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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » "It's complicated"

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Author Topic: "It's complicated"
Kath
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Member # 48639

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The background as concise as I can make it:

I'm 20 and I've just started getting therapy (CBT if anyone cares lol) for depressive and anxiety symptoms (I don't know whether it's severe enough to be called a mental disorder).

Three years ago my then-bff-friend Emily broke up with her then-boyfriend John. Two weeks later she began dating his friend James and they are still together. This breakup almost devastated our social circle. As a result of the breakup, I became good friends with John. Emily tends to be quite insecure about herself, though she portrays quite a dominant personality.

My now ex-boyfriend and I were together for four years, and over time it ended up being quite serious (though that wasn't why I broke it off). A lot of shit went down as a result of my breaking up with him a little over a month ago. A lot of people saw it as being very sudden. Emily and I had a misunderstanding and it ended up getting to the point where we are no longer friends and probably will never be close again, as well as the shitstorm effecting other friends.

Now onto the boy trouble. At the end of last year our friend Matt confessed that he had feelings for me, and these came out into the open after I broke up with my ex. I had no real idea what I felt about him, and his strong attention to me was very flattering. Unwittingly I ended up leading him on for a good couple of weeks to the point where we had sex online, roleplaying the actions through IM. Afterwards this shocked me into realising that I HAD to make a decision about my feelings for him. In the end I worked out that I didn't like him in that way, so I had to break two men's hearts in less than a month.

The current issue:

Now back to John, and the reason why I'm writing this in the first place. We are both single, and get on like a house on fire - he is my closest friend. I'm not sure how to put how I feel about him into words, but I'm going to try. Lately we've both been saying that we would probably work well as a couple, though not acting on anything beyond long hugs. Now, John wouldn't exactly be my first choice for a boyfriend (he's not motivated about his career or lack of, he is THE biggest nerd I know and he thinks that having a hairy face is a good thing for him to have), but he is a fantastic friend and I'd have to say he'd probably make a pretty good boyfriend too. Also over the last few days I've started having (very tame) sexual fantasies involving him. I've been encouraging him to seek out other women because I don't know whether I'm ready for another long term relationship so soon.

The problem with dating him that I don't think I'm over my ex yet and I'm not so sure that I'm physically attracted to John or just his nice-ness. And then of course there are our friends. Dating Emily's ex would be considered (by her and some others) the biggest betrayal ever, and so many of our friends roll their eyes at John's laziness (he lives with his parents btw and isn't studying at the moment) and extreme nerdiness. His being nerdy doesn't bother me because I'm pretty geeky too. What does bother me is his apparent unmotivation to begin a career and what our friends would think about us hooking up. It's likely to sever our social circle even more than it currently is (no thanks to me).

So yes, a lot has happened and I'm pretty confused. Do I go out with John? What do I feel about him, really? Do we stay as platonic friends? If we do go out and the relationship ends, will I have lost the best friend I've ever had? I've been asking myself these questions but I can't answer them [Confused]

Sorry this has been so lengthy, I tried to make it as short as possible but I though it's all relevant.

Posts: 20 | From: Australia | Registered: Aug 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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I think that before you go to the place where you think about what the social implications of dating him would be, you're going to need to clarify your own feelings about him romantically.

Now, plenty of times people we have romantic and sexual feelings for will do something with their appearance we think looks silly or may even find un-sexy. They may have very different life or career aspirations than we have. They may be nerds or may not be as nerdy as we are. [Smile] But usually, those things aren't about how we FEEL, and if we have those romantic/sexual feelings or not.

Do you feel romantic/sexual chemistry with him, rather than what sounds like you two kind of intellectually thinking couplehood might work? You express having sexual fantasies about him, which can certainly be one cue about your feelings. Do you have any others?

--------------------
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

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Kath
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Cues...

I really enjoy his hugs. He almost fell asleep on me once while we were sitting on the couch, and that was really nice.

I can't really think of any others.

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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Is enjoying kind of generally and nonsexually physical affection a way you tend to identify if you have romantic or sexual feelings for someone? In other words, is something like enjoying hugs not something you usually experience with platonic friends?

How about people you've dated in the past and known you had romantic/sexual feelings for: does the way you feel about this person have any common threads with how you felt about those folks?

--------------------
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

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Kath
Neophyte
Member # 48639

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I do enjoy hugs with people I'm not sexually involved with (my parents and a couple of close girl friends for instance). Cuddling is another matter though. John and I have done so twice and the only other person who I have ever cuddled is my ex. I haven't been sexual with anyone other than that ex and haven't had romantic or sexual feelings for anyone except him before. So it makes it difficult for me to know...where does the line between friend and 'something more' begin and end?

I can't really compare how I feel about John to how I felt about my ex because I find it hard to think about the ex in any sort of way except for dislike and annoyance. Thinking back to four years ago though, when we first started going out, and I can see some things are somewhat similar. Like I really look forward to seeing him and feel perfectly comfortable in his company. I find myself having the same sort of innocent fantasies about him. Like when I was with my ex I would plan in my head these perfect silly romantic moments. I've grown and changed a lot in the last four years though.

I feel as if it's taboo to want to date John, so that might be interfering with how I see how I'm feeling. It's all quite confusing.

Posts: 20 | From: Australia | Registered: Aug 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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Ultimately, I think identifying feelings like this is about gut feelings, especially when you don't feel like you have a good basis of comparison.

Maybe it might help to frame it like this: do you think you two are talking about how well you might work as a couple because HE has those feelings -- but not you, or you don't know, which to me, says you probably don't -- or because you both simply want a romantic relationship in general right now, and you're both available and also have one good relationship as friends?

OR, do you think these conversations are in part led by feelings you have for him which are the kind that would incline you to pursue a romantic relationship?

I get that you're saying you think the fact that dating would be socially problematic may interfere with your thought process on this, but something that that usually won't really influence your feelings. Do you FEEL in love with this guy?

--------------------
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

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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