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Confused Over an On-and-Off Relationship

"How Do I Get Out of This On-Again, Off-Again Relationship Cycle?"

This question is from a Group Therapy post in our community. Add your advice in the comments!

I have been friends with a guy for almost 15 years. We grew up down the street from each other and have the same circle of friends. Five years ago, during college, we started "talking." He claims we were dating, but it was never actually declared. He never said that to me or to his friends, who berated him for playing games and screwing up something good. He then effectively blocked every attempt by anyone else — his friends and mine — from trying to date me by staking his claim. It was never overt, but he basically scared off everyone else. When I pushed for an official title, he resisted and instead began dating an ex-girlfriend in a mostly on, sometimes off relationship. We kept in touch and remained friends, and we were occasionally something more when he and his ex were off. The sentiment expressed both during and after their breakup was the existence of feelings for me despite their relationship, but he's yet to make any kind of move in the year since they split.

In an effort to move on with my life, I have tried to cut him out of my life and he objects — loudly and profusely. Whenever I try, something inevitably goes wrong in one of our lives: family cancer scares, death of close friends and family, etc. Then we revert back to 15 years of friendship, love, support, holding hands, and hospital visits.

Psychologically, the back and forth is a bad situation and it is starting to irritate everyone we know on both ends. However, the mutual feelings are insanely obvious to those around us. Plus, any new significant others are compared and found lacking by friends and family alike. We both admit feelings, but acting on it . . . well, it hasn't gotten there yet and may not ever. I know I need to do something, but I can't figure out what it is. This is a vicious cycle. Cutting him out isn't an option because of the circle we've built. What do I do?

Have a dilemma of your own? Post it anonymously in Group Therapy for advice.

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