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You Asked: Can He Quit His Crush and Be a Friend?

DearSugar --

I have a male friend who I have been friends with for awhile now. About six years ago, I wasn't dating anyone and messed around with this friend. It was a bad idea and I wished it had never happened because I knew he had strong feelings for me. Almost five years ago I started dating my current boyfriend who I love and adore. My guy friend and I stopped talking for almost a year because he was having issues with my boyfriend and taking them out on me.

A couple of months ago we saw each other at a mutual friend's birthday party and talked and decided that we should be friends again and were ready to move on. Well last weekend a large group of us went out and my boyfriend was tired and decided to stay home. We were drinking and having a good time UNTIL my friend kept trying to dance with me and it made me uncomfortable. I brushed him off and he got upset because he said i wasn't being myself. I disagreed and distanced myself.

Later that night he grabbed me and asked me to kiss him! I was appalled and pulled myself away telling him no and reminding him I had a boyfriend. I could tell he was embarrassed and kept away from me. Later that night he called me very drunk telling me he needed to tell me something but when he called and I answered he changed his mind. He called several times after that and I just didn't answer and he didn't leave a message.

I want to have a friendship with him BUT he needs to move on and respect my
boundaries, but I am not sure that he can. He gets so easily offended and he isn't okay with someone being bluntly honest with him. I care for him and don't want to just stop talking again. I don't know what to do! Please help me! ~Confused Karen

To see DEARSUGAR's answer

Dear Confused Karen --

I'm not sure he can move on and respect your boundaries, either. Not yet, at least. Maybe he thought he could, when the two of you talked a few months ago, and maybe he just wanted to be near you again and was willing to let you believe he could resume a friendship. Though something about your note leads to me wonder if your friend ever felt deep feelings of friendship for you, Karen; I'm inclined to think he fell in love with you and didn't develop that particular ethic and bond of friendship that you seem to feel. If this is true, I suspect it will be very difficult for him to act as a friend, since his primary motivation toward you has been -- and still seems to be -- romantic.

By all means, show him your boundaries. His sensitivities are his own, and he must learn to manage and live with them; that is not your responsibility. Anyway, that kind of care must be mutual and reciprocal for a friendship to thrive, and his behavior at the bar, and his subsequent calls, don't indicate a reciprocal kind of care for your comfort. He blamed you, in fact, for your unease about his behavior while dancing. Think carefully about your own expectations for a friendship, Karen, and make sure he meets them.

Six years is a long time to carry an unrequited torch for someone. I think you must be firm and clear with him about the conditions under which you two can be friends, talk, and socialize. Though you don't want to, you might have to take a break again if he can't really show up, in a clean way, during that conversation. I hope he does, though, Karen. You've known each other a long time, and I can tell that he matters to you. And still, I hope you'll insist, for yourself, that he treat you as a friend really would.


Join The Conversation
nicachica nicachica 10 years
lol Andaman!
andaman andaman 10 years
Oh god I'm sorry I missed the beginning of the story. I thought it only happened once. I think you should disappear. He sounds aggressive.
andaman andaman 10 years
Be compassionate. It's better than disappearing from him. Especially if he is your good friend. Try to see the funny side of the whole thing. He was drunk! I've done some terrible things when I was drunk before. We all have.
andaman andaman 10 years
He has a crush on you. Why don't you go out for a coffee and tell him some of your drunken stories (there must be some :) ). Have a good chat about the whole thing. I'm sure it will be alright.
herbiefrog herbiefrog 10 years
sounds like its your issue... not his there isnt really time for all of this... but you take your time if you think there is... luck babe
Marci Marci 10 years
Dear Sugar speaks a lot of sense. The boundaries need to be established, and if he can't deal with them, it's really his issue, not yours. There are some people that we cross paths with in our life that ultimately become more trouble than they're worth. That could be the case with your old friend. Maybe the expiration date on that friendship is up.
Nicadema Nicadema 10 years
It seems that it is best for both him and you to just move on. He needs to get over his unrequited love for you and move on with his life. You being in contact with him will just make that transition harder. I've been in your situation, and that is what I did. He is now happily married. I still wish him well and always will--but it wasn't healthy for him to continue our friendship.
honeysugar28 honeysugar28 10 years
I agree with Dear Sugar the fact that its been this long and he still hasn't moved on tells me he can't really be your friend there's always going to be these feelings hanging over his head. Give him a little space for now I'm pretty sure he's embarrassed by his actions but if you just brush it off he'll think its no big deal. He needs to be a friend and show respect for you and your relationship.
nicachica nicachica 10 years
Dear is being much more diplomatic than i could be! But yes, i wholeheartedly agree with her. There's something about this friend that strikes me as odd. If he is your friend and you care for him, then why have you not lifted out his good qualities? What i'm getting from your post is that you're a bit freaked out by his behavior and you haven't really given a reason why you want to continue this friendship other than the fact that you've known him for a long time. I don't think that knowing someone for awhile should give them an automatic pass to stay in your life but that's your decision to make. Ask yourself if his redeeming qualities make up for the fact that "he needs to move on and respect my boundaries, but I am not sure that he can. He gets so easily offended and he isn't okay with someone being bluntly honest with him." i'm sure this isn't easy for you so i wish you luck. btw, you have handled this situation really have set boundaries and you've refused to coodle him. good for you!
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