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» Got Questions? Get Answers. » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » Should I go out with a long term friend?

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Author Topic: Should I go out with a long term friend?
domogneas91
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This has a little bit of a history lesson.

I have a friend whom I've known since I was 15 years old. We went out for about a fortnight when we were 17/18, but it just wasn't the right time. Even though we fell out over our 'break-up' and didn't talk for a few months, once we had cleared the air we became good friends again. We've been very close friends for about 7 years.

In that time, we've been out with other people. We both came out of relationships, that lasted for over a year each, later last year. His relationship ended on mutual enough terms, and my relationship ended very badly. We've been there for each other and taken care of each other as we've been dealing with our respective griefs; his listening ear isn't limited to my most recent heart break.

I went up to Dublin to visit my friend at the end of April, and we had a lovely time together: we did the things we used to do together when we were younger, hang out and go to the pictures and chat over tea, and it was brilliant. Even though we don't see each other for months at a time, it's like we were never apart.

I'd never really thought about it until my last visit to Dublin, but recently I've been thinking about giving our romantic relationship another chance. I've thought about it, rationalised it out endlessly, and made doubly sure that it's not a rebound reaction. I've been thinking maybe a good, solid, long-lasting friendship is a good foundation for a romantic partnership (that and we really like flirting with each other =P)

However, I do have concerns. I'm concerned about trusting my own judgment, as trusting my own judgment has never really ended well for me in the past when it comes to guys. I'm also concerned about a few other minor/dealable-with issues, ie. he lives about 160km away, etc.

Would someone like to help me tease this out a little? Maybe ask me a few obvious questions I haven't thought about? I just want to make doubly triply sure before I act on my feelings. Thanks =D

Posts: 52 | From: Ireland | Registered: Feb 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Molias
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I'm currently in a relationship with someone I initially dated briefly; we didn't know each other that well and it probably wasn't a great idea at the time. They broke up with me after about five weeks but we did remain friends (although I was really hurt for a while and should have given myself more space apart from them than I did).

About two years later, I was ending a relationship that had gone sour for several reasons and found that my feelings for this person, who had become one of my best friends, were starting to come back and I thought they might be feeling similarly. At the same time, though, I was very aware that most people I'd seen get back together after a breakup had the same relationship problems they'd had before, and usually I found myself thinking "why are they doing this? It's still not working out!"

So we talked about it. I sat down with this person on two separate occasions had had a long discussion about if we were both interested in dating, what problems we'd had before that we wanted to address and handle differently, how we'd approach certain relationship dynamics we both felt strongly about, etc. After that second conversation we decided to give it a try! It was a bit awkward to start that conversation, for sure, but I think that foundation is a big part of why our relationship has worked out well.


I think if you are interested in dating this friend, it's a good idea to talk to him about it, see how he feels, and bring up the issues like long-distance and anything else you have concerns about. Sometimes friendships are indeed a great foundation for romantic relationships! Of course, you don't have to do this all at once; you could start out with "how do you feel about us trying a relationship again, now that things are a bit different between us?" and address your other thoughts or concerns if he's interested. I do certainly think it's a great idea to bring up anything you're concerned about or want to make sure of early on, so that both of you can have the clearest picture possible of what a relationship would look like and how it would function.

I will say, though, that I do think it can be great to have a close friend of this type who isn't a dating partner; it's not better or worse, just a different dynamic that can be wonderful as well. And if you're ok feeling a happy little crush on him and enjoying that time together, that may be enough right now.

Maybe this is something you could sit on for a while, and possibly do some journaling or other introspective work to see what you're feeling the next few times you talk to him?

Posts: 1125 | From: San Francisco | Registered: Jan 2013  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
domogneas91
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Thank you for your reply!

A few things that are concerning me is that even through all the years that I've been his friend, I've always held a little torch for him. Every time I have a boyfriend, and we then go our separate ways, I feel a little something for my friend. It's just... always been there. Even though he isn't perfect, I feel like we'd go very well together because of our friendship.

I fear that if I decide just to leave him as a friend, I'll always have that 'what if?' nagging feeling. Don't get me wrong, I'm not all 'madly in love' with him, like we're star-crossed lovers meant to be together. I'd just like to give it a go, and if it doesn't work, at least I tried.

However, I phoned him today just to chat because I felt like I should talk to him, and recently a few wounds have been reopened about his ex. He was doing a lot better, but he's after getting all upset about it again: I listened to him for about two hours today and tried to soothe his troubled heart.

I hate to sound like a horrid, big headed female-dog, and this is just something I feel and not something I intend on acting upon, but this backwards step has really thrown off my groove. I was all excited about having this conversation, but now I feel like I'm back at square one.

I don't mean for this to sound insensitive to him: I do want what's best for him, and if that means me being there while he's grieving I'll do just that. I just don't want him to think I was only looking after him for an ulterior motive because that's not the case at all.

This has just confused me even more, though. Do I wait for him to be over his ex, or do I just tell him?

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domogneas91
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Somebody help me...? =D
Posts: 52 | From: Ireland | Registered: Feb 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Molias
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From what you're saying here, it sounds like you feel pretty strongly that you do want to date him. I think it is probably a good idea to bring it up sooner rather than later, if for no other reason than to see if he thinks it would be something he'd be interested in at all. Some of the questions you're having here, about where he is in terms of getting over his ex, distance issues, etc. are really the sort of question that only he can answer.

Even if you don't jump into something right away, it could be helpful to be a little more certain as to whether he'd want to try dating again. He may feel like he needs some more space to work through things with his ex, but even if that's the case he'll know you're interested.

I'm bringing up the idea of talking to him about it now because I think that sometimes, when we wait a long time to bring up romantic feelings or the possibility of dating someone, it can mean that everyday interactions become really fraught with secret emotions, or can feel awkward if one person's feeling a lot of tension that the other may not be aware of, and if you are spending time having a lot of "what-if" thoughts it may be a good idea to inject some reality into those musings.

You don't have to make a grand gesture, but asking a casual question about whether or not he'd want to try dating may be a good idea at this point. Beyond that, in terms of timing and such, there's no real way to know the best time. You mention his ex but I think knowing when someone is "over" an ex is pretty tricky, and different people feel comfortable starting new relationships at different points in that process. So he's the best person to know that, too. =)

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domogneas91
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Thanks again, Molias!

I've found what you've said very helpful. It's kinda just affirmed my own feelings on the situation, which is encouraging to me.

Wish me luck! =)

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Molias
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I'm glad I could be helpful! Best of luck. =)
Posts: 1125 | From: San Francisco | Registered: Jan 2013  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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