My five-year relationship has been going downhill for the past couple of years, and I've been struggling over whether to try to make it work or move on. We live together but hardly see each other. He's always out doing something for someone, and when he's home, he's either sleeping or on the phone. We don't talk anymore, and I feel completely disconnected from him. I've talked to him about how I feel on more than one occasion, and it doesn't seem to make a difference. I recently started seeing some old friends and that has helped me deal with all this loneliness.
I have been faithful to him throughout this struggle until a few days ago, when some heavy petting and kissing took place with one of those old friends. It was with someone I have always had a thing for who is, himself, in a relationship. All that aside, I feel terrible that I let things get out of hand but glad it didn't go further. I now feel that since I allowed that to happen, deep down in my heart I ended the relationship. What's worse is that I have feelings for this old friend but know it'll never blossom into love. Where do I go from here?
—Mixed Up and Lonely Lindsay
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Dear Mixed Up and Lonely Lindsay,
Well, first things first. You've got to close one door before you open another. It's clear that although emotionally you and your current boyfriend ended this relationship a while ago, you haven't officially ended it yet. Before you can start seeing someone new, you've got to have "the talk," break up, and move out. You need some space and time to build yourself back up and get over this guy. Spending time with supportive friends can really help, but getting involved with someone else will only cloud the hurt and resentful feelings you have for your ex.
You may have feelings for this old friend, but part of me just thinks you're lonely and were reaching out to someone you're comfortable with. Until you are broken up for good and living apart from your ex, I don't think it's wise to see this other guy, especially since he's in another relationship.
Once you've had a chance to mourn the loss of your ex and your heart has had a chance to heal, then you'll be ready to welcome someone new into your life. At that time, if you still have feelings for the friend you hooked up with, and he's available, I say go for it.