiculous it might seem.

Your friends did not act like friends. This is a terrible way to realize it, but you're well shut of them in the long run. Again, I'm so sorry.

Hell, if you're in Los Angeles, pm me and I'll be your big sister for an afternoon.
posted by corey flood at 1:07 PM on June 22, 2010

Agree with upthread, these people are not the friends they claimed to be. Anon, if you're in atlanta, and want a shoulder for the day, mefi-mail me.
posted by frwagon at 1:17 PM on June 22, 2010

Maybe they didn't tell you because they didn't want to upset you? And then they had to tell since it was unavoidable. And them thinking too much about anything about this girl who hooks up with everyone makes them feel bad and maybe a bit guilty so they would rather not and avoid it if possible? Some people can't help thinking with the wrong parts at some points in their lives. Could you forgive them for this and think of her as some sort of living blow up doll? Could you make jokes about how you don't care where they stick it as long as they don't tell you? It's a messy world and friends are often harder to find than hookups.
posted by meepmeow at 1:25 PM on June 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yes, write off the ex-flame as bad emotional debt. She either doesn't consider your feelings at all, or is immature enough to hurt you just because she can. Either way, you don't want to be in her orbit.

As for your friends... retreat. You're hurting hard, and cannot expect yourself to understand their motivations or rationalizations. Let them know that you feel betrayed, and that you can't be open to their reasons, or even, for now, their friendship. But unless you have spoken to them about the ex-flame in the past in a way that leaves no room for misinterpreting the fact that you're still somewhat emotionally tangled up with her, don't rush to judgment. Just protect yourself, for now.

And please, don't break up with your current girlfriend in your present frame of mind. Don't hurt her inadvertently - no matter what you're going through. (Otherwise, how are you different from the friends who didn't consider your feelings before doing what they wanted?) Even if you don't feel any connection to her right now, and even though you were already planning to break up with her, don't do this. Let her know, too, that you're hurting and can't trust yourself not to hurt her, and tell her to give you some time to be alone. Breaking up with someone is an a delicate thing. Do it when you're sensitive to her, not when you're numb. (You might want to heed this excellent advice.)

Focus on making yourself feel better. Visit your out-of-town friend if you can. Try really hard to think of the things that are going right in your life - what has happened is significant and you can't know how long it will take to get over it, but it is not everything, and it hasn't gone all wrong. You have the choice to do the right thing here, for your friends, your current girlfriend and for yourself. There was never a better time to appreciate the things in your life that are good. Don't let it pass. And definitely don't hurt back.

Take care of yourself. For real.
posted by mondaygreens at 1:28 PM on June 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

I had one "friend" make a play for a guy I was living with - but to be fair, he was already thinking about it, thanks to encouragement from another "friend". I nth the 'cleaning house' advice, in your case, it should be a scorched earth policy. You're gonna have to be strong, because you are cutting everything out from under you, and that can just make you feel insane. I know that when I finally found the ovaries to do it - and to cut out everyone who couldn't just tell them "you two are dead wrong and we're hanging out with micawber so she isn't entirely deserted" - i was left with exactly one real friend.

The only way over it is through it. Just plow through it. What helped me when the above happened was to get into my car and drive. I was originally a city girl who had never done much of that kind of therapy, but i ponied up the money to fix my car (finally, after waiting for the former dude to get around to it - he always said he would and when i said i'd just take it in, he'd get pissed) and would just get in the car and DRIVE. it did wonders. i sang along to the radio, i stopped for diner food, i saw beautiful scenery, i cried when a sad song came on, i would vocalize elaborate final speeches to the both of them (which felt so much more powerful because i was saying them out loud).

I advocate change of scene. Don't stick around town, don't go places where you could run into them. Even if it means giving up your favorite coffee place, favorite bar or favorite band, it's worth it to just have some peace. You can get your old life back in a few months when you don't care, or care less.
posted by micawber at 1:32 PM on June 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

Big hugs darlin.

Everyone has a different coping mechanism, but I'd like to disagree with the various "Drink up" remedies. People do stupid shit when their drunk. Drunk, angry, hurt and alone? Recipe for disaster. I'd avoid that.

I dunno where you are, but if you're in the Metroplex, you can ping me for a shoulder to cry on. :)

posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 1:58 PM on June 22, 2010 [2 favorites]

I agree it's hard to understand the relative level of awful the friends were being without time-frame estimates. If you were only with the girl for a short amount of time a long time ago, it doesn't seem that bad. If you were together ten years and you broke up in January, then it almost definitely should have been at least broached with you by your friends, and they were being bad friends by doing otherwise. On my initial reading of the question, I couldn't tell if you'd dated her at all, actually, just that you had spent some time together and you loved her. If you never actually dated her, your friends might honestly have thought they were doing nothing wrong, just slightly awkward (hence the not telling you). In most of those scenarios, you'll probably feel a lot better in the long run if you let your friends apologize for hurting you and forgive them, even if you're not as close as you used to be. There are many ways to read this situation that they are not necessarily bad people.

In the short term, though, that really sucks. I'm sorry. I'd take a mental health day, especially if your computer's still broken, and do something relaxing around town tomorrow, or maybe take a short road trip. If there's any chance of calling the out of town friend to vent, do it. Do be careful if you decide to continue breaking up with your current girlfriend tonight...don't take out your hurt on her. If you don't think you'll stay perfectly calm, postpone.
posted by wending my way at 2:02 PM on June 22, 2010 [3 favorites]

I've been the girl in a similar situation, so I'm going to lay this out as a possible explanation:

A girl who's not in the mood for a relationship has a fling (kissing? sex?) with a guy. The guy gets emotionally invested; girl splits because that's not what she wants. Guy doesn't handle it well and turns it into a much bigger deal than it ought to be.

Later, girl meets up with friend(s) of guy, and because she was never guy's girlfriend, she is considered fair game, so they hook up. Guys friends know that this is a hot button issue for guy (although they probably strongly disagree that there is sufficient justification for it) so they don't say anything.

In this scenario, I can't tell exactly what your relationship with this girl was, but there are at least three people in your life who are apparently of the opinion that it was not significant enough to trigger the "no screwing exes" rule. Whether this is because your friends are unsympathetic or because she doesn't qualify as an ex is not clear. If I had to guess, I'd say it's a little bit of both.

So you should talk to your friends and out what their justification was. Find out if they're worthless jerks or just insensitive clods. Break up (kindly) with the woman you're not feeling sparks with. Then go be single for a while. Enjoy it, because it's actually a hell of a lot of fun.
posted by stefanie at 2:06 PM on June 22, 2010 [10 favorites]

I'm going to break with consensus here and say that your friends haven't done anything wrong. Don't ditch them over this. You don't get a monopoly on people you're no longer dating, especially once you're seeing someone new. This rule goes double for small communities like Dodge - there simply aren't enough people to avoid dating the exes of friends.

I also don't think that hiding this from you is an admission of wrongdoing. Sounds like your friends thoguht you were being too sensitive, and decided that staying quiet was the best way to both avoid hurting you and have a decent love life for themselves.

Hope you can power through this somehow.
posted by ripley_ at 2:09 PM on June 22, 2010 [14 favorites]

Friends - even occasionally inconsiderate and selfish ones - are hard to replace. Before you renounce these two, make an honest assessment of how much claim you really had to this woman. Consider whether their keeping it from you was meant to hurt you or not.

If you decide they owe you a major apology, you can ask for it. They might give it to you.

You've got the rest of your life to dump them, if that's what is necessary.
posted by Joe Beese at 2:12 PM on June 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

Ok....first off - stand down. Do not make any decisions about who your friends are and whether or not you want to break up with your current GF until you calm down and think about this more rationally. This may seem like an emotional atom bomb - but you're the only one who sees it this way, so head to the shelter and wait for the radiation to subside.

Then, please consider the following:

So, the old flame was that girl that you love and tell her that you love, and she kisses you twice and then goes on to hook up with another guy without telling you. I didn't handle it well - too much forgiveness first and too much anger after.

So, I'm hearing that you didn't really date this girl - is this the case? If you did date her (exclusively), then for how long? And finally, how long has it been since you've even spoken to her?

This new thing, from February to May apparently, seems like 'not dating' for either of my friends but hooking up (sex), and repeatedly. I don't think it's continuing. I kind of expect this kind of thing out of said girl, who seems to give me nothing but heartbreak in exchange for the massive amount of support and time that I tried to give her in college.

From your post, it sounds as if you are still quite angry at this former flame. Angry and feeling humiliated that she refused your love but not sex from your friends. You're also angry that your friends didn't tell you that they'd hooked up with her.

Are you really angry at your friends? You say that you are no longer interested in her, and you seem to not like her very much - does that mean that your friends should feel the same way? Can you accept the possibility that they didn't tell you about this for a number of reasons: your continuing resentment towards this girl, their fear that you'd be angry, that it really isn't any of your business?

It seems that you are making this about you, when it isn't at all about you. When you've calmed down, I suggest you tell your friends how you feel, but for now....dear lord, don't do anything you will regret later!
posted by The Light Fantastic at 2:15 PM on June 22, 2010 [7 favorites]

I do agree with those saying that over the long-run, you might (a) benefit for your own good and (b) be more proud of yourself from a more selfless perspective [my wording here is bad but you know what I'm trying to say] if your response toward those friends is a bit subdued and understated. Not burning the bridges entirely now would be great, because life is (hopefully) very long.
posted by salvia at 2:23 PM on June 22, 2010

ripley_ writes "I'm going to break with consensus here and say that your friends haven't done anything wrong. Don't ditch them over this. You don't get a monopoly on people you're no longer dating, especially once you're seeing someone new."

I'm with ripley; it isn't any business of yours who your friends or exes (especially exes) are hooking up with if you aren't currently in a relationship with the hookupees.
posted by Mitheral at 2:40 PM on June 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

Go for a drive or a walk, take some turns you haven't before and see someplace new.

First, deal with this relationship you're in and try to break that off cleanly and politely, put the rest of this shit on hold.

Then it's a matter of what you decide friendship means to you. Maybe these guys think friendship can include sleeping with another friend's flame, and if that friend doesn't like it than it's their problem—it's not even something you have to mention or apologize for, apparently! You could accept this, or say friendship means something else. There's no objective right or wrong, like some people will try to tell you.

Recognize that these people have had time to think it over and so forth, and give yourself a little time before you decide anything.

Don't be afraid to be alone.
posted by fleacircus at 2:47 PM on June 22, 2010

I came here to say what stefanie said. It's understandable for you to feel terrible in this situation, but I'm not sure that anyone did anything very wrong except maybe not telling you they hooked up with her... and if you didn't seem like you'd be able to handle it, I'm not entirely sure I would blame them for keeping quiet. Yes, it feels like a betrayal, but having been in the position of the person who's too sensitive to handle the truth in the past, you don't leave your friends many options in that situation. They're not bad people in that case, they were trying to protect your feelings because they didn't think you'd see reason.

You're probably thinking, "Well, they had the option of not screwing her," and ultimately that's true, but I don't think it's right to expect people not to sleep with a girl because you kissed her twice and she wasn't interested enough in you to want anything more. It's not fair to them, and it's not fair to her.

Also, without more information, this bit rubbed me the wrong way: "This new thing, from February to May apparently, seems like 'not dating' for either of my friends but hooking up (sex), and repeatedly. I don't think it's continuing. I kind of expect this kind of thing out of said girl, who seems to give me nothing but heartbreak in exchange for the massive amount of support and time that I tried to give her in college."

Don't give women support and time with the expectation of a romantic relationship, or if you'll be angry if it doesn't end up that way. Women are not vending machines where you put in something and you have a right to be angry if you don't get what you expected in return. I'm sorry if that sounds harsh, but you should give people support because you think they deserve the support, and if it happens to lead to something romantic, great. It's completely normal to find that you're not able to do that, to find that you only want to give someone support if they're going to return your romantic feelings and never want anyone else, but when that happens you need to check yourself. The resentment is not healthy, nor is it fair -- unless she put you through a whole bunch of emotional manipulation and lied about her level of interest in you or something, in which case some resentment is understandable. Just given what's written here -- it doesn't sound like she was throwing herself at you or promising you anything -- I wanted to point out that you might be overreacting. That's also what makes me think your friends may not have thought you were capable of being rational about the situation, so they just didn't tell you.

I completely understand feeling raw about the whole thing. There's a difference between feeling raw about something and imposing unspoken rules on your friends and exes, though. It's normal to wish that your friends wouldn't hook up with an ex, but given the circumstances I don't think it's reasonable to expect that. You only kissed her twice, it doesn't sound like you had much of a relationship with her, you don't want her back, and you've been in at least one relationship since then. Why should she be off-limits forever?

I say all this because I think it might be helpful for you to get a less fraught perspective on it for the sake of your own emotional health when it comes to this girl, and also because while you may ultimately determine your friends are complete assholes it sounds to me like there's a lot of mitigating factors. Something I learned years ago is that if you don't seem like the kind of person who can handle the truth, your friends will lie to you. It took me longer to learn that doesn't mean they're bad people, it's just that being a difficult person forced them to deal with me that way -- if they'd been honest with me I would have just blown up at them. You might decide that you'd rather have friends that are honest regardless and I wouldn't blame you, but give that some serious thought so you don't throw close friendships away just because you were being (imo) unreasonably sensitive.
posted by Nattie at 2:58 PM on June 22, 2010 [17 favorites]

it isn't any business of yours who your friends or exes (especially exes) are hooking up with if you aren't currently in a relationship with the hookupees.

In the sense that you can't stop them or whatever, sure. But it's kind of a jackass thing for the friends to do if they knew it would upset him. Especially since we're not talking about giving up one's One True Love, these were hookups. Surely you can forego a couple one night stands if you know your friend is going to be pretty hurt?

Done once, the friend(s) are being inconsiderate at best, but forgiveable. If this is the level of compassion and friendship they usually show, though, I wouldn't consider them very good friends.
posted by wildcrdj at 3:02 PM on June 22, 2010

If all that happened was that you kissed her and she wasn't really into you...

and you "invested" in her in the expectation that she would get with you, then got pissed when she wasn't interested...

You need to really, really get some perspective. SHE IS NOT YOUR POSSESSION. She can date (or not date) whoever she wants, no matter how much you "invested" in her.

Think about it this way: your friends did something you'd prefer they didn't do, but nothing actually changed as a result--she's not less into you--they're not less your friends--nothing changed. At this point cutting them off is really pointless. What will it solve? She's not going to get with you anyway.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 3:22 PM on June 22, 2010 [6 favorites]

I'm going to break with consensus here and say that your friends haven't done anything wrong. Don't ditch them over this. You don't get a monopoly on people you're no longer dating, especially once you're seeing someone new. This rule goes double for small communities like Dodge - there simply aren't enough people to avoid dating the exes of friends.


The idea expressed by the OP and many others seems to be that once a man is involved with a woman, the woman is now off limits for any of the man's friends. I don't see why. She's not damaged goods. Once you and she cut things off, she has a life of her own. She can -- indeed, she should -- go ahead and do whatever she wants when it comes to dating/romance/sex. Did you ever consider that maybe she genuinely clicked with your friends better than she did with you? Why is it even your business whether it was serious or a hookup or what? (By the way, you don't seem like the most objective or reliable judge of these facts!)

The one factor that would cut against what I'm saying is if she broke up with you, it wasn't mutual, and you were very upset about it at the time -- especially if your friends knew these things. But you haven't specified if any of that was the case. As skidoo23 says, you haven't detailed how serious the relationship was. It seems like your reaction has more to do with macho competitiveness and jealousy and territoriality than any kinds of warm feelings towards your ex.

Except wait a minute -- I noticed The Light Fantastic's comment, and it's a pretty good point. Did you really have any kind of relationship at all with this woman? Did you really just kiss twice? (I can't tell if the kisses were the full extent of that relationship or just a novelistic detail about how things ended.) And you've since moved on to a new relationship (albeit one that hasn't turned out well)? Wow. If that's accurate and not the result of ambiguous wording, I think you should completely put this behind you and drop the anger at your friends.

OP, you've framed the whole thing very intensely though vaguely, and a lot of people instinctively bought into your telling: you've been wronged, the guys are jerks, and the girl is ... well, I'm not going to write the word I'm thinking of. I'm sorry, but I don't buy it.
posted by Jaltcoh at 3:27 PM on June 22, 2010 [8 favorites]

First, delay the other breakup. It might get emotional for her (if not you) and that might trigger your own emotions about the other girl, so you owe her your full attention when you break up with her.

Second, don't be annoyed she hooked up with them, and don't be annoyed she doesn't want you. Focus on the fact that your friends felt they needed to hide this from you -- it means they were worried about your reaction, which suggests your behavior about her has continued to be odd, or they don't trust that you would be okay with it. Meet it head-on if it comes up -- just say "Good luck with that" and laugh -- but otherwise keep your stress about it to yourself, because them + her has nothing to do with you. It isn't an additional rejection of you, or anything like that.

You may think they're not good friends, but then, you didn't have a relationship with her of any substance, and they perhaps know you're hung up, so they were most likely trying to have fun while sparing your feelings. It just backfired like most lying does, no matter how well-intentioned.

In the meantime, see if you can't find a way to get healthy about your view of her. Nobody likes to be rejected, but she's obviously running around and having fun, and she's not doing this to get back at you or punish you or anything. She is, quite literally, not thinking of you at all. And so, as soon as she's bored with your friends, the same thing will happen there. And so it goes when people experiment in college without concern for the potential repercussions.

The nice thing is, everyone goes through this sort of thing, and over time it won't sting.
posted by davejay at 3:30 PM on June 22, 2010 [2 favorites]

It was thoughtless at best of your friends to get it on with this lady if they knew how much it would upset you - but honestly, if I were your friends (or the girl) I would probably figure that you were mature enough to not freak out about this as much as you're doing.

It sounds like you're holding the people you care about - this girl, your friends - to impossible standards, and why? Do you think that being supportive of the girl entitles you to have access to her vagina? Do you think that being nice to someone means that you should be able to expect them to stop and go, "I wonder how anon would react to this" every time they want to have sexy fun times with someone? Let's reverse this - do you feel that anyone who is nice to you is entitled to have a say in who you sleep with or don't sleep with? When you break it off with this girl for whom you feel nothing (or at least, nothing romantic), will you simply move on from that relationship or would you think it was acceptable for her to obsess over your subsequent sexual partners and get really angry when you did have a sexual relationship with someone else?

Unrequited crushes suck, and it's okay to feel disappointed or even upset if someone you think is awesome doesn't feel the same way about you. It's okay to grieve when they start a relationship with someone else, as long as that grief is a way of accepting the situation and moving on. Punishing your friends for your grief and telling yourself that because you were nice to her, your crush SHOULD have slept with you anyway, isn't going to help you move on and feel less shitty. It's just going to make you feel more shitty, plus you'll probably have less friends in the long run.
posted by ellehumour at 3:43 PM on June 22, 2010 [5 favorites]

Women are not vending machines where you put in something and you have a right to be angry if you don't get what you expected in return.
Nattie could not be more right.

And speaking of women, if you were seriously planning to break up with who you're with now - do that. Staying with someone because you were just hurt and need hugs counts as using. Don't do it.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 4:12 PM on June 22, 2010 [5 favorites]

I'm on the same side of the fence as some othe later posters here. It seems to me that you have some sense of entitlement since you felt you had provided her with a "massive amount of support and time". Just because you spent a lot of your own time and emotional energy supporting someone doesn't mean you've earned anything in return. If you don't get reciprocal respect from the person you're spending time on, then it's up to you to cut them out of your life.

It's not clear what your relationship even is with this girl, she kissed you twice? And that was all? If that is the case then I don't really know if your friends can be blamed for ignoring your history with her.

When I've had a casual relationship with someone I've usually kept it fairly low key, I wouldn't see any business telling anyone else about it, and especially not a friend who I know had history with her and was upset about it.

I know this is likely because you're feeling slightly raw right now, but it does sound like you're over dramatizing both your history with the girl and the extent of your friends breach of trust.

Now for what to do with yourself right now. Get out of where you are, go out and watch a movie by yourself, just do something out of the house that the-person-you-want-to-be would do.
posted by chrisbucks at 4:37 PM on June 22, 2010 [2 favorites]

You're getting a lot of advice that basically says you aren't entitled to feel the way you do. Boy, I bet that's helping you a LOT right now, when what you asked for is how to manage your emotional crisis in this moment. A lot of people are bringing their own baggage into this, I think, and I think the "truth" of whether you're justified in feeling the way you do is really not the important thing here. You are sad, lonely, and in pain. Spoil yourself a little. If a little oblivion in a bottle might help, then go for it. If it leads to some cathartic tears, well, that's ok too. Write some letters, throw them away. Call someone you can count on to be on your side and not defend the people who've hurt you - that point may come, when you need to see another perspective, but that time is not now. Sleep if you can. It will get better.
posted by lemniskate at 4:46 PM on June 22, 2010 [2 favorites]

You're getting a lot of advice that basically says you aren't entitled to feel the way you do. Boy, I bet that's helping you a LOT right now, when what you asked for is how to manage your emotional crisis in this moment.

He's entitled to feel his feelings, but he's not entitled to all the moral outrage and odd principles that have been expressed. Sometimes what people need is not exactly what they ask for.
posted by Jaltcoh at 4:57 PM on June 22, 2010 [5 favorites]

Correct me if I am wrong but it seems that his outrage is more centered on his friends hiding this from him. In which case I see why he feels the way he does.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:18 PM on June 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

Correct me if I am wrong but it seems that his outrage is more centered on his friends hiding this from him.

If they seemed to be hiding it from him, that would raise suspicions.

But we're just getting this from the OP, who has a very skewed view of things and hasn't been very specific about some essential info. So there's a limit to how much I can correct-you-if-you're-wrong. Let's face it: none of us know the whole story here.

And the idea that they felt the need to hide it doesn't really gibe with the fact (if it is a fact) that there was no relationship between the OP and the woman -- it was an unrequited crush and a kiss and that's it.
posted by Jaltcoh at 5:35 PM on June 22, 2010

On reflection I think that I and a lot of others completely weighed in on the top 80% of the OPs question rather than actually lines ending with a question mark.

The main thing, regardless of what you do, is that this will get better, feelings will fade and be replaced by better ones. I'd get out and do something straight away, maybe spend a few hours going over meetup.com or craigslist and find something local thats happening tomorrow, no matter what it is, and go and do it. Don't spend all day on the internet on chatrooms and forums or on here, because you're just going to feed your demons and compound your negative feelings. The hardest thing is that your two best friends cannot be relied on for support with this particular problem, getting out of the house and finding new and varied friends will definitely help you push through this.
posted by chrisbucks at 5:37 PM on June 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

Look, if I have tickets to a concert, and a friend of mine wants to go but can't... I go to the goddamn concert, and then I don't rub their nose in it. Your friends had an opportunity with this girl, and out of deference to your feelings they didn't tell you about how awesome it was.

Friendship is not a deposition (thank you, Savage Love). No one is required to tell you what they're doing in bed, nor are they required to not do it because it will upset you. Sure good friends will give you reasonable extra space on recent exes, but as described you're waaaay beyond reasonable extra space, since you never dated this girl.

You should: Ditch the old flame (you don't like her). Ditch your girlfriend gently (you're not that in to her). Keep your friends. Watch a bunch of TV, eat some comfort food, and go to sleep early.
posted by anaelith at 7:07 PM on June 22, 2010 [2 favorites]

I've been through this exact situation except I found out by seeing my "best friend" making out with the guy in the company of my other two best friends. I dropped all three of them right then and there and never talked to them again. It hurt. I got through it and I am stronger for it. Ditch the friends.
posted by Foam Pants at 10:57 PM on June 22, 2010

No one is required to tell you what they're doing in bed, nor are they required to not do it because it will upset you.

Clearly there are limits to this kind of thing. You absolutely can't tell a friend what to say or think either, that would be crazy right? But what if they drop racial slurs now and then, forgetting they apply to you? And surely you can't tell a friend who they can be friends with, that's ridiculous and exactly like a police state! But what if they become best buds with some jerk who lied to you and stole from you?

Surely you have the right to feel betrayed or sidelined by some choice that your friend made freely, but which nonetheless seemed disrespectful, showed a non-friendly level of inconsideration, etc. Maybe you shrug it off and let it go, maybe you don't, but there's an irony in telling the Asker he doesn't have a right to feel a certain way because that would be like telling someone else they don't have a right to feel a certain way.

Not trying to be chatty, just trying to counterbalance the Ethical Slut echo chamber a little bit.
posted by fleacircus at 11:32 PM on June 22, 2010

Hello, it's me, the original poster, under a new account, to clarify. Just this, and I'm done.

First off, this is a recurring pattern on AskMefi - a few supportive replies and then someone bravely breaks with convention, venturing to guess that possibly the askee is, indeed, the one at fault! I can't say it wasn't expected, and it's pretty amazing the split between answers before and after the seminal split. Goes to show.

To clarify some things:

I was incredibly close with this girl for more than a year - best friends and all parties involved here were in a band. I was obviously broken up about it, and my friends were incredibly aware of this fact, as they have, through this and every event, been the people I confide in.
If they seemed to be hiding it from him, that would raise suspicions.
Nothing is more clear than the fact that this has been hidden from me, on purpose. The best friends who have hooked up with her are also housemates. The hooking up has occurred in the house and on trips that they announced were for other reasons, but with everyone tiptoeing, apparently. Other people were told but expressly told not to tell me. When they revealed this to me, it was after a dinner discussing the fact that they should eventually tell me. Essentially any way I could have discovered this fact was blocked by the fact that those people were making sure not to let me know.

I did originally expect some kind of return of emotional support, if not a relationship, at least a close friendship, from the girl. But when she started dating another guy, she fell off the face of the earth. And more recently, I've tried to be friends with her again, because after my - another detail, one relationship - after, I have no romantic feelings at all towards her. Literally, none. But, what I got in return for that was dishonesty. I, like most humans, don't like being fooled by those I trust.

Did my friends know that this wouldn't be a good idea? Well, I told one of them, a year earlier, that I would not be okay if he hooked up with this girl for kicks. And these hookups have been a closely-guarded secret for a while. No - this isn't an issue of 'it just doesn't warrant a mention.'

So, yeah, the main thing that I'm sad about is the fact that my best friends held secrets from me for so long. That they chose to be, in my opinion, cowardly about the truth when they could have confronted it. I'm forgiving them and the girl for it, and, at this point, not overreacting.

Clearly, you can tilt this into a cliche and go to town with easy judgments - I'm just a guy who expects a relationship 'in exchange' for emotional support, or that I expect 'fidelity' or something long after a relationship is done. Indeed, it is kind of an echo chamber after the first negative reply. Anyway, thanks for the support and/or criticism. I suspect this is one of life's lessons, and I'm learning it very quickly.
posted by nongold at 7:44 AM on June 23, 2010

OK, so you're confirming that you and she were never dating. You were always just friends.

You had an unrequited crush on her. She gave you exactly, literally two kisses as a consolation prize for the fact that she has, apparently, never been interested in you as anything beyond a close friend.

And now you expect that this means certain people aren't allowed to have sex with her? Or they are allowed to have sex with her but they're obligated to give you timely notice of this fact?

Sorry, things just don't work like that. People have their own lives. They're allowed to have sex regardless of how you personally feel about their having sex. They're allowed to do it without telling you. Meanwhile, they're allowed to tell other people. This is not wrong of them. It's wrong of you to be angry at them for enjoying life and for feeling like this woman should remain chaste for your benefit. You should be spending your time going out and enjoying life yourself, whether it's staying with your girlfriend, or breaking up with your girlfriend and finding someone new. Or hey, here's an idea: how about just being single for a while and not worrying so much about women you haven't hit it off with?

Those guys were probably just trying to be nice by not going up to you and being like, "Hey, guess what I've been doing with so-and-so who you had a big crush on? I've been having sex with her!" What would that have accomplished anyway? OK, so the way they did handle it was (according to your description) a little shady and creepy. So they were less than tactful. So what?

I assume you read Nattie's vending machine comment ... and you're still trying to argue that you were wronged because you weren't given an adequate "return of emotional support"? Come on.

Look, I've been there. Many of us have. Have there been times in my life where I would have loved to believe that a certain person was not going to have sex with anyone until she finally saw the light and realized she was destined to be with me? Sure. But that's ridiculous, possessive nonsense.

Again, you are entitled to feel however you feel about this. But it's a waste of time and doesn't carry any moral weight. Let it go.
posted by Jaltcoh at 8:47 AM on June 23, 2010 [3 favorites]

Did you read my response? The part about how I don't really care about what happened, but that your best friends doing something behind your back tends to make people feel bad?

Anyway, I'm out. The sum of my guilt in this situation, at worst, is being unjustifiably angry and hurt. In the future, I think I'll go to a friend, rather than the masses, for hugs.
posted by nongold at 9:09 AM on June 23, 2010

Hey there, I was not trying to be a jerk at you, but sometimes it helps when we step back, take a deep breath, and look at shit as maybe not as huge of a deal as we think it is. You know?

Eventually your friends did tell you. They fucked up. It made you feel bad. That's fair. But the best thing, eventually, would be for you to get some perspective about it, even if you can't do that now. I respect that it feels like you've been smacked upside the head with a 2x4. At the same time...you haven't.

A lot of us have sympathy for the other players in this situation--as a woman I have been in the situation of being basically shunned because one dude liked me and I didn't get with him so...bye, dating possibilities! It sucks. So that's where I'm coming from.

Best of luck.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 9:30 AM on June 23, 2010 [3 favorites]

Again, you are entitled to feel however you feel about this. But it's a waste of time and doesn't carry any moral weight. Let it go.

Agreed; I don't think most people are saying you're a jerk for feeling the way you do -- to the contrary, most people think the feelings are understandable and are trying to give you some perspective to see why it's not necessarily such a big deal... because we want you to feel better.

For example, you phrased things in a way that made it sound like the girl was purposely trying to hurt you by sleeping with these guys. That's a normal immediate reaction to feel when you're hurt. I'm sure many of us have felt that way. However, personalizing it that much makes it hurt more and for no good reason when it isn't true, so people point out she most likely wasn't trying to hurt you at all, nor were your friends.

You seemed to feel that lying meant your friends don't care about you. That is also a normal reaction; I've been there myself. Various people pointed out that while lying probably wasn't the best way to handle the situation, it's probable that they lied because they care about you. That way, you can be upset about the lying, but you don't have to feel like your friends don't value you. Thinking you have to cut ties with your friends is a terrible thought -- again, I've been there and even had to do it -- so we're trying to show you why that's one less thing you might have to worry about.

I pointed out that you should not expect anything in return for giving someone support because you will inevitably feel miserable every time it does not work out that way. Again, I know this from experience. You seem to be getting additional misery from the thought that you gave this girl so much support and this is how she's repaying you. Again, that's a completely normal thought. Whenever anyone does something that hurts us, we tend to regret ever being nice to them and caring about their feelings. However, changing that perspective really does save you some misery.

ifds,sn9 and others (including myself) feel sympathy for the girl in particular because one person having a crush on you should not cut people out of your sex life. I tend to make friends with circles of guys, and I just really would not appreciate any one guy developing an unrequited crush on me and then making it impossible for me to date or sleep with any of his friends; I'd feel like it would be natural for him to be bummed about it, but he'd have no right to wave people away from me like he has any claim to me. We bring this up because if you can see that perspective and realize that you would not want anyone else to do that to you -- ellehumor's comment in particular -- then maybe it will make you realize you're overreacting, and then you will be less upset. I've had an unrequited crush on a girl before too, and the only thing that made me truly get over it and quit feeling angry was to try and see things from her perspective, to realize that she didn't owe me anything for years of friendship and that I wasn't being persecuted or anything. At the time she even seemed to be interested in a mutual friend of ours -- another girl -- and I promise you the only thing that helped me feel better was thinking, Well, I have no right. Yeah, I still wondered how she could do that to me, or why she would like this other girl when I'd been there for her so much more, and it felt completely unfair -- just a whole little raging storm in my head, really, but I have no right would at least numb all that and let me move on.

There's a reason why a lot of therapy centers around changing perspectives and thought patterns. As someone who's had problems with depression in the past, I can promise you that feeling like you're morally justified in your anger and sadness is a much bigger burden to carry than acknowledging your emotions are natural but hold no moral weight for anyone else. I know -- trust me, I know -- that at first it sounds cold or something for everyone to tell you that you're overreacting, or to point out all the ways you're being irrational, but people do that because it's the only true way to eventually feel better about these things.

Feeling better really is about making the conscious decision to view things rationally even when you feel awful, even when you just wanna mope or yell or hit things. For me at least, one day I took that commentary on my feelings and thought, "These assholes are heartless, they don't understand, I have every right to be upset, am I the only one who feels things anymore?!" Then after enough repetition one day that changed, and instead it was, "Oh, I don't have to feel this way? This really isn't such a big deal? Yeah, it isn't. I'm upset over nothing. Thank god." I do not know how to explain how to get from one point to the other, I'm not even entirely sure how it happened, except by practice and trying not to lash out and punish the people who were honest with me. It helped that I'd come to consciously value honesty after some particularly nefarious lies were told to me, so it steeled me to appreciate being told things I didn't want to hear, and it made me respect the people who had the balls to do it.

Now, the only people that make me feel insecure are the ones that I can't trust to be honest with me, that won't say things if they know I won't want to hear it. I always wonder if there's something they're not telling me. Now that I make it easy for people to be honest with me, I have a better gauge on who to avoid; before though, I'm afraid I couldn't identify when it was them and when it was actually me that was the problem. It also makes me value my honest friends so much more, because they care enough about me to tell me when my perspective is making me miserable, and I know they aren't just being hateful or judgmental because they keep being my friend afterward.

In short, we can either tell you "oh yeah, this girl is a bitch who did this to hurt you, your friends are assholes" because it might be what you want to hear, but what good would that do? You're going to be way more miserable than necessary in the immediate future, plus if we really let you believe that, then you're going to have the same sorts of issues later where you get upset over the irrational stuff as well as the rational stuff and feel way worse than you need to. Your friends probably lied to you because they didn't think you would handle the truth rationally and they didn't want you to feel bad. We're being honest with you because we hope you can handle it and we want you to feel better -- not just immediately (that's what pints of ice-cream and shitty TV are for, not echo chambers) but in the long run, too. I'd be surprised if anyone here thinks you're seriously a bad person and not just someone who's hurting right now. I can't speak for everyone but I suspect a lot of us are trying to tell you what we wished someone would have told us when we were in a similar position.
posted by Nattie at 10:33 AM on June 23, 2010 [8 favorites]

It is completely reasonable to be hurt and angry at a friend for enlisting other friends in keeping a secret from you because they perceive you to be delicate. They can sleep with whomever they want, and they have no responsibility to tell you (although it would be unreasonable for them to expect that you wouldn't have feelings about it) but it hurts to discover that there's been a collaboration to "protect" you.

I was on the receiving end of this once and it was the last straw for the friendship -- but in this case there were other factors as well. But I was particularly angry about what I saw as someone who should have had my best interests in mind -- a friend -- presenting me to other people as delicate and unpredictable.

Especially because I would have had some feelings if I'd known The Horrible Secret, and I would have dealt with them privately.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 1:01 PM on June 23, 2010

"I can't speak for everyone but I suspect a lot of us are trying to tell you what we wished someone would have told us when we were in a similar position."

FOR REAL. I mentioned my past as the woman in this scenario, but I should also mention that I can be crazy possessive of my exes. I tend to be super close friends with the people that I date/sleep with, I tend to put a lot of effort, time, and intensity into even the shortest relationships. I also have a tendency to end up with people who need to be taught, guided, pushed, introduced to various things.

Because of this I tend to feel really invested in them and entitled to a "special" place in their life--I was the one who taught him how to do that! She only likes that band because of ME! How dare he give someone else flowers! It makes me irrationally furious. The only way to solve it is to recognize that I'm being irrational, laugh at it if possible, avoid that person/situation if that's impossible, and get over it. Doing crazy shit like cutting people out of my life, calling people and yelling at them, telling someone that if they talk to someone else I will do my best to ruin their social lives...all things I have done in the past that are both inappropriate, mean-spirited, and in the end, my possessiveness never stopped anyone from doing anything--it only made my life harder and pushed away treasured friends.

The whole "I give you things because eventually you'll do X" is in part a good extension of my personality, and in part a stupid and a way of cheating myself out of even, one-to-one relationships between equals where I am benefiting and being loved right now. Not eventually. Right now.

Again, best of luck.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 2:22 PM on June 23, 2010 [3 favorites]

[few comments removed - if you are complaining in thread instead of going to metatalk you are doing it wrong, please do it right. thank you.]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:10 PM on June 23, 2010

anonymous -sorry if I sounded harsh. I would memail if you weren't anon. I stick by what I said - especially about breaking up now if that was your plan before you found out about this drama - but being terse with the suffering is not good.

Must stop giving relationship advice via iPhone on the bus.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 4:37 PM on June 23, 2010

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