Why did my friend stop talking to me?
June 14, 2016 9:49 PM   Subscribe

I'm 20s, F. My very good friend, 20s, M, abruptly cut off contact. When I approached him about this, he gave me a non-answer. As far as I know, he's been doing well. What happened?

A few years ago I met a friend at a summer internship. We hit it off, traveled around exciting new cities together, and even though we attended different colleges and our hometowns were hours apart, we made a very solid effort to visit one another. It was always the best! We'd talk for hours and wander around the city during our infrequent visits. He would joke that I was his 'favorite person,' always mentioned I was very fun to talk to... I learned a lot from him, trusted his opinions, and felt there were things I could contribute to his world view as well. We talked every day and freely exchanged emails, frequently sharing articles and random thoughts. Nothing was off-limits. We were able to share our insecurities without being judged, and the friendship was low-drama, very easy, honest, and it was great. He was definitely one of my closest friends, and I thought I was one of his closer friends, too. When I moved to a new faraway city, he sent me headphones so that we could Skype (that, sadly, I ended up never using). Even now, I look back at our friendship and smile.

One day I got a text from him, after oddly not hearing from him for a week or two, saying that his girlfriend would prefer that I not talk to him as much, and he would appreciate it if I could respect that. I said absolutely, and didn't initiate contact with him for a while. Then after that I simply didn't hear from him for another few weeks. A few weeks after, I got a random flurry of frustrated-sounding texts telling me that he wanted to break up with his relatively new girlfriend (of six months, at the time) for a bunch of reasons. I offered to listen, but the conversation was pretty short. Then another few weeks later, I get another similar group of texts where he complained that his girlfriend went through all of his physical mail, texts, and emails, and freaked out that his ex-girlfriend had sent him a postcard. After that, I didn't hear from him for weeks, even though all throughout this time, we were working together on a project he had invited me to work on a while back (when we were still on very good/friendly terms). I continued working on the project to completion, and this meant that we were in (professional) contact throughout the time he had requested I not initiate contact with him as much. That was fine, but we didn't have any personal/friendly exchanges during this period.

I also think he removed me from his chat list, and even when I tried to check in with him after weeks of silence, he was kind of curt. When I called him out on this over email (because at this point he wasn't even answering my calls) and asked for an explanation after months of non-conversation, he just gave me a non-response, albeit a very long-winded one, saying that he didn't think we had anything special in our friendship and he was just another guy and any guy in his demographic could give me the same advice I sought when I spoke to him. He also said that he didn't see us having much in common in terms of future directions, because he was working in some sort of entrepreneurial capacity and I was in academics, and because we were far away from one another (but we knew both these things at the start of our friendship-- we were never living in the same city! I didn't think anything had changed). He ended the email saying that if we happened to be passing through the same city, he'd be happy to get a cup of coffee, but not much beyond that because 'it wasn't reasonable' to expect more from our friendship.

... So I walked away from that, feeling upset and confused, but figuring that I couldn't force things and that I'd best not hold my breath. It just seemed so sudden-- we didn't have any disagreements or arguments that I knew of, and all of this happened over the course of two months. It had been maybe three months that I had gotten his gift of headphones to the time that he sent me that cold-sounding email.

Some hypotheses:
I might have been a drag to talk to, because for about 1.5 of our three years of friendship, I was experiencing an extremely difficult period of time in my life, and I can see how at times I must have been a drag to talk to because of my stress and upset. I was probably talking in circles and needier than normal. Maybe that was off-putting to him and this sort of thing can cause friends to fall away.

Another possibility is that maybe I totally misread how close he thought our friendship was, and even though I felt close to him, he never did and is just very friendly to everybody.

Another hypothesis is that men and women can't be friends, or that his girlfriend put a lot of pressure on him to not talk to me. We had a completely platonic friendship, though-- I've never felt an ounce of sexual tension with him. I know I'm not his type and he totally isn't my type, either. Maybe I'm super clueless? When I visited, many of his friends had heard of me and wanted to befriend me because he apparently talked about me all the time. I heard from him that his mom had even assumed we were dating and approved of me (and I only add this because a common topic of our discussion was how his mom never approved of his girlfriends). But... he is an extremely talkative person, so I didn't think much of it at the time...

As I've mentioned, I'm a 20s female and have been in the same very stable, long-term relationship (of five years when we first became friends; he knew about my boyfriend straight off the bat). He has met my boyfriend. I have met one of his ex-girlfriends, but not his current girlfriend. According to him, his current girlfriend is "intimidated" by all of his ex-girlfriends and any other females that he associates with.

This happened about a year and a half ago, so I'm not acutely writhing in pain, and I understand that people have their reasons and I might not ever get an answer, but I still wonder from time to time what the hell happened. I have no idea if he is still with his girlfriend, but my impression is that he is.

What happened here? Has anything like this happened to you? Is a friendship with this guy still possible to pick up years down the road? I'm so sad that I lost one of my best friends with what feels like zero explanation.
posted by fernweh to Human Relations (29 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
My take is that he wrote his last few emails knowing that his girlfriend would read them.
He has made his choice to stay with her-- he's also probably embarrassed about those emails where he complained about her.
Sorry to say he will have to stay far from you.
posted by calgirl at 10:00 PM on June 14, 2016 [30 favorites]

He has come to the conclusion that you are not now nor likely soon going to be available in a romantic way and his new girlfriend is a control freak. Whatever he writes is with the knowledge that she will read it and interpret it. The path of least resistance is to cut ties.
posted by AugustWest at 10:02 PM on June 14, 2016 [7 favorites]

I think you know the answer here, that's why you wrote so much about his girlfriend.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 10:03 PM on June 14, 2016 [52 favorites]

I'm really sorry that you've lost a friend. That feeling is terrible even when you know the reasons why! But I think you are overthinking this. His girlfriend is jealous of other women. She has probably gaslighted him about your relationship so that he has decided his friendship with you doesn't mean as much as his relationship with her. That sucks and she sounds like she's insecure. Or maybe he was in love with you and he's trying to save face by acting like you didn't mean anything. Either way, this is entirely about him and not about something you did.

Please be kind to yourself. You're not to blame here. There are going to be people in your life that decide to ghost on you and it's almost never because you're a bad person. You're way better served taking all the energy spent wondering why he's not your friend and focusing on cultivating other relationships with people who can actually be there for you.
posted by the thorn bushes have roses at 10:03 PM on June 14, 2016 [9 favorites]

Has anything like this happened to you? Is a friendship with this guy still possible to pick up years down the road?

Yes, and no.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:04 PM on June 14, 2016 [3 favorites]

Also some men will do this even when their girlfriend is not controlling, because men often do not understand how to have emotionally close relationships that are not part of a hetero monogamous context. So they'll have ~one~ female friend they're close to and then when they get close to a girlfriend they start to feel uncomfortable being close to two people at the same time, and back off from the friendship.

it is sad and weird but welcome to toxic masculinity + our bizarre societal conception of emotional intimacy as a zero-sum game

ALTERNATIVELY you know maybe he had a thing for you and he needed to back away because it wasn't healthy for him to have an intense one-way crush. that is also a thing
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 10:06 PM on June 14, 2016 [62 favorites]

It's absolutely because of his girlfriend. Either she directly put pressure on him, or gave him so much grief about it that he stopped maintaining friendships with anyone she was bothered by, or he has feelings for you and his girlfriend picked up on it, or some similar combo. (I'd bet it's more on her being controlling based on being mad about a postcard.)

But you basically said "Hey, WTF, why aren't you talking to me?" and he was all "Uhg like I even want to talk anyway!" and tried to make it seem like... it was your fault.

Maybe his girlfriend reads his emails or chats so he had to play it off as if you mean nothing so she doesn't get mad at him or whatever.

I've been in a very similar situation with "I can't talk to you anymore" and being the "bad guy" for ... nothing? It sucks. A lot.

So yeah, if your friendship was purely platonic and wasn't put before the new GF in terms of emotional intimacy or time, then you did nothing wrong. If it WAS too intimate then also part of it would be on him to end it/figure it out.

Let him go. If he eventually breaks up with her or whatever and wants to talk again then determine then what you want to do.
posted by Crystalinne at 10:11 PM on June 14, 2016 [8 favorites]

Dude had a crush on you and was pulling the common mid-20s male trick of "waiting in the wings" for you to break up with your boyfriend and then fall for him and move to his city.

His new girlfriend correctly interpreted what you could not (that you were in fact in his mind a viable romantic option) and she shut it down. My read is that she may be controlling but she's not crazy.

It's rare for young hetero men to have intimidate friendships with young women and not develop at least somewhat romantic or sexual feelings, in my completely anecdotal experience. Friendship can still be achieved with managed feelings or without feelings but is a tricky minefield and two people being completely mutually not attracted to each other whatsoever is pretty damn rare.
posted by quincunx at 10:19 PM on June 14, 2016 [29 favorites]

Given that you once trusted him and felt close with him you could/should continue to take what he says at face value. It appears you did over-estimate him and he has done you the favor of letting you know. I don't know what purpose it will serve to blame the girlfriend or try to psychoanalyze out what other secret reason there must be. He told you some reasons.
posted by bleep at 10:24 PM on June 14, 2016 [2 favorites]

Happens. Likely you'll never know why. And trying to figure it out is chasing after mists -- you'll never get there.

You're going to have to just let it go.

And get rid of the headphones -- if it were me, I'd leave them on a bench at a bus stop and walk away, not looking back.
posted by dancestoblue at 10:31 PM on June 14, 2016 [3 favorites]

Along the same lines... I'm confused (as a 46 year old woman with life experience) why YOU would want to be friends with this feckless person in the future.

He has zero depth of character and blows whichever way the wind does. Right now, it blows against you. Look for his good qualities in others and be wary of bullshit like this. He tacitly blamed his change of heart on his "controlling" girlfriend, when really, he lacks character. Someone with character chooses a different type of partner. He is immature and not the person you thought he was. This happens. Sadly.

It is possible he had a serious crush on you. IDK. A better person might have moved past that to keep the friendship. Meh.

It's nice you are so lovely. It's OK to wise up a bit but stay generally lovely. Most folks are weaker than you emotionally. C'est la vie.
posted by jbenben at 10:38 PM on June 14, 2016 [23 favorites]

And your situation has called to mind part of a Greg Brown song -- The Poet Game -- where he sings of a friend who has pulled the plug and refuses to say why.
posted by dancestoblue at 10:52 PM on June 14, 2016

This has happened to me. My best (and currently only) friend dated a series of women who were extremely uncomfortable with the idea that his best friend was female. It didn't seem to matter to most of these women that I lived thousands of miles away and that we had literally never been romantically attracted to one another. On a few occasions he had to drop contact with me completely after one girlfriend or another would call my house or send me e-mails and he became concerned about the emotional repercussions of being targeted by jealous crazy people. Eventually he got tired of this and pretty much started off new relationships with full disclosure--my best friend is female, we have never been romantically entangled, we've been friends for 15+ years, if you can't deal, this will not continue past the first dinner + movie. After some trial and error he found a lovely young lady who is very secure in herself and her relationship with him and seems to enjoy the hours of quiet personal time she gets every Saturday while he and I play online vidya games. They're getting married soon.

While my story has a happy ending, I've found it to be generally true that most people will not prioritize friends or even immediate family (children being a common exception) over romantic relationships.
posted by xyzzy at 11:49 PM on June 14, 2016 [4 favorites]

Happens. Especially at that age. I don't bother being friends with single guys anymore as 90% of them will drop you when they are part of a couple. Either they don't need you anymore or their new SO nags them till they do. It's lame but it is what it is if you're a remotely attractive woman, even if you're a nun or married to Brad Pitt.
posted by fshgrl at 12:48 AM on June 15, 2016 [2 favorites]

Ouch-- everyone is coming down really hard on this guy and his girlfriend. Here's some monogamous and maybe-really-conservative feedback: what I can pretty much say is-- type schmype. you guys probably have great chemistry and little baby-crushes on each other even though you don't feel tense around each other. It's not angsty and crush-y because you just love and care about each other! That's awesome. But it also makes it *really hard* to create the space in your heart for a new love-and-care person that you also want to sleep with and maybe build a lasting partnership with. Blah blah polyamory lots of love to go around I know I know, but 9 times out of 10 I have seen it go the way you describe.

It seems like, even though he has mixed feelings about the decision, he has decided to commit to his partner right now, for whatever reason. Maybe she is a horrible person forcing him to commit. Maybe he is protecting himself. Maybe they actually really like each other and he wants to give their relationship space to grow. You can't know. Take it in stride.

This has happened to me a handful of times over my twenties and every time it hurts to lose a friend. "Of course men and women can be friends! Why do these dudes keep friend-dumping me? Why can't it just be chill and platonic?" But in my heart I know: these wonderful friendships are not platonic. Even when we have no desire to sleep with each other, they are romantic and intimate bonds. In the end, I put my partner first-- so it's only fair that when my friends choose to do the same, I let them go.
posted by athirstforsalt at 2:06 AM on June 15, 2016 [7 favorites]

Agreeing with internet fraud detective squad, station number 9, I think you know what's going on, really. But I want to warn you about thinking like this:

Another hypothesis is that men and women can't be friends, or that his girlfriend put a lot of pressure on him to not talk to me.

Wo there. Firstly, just because you and he didn't manage a truly platonic friendship, it doesn't mean they don't exist. It looks like he had feelings for you (the "I'm not his type" thing is silly, I think you know that. If you don't, you will find out in time that having a "type" is kind of nonsense for most people). So that's what got in the way, not the inability of man and woman to be friends. That's totally doable.

Secondly, beware of putting this on his girlfriend. Have him own his actions in your mind. How he's chosen to deal with the mess of feelings he seems to have been trying to detangle is on him.

Finally, to answer your question about whether it's possible to be friends down the road, yes it is, but it's also likely that you won't really want to be once you get there. A guy friend once ghosted me with literally no explanation, I mean he was in my band at the time and he just stopped showing up to rehearse. Same deal - his gf had detected that he had a tiny crush on me (I hadn't) and set him an ultimatum. When they broke up he made contact, and we're like, FB friends now, but I found it hard to really trust him cause all I could think was, DUDE, would just a vaguely explanatory text have been SO hard?!
posted by greenish at 3:16 AM on June 15, 2016 [5 favorites]

My read is that she may be controlling but she's not crazy.

Controlling another human being like that is almost always a sign of crazy.

I've been that friend that cut off a contact with every single woman in the world because of a 'controlling' girlfriend (actually it was abuse) and it absolutely devastated my early twenties and is probably my greatest regret in life.

There is squat that you can do about it other than be there when he gets out the other side and hope that he is still a complete person and bears some resemblance to the friend you used to know. However, that may not be what you get. I certainly wasn't once I escaped.
posted by srboisvert at 5:54 AM on June 15, 2016 [2 favorites]

agreed with those above saying it's the gf. you may be able to be friends with him again when it's over.

for those that are saying "he isn't worth it", please note that there are already several signs that he is a victim in an abusive relationship. if the genders were reversed, would you ever say the victim "isn't worth it"?
posted by noloveforned at 6:11 AM on June 15, 2016

There's nothing crazy about not wanting your partner to be in an intimate, boundary-less relationship with someone they are very likely attracted to. You state explicitly that his gf was not into that, so she asked him to stop being friends with you and he chose her. Now hey, maybe she is jealous and controlling, or maybe she's just aware of information that you are not privy to (what if she found his 500 Days of Summer fanfic starring the two of you?). Either way this is very very common.

Especially long distance, friendships come and go. Enjoy it as a memory for what it was, and look forward to the next one.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:30 AM on June 15, 2016 [5 favorites]

he just gave me a non-response, albeit a very long-winded one, saying that he didn't think we had anything special in our friendship and he was just another guy and any guy in his demographic could give me the same advice I sought when I spoke to him. He also said that he didn't see us having much in common in terms of future directions, because he was working in some sort of entrepreneurial capacity and I was in academics, and because we were far away from one another (but we knew both these things at the start of our friendship-- we were never living in the same city! I didn't think anything had changed). He ended the email saying that if we happened to be passing through the same city, he'd be happy to get a cup of coffee, but not much beyond that because 'it wasn't reasonable' to expect more from our friendship.

He did respond, and in rather more detail than one might expect. Regardless of whether or not his response is accurate, it behooves you to take him at his word. I also suspect his girlfriend might be either actively or passively discouraging him from your friendship, but whether that is in an unhealthy controlling way or a healthy appropriate-boundaries way, I don't think we have enough information to say. Despite that, it doesn't do you any good to speculate as to the "real" reasons he his cutting off your friendship - he might not even be consciously aware of the "real" reason he is doing it either - when it doesn't affect the end result.

I'm sorry this happened to you - it's hard to lose a friend for any reason or none at all - but do yourself the kindness of taking him at his word and move on to strengthening or creating other relationships in your life.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:13 AM on June 15, 2016 [2 favorites]

I have had this happen to me (oddly, or maybe not oddly) in my early twenties as well. A 100% platonic friend of mine who lived in an entirely different city cut off ties with me because his girlfriend said he couldn't have female friends. It made me sad, but ya know what can you do about it. That friendship was never re-established, but it seems like you two were closer than my failed friendship.

I wouldn't encourage you to actively hope for a reconciliation, but who knows what may happen years from now. If they break-up he may reach out to you and you will have to see how you feel at that time.
posted by Julnyes at 10:56 AM on June 15, 2016

While men and women can be friends and only friends, I suspect this fellow was interested in you in some way. He may not have had any intention of pursuing it, but he may have been attracted to you, crushing on you, or waiting in the wings. His girlfriend picked up on this and gave him an ultimatum. He chose her. Then, he tried choosing you while badmouthing his girlfriend, but when it was clear you were just going to be platonic with him, he chose her again. I'm sorry, it is absolutely shitty, but I think the issue is an unequal level of interest and possibly a perceptive girlfriend who saw his interest in you for what it was. In the end, you are better off without this drama. That doesn't mean you can't still enjoy the memories you have and the experiences you shared before all of this. I hope that helps!
posted by katemcd at 2:36 PM on June 15, 2016 [2 favorites]

I agree that it was the girlfriend's idea and that he wrote that email under the assumption (or even knowledge) that she would read it. Everyone is correct: the two of them have every right to conduct their relationship as they see fit.

But, what a piece of shit this guy is regardless. Having a right to do so, does not mean it's ethical to erase your BFF history and kind of gaslight you into believing you had just IMAGINED the closeness of your friendship. That is so hurtful, and just plain mean. If he can't keep his girlfriend ANY other way (like honestly saying how much your friendship meant to him, even though he couldn't continue it) then he should kick that woman to the curb. But even so, he made the decision. It isn't her fault, because he could have put his foot down and insisted he was not going to treat you cruelly.

He will be back, telling tales of misery about this relationship when it ends. Remind him of the choice he made and tell him to fuck off.
posted by The Noble Goofy Elk at 4:32 PM on June 15, 2016 [9 favorites]

Being 20 sucks. But I promise it gets better. At least some men do, eventually, figure out how to be platonic friends with women. But this is not that guy. He'll probably reach out again when he breaks up with that girlfriend, so it's up to you if you want to maintain this as an uncomfortable friendship until the two of you eventually realize Nothing Is Going To Happen.
posted by ch1x0r at 6:41 PM on June 15, 2016

I'm so sad that I lost one of my best friends with what feels like zero explanation.

You got two distinct answers -- his girlfriend asked him not to talk to you and the two of you were never the kind of friends you thought you were and he's moving on. Those two answers may be related.

The fact remains, you already have two different answers to the question of why he no longer wants to be friends with you. Random strangers on the internet may provide you with other, additional explanations but they are not more likely to be correct than one of the two you have already received from the person involved.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:56 PM on June 15, 2016

Oh, and when he trampolines back into communication with gripes about girlfriend, don't be providing open arms of comfort and agreement. 'Sorry to hear that.' Step back and stop being used.

It's hard at any stage in life to negotiate changes in intimacy, especially around friendships, but particularly hard in your twenties when formerly unproblematic closeness starts to compete with new romantic relationships. Look at this triangle perhaps in this way. You don't know your place in his life here, the GF feels threatened by your place in his life, and so does he because his romance is telling him that the attachment to you is wrong.

Enjoy your relationship with your partner and separate yourself from this unhelpful triangle. I mean, what are you getting now? Repudiation, insecurity, mind-fucking and dismissal.
posted by honey-barbara at 3:12 AM on June 16, 2016

I had a really dear friend that I knew for two years. We met by chance, and like you, we connected on a rather deep level. We had many intellectual things in common, and we wrote emails at least once a week, about anything and everything. He considered me his 'best friend', and told me almost everything about himself and his life. When we talked on the phone, we'd chat for hours and hours and it felt pretty carefree and easy when we were together in person too. Unlike you two, there had been a tentative relationship attempt on our parts, that had been nixed when he started getting close to someone else. When he met her, I noticed he began re-writing our past, too. Once I said that chatting to him all night wasn't something I did with just anybody, he blankly told me that 'he has that kind of charisma with everyone, and is just chatty,' despite him telling me the opposite, before. I began to feel really confused that my impression of our friendship had been so wrong, and this camaraderie I thought we had together appeared to be in my head.

Turns out, the girlfriend was calling the shots, and I bet you anything, it is the exact same dynamic at play in your scenario, too. She was in her very early 20s and possibly age played a part in her insecurities. Although in his case, she used her past trauma (apparently being cheated on) to manipulate him into giving her access to all his accounts, because she didn't want to be with someone who wasn't transparent. When I pointed out that trust shouldn't really be explicit like that, and that what was at play was actually a lack of trust-- he said that transparency would be good for him. And like your friend, his girlfriend went through all his private correspondence-- letters, emails, gifts-- There were things I'd told him in complete confidence, that I never thought any one else would see, that she sifted through. The morning after I left, I got a text from him, telling me how much he missed me and felt a gaping hole in his heart without me staying there, oh and his cat missed me too. I didn't reply, instead writing an email telling him I needed to let go of the friendship for a while because it was too tough for me to hear stuff like that, and wished them well and much happiness. I didn't expect (nor want) a reply, really. She intercepted this, and actually replied to me instead -- calling me 5 shades of what's what and asking me to meet her so I could apologize to her. Yes, really. I was pretty angry, because my email had been pretty benign and not intended for her. I refused and washed my hands of it, and yet kept getting intermittent messages pressuring me to meet them and instigate drama. Weeks later, I got a warning from him that she was making him write me an email and that he didn't have a choice but to send it and he was sorry in advance. This felt kind of pathetic to me and I told him I didn't want anything to do with it. Yet it was sent anyway, written as if he had a hawk on his shoulder, that was along the lines of what you describe your friend saying, and that re-wrote and contradicted things he had said to me in person, and what our friendship meant and echoing things she had said to me, too. It felt almost robotic, and it probably was, as I wasn't his sole audience.

I'm being long-winded again, but, essentially your friend as you knew him is gone. It doesn't matter why she's jealous or if it's silly because there's no chemistry. She just is, and you already know she doesn't want you two to interact. It's not even about that, sometimes-- in my case, his girlfriend was jealous of him having (even mundane) experiences-- like trying out a new touch screen soda fountain without her, even. And I felt like, perhaps my friend was so enmeshed in all of it, that re-writing our history and friendship together suddenly became 'true' to him. I'm not sure if that makes sense, but essentially, you weren't wrong when you thought you had a deep connection and were close once, but in trying to get re-create the same feelings with his girlfriend, he's practically convinced himself that he didn't have much in common or anything special with you, and that's become his reality now.

It sucks and it's hurtful and confusing, but it's not on you. I'm not sure why people continue to endure situations they hate, but it's hardly unique. Who knows. My friend, like yours, also had moments where he was being 'truthful' and lamented his relationship, too, but his 'public' face-- anything that could be traced to him such as emails said a different story. But you gotta remember: This is a choice he made, regardless of how manipulative she was being. He is consciously making a choice, and he's always had a choice the entire time. He chose to be with her and he chose to let her manipulate him. Also, perhaps part of him just likes to be controlled in that way, despite his initial protests to the contrary. In any case, it is what it is, and better to find out earlier rather than later. You don't need friends like that in your life.
posted by Dimes at 4:01 AM on June 16, 2016 [4 favorites]

I'm going through this too and it feels bad. Friends for over a decade, I was living abroad for a year and my friend came to visit in April 2015 (last time I saw him). As SOON as I touched down at the airport to come back home, he was the first person asking when he could see me. He had been in a relationship with a new woman for about 3 months by this point.

He blew me off 3 times and then I stopped hearing from him. We now live 10 minutes apart and I still haven't seen him since returning 10 months ago. He even asks several of our mutual friends how I am, what I'm doing etc! So I'm thinking maybe he had more than Platonic feelings he wasn't willing to talk to me about + his girlfriend wasn't comfortable with the relationship.

Also, I think it IS possible to be friends with the opposite sex. But it isn't easy. Over the last year, I have to cut way back on friendships with 2 guys I thought would be in my life long-term. Meanwhile, I have cultivated my friendships with some long-term male friends who I really love and trust in a completely Platonic way. In one of these friendships, feelings can rise and fall, but I've (we've?) decided it's better to ride the wave for a while and remember that we're better as friends only. My friend was actually the one to raise this point and to be able to talk it over can really help.

You can't pull him in another direction. His head space at the moment seems to be directed at this relationship. My friend seems loved up and I do expect him to reappear down the road at some point. Will I let him come back? Probably, but we won't be as close as were before. I don't accept being dropped by anyone, regardless of how many great times came prior.
posted by Ariel432 at 7:34 PM on June 18, 2016

So... my follow-up to this is that we recently got back in touch. It kind of came out of the blue. He sounded happy to hear from me, and our chat was not limited to small talk. Obviously the dialogue isn't the same as it had been previously, but damn, I remember why it was so fun to talk to him. He apologized and said he had behaved stupidly, and explained that when he decided to stop talking, he had hit a rough patch with his girlfriend (who he is still currently with; he didn't say much about their status other than that they're doing well).

I suppose I felt (or feel?) slighted given the way he went about the whole thing, but I also don't see much point in holding grudges. We have good conversations, and he shares certain aspects of my background in a way that relatively few other people in my life do. There are a multitude of variables involved in this two-way street, but any thoughts on next steps in possibly re-establishing this friendship (or not, and if so, ... the rationale for this)?
posted by fernweh at 9:45 PM on August 3, 2016

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