After the breakup she started talking about a guy — how she really liked him. It became clear that she’s felt this way about him for years.
Once I realized this — and because of other moments in the timeline of our friendship/relationship — I felt like she never really liked me in the first place. I ended up having a meltdown about this and talking to a mutual friend about it. That person then proceeded to take a screenshot of my message and sent it to my ex/friend, which made me feel worse. I blocked both of them on every platform I could think of.
The friend I dated was begging me to unblock her because she said she had something really important to tell me. She then proceeded to tell me how she still has feelings for me and she just wanted to let me know. After that, we just ignored the topic and started talking like friends again, but lately I don’t think I can handle being in touch with either of them, and I can’t forgive what they did to me. I feel horrible. Should I let my ex — or either of them — back in?
A. I’m going to refer to these people as “Friend” and “Ex” so we don’t get confused. “Friend” is the person who took the screenshot. “Ex” is, well, your ex.
Friend is the big betrayer here. You confided in this person, and instead of respecting an obvious need for privacy, Friend meddled. I’m not sure why — whether it was to cause more drama or encourage more productive conversation — but you no longer trust this person. It makes sense to take space from Friend, maybe forever. Go with your gut on that.
As for Ex, it does sound like she’s been honest throughout this mess. She had feelings for you and then didn’t. It’s possible she also had feelings for someone else while she was dating you, but that happens, right? It’s possible to care for two people at once.
This ex probably didn’t do horrible, malicious things, but that doesn’t mean you have to take her back in any form. You can tell her you need space based on everything that happened, and that it hasn’t been easy to be her friend after dating her.
Try to be clear about your boundaries so she can respect them. I assume you don’t want to be in a romantic relationship with her again, at least not now. Make that known, too — if that’s true.
Pro-tip: Don’t say anything in writing that you don’t want repeated. Stuff like that is much harder to deny, deny, deny. Important and personal conversations should be in person or at least over the phone.
You can be friends with whomever you want. I’d ditch the screenshot person.
What the mutual friend did was lousy, but you put them in the middle of your conflict and brought some of this on yourself. Next time, show a bit of maturity and leave the mutual friends out of it.
There is no rule that you have to stay friends with your ex. She just wants to feel better about herself after hurting you, and after what your so-called “friend” did to you. If talking to her doesn’t make you feel good, don’t. Choosing not to be friends with someone after a relationship is over doesn’t make you petty or mean. You need to look out for yourself.
Find people who make you feel good about life. These are not your people!
Theory: You were not really “friends” with the ex in the beginning. It was a pre-[relationship] flirtation period. I get that social media makes it impossible for people (especially the youngs who have never known anything else) to bow out of relationships/interactions, but that’s what you should be doing here.
Personally, I think the “friend” is not a friend and the “ex” doesn’t really want to be with you. Do with that information what you want.
Send your own relationship and dating questions to [email protected] or fill out this form. Catch new episodes of Meredith Goldstein’s “Love Letters” podcast at loveletters.show or wherever you listen to podcasts. Column and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters.