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How do I move my head to being just friend with someone I dated for 15 months?

HomeForumsRelationshipsHow do I move my head to being just friend with someone I dated for 15 months?

This topic contains 9 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  anita 1 week ago.

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  • #153840

    Lauren
    Participant

    I dated a co-worker for 15 months.  He asked me out, one Friday evening out of the blue, and things moved fast.  He basically moved in with me after about a week.  He would come to my house every evening, we spent all of our time together.  Weirdly enough, it didn’t seem odd, it felt natural.  All this while, we knew it wouldn’t work.  We are from different cultures, and his wouldn’t accept me.  We couldn’t share our relation with his friends.  In his words, he didn’t want people to know because he didn’t want them to think badly of either of us when things would be over.  He comes from a country/culture where other people’s perception is very important.

    After a little over a year with him, things started to get tensed.  His parents were asking him about girls, and he started chatting with a couple of them.  It reached a breaking point for me, and I finally broke things off.

    It’s been a year since we broke up, but we see each other every day (we still work together).  We also sometimes hang out on weekends.

    I know I do not want a romantic relationship with him.  We’re at an odd stage of friendship.  He talks to me openly about girls he talks to.  I’m fine with it, but when one of them rejected him after 4-5 months of talking and meeting once, I just went ballistic.  I spent a weekend with him, comforting him while he was depressed by the break-up, but inside I was fuming about her (I wasn’t mad at him, but felt a hatred for someone I don’t even know).  I listened to him when he related how her family was against the relationship.  Didn’t we go through the same thing?

    Worse thing for me is that he barely knows her, they’re not together anymore (or so he says), but those friends who couldn’t know about us, know about her.  This hurts me a lot.  I feel he was ashamed of me, of our relationship.

    Despite all of this, he’s a good guy (no, really! 🙂 ).  We talk about everything and anything.  He’s a fun person to be around.  But this is emotionally taxing on me.  I need an outside perspective to tell me whether I should put time and effort into this friendship, or just give up and let him go.  And how do I completely disconnect myself from feeling hurt and taking things personal when they have nothing to do with me?  How do I let the past be the past and let go of any expectations?

    I’ve read this a lot on forum, from other posters, but I’m still in a weird state of mind.  I’m not unhappy, but not all that excited about life either.  My head is a little foggy.   I got divorced 2 1/2 years ago — nothing to do with him — and living life on my own has been somewhat of a bumpy experience.  It adds to that feeling of wanting to reach out to someone, and he’s been there for me.

    #153854

    Inky
    Participant

    Hi Lauren,

    He doesn’t get to complain about other women to you. Nor does he get to let other people know these women exist while keeping your past relationship with him a secret.

    No, really. You are kowtowing to his culture and customs. But what about yours?

    What would happen if you said in front of everybody, “Back when Friend and I went out…”?

    Tell him you don’t want to hear about his love life and that yours is more an association now, not a friendship.

    Word to the Wise: Keep your love life and work life separate from now on!

    Best,

    Inky

    #153886

    Eliana
    Participant

    Hi Lauren,

    I read your post and re-read it, and am truly sorry you are going through this. I know how painful it can be..the wondering, constant guessing, second guessing..he is the one putting you through this. I don’t honestly think things will change or he will change and you deserve better for your life, a healthy man who truly wants to be with you.

    From what I gathered from your post, you say “he is a good guy” are you sure? Is it because he is “fun” to be around? Because there was nothing I read in your post that gives any indication of a good guy. A good guy, would show you off, and treat you with respect. Keep us posted.

    #153952

    Lauren
    Participant

    Eliana,

    I read your post last night, right before going to bed.  And I thought about your question, a lot!  Here’s what I can say: he’s a good guy because he’s the one I call at 2 AM when I come back from vacation and my upstairs neighbor has flooded my apartment and I’m freaking out and he calms me down.  He’s the one I call when I come home and my cat is having a seizure and I need help getting him to the animal hospital only to have him die on the ride there and comforts me.  He’s also the one I call when I manage to break my key in my front lock (it was frozen), and I’m stuck outside in the freezing cold and have to wait for a locksmith for over an hour.  So, I know I can count on him.

    What he’s not is a great guy.  I will agree with that.  I just wished we never dated.  We could have been really good friends.  I don’t know how to explain it, because I really, truly, do not want a romantic relationship with him anymore.  I’m over that.  Our past relationship is just a dark cloud over my head.  Don’t get me wrong, we had a lot of happy moments.  But now, every time a new episode in the “wife search” saga happens, something tugs at me.  Some kind of jealousy?  I wish he had acknowledged “us” to others.  I think this is what I’m most resentful about, and what I’m having a really hard time dealing with and forgiving him for.  A new girl comes along that he barely knows and he tells people who are important to him about her.  Why couldn’t he tell them about me??  His explanation of “I don’t want them to think bad things about me or you” doesn’t hold any water.  It makes no sense.  What he was really worried about is what are people going to think about me when we break up and I end up marrying a girl from my culture?  Because they’ll know we broke up because of me.

    #153960

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lauren:

    You are referring to a man from an arranged-marriage culture, perhaps a man from India. You wrote above: “Why couldn’t he tell them about me?”- because his parents disapprove of you and in his culture that means everything.

    They disapprove of you because you are not Indian (and if you were Indian, but of a different caste, they would disapprove of you just as intensely). They don’t know you and it doesn’t matter, who you are. All that matters is that you are of the wrong nationality/ caste.

    In his culture, what his parents think is what society thinks, and that is extremely powerful on the individual. He was raised and trained to believe that he has to conform to what his parents/society thinks. Who he marries is something to be determined or approved of by his parents/ society and cannot happen otherwise.

    Because of this core belief, many Indian men and women marry and cheat on their spouses, living double lives, satisfying parents/ society on one hand and going after their heart’s desires on the other.

    Really, it is not personal. It is not you who is rejected and kept as a secret, it is your nationality/ caste that is rejected and kept a secret. Not that you should accept and tolerate such rejection.

    What has taken place in your life in the last 15 months is business-as-usual, I believe, in the Indian/ arranged-marriage culture. Whatever feelings he has for you, the chance that they will overpower his training from early childhood is extremely small.

    Does my input means something to you?

    anita

    #154162

    Lauren
    Participant

    <span style=”font-weight: 400;”>Anita,</span>

    <span style=”font-weight: 400;”>You are spot on.  He is from India.  I don’t think this was too hard to guess.  I am trying to disconnect and convince myself that it has nothing to do with me.  My logical brain is all in sync with everything you are saying.  My emotional self, a bit less.  This is where I need to work on, but I cannot get to that point.  I take things personally.</span>

    <span style=”font-weight: 400;”>I should say that we both know a lot of Indians, and some of those friends knew about us, so it wasn’t all about him not allowing people from his culture to know about us.  But it was about people who are important to him not knowing.  This is the important distinction, in my eyes.  I’m not even talking about his parents.  I wouldn’t have even dreamt about them knowing about me.  I might be a little lost, but not completely disillusioned.</span>

    <span style=”font-weight: 400;”>I know he’s under a lot of pressure to get married.  I’m trying to understand, but it really baffles me.  On the one hand, parents will tell him they want him to be happy, on the other, it seems that they’re saying “you have to make us happy and make us look good in front of the rest of the family and society, and the only way to do this is for you to find a wife”.  I know this is the culture, but I’m struggling with the concept, and this feels like fake happiness and borderline hypocrisy.</span>

     

    PS: a previous post I made, in response to Inky is still showing as “awaiting moderation”. I added a link in it, I think that’s why.

    #154168

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lauren:

    ““you have to make us happy and make us look good in front of the rest of the family and society” is the real message. In Indian culture new generations are sacrificed for the benefit of the older generations. (Often enough, in ways other than arranged marriages, this is the case in Western cultures as well).

    If his parents send him the message above (which I quoted) and then tell him that all they want is for him to be happy, they are either lying or they are conveniently thinking something like, we want you to be happy AFTER you do what we want you to do for our benefit.

    I hope that your logical self and emotional self become in synch, have a peaceful meeting place on this issue.

    anita

    #154454

    Lauren
    Participant

    And I’m afraid he will settle for the first “nice girl” he meets and agrees to marry him.  I know this is not my problem to deal with, but I do care about him and it worries me a little.

    On a somewhat different but related topic:

    Being acknowledged as part of a couple is so important.  I am getting the full realization of this at the moment.  Especially by someone who claimed to have loved you.  Letting go of this hurt isn’t easy.  I don’t know what steps to take to make that happen.  I’m taking yoga classes, I have a few outside activities.  But mentality, I’m not all “there”.  He’s clearly not the cause of all that.  I have undealt issues steeming from my divorce that I never fully processed.

    The bottom line is that I’ve been somewhat of a mess for the past year, and I am just tired of feeling this way. I want to move on!

    #154456

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lauren:

    Having realized how important it is for you to be socially acknowledged as part of a couple (an integral concept behind official engagements-to-marry and getting married, the ring for all to see…), promise to yourself that in your next relationship you will be socially acknowledged and that you will not be involved in a relationship otherwise. And so, this non-acknowledgment, in practical terms, is a thing of the past.

    If you’d like to share about your undealt issues stemming from your divorce, please do.

    anita

    #154458

    anita
    Participant

    * didn’t submit correctly…

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