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Breakdown of a "friendship" with a guy - complicated

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  • Breakdown of a "friendship" with a guy - complicated

    I'm going through the disintegration of a close friendship, if friendship is even the right word. I'm struggling to cope and I have no idea what the way forward is. It's very complicated so it's impossible for me to keep this short. Would greatly appreciate your thoughts.

    Back story: I'm 24 and "C" is 26. We met 4 months ago when we started interning together. C initiated after-hours contact with me. For some time, I was confused about his intentions. We quickly grew very close. We texted most nights until 3am, saw each other at work nearly daily, and met up after hours 2-3 times a week (including at my house). He actively befriended my mom and friends, introduced me into his friendship group, and arranged outings with me and my two friends (a couple, "B and T"). We wound up having two talks where he insisted we were just friends, especially as he was trying to make things work with another girl. He continued to send mixed signals though. After he told me he and the girl had chosen to just be friends, he came onto me strongly. I responded coolly to his hints, so nothing happened and we carried on as friends, though confusion lingered between us and there was always an element of flirting, especially from him.

    Despite the confusion, it has overall been a great friendship. We get along well, we can talk about anything and have great heart-to-hearts and conversations, he seems so genuinely supportive of me and my family (he even spends time playing sport with my mom), he says he values me and cares about me greatly. I thought he was someone really worth keeping in my life.

    What has seriously marred the friendship is C's weird temper. And to a lesser degree, how he often asks me to do things for him - though I stand up to it when I think he's asking too much, and he generally seems to accept that I won't agree to everything. The two problems are somewhat intertwined...

    8 weeks after we first met: he was writing a paper last-minute, I gave him the list of resources I'd used for a similar paper a year ago. I said one of the articles was particularly good; he said he 'couldn't be bothered' looking it up and told me to give him the URL. I didn't have the link handy at the time and I felt like he was being lazy, so I told him to find it himself. He exploded at me and called me an unreliable friend.

    6 weeks after the first fight: last Friday we had plans to hang out at my place with B and T. C said he wanted me to teach him guitar (back story: I'm a semi-pro guitarist/guitar teacher and C had been asking me to teach him for free. I said no to doing so regularly, but agreed to give him a lesson for his birthday. Actually, 2 other girls had previously offered to teach him for free, but for some reason he really wanted me to). I told C we'd do that another time since our friends would be there. C got angry, said he wasn't coming, and said "you're just avoiding teaching me". I was speechless; the very reason we planned to meet at my house was because my mom had hurt her leg the day before, can't walk for the next 4 months, and I wanted to keep an eye on her. In fact, C had witnessed the accident, accompanied me and mom to the hospital, and stayed for 3 hours until we left, and told me to call if we needed anything. So he knew full well what I was dealing with. I told him off for starting a petty fight at a time like this, and did not text him again for the whole weekend.

    Both fights happened by text on the weekend. 1st fight, I messaged C on the Sunday saying why I was unhappy with the way he had treated me and asked him to think about his own actions. He gave me the cold shoulder at work on Monday. I texted him on the Tuesday and said I wanted us to communicate and patch things up. We just ended up easing back into things and were fine by Thursday.

    The 2nd fight has been far more damaging. At work on the Monday he tried to chitchat cheerfully to me like he'd done nothing wrong to me, which angered me, so I responded coldly. Tuesday as he was leaving work, I went outside with him and asked to have a quick chat. (I know, I know. Terrible timing...but when else could I do it..). I said I was sick of him fighting with me for no good reason, that his behaviour this time was particularly hurtful and inconsiderate. I said most of all, I wanted him to know how he had made me feel, so that I could move on. Instead of showing any remorse, he ripped into me. He said HE had moved on by Monday but I was the one who wouldn't talk to him and chucked a tantrum at HIM. He said I took "everything" too seriously, called me "exhausting" because I wanted to talk each time we had a fight/issue, and said he didn't need that in his life. The argument continued for a while but just kept going in circles, so we eventually steered the conversation to other matters (..maybe I should've just walked off). He asked how my mom was doing and stupid me, I burst into tears because I was still so emotional about what was going on at home. He took me to his car, gave me some tissues and let me cry it out. He even said "if you need someone to talk to, just call me and I'll come, we're friends." He then drove me to where I'd parked my car.

    Yep, you read that right...from insulting me, to treating me like a queen. From supporting me and mom at the hospital, to losing his temper at me the next day. It's a rollercoaster.

    It's now been a week since we last texted or met up after hours. Despite him saying we're friends and I could turn to him, I've stopped myself from doing so. He has made no effort to contact me either. He hasn't even texted to ask how mom is doing; something I know he would've done before this. Our interactions at the office have been friendly but distant. Once or twice he has also rubbed in my face that he was getting coffee with 1-2 other girls from the office, like he thought that would annoy me (since I used to be the one he'd do that with all the time). I'm also aware that he's still fostering a relationship with B and T - he has sent messages in our online group chat.

    More than anything, I'm struggling to cope with having given C way too many chances. All my friendships are so peaceful that I'm inexperienced at fighting with friends, I hate fighting, and my first instinct each time was to have a mature talk and iron out our issues. But now I feel like each time, he has just taken from me but given nothing back in the healing process. And is probably inwardly smirking at me for reaching out to him each time.

    In the 2nd half of the year we're set to continue interning together. So this vicious cycle of having to see each other every single day is only going to continue. And don't forget, he's now friends with my friends and I'm now friends with his friends. The web has become complicated.

    I'm lost, confused and unhappy right now.
    -I keep beating myself up about how I handled the situation.
    -I want to get back to a point where we can be the close friends we are/were and can continue socialising with each other's friends, but now with better boundaries and no confusion. But I have no idea how to start restoring the friendship from where we are now.
    -Yet I'm also starting to doubt my own judgement...I thought this was a great friendship, but what if I was wrong? What if he's in fact emotionally abusive to me and I shouldn't even restore the friendship to any degree..

  • I'll be brief. I think you hardly know this guy, and you're likely just seeing the tip of the iceberg with the moodiness. I'd keep it civil, let it flow and let the cards fall where they may. It may naturally fizzle or continue but I wouldn't make great efforts to salvage anything. Don't burn any bridges tho, within your professional scope.

    Comment


    • Walk away. This may end up harming your internship which will greatly impact recommendations for future jobs. He is a taker. Takers only want what suits them out of a relationship. Takers only want to be the number one reason for anything. As a Taker, he would probably sabotage your internship if he thought you were being responded to more favourably than he was. In other words, he'd probably set you up. You can be polite, you can have coffee with the guy, you can work together, but don't under any circumstances, provide him with any personal details of either yourself or your family. Let him take from someone else.
      That which we forget may as well never really happened.

      Comment


      • I'll be brief and blunt.

        First, I do not understand how someone can be a "close" friend within the brief span of 4 months. I am more than twice your age and those I would consider to be close friends I can count on the fingers of one hand. Of those, not one of them has ever for a moment behaved toward me the way C has acted toward you. Yes, perhaps in each case we have had our moments of conflict, but we have always treated each other with respect. I see little of that here.

        One of my few close friends has been such since the third grade. We were friends in first and second grades, but by the third year, we were close friends. We have sometimes lived far apart, in different countries even, but always remained in touch and we have seen each other through all the vicissitudes of life. Even as children, we did not treat each other in the immature, childish and selfish manner which comes across in your description of C. With what you have described, I could never see someone like C as close friend material.

        What you call a "great friendship" with C was scarcely a friendship at all. It may have had some trappings of a friendship, but fell far short of the mark.


        Originally posted by jayella90 View Post
        I What if he's in fact emotionally abusive to me and I shouldn't even restore the friendship to any degree..
        Bingo! You answered your own question. Your instincts are no doubt showing you the right path. Kitty and Claret are both right. The guy is a taker. You are expendable.



        I do not grow old; if I stop growing, I am old.

        Comment


        • I think the answer to the early friendship question - and the reason you're struggling with this in a significant way at all - is that for you this guy wasn't a friend, he was a romantic interest. When you think about it, we rarely fight with friends. At least in a way that requires a lot of attention. The way that works out is if you have a meaningful disagreement with a friend, that itself tells you they're maybe not really you're friend and you let it go because you don't have a huge investment in them. Anyone you have romantic feelings towards is in a different category, and I think that's why this is so hard for you.

          It mainly sounds to me like he's immature. He can't control his temper and things like being disappointed so he has childish outbursts when things don't go his way. As far as your points to reconciliation go, I'd agree with the others that that plan may be invalid to begin with because one of your primary assumptions may not be true - he may not be your friend anyway, so there may be nothing to restore.

          I don't think you were unreasonable in any of the things you did or said, btw. But what you're struggling with here may actually be a little bit of heartache.
          [FONT=Trebuchet MS][COLOR="#800080"][B][SIZE=4]Woman trapped inside a woman's body![/SIZE][/COLOR][/B][/FONT]

          Comment


          • Thank you all so much for taking the time to respond, I’m very grateful.

            I think everyone approaches friendship differently and I’ve forged successful close friendships in short timeframes before. Sometimes you just click with someone. But for sure, C’s and my failure to toe the friendship line has created a mess. I agree that our fallout has been extra difficult because we got too coupley.

            Part of me questions whether C has mental health issues which cause him to lash out. His family life has been rocky since his teens, has deteriorated these 1-2 years, and his mom is depressed (before anyone comments, yes I’ve seen enough to know he isn’t lying). The two tantrums puzzled me because all his other actions seemed to show that he genuinely cared about me and my loved ones. And in all other instances where I declined to do things for him, he accepted it without tantrums.

            But yes, the other part of me asks if he is indeed simply a Taker and manipulative emotional leech who enjoys messing with women’s minds and using them to get things he wants.

            Whatever the truth, it doesn’t change that I feel emotionally violated, especially after stupidly letting him have the last laugh in this. It's a bitter pill for a normally steely girl like me to swallow...after some bad experiences, I hadn’t let my guard down like this to a man in ages. So, right now I'm just trying to heal. Which as you all said, means distancing myself from him. I hope that I can soon reach a point where I can see him without the hurt and resentment which I feel whenever I see him these days and am forced to put on a smile to avoid involving our friends and colleagues.

            Comment


            • I think everything you're describing here is 'normal' - both in him and you. Feeling hurt and resentful as a result of being hurt is normal, and even for him, getting angry is not really a sign of mental illness. He just may have trouble controlling his anger (like I said above, immaturity, inexperience, etc.).

              Sounds like you're on the right path. Tough it out and do better next time sister.
              [FONT=Trebuchet MS][COLOR="#800080"][B][SIZE=4]Woman trapped inside a woman's body![/SIZE][/COLOR][/B][/FONT]

              Comment


              • From personal experience an apple doesn't fall far from the tree. It takes a long time for a relationship to get past the just friends stage but the time is golden to get to the real person. I am not suggesting that he is a bad person at all. I am saying that he is who he is because of what he has been exposed to. The question is can he change the erratic behavior and do you value his friendship enough to live through the pins and needles period to help him deal with all this? Sounds like he's a pretty nice guy but doesn't know how to deal with issues rationally. I do know that we often expect more from people that we care for. It's time to take a deep breath, regroup and choose your battles. Some just aren't worth the time to fight. I think you can fix it and I suspect he needs you. Good luck.

                Comment


                • Thanks for your perspective, Rob1. Your thoughts echo much of what has gone through my mind and why I have given him so many chances. Maybe too many. I dislike burning bridges, especially if I feel like the other person needs help and/or if we have many mutual friends as C and I do. But given how things have panned out in the past month, I'm really not sure he deserves my efforts.

                  For anyone wondering. It's now been a month since that last fight and in short, now I feel great. The first 2-3 weeks were a struggle. I struggled to adjust to this sudden "hole" in my life, while at the same time restraining myself from contacting C after hours, and working at increasing the distance between us. He tried once or twice to strike up online chats with me after hours just like old times, and we did have one 2-hour chat earlier this month, but I kept my responses spaced out and mild instead of the usual passionate and lively vibe which I give off. So he has stopped doing that. I haven't initiated any conversations either. I've just made myself so much less available to him.

                  Last week he started latching onto his other friend who just started at our office, and trying to get closer to her. He rubbed it in my face that he was doing so, by deliberately proposing a weekend lunch to her while he was mid-conversation with me at the office. And he has been driving her around everywhere, just like he used to do for me. I'm not sure what he thought he would achieve by acting up like this...me running back to him? Yes I'm only human and initially I was annoyed that I had to constantly watch myself being "replaced". But then I thought, well if you're going to play these stupid, childish mind games with me, then I've really had enough. He has only made me run further away.

                  Yesterday he tried to strike up an SMS conversation with me after hours. To be honest, I'm not so surprised he tried again so soon.. this other girl is a very passive, boring type and he'll never be able to have the kinds of happy, uninhibited conversations with her that he used to have with me. Heck, I've tried to have a friendly chat with her at the office but it's a struggle to squeeze anything out of her. Anyway, I again kept my responses to his texts cool and dispassionate. I wanted to show him that I'm now totally in control. He can't have his cake and eat it too. If he's going to make such a point to me of replacing me with this girl, then he can't try to cling onto me too. If he really wants my friendship back in some form, then he's going to have to try much, much harder than what he has done so far. And even then, I wouldn't take him back to such a close level. If two people are going to be just friends, then they can't be treating each other like quasi-partners the way we were doing before.

                  This whole week I've been throwing myself into my work, going out after hours and dancing with friends until late, doing more of the activities I love, and seeing more of the people I love, and that's why I feel so great now. I've realized that if anything, he was causing a hole in my life and placing increasing demands on my time, rather than having left any hole in my life now.
                  Last edited by jayella90; 07-25-2014, 02:46 AM.

                  Comment


                  • ^ Love this - it should be stickied as a manual on how to act with these types of people. Good job sister!
                    [FONT=Trebuchet MS][COLOR="#800080"][B][SIZE=4]Woman trapped inside a woman's body![/SIZE][/COLOR][/B][/FONT]

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