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Author Topic: Ex-boyfriend
strawberrygirl
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Hello Heather,
I dont have my own account, so I'm posting from my friend's and I'm hoping thats ok and you will still take the time to help me with my problem...
so, My boyfriend broke up with me in July 2012. Our relationship had gotten much worse, we were fighting over stupid things and I felt like he no longer wanted to be with me, felt like he was falling out of love (although in the beginning he had been the one pursuing me). eventually in July he broke up with me saying that he saw no future for the relationship, it was going nowhere and there was no point in continuing...He said he still had feelings for me, still cared about me but could no longer see me as his girlfriend, particularly in the long term future (marriage etc), believing we were incompatible. I had been acting clingy and needy as well which probably pushed him away. ( As I felt him pulling away from the relationship, I would become clingier and needier which only made things worse so it was like a vicious cycle.) I was devastated when our 2.5 year relationship came to an end.

Since then we have remained good friends and I am no longer sure that our relationship is 100% over...The fighting has stopped I try to focus on other things that don't include him, including dating other guys. However it seems he has not moved on. He messages and texts me every day (with rare exceptions), is very interested in me and my life including other guys I may be dating, sometimes says things that suggest he still loves me and regrets the break up...He's very sweet and caring towards me, always willing to help out, gives me gifts, uses his special affectionate nickname for me...We see each other about 1-2 times a week, but as i said, we talk every day (and it's usually him who messages first)...However, he has not shown any physical affection or sexual interest in me whatsoever since our break up and when I hint at getting back together, he ignores the comment and actually withdraws a bit. sometimes he makes a point of saying that we're "just friends". I am quite confused by the mixed signals and actually i think he may be confused too, it seems like he's no longer sure about his decision to break up and still has feelings for me, but maybe feels its too late to go back on it now...is that what's going on? and what should i do to get him back in this situation? does he still love me and theres a chance for us as a couple or am i just a close friend that he cares about?
I would really appreciate your advice and insight Heather! thank you [Smile]

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Roxie102
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Okay, I may not be the best help for this, but I'm sure others will contribute as well. If you would rather Heather answer, that's okay too, and I'm sure she can.

While I was reading your post, it almost seemed like something I could've written. My boyfriend broke up with me, but soon after, he was still acting the same. Just as you said, the relationship didn't feel over. Are you comfortable having him this close even if he only sees you two as friends or would you rather have some distance? If so, I'd encourage you to tell him that, that you're uncomfortable with the state of the relationship and you would like him to take a few steps back.

Too, you could honestly just ask him how he's feeling. It seems like he may not be able to talk about his feelings, but it's worth a shot. In my experience, my boyfriend waffled for a good long while and could never give me a straight answer, but one day, I suppose the answer just came to him, and he told me he'd like to get back together. I'm not saying this exact same thing will happen to you, but I'm just saying, sometimes someone really doesn't know their feelings, and though that's frustrating, it's okay.

As I said, if you're not ready to wait for him to sort out his feelings, tell him. You've said you're dating other guys. Is that going well? Think about what you really want before trying to figure out how he feels. Hope this helps!

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strawberrygirl
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Hello Roxie, thanks for your response!
you said " I'd encourage you to tell him that, that you're uncomfortable with the state of the relationship and you would like him to take a few steps back." and " if you're not ready to wait for him to sort out his feelings, tell him.you could honestly just ask him how he's feeling."

Well, while the current state of things is not ideal for me, I don't want to tell him to take a few steps back, in fact id rather encourage him to do the opposite, I'd like to get closer with him and somehow get back together...
I also dont want to pressure him explicitly by trying to force him to give me a straight answer. Ive done plenty of that before and it didnt really do any good. I dont want to pressure him as before because that just makes him withdraw even more. I guess i just want him to come to the conclusion that he does want to get back together, on his own. I want it to be his initiative. I feel like I've been needy and clingy, putting too much pressure on him in the past and he really didnt feel comfortable with that at all lol.
So basically, my objective is to encourage our eventual reunion rather than telling him to back off or try to force it out of him straight up maybe before hes ready to commit again (i feel if i do that, i just mess things up instead). any advice?

Thanks again! [Smile]

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Robin Lee
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Hi Strawberry Girl,

As part of our guidelines, we do ask that there be only one person per account. Registering an account is free, and very easy.

So, can you do that, and then we can resume this conversation?

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Robin

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midnightblue123
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Hey, I'm the original poster in this thread. I made my own account like you asked [Smile]

so...any advice/insight on my problem?
Thanks!

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midnightblue123
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Anyone?...
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Heather
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I'm sorry this got missed, midnightblue. Let me have a read right now and I'll post back.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
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Okay, read.

So, do I have right that YOU would like to get back together if that is a possibility? And that a lot of what you like about the way he's behaving is that a lot of it, for you, feels like you two are still involved romantically?

Can I also ask if you two took any real time apart after the split? Like, say, at least a couple weeks without talking, then some months before hanging out regularly again?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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midnightblue123
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Yes, I do want to get back together and judging from what i described above, it seems that he *may* want that too (although the signals are mixed, as i said). It still feels very much the same except for the physical affection and sex part [Frown]

and yea we did take a break for a few weeks, stopped talking and seeing each other (only started again mid-September, broke up beginning of July), but we decided to remain good friends which has worked out, except now i feel like we still have feelings for each other..do u think its just wishful thinking on my part or he feels the same? and if so, what can i do to encourage our reunion as a couple without explicitly pressuring him?

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Heather
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I can't possibly say how he feels. I'd also add that, especially when we have been in a romantic relationship with someone in the past, and even more so if that was our first relationship with them, we develop patterns of behavior with that person in that relationship. So, even though we change the nature of a relationship, we might still be in some of those patterns.

That might be some of what's going on here. Or, it might not. Who knows.

But what *you* know is how you feel and what you want. I don't see how openly communicating to him -- not pushing him or "encouraging" him, just saying what YOU feel and want and askign what he does -- that you still have those feelings and those wants and asking if he does is pressuring him. Can you maybe explain to me why you think it might be? Do you not feel like this guy has the ability, with you, to maintain his own choices? Since he was the one who split with you before, it seems to me he has that ability.

But I'd also check in with yourself: it sounds like things really didn't go very well the last time, especially at the end. Do you think something has radically changed with both of you -- and in a very short period of time, no less -- so that it would go more differently this time if he was interested in another go?

Have you dated at all in the meantime, or otherwise evaluated this isn't maybe just you still not being over the breakup or moving forward? Know what I mean?

[ 10-18-2012, 09:07 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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midnightblue123
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Well, breaking up was really hard for him to do...in fact, he almost did it another time before and what stopped him that time was the fact that I still had such intense feelings for him and he said he did too, although him not wanting to hurt me was a big part of it that prevented the first "attempt to break up". The only reason he was able to go through with it the second time was because we were fighting so much at that time and things werent going well. so i feel like if i start bringing up how i still love him and want him back like that first time, he'll feel pressured to get back together to make me happy (especially since the fighting phase is now over and we get along just fine now)...i know he still cares about me and might be willing to do that just out of pity for me, but i want him to be with me because HE wants to, not because i told him how much i want him back and he agreed to it...i hope that made sense. basically, i want him to take the initiative to get back together to make sure he REALLY wants it..

Yes i have been dating other guys, but i dont feel the same level of closeness or intimacy with any of them. the more i date, the more i realize how much i love him and want him in my life as my boyfriend..no other guy makes me feel the same way. and maybe its because im not over him yet, but i feel like hes the guy i really want to be with.
as for him, hes tried dating other girls too, but unsuccessfully..says its really hard for him to find someone he truly likes and same with me. Our relationship was the most intense and intimate (in every way) in our lives for both of us...we lost our virginities to each other

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Heather
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So, you know, it sounds to me like if you suspect he might get back together with you out of pity, or because he feels bad for you, that we can be pretty sure enough time probably hasn't lapsed for you two to get back together and have it be anything good.

In other words, that, to me, sounds like the dynamics really haven't changed in your observation, which would mean that, at best, what you'd likely get with another go anytime soon? Is a rerun: is things probably going exactly how they went before.

My own best advice here might be to actually create a little more space and distance, and to certainly give this more time. I'd also suggest maybe asking to dial back on things that DO remind you of romantic feelings or that relationship. As well, I'd say that just a few months really is not often enough time for someone to move on from a relationship that lasted over two years. How you're feeling now may or may not be how you feel six months or a year from now, and I'd kind of expect someone in your situation to still feel how you do, just because of the lack of space and time apart and the way things have been going with you two.

(It also sounds like your own esteem could use some biggering. Someone feeling someone would choose to be with them out of pity doesn't exactly suggest the strongest self-esteem. And I think you know from before, the last time around, that feeling low on that spectrum can really create problems in relationships.)

I'm heading out for the night, but can pick this up tomorrow, if you like. Obviously, you don't have to agree with me on this, so if you'd prefer to voice how you're feeling to him, we can also talk about some ways to do that which also make him just going along with you out of feelings of pity or pressure more likely.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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midnightblue123
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i actually do agree that maybe i need to give him more space to really re-evaluate things etc...giving him time and space may actually bring him closer eventually as he starts to realize what hes missing.
and maybe i wasnt making myself clear, sorry if thats the case, so let me clarify. He denies ever staying with me out of pity, what happened was that we were on the verge of breaking up and he decided not to go through with it because he still loved me and could see i still had strong feelings for him as well...so the whole pity thing is just my own suspicion, but he denies it...
Thanks for all your help, Heather! Good night and lets talk again tomorrow [Smile]

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midnightblue123
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and just to add to that, what I feel HAS changed in our dynamic is the fact that he's the one paying so much attention to me now and putting so much effort into our friendship, (messaging me daily, being all interested and sweet and caring and affectionate, giving gifts etc)...that suggests he may actually want to get back together but if i were to bring it up, we may end up going through a rerun of the previous scenario lol. so no, im not sure he would get back with me out of pity , but it would be a possibility if i started talking about my feelings first again and id like to avoid that. thats what i was trying to say
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Heather
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Sorry to be late getting back: this day really got away from me!

I think I'm understanding where you're at, what you're saying, and what you want here.

All that given, it's sounding like on top of more time to just be as you are being a good idea overall, it also sounds like it'd be a lot easier for YOU to feel much more confident going into a second round of a romantic relationship with him, if you do, if it's something he brings to the table rather than you. And given the history here, I can certainly understand that.

So, do you feel okay about just letting things be as they are, giving it all more time to both marinate and breathe, and seeing what happens? Obviously, even with that approach, at any time you'd have the ability to change your mind and voice your feelings and wants.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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midnightblue123
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Yup, i think thats what im going to do for now...just let it be and see what happens...

but if i do change my mind and decide to talk to him about it, how do u feel i should bring it up?

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Heather
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Well, I'd say that the thing to try and really focus on is voicing how you feel about him, and what you'd want IF it's something he wants.

In other words, own your own feelings. Make clear you know he might not share them, and if he doesn't, you can accept that and will be okay with that (if that's true: if you really don't think you can be okay with that, then I think putting this out there isn't sound).

You can also say how important to you it is that he know you just want to voice what you feel and want. You want him to feel however he does, and to want whatever he does: you don't want what you're expressing to play any part in making him feel he has to feel or want the same things, or be in any kind of relationship he doesn't want to be in with you, because that would NOT be what you want.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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midnightblue123
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ok thank you for your advice, Heather! I will just let things be for now, like you said...I will keep you posted on any further developments [Smile]
thanks again!

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heero222
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It sounds to me like he ended the relationship not because his feelings for you had changed but because the relationship was becoming unhealthy for both of you. Think about it, where was your relationship with him heading? The two of you as you yourself put it were "fighting over stupid things" and you had started to become "clingy and needy". Those types of things don't usually lead to happy endings. The first time he tried to end things he probably changed his mind because he was hoping that the feelings you two had would be enough to overcome the difficulties in your relationship. Obviously, they weren't enough.

Now that you two are "just friends" most of the good parts of your relationship are intact but none of the bad.

You said you were confused by the mixed signals. He probably still wants to be with you and is probably second guessing his decision, it is obvious he still cares about you and wants you to be happy, but he's bound to be asking himself "What has changed that would make the second attempt anything more than a rerun of the first?". It really is a question you should be asking yourself as well because from the sounds of it nothing has really changed at all.

I would strongly recommend that you use this as an opportunity to start over with him. Stop focusing on what isn't between you and instead enjoy fully what is between you. After all, you said “He messages and texts me every day (with rare exceptions), is very interested in me and my life including other guys I may be dating...He's very sweet and caring towards me, always willing to help out, gives me gifts, uses his special affectionate nickname for me...We see each other about 1-2 times a week, but as i said, we talk every day (and it's usually him who messages first)...However, he has not shown any physical affection or sexual interest in me whatsoever”. Sounds like there are plenty of good things between you that you can enjoy fully and the only major differences you’ve mentioned is the lack of physical affection and now having to call each other friends instead of boyfriend and girlfriend. I would recommend focusing more on the relationship between the two of you and less on how it is labeled. As for the lack of physical affection…well…there are other ways to deal with physical needs or you could just ignore them for now until things between you return to that level again.

If you really want to let him know your feelings without pressuring him you could say something like this “I know you don’t want to talk about this and I promise never to bring it up again, but I need the truth out there so that you know your options. I wouldn’t want a miscommunication to stand in our way. I’m happy when I’m with you and I want you to be happy, so you can have whatever part of me you want, or none at all if that is better… Okay, that’s all. Have you read anything interesting lately?” Of course if you say that you actually have to stick with it you can’t be hinting to him the next day that you want to get back together.

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midnightblue123
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Hey nighteyesv! What you said makes a lot of sense and I agree with you. I think that I need to show him (not tell him, but show) that things have changed for the better, that we can get along and not fight, have all the good things about our relationship without the bad. Hopefully, that will make him stop second-guessing him and realize we do have something special that's not to be wasted and is very hard to find with other people (for both of us).

And in order to do this, I just need to let things be for now and just fully enjoy what we have right now...In time, it will become clear which way our friendship develops, drifting away or back to the relationship level.

If he makes no move for a long while, I may bring up my feelings and talk to him, but i don't think I'm ready for that at this point. There's a good chance that he will initiate getting back together if i just wait a bit and also I feel that if i talk to him and it turns out he does NOT want to get back together, it will just makes things awkward and ruin our friendship (which includes so many good things) if he just sees me as a friend and knows im hoping for something more still..

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heero222
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quote:
Originally posted by midnightblue123:
Hey nighteyesv! What you said makes a lot of sense and I agree with you. I think that I need to show him (not tell him, but show) that things have changed for the better, that we can get along and not fight

I should probably clarify that there is "healthy" fighting and "unhealthy" fighting. It sounds like the fighting you two were going through was "unhealthy" fighting but you CAN still have "healthy" fights IF they are done properly. You shouldn't suppress your opinion over something he says or does that you disagree with just to avoid a fight. HOWEVER, there are ways to "fight fairly" that keep a fight healthy. I find the 37 rules to Fighting Fair in the following link to be very helpful on the rare occasions I actually remember the rules.
http://happylists.wordpress.com/2008/08/01/37-rules-to-fighting-fair/
It was written for couples but frankly it can be applied to all types of relationships with the exception of #17 regarding holding hands during a fight but the rest just have to be reworded a bit to work for a friendship. The first #10 says to limit a fight to no more then 30 minutes and to take a break before starting up again. Personally, I think given the attention span of youths today it should be 15 minutes but to each his/her own.

I am glad I could help. I keep an eye on my previous posts in case there are updates so if you need any more help just ask. Even if the two of you never get back together a good friendship can in its own way be just as enjoyable if you let it be. Hope everything works out for you.

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midnightblue123
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Hey, this is just an update on my situation...my ex and i have continued to be friends in the same way as described above. today i was over at his house and we were giving each other massages...well it turned into a sexual thing...sorry if this is too much information but he got hard and i started playing with his penis and he didnt stop me, went along with it (first time something like this has happened since our break up in early july)...we ended up doing oral sex on each other and touching and eventually having vaginal sex although there were a lot of awkward pauses in this process when we just lay next to each other naked, barely touching...the whole experience was just so weird and awkward, it was concentrated on the genitals, he barely hugged me and didnt even kiss me once during this whole process...i guess he thought that would be too intimate and personal and "relationship like"... recently id been craving sex with him, remembering what it had been like before when we were together, when his touch was like magic to me, sending goosebumps down my skin and butterflies in my stomach...this was nothing like that...it felt good at times, but just physically good and not even all the time...there were times when we'd just lie there awkwardly , naked next to each other, barely touching...afterwards he drove me home(it was late and he insisted on seeing me home safely), but something shifted between us...before this, i was so sure i still loved him and all i wanted was to have him back (like our friendship thing was temporary and i was just waiting to have him back)...but now im not sure thats the case anymore...he has lost his "magic", he feels so ordinary now and having sex with him didnt feel so close and intimate and emotionally connected as before...it used to be so amazing..im so confused now....is this because he was distant and impersonal with me (no hugging/kissing even during sex)or is it because my own feelings for him have changed so he doesnt make me feel the same anymore?..any thoughts/comments/advice would help..and what do i do now? pretend nothing happened and carry on with the friendship?
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midnightblue123
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and does this incident truly show that he doesnt want to get back together (because as u recall, i wasnt sure before because he seemed to be sending mixed signals).This was clearly an opportunity for him to be affectionate with me and voice his desire to get back together (if that was the case), but he avoided kissing me even during sex, like he purposely kept it impersonal and just a physical "genital" thing..so theres my answer right? im so confused! please help!
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Heather
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You know, it sounds to me like maybe this experince gave *you* some information that this relationship as a romantic/sexual one seems like it's pretty over.

In other words, again, none of us are going to be able to read his mind: to find out about his feelings, you have to ask him about them, not try and divine them from sexual beahviour like this.

But you can know YOUR feelings, and what I hear you describing here is that YOU felt differently; that it sounds like this was feeling more over for you. And you know, sometimes sex with an ex can result in things just like that: in making more clear to people why they're exes, in showing people that yep, it's not the old relationship we had, it's over, et cetera.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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midnightblue123
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i know that...im glad we had sex, it did make me realize that perhaps things are over for good...and while that hurts, giving up on the hope of getting back together is the first step towards healing...what im kind of confused about is whether its my feelings for him that have changed (i dont feel the spark anymore) or was the emotional connection missing because he was keeping himself distant and impersonal (no kissing/hugging) and thats what led to me being kind of turned off?
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Heather
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I think it's certainly possible your feelings have started to change because of his feelings having already changed. You knew they had, obviously, but maybe when that was more tangible -- when it was physical -- you felt it more clearly.

But who knows, ultimately. Either way, it's been clear his feelings have changed, and now it appears yours have, too.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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