Do I just let it go?
June 1, 2015 6:04 PM   Subscribe

A good friend who I have had an on and off relationship recently started dating someone else (who she met through me!) and I'm having a lot of complicated feelings about it.

I have a good friend who I've known for about a year. We dated on and off - first, because she wanted to get closure with an ex - and I called it off. Then we reconnected and over the past nine months began this strange friendship where we went out on what were basically dates, but we weren't intimate physically. We definitely had moments of sexual tension. We had an amazing time, and love spending time together. Then, at one point she wanted more. I didn't, because I wasn't sure, and because I knew I was going to be moving away.

I decided recently that I was moving away across the world. I'm excited for this move. But then she met someone else (whom she met through me - but I don't know the person she met through me). Meanwhile our dates continued. Then she texts me that she is seeing this other person. I am hurt that it was going on for a while without my knowledge and I am also hurt she had to text me that information and not tell me.

And then silence for a few weeks. I guess she has moved on already, but I am very hurt because I am moving away in a month and I thought she would at least make an effort in the last few weeks. I am also upset because I am realizing that I have feelings for her, and I am moving away and she has already moved on.

It has been torturing me for almost a month, with myself crying about it at least four times. I am realizing how much I appreciated our times together.

Not sure if as relevant, but we are gay.

I had a breakthrough a few weeks ago where I had some clarity and decided to let it be and not reach out to her for a while since I needed the distance. But now I am upset about the distance a few weeks later.

I have so many emotions: grief about moving away and potentially not having the same kind of relationship with her ever again, regret about not seeing where things could go, anger at her for doing this now, and confusion.

I guess my main question is what to do? Do I just not say anything and potentially leave things on a weird note? I don't want to make her feel guilty for dating this other person because she has every right to. But at the same time I am not sure if she has any idea what I am going through. Or is that selfish?
posted by pando11 to Human Relations (11 answers total)
Best answer: Let it go. You are sad for your own reasons, and there isn't anything she can do, and 5 years from now you won't wake up at 3am cringing about what you said to her about it if you never do that.

Put it in the bucket of grieving the things you're leaving behind, and face forward into your new adventure. Six months from now you will have an entirely different perspective on this.
posted by Lyn Never at 6:12 PM on June 1, 2015 [12 favorites]

Let her go. You rebuffed her twice--so your anger with her for taking up with someone else is misplaced--and you're moving away. What is she supposed to do with the information that you have regrets? Worst case scenario: you come off sounding like you're saying, in essence, "I didn't want you but no one else can have you either," which won't go well.

Go have awesome adventures wherever you're going.
posted by carmicha at 6:14 PM on June 1, 2015 [8 favorites]

Let it go. If you can have a platonic good-bye hangout where you do not even remotely hit about any of these feelings, do it, I guess. But you already rejected her and now you're leaving, and, what, you want to burden her with your feelings about how only now that you can't have her, you want her? No. Just no.
posted by J. Wilson at 6:32 PM on June 1, 2015 [2 favorites]

Known each other only a year + cried four times = probably not the best thing ever, in my mind. This is made extra-worse by the parts where you rebuffed, but then feel huffy about a text. Things would be much, much weirder if you spilled all this. You are going through personal stuff over imagined what-might-have-been, not IRL stuff that requires disclosure.
posted by kmennie at 6:35 PM on June 1, 2015 [4 favorites]

Best answer: You rejected her twice. She's allowed to move on. You're literally moving on, anyway. More contact from you or an unsolicited feelings-dump is just going to come off as weird and selfish. Don't do it.
posted by charmedimsure at 7:42 PM on June 1, 2015 [8 favorites]

"Dates" without physical intimacy with someone you have no intention of dating aren't dates. It's spending time with a friend. You broke up with her twice. She didn't owe you anymore than what she gave you. Wish her well. That's the grown up, no drama thing to do.
posted by cecic at 8:00 PM on June 1, 2015 [5 favorites]

Let it go. Moving a long way away is a tough emotional process, and it's easy to start to cling to what you know. Do both you and her a favor and look towards the future. Leaving things behind is difficult-- it's supposed to be. But it isn't kind to mix that up with relationship stuff now.
posted by frumiousb at 10:27 PM on June 1, 2015

Agree with what others have said. It's also possible that she has become the emotional scapegoat for any regrets you have about moving. This makes no sense at a rational level, it's more that the feelings of regret, missed opportunities, sadness to be leaving people/things you care about can all get morphed into you feeling that way about her. Maybe take a bit of time to unpack whether this is the case, and if it is, spend some time genuinely saying goodbye to those things. Moving to another country is amazing and exciting (ask me how I know!) but I don't think you'd be human if you didn't also have some feelings for the place and people you're about to leave behind.

As for her - you've already said goodbye. Some things cannot be made better by an attempt at a do-over (in my experience, most things can't). Accept that she has already gone and let go of her emotionally as well.
posted by Athanassiel at 11:20 PM on June 1, 2015 [2 favorites]

Just want to second that hanging out and flirting isn't the same as being in a relationship, particularly if you had already turned her down.

It's still tough to have a friend go silent though. Can you think of any reason -- e.g., did you react to the news in a certain way, or have you been unusually silent? Maybe you could let her know you're happy for her and try to hang out as friends until you leave, if that wouldn't be too hard?
posted by salvia at 11:25 PM on June 1, 2015

Feelings don’t have to make sense but our actions should.
You have every right to feel how you feel. It isn’t logical to feel jealous of someone you’ve rejected completely and repeatedly, because feelings don’t make sense.

But your actions can make sense, do not say anything about how you feel, it cannot go well and at the very least will seem spiteful.
Go off and start this sweet new life of yours.
posted by French Fry at 6:35 AM on June 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

Unrequited love always looks better than the real thing. Reality does not intrude on our feelings nor on our fantasies of what could have been, which thus tend to be far more sublime and perfect than any actual relationship possibly could be.

Your complicated feelings are more about that than about her. She has come to represent something you long for and cannot have for reasons having nothing to do with her rejecting you. That makes her very tantalizing. It makes her seem more perfect than she is. Leaving because you are moving away and you trying to do right by her in the process can be far closer to some ideal of perfect love than most relationships will ever achieve, with their messy need to negotiate reality, warts and all. But it isn't, in fact, a romantic relationship of true love.

Many years ago, I had a long on-again, off-again affair. I read a lot of books and articles to sort things out. We could imagine each other as more perfect than we really were because we weren't having to smell each others stinky socks and deal with each other literal and figurative dirty laundry and fight about how the money was spent. Most of our time spent together was pretty positive. But had we actually gotten together, it would not have remained so perfect-seeming. Reality would have intruded.

I now judge relationships based on what happens when the rubber meets the road, not on fantasies of what could be or could have been. You and she both made choices that made a relationship to each other less important than other things. You can tell yourself all you want that it simply wasn't possible because you are going away, but plenty of people choose to do the LDR thing for a time. Many of those fail. It's a hard row to hoe. But you did make a choice and she was not it.

Since you are still agonizing, you could journal about it and lay out in detail what your logic was and try to figure out if there was some flaw in your logic in hopes that if you ever face a similar choice, you might handle it better or at least be more at peace with the fact that sometimes there just isn't a perfect choice. But, beyond that, you just need to let this go and make your peace. You already made your choice. Now make your peace with the consequences. No one gets a perfect life.

Best of luck.
posted by Michele in California at 10:09 AM on June 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

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