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Letting go of a friendship that's become unhealthy
September 10, 2005
1:41 am
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cindle
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I’ve been reading the postings on this site for the past couple of weeks and want to tell you that they have helped me out a lot. I even printed out something that someone wrote about being single, which really hit home to me. I’ve been divorced for almost a year but separated for almost two years. After 21 years of marriage, my ex left with no warning and moved in with another woman. It was really devastating to me and my kids. I’ve worked really hard at trying to heal from that. After my ex left, a man that I work with and have been friends with for a couple of years starting showing interest. Of course, since he’s really cute and 14 years younger than me, I was totally flattered! We became really good friends and started hanging out with each other a lot. I knew that our relationship was not a long term thing because of the differences between us, but I was lonely and we had fun together. The problem – he was married, but living apart from his wife. Last January, he told me that he’s back with his wife. But, they still live separately apart. I quit talking and seeing him and it was really hard. Well, in May, we started seeing each other for coffee and things have slowly progressed from there. He’s totally unhealthy for me and still “with” his wife (living separately.) He’s recently started to chat up some girls on this one web site and hasn’t been around much for me. So guess what starts coming out – all my old codependent behaviors that I worked on when I got sober and drug free 16 years ago. I’m thinking about him all the time – and like someone said here “why spend all that time wondering what he is doing – do you think he spends all that time wondering what you are doing.” Those words really hit home. My therapist’s theory is that I’m substituting him for drinking and drugging. Using him to deal with the emptiness and the pain from the divorce. But, I have an awful powerful attraction to him too!!

The thing is that I know that he cares for me and wants us to be friends. He tells everyone that I’m his best friend. But, I’m more emotionally involved than him and I’m not sure how to step back and just be friends which is where I need and want to be. I'm also afraid of being alone.

This last week has been very difficult for me in another way. I'm trying to adjust to a change in my depression meds. I know they take weeks to kick in and so I'm wondering if I'm just blowing all this out of preportion.

I would love any and all advice. I've been in therapy for about 4 years, but my therapist left her practice to take care of her mother. I need to find someone else, but haven't been really motivated cause it feels like I'll be starting all over again.

Thanks for listening

September 10, 2005
3:10 am
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luckyguy
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cindle

I know a little bit of how you feel. I've been in the situation of having younger female friends that couldn't live without me in their life, and who said I was their "best friend". I always start out wanting to be friends and nothing more. But somehow when you spend hours and hours chatting and talking with someone and sharing emotions, you feel very close to them. You become part of their life. So, I always seem to end up having feelings for them. So when I realize they don't feel the same, I feel very insecure, I want to break it off for my own sanity, and they act like I stuck a knife in their back or bombard me with emails and tell me they want to kill themselves! Then I feel really guilty, and I can't go through with it. So I'm back in a friendship which I want to be more, and THEY'RE happy, but I'm tortured and depressed. I had to get on antidepressants and start seeing a therapist too.

I think if I hear ther word "best friend" from a female one more time, I'm going to shoot MYSELF!

Sorry -- it doesn't solve your problem, but at least your not the only one going through these kinds of feelings. But don't pity me, because I'm married and just in a very unfulfilling relationship. I just seem very vulnerable to falling in love because there's a big void in my life right now.

I hope someone ELSE has some answers.

September 10, 2005
8:24 am
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Anonymous
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luckyguy -

no offense, and maybe I am wrong, BUT, aren't you married?

maybe I am wrong - but - if I am not - any woman who thinks of you as more than a best friend is not worth having around - because they do not respect the boundaries of marriage - nor do you apppear to if you are seeking more than just "best friends".

that being said -

cindle - just like a drug and alcohol addiction - sometimes people addictions are all or nothing too - at least until we learn how to lead healthy lives. If this person is causing you misery, no matter how hard it is, perhaps it's best to cut it off totally....just a thought.

September 10, 2005
9:52 am
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lilmissfixit
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Cindle...

When you say that he cares for you, what does that mean? Does he know the pain he's caused you? I think this guy, like many of the men that make use crazy (probably even you, luckyguy...no offense) has charmed you by making you feel special just like he's doing with the new girls he's contacting now. All the while still "with" his wife, whatever that means.

This guy is a user and is no best friend to anyone, including you. He cares for himself at the expense of other people's feelings and emotions. End contact and friendship. Put your energy into someone who is capable of being a true friend. But most of all, be a friend to yourself.

Love and support coming your way...

September 10, 2005
3:37 pm
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luckyguy
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alicat

I stated that I was married in the previous post. I wasn't trying to hide that fact. And no, I was not seeking anything more than friends. But, sometimes, in human relations, feelings develop when you get close to someone of the opposite sex. Especially when one has a huge void in one's marriage. What would you have me do? Live my life in an isolation box? I did that for the first 15 years of our marriage, and it didn't work.

I could be a hypocrite and act like some godly creature who would never even allow an imperfect human emotion to enter his mind. But I'm not going to do that here. I am just being honest. If you think love is something you can plan according to a simple set of rules, and that a married person can never fall in love with someone else, then you would be wrong. Ideally, that would be the case, but we don't live in a black and white world. Nothing ever turns out the way we plan.

September 10, 2005
4:21 pm
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cindle
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Thanks lilmiss - I know in my head that I need to end it but its my heart thats having a harder time.

September 12, 2005
4:17 pm
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cindle
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Ok - so, for the past couple of days I've cried and cried over losing the friendship (again, not sure if its the meds too.) It's felt so much like when my ex left. I've been really good at not contacting him. I'm miserable and even didn't go to work today. So, now I'm thinking that I can just set some boundaries but still be friends. But, in my head, I know that won't work. This will be the third time in the last year that I've put distance between us but I keep going back and seem to think that I can handle this relationship. Letting go is so hard! I'm so tired of grieving over lost relationships.

September 12, 2005
4:28 pm
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Anonymous
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lucky guy -
I would think that you should be living in an isolation box WITH your wife.

yes, we are attracted to other human beings - no lie about that - BUT - what makes us better than others - is our choice to IGNORE those feelings - and focus on the one we chose to love and cherish, FORSAKING ALL OTHERS, until death do you part.

these other women may VERY WELL have more than just friendly feelings for you - but are honoring their OWN vows, and keeping them aside - and not sharing them.

read that book I mentioned - "NOT just friends" - it really explains what you are doing and why it is infidelity, with or without the sex involved.

if you aren't happy in your marriage and counseling is not an option you or your wife is willing to consider - then stop using your "low self esteem" as an excuse and just move on. You are hurting yourself, your wife and your son by staying in a marriage that has made you so miserable.

I didn't say you can't fall in love with someone outside your marriage - but if you protected your marriage and kept the outside "intruders" out - you wouldn't have the chance to fall in love and therefore risk everything. You didn't go seeking anything, but you found it - and now you are making excuses for it. If you protected your marriage and really honored your vows, no, you would not have fallen for anyone else - it IS that simple. You have to be open to falling in love with someone other than your wife - if you are open to that idea, love WILL find you - but if you keep your vows up front in your mind - then the opportunity would knock, but you would dismiss it and seek your love from your partner - not from someone else.

I hate to sound so self righteous, but - my BF cheated on me with a friend he met online who was "just a friend"...he confided in her when the chips were down and when she had her chance, she sucked him in and wanted to take him away from me - and did - but I got him back - but not after a terrible deal of pain had been caused. It starts out innocent - but you opened a door - pandora's box - and if you keep it open - you will find someone to cheat with - cuz lord knows, there are plenty of women (and men) out there who won't honor your vows or theirs.

I take the vows of marriage VERY seriously - and that's why I won't marry until I know I can sustain a happy healthy marriage with a partner who can offer the same.

you don't want to fix your marriage with your wife - so please - suck it up and get out - do everyone a favor - including yourself. the idea IS scary - but it can be done.

September 12, 2005
4:43 pm
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taj64
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Hi CIndle. I think this guy is playing you because he can. If he is living with his wife, then he is committed. The person that is going to get hurt or already hurt is you. Sure he will hurt too but his commitment is to her. This attraction is fantasy, and unhealthy. WHen you are not around, he is looking for other women. Is this what you want for you? YOu deserve better than this guy. Don't be afraid to be alone. It is better to be alone than hung up on a guy who cannot give you what you really want. He cannot. Do you trust this guy? I don't.

Lucky guy, if you are unhappy in your marriage, get out. Then find your soulmate. Don't be looking and drawing women into your web for substitution what you cannot get from your wife. Two halves don't make a whole. Think about other people that can get hurt from all this including your wife.

September 12, 2005
4:58 pm
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cindle
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Taj

No, I don't trust this guy. He's a user and he's treating his wife really shabby (she should have thrown him out long ago.) But, why the pull and the attraction??? I know that no one can answer that but me. Probably the alone thing. I don't do well with alone. But, I'm reading a new book called Positive Solitude and am hoping that will help.

Thanks,
Cindle

September 12, 2005
5:03 pm
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taj64
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It is better to be happy and alone then to be alone and be in love with someone that is selfish and uses. You deserve better. Without trust, a relationship is unsuccessful. In the long run, you will save yourself a lot of hurt and pain if you stop contact with this person. Time will heal it and you will be a better person for it.

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