A long-time, and sometimes sporadic, friend and I became very close in recent years. We’ve both experienced tough times.
We’re both single, early-30's. She convinced me to try online dating and casually pointed out her ex-boyfriend of 12 years ago.
I looked at him through my profile, he looked back, and we started chatting. I really like him and eventually we started dating.
Though my friend jokingly said she'd be okay if I dated him, she didn’t have feelings for him, she’d also sometimes say she wished he were interested in her again. (He didn’t respond to her on the dating site).
I didn’t tell her we started seeing each other because I thought she’d react badly. She's in a relationship with a guy who’s not serious.
She found out (I’d posted a picture with him on a new Facebook profile which I’d thought was private).
She won't talk to me. She says I’m a liar whom she can't trust, that I used her for information about him, and asks how I’d feel if she dated my ex.
I explained that I hid it from her because I was worried it’d upset her, not for some malicious reason.
I said I planned to tell her if it became serious, and that it's not worth losing a friendship over.
We live in different cities but we used to talk online everyday.
I feel badly but don't think I did anything wrong by dating him. I apologized about the way she found out but she won't forgive me.
Should I have been upfront about it from the start? I don't know if that would’ve made a difference.
Did I Mess Up?
If you’d told her from the start, you wouldn’t be questioning yourself.
You’d have sidestepped breaking the “girlfriend code” of not dating someone’s ex, by asking if she were sure she’s okay that you chatted online and want to meet each other.
She may’ve protested, you still may’ve gone ahead, but there’d be nothing that appeared sneaky or underhanded.
As for the friendship, only time will tell. Apologize again. If you and this guy get serious, she may have a problem with it for a long while. If not, you may one day find yourselves comparing notes.
FEEDBACK Regarding the couple who Can't Stop Fighting (Oct. 30):
Reader – “She says "I feel he puts me second." That's because he goes out with friends twice a week but can't fit 30 minutes into his life for his own wife. If this is the situation four months in, it's only going to get worse.
“You advised her to back off. That's playing right into his hands. He says "another fight will be the end for him." He's threatening her if she continues to push for what she wants in the marriage. What he's saying is "Leave me alone to do as I want or it's over. Just accept things as they are and don't hassle me".
“That's no kind of marriage and I don't feel you gave her much help.”
Ellie – It’s the dynamic they’re in that one of them needs to start to change. That’s why I suggested she backs off (since she’s the one who wrote me), and instead of knocking heads, they can start to compromise (which they did on the 30-minute squash game).
Yes, he threatened her about “not taking it” but she keeps giving orders, too. They’re both wrong, and you’re right that it can’t last like this for long.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman fantasizing about her boss (Oct. 22):
Reader – “Her unemployed husband’s on house arrest (criminal charges?), very controlling with old-fashioned views. She can’t be happy.
“Her boss’ only fault is that he praised and encouraged her to make something better of her life.
“Her feelings for him are a clear sign of emotional disconnect from her husband.
“What guarantees that she’ll find another job? Currently, she loves her job and adores her boss.
“She should re-assess her family situation and decide if she’s staying married. She’s in a position to leave her husband, with a job she likes.”
Ellie – The boss flattered her looks and gave her his number. That’s a clear sign of inappropriate hitting on her, right from the interview.
You’re correct that she needs to re-think her marriage. But “adoring” her boss is going to cause trouble before she has a chance to consider a clean break.
Tip of the day:
Breaking the girlfriend code about dating an ex risks the friendship.