I’ve been friends with this guy for almost four years.
He and his dad are on bad terms, so for the past 18 months, my family’s been helping him out and letting him live here – full-time at first, and now several days a week.
I see him a lot, but lately, everything he's been doing has been annoying to me.
When he and I first met, he’d told me he had a crush on me, so we dated for a while; but I ended it after a few months.
A few months later, he told me he loves me, but I didn't feel the same.
At the two-year mark, when he was practically living with me, we started dating again for almost a year. It was a stupid decision on my part.
Now it's almost a year since we dated and had sex. I don't know why I did it because I know he's in love with me and I'm honesty starting to just HATE him so much.
It was wrong of me to lead him on, and now I feel like I'm never going to be out of the friendship.
He's asked me what I thought of him, and I replied "I think of you as a friend. Nothing more" to which he replied "thank you."
But the truth is I think of him as the annoying boy who my family supports occasionally.
But if I were to tell him this, I'm afraid he'll try to kill himself again.
And it’s unfair to tell him because he's not doing anything wrong and he already has a hard enough life.
What should I do?
You’re confusing being annoyed with yourself, with annoyance and dislike for this guy, and that IS unfair.
As you’ve said, he has a hard enough life. But that doesn’t mean you owe him sex, love, or lies.
The situation isn’t just between you two. He’s become part of your family (through their kindness and generosity), and that’s what you can say, gently:
You see him as you would a brother. You want him to be happy, but you can’t be in a relationship with him.
Be busy (but not cold) with your own friends and interests, and try not to hang out alone with him.
You don’t have to hate him or be nasty, in order to never again lead him on with flirting, neediness, or sex.
Reader’s Commentary – “I was a stay-at-home Dad.
“I took advantage of an early retirement opportunity at age 50 to look after my sons, then ages three and 12.
“I was a big part of the toddler’s daily routine, helping at pre-school and later volunteering at his grade school.
“My situation was particularly unusual given my age difference with other moms’ who viewed me with suspicion.
“Since I had no intentions of returning to work, I found intellectual stimulation through volunteering with a retiree organization and also as a scout leader.
“I became more involved in my sons’ daily lives, and in decisions about school activities, and was able to attend all school events.
“I was also able to pay attention and support my older son’s activities through teenage years and post-secondary education choices.
“It was a unique experience that most parents wouldn’t be able to have, as I had both resources and time.
“It enabled my wife to achieve success at work by affording her time and freedom. And it probably imprinted a lot of my own values on my kids.”
I'm divorced, 51. My two children are getting older and spending more time away from me.
It's common for me to be alone for two-to-three days. I get very lonely sometimes.
Most of my friends are married and unavailable on weekends.
I need to make some single friends but don't know how. Any suggestions?
There are both very current and also some timeworn ways to meet new people.
One successful online network is through www.meetup.com. Hopefully, it’s in your area.
The website provides many different choices – meeting through a sports activity, specific interests like photography, or social gatherings like dining out.
Many people join because they’re single, or new to the area. And there’s a sense of safety at meetings, due to numbers.
Traditional ways to meet people are through volunteering, or taking courses. Not everyone’s single, of course, but making a new friend leads to meeting their friends, and more opportunities for companionship.
Tip of the day:
Leading on someone who’s already very vulnerable can have devastating results.