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Other friendships Best friends, ex-friends, or any other friends

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Old December 26th, 2015, 06:46 PM
lucina001 lucina001 is offline
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Complicated (possibly unhealthy) friendship with ex-boyfriend.

I started dating a guy when I was 17 and still in high school (we are now both 23) it only lasted about 6-7 months before I broke it off because I didn't feel the same way as he did. I was expecting a sort of "cooling off" period where we wouldn't talk for a number of weeks and then in the future return to being amicable friends. This did not happen. About a week or two after we broke up I got a message from him (we'll call him Ben) saying that he really cared about me and hoped that we could still remain close friends. I agreed and soon after we started talking and hanging out again.

Once we graduated high school we ended up getting accepted into the same university (different courses) that was about a 45 minute drive away from our home town. Since I didn't have my licence at the time, I got lifts off him pretty much the whole time through our 4 year degrees. We built a really strong close friendship, but I still never regained romantic interest in him. We talk about really personal things like relationships and sex and mental health issues, etc.

Here's the problem -- I have a group of female friends who I am very close to.. some of which I've known since primary school or at least early high school. Basically, they're my best friends and we've stayed close even when we haven't always lived in the same town. Ben, however, does not have a close group of friends. It's always been a point of contention between us because he has always felt like he doesn't 'rank' as high as my female friends. Recently it's become a lot worse - Ben's always complaining about how he's always the one that has to initiate conversations with others and how he's the one that always suggests meetups but people often cancel on him or don't even reply. He basically feels really sh*tty about the fact that he doesn't have a lot of friends and they don't seem to want to initiate hanging out with him. To be honest, I kind of get it - he's not the most interesting/exciting person to hang around with. He's a really nice guy and all but he's quite shy and can be reserved and quiet.. I don't want to use the word boring because it sounds harsh but I think that's what other people think of him.

ANYWAY I don't know what I'm supposed to do. I feel like he's really dependent on me and my friendship, we go out for coffee pretty much every weekend and we text almost every day. It wouldn't be so bad if I didn't suspect that he still fancies me and holds out hope (even after all these years) that we'll get back together. He keeps asking me what I like about guys (how they dress, etc) and then he goes out and buys those clothes/gets that hair cut and I don't know... initially I thought he just wanted a female perspective but then it got really obvious! Late last year I fancied this guy (nothing ever came out of it, in fact he has a girlfriend now) but I told Ben about him and Ben started acting reeeeally strange. He text me that he wanted to meet me and when we met up he basically admitted that he felt really jealous and that it made him realise that he was still in love with me. It was really awkward and awful and I told him that nothing had changed and I still don't want a relationship with him. He didn't get angry or anything, he just got sad.

We're still close friends and talk a lot but I'm starting to really worry that he's developing an unhealthy attachment to me. The thing is, I don't want to cut him off because I know he doesn't have many friends and that would be an overall sh*tty thing to do. But I don't know how to encourage him to get out and meet people so our friendship isn't as emotionally intense as it is. I like him but I need a break, I don't even talk to/see my best friends as much as him.

Hmm. That was really brief, is missing a lot of stuff and I'm not even sure if it makes sense... I don't even know what I'm asking. I guess I just want a fresh opinion on what to do and some advice about what to say when Ben talks about how no one wants to hang out with him.
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Old December 26th, 2015, 09:34 PM
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KayKay KayKay is offline
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Re: Complicated (possibly unhealthy) friendship with ex-boyfriend.

If Ben is a really nice guy, would you consider introducing him to female friends of yours? It sounds as though, as much as anything, he doesn't know how to go about meeting people. Depending on how much time you want to invest in him, ask him to join a club with you (of some mutual interest) and see if he can meet other people there.

If Ben talks about how no one wants to hang out with him, ask him if he'd like honesty from you. Being as gentle as you can, suggest ways he can be more interesting. Build up his positive characteristics and confidence and give him ideas on how to make friends.
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Old December 27th, 2015, 11:55 AM
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Re: Complicated (possibly unhealthy) friendship with ex-boyfriend.

I have no advice

you sound like a nice person (hugs)
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