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Old 06-12-2012, 06:25 AM
greenchild90 greenchild90 is offline
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Unhappy Conflicting emotions...

I just joined this forum because I don't know where else to go for advice... I know in my heart that what I'm doing right now is being "the other woman", and in the worst way. I don't know what words I'm looking for...

The one I love is with my best friend. He claims to be polyamorous and she is monogamous. I've known her for several years. We met him at a party, at the same time, but I was oblivious to whatever advances he made, and meanwhile, they "clicked". Within a few days she was head-over-heels for him, and they were a couple. But I suppose he divulged to her that he had also been interested in me, that he was polyamorous. And when she told me how wonderful he was, & I expressed excitement & some envy (after she told me how he had been going after me), she all-of-a-sudden threw us together & pretty much said, "Here! She hasn't had sex in a while! Make her happy! I don't care, just don't tell me about it." We were both apprehensive, not sure if this was some kind of test, not sure about each other. But we ended up (awkwardly) taking the opportunity, and it went okay. But from then on, he was hooked. And then one night we went to a club, got drunk, & when we were on our way home (with a DD) she suggested that we have a threesome. Both of us were blown away, but she was adamant about it, so... that's what we did. And man, was it weird. And apparently watching him have sex with me really messed with her head. In fact, she was doing all of this to make HIM happy, and & inside she was NOT okay with it, which was an awful thing to do & confusing for both of us. And it's like she held these decisions of hers over our heads from then on. But more and more he showed affection for me, when she wasn't around (because she had said before, "I don't care what you do as long as I don't see it," but of course she DID care). And he was in love with me. And as he has told me, everyone he has connected with emotionally or physically, he still loves, and each person has 100% of his heart. That's why he considers himself polyamorous. But my friend doesn't understand this, as she has claimed him as her own, and any betrayal on his part is taking part of him away from her claim.
But as time went on, and the more we talked, the more I began to love him, too. But I wouldn't tell myself that. If I said that I loved him, I would be confirming it, making it concrete, sealing our fate, & there would be no going back from those words without pain. I would be betraying my best friend, & I couldn't do that. But more and more he & I were expressing our affections in secret, and each of them were telling me negative things about the other. When they would argue, they would talk to me separately & vent, and I would listen, & try to help one see the other's point of view, without explicitly letting them know that the other had said anything to me. But after a while, my friend stopped venting to me about him. She didn't call me as much. We didn't hang out as often. And he noticed. He told me he thought she was getting more jealous, more possessive, & that it was driving him crazy. He thought she was clingy (he still does).
And now this has all devolved into full-blown cheating. My friend left for a week, and it got worse. We've been to each others' places. We've had sex a few times. We get together & cuddle, watching movies. It's like we're dating. But he's not "mine". And it kills me to think of how hurt my friend would be. She'll be gone a lot more often, for longer periods of time, at a new job that requires her to drive around the country.
I don't know what I feel more: pain over betraying my friend, or my love for him. And now I've told him, in a weeping embrace, that I love him. And the emotion in his eyes when I finally said that... I knew it meant the world to him.
But now it's all gone to ruin. Our other friends are suspicious. They've been talking about me behind my back. He told me today... and I've never felt so awfully depressed in my life. Gut-wrenching despair.
They've noticed me being "all over him" (as they exaggerate), being cuddly, close. I didn't think I was being obvious at all, but they've seen through it. And now I'm bold-faced lying to them (at least one of them, over chat), playing innocent, saying that it's nothing beyond that. I'm trying to hard to not let this explode completely. But this means that I can't see him anymore. And I'll have to keep my distance if we ever hang out all together again. And it's that constant anxiety of "Am I too close to him right now?" That rips me up inside. Last time I tried that method it led me to self-destructive tendencies. And I don't ever want that again.


I've bared my soul in this thread. I've held nothing back. I have to get it out there. I don't know what words I'm looking for... just... something encouraging. Every other place I've tried this, they say, "You're horrible! You have to keep it in! You have to hide it! Suck it up!" and it just makes me feel so hopeless and desperate... Please help me....
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Old 06-12-2012, 05:56 PM
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hyperskeptic hyperskeptic is offline
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Hi, greenchild, and welcome to the forum.

Let me start this just by saying that I'm not going to judge you as being "horrible" or as sinful or as anything like that. At least, I don't see anything in what you wrote to suggest you are deeply, morally corrupt.

That said, you have messed up, as have the other two involved, and you all seem to have landed in a terrible mess.

There will be pain for some of you, if not for all of you, as you try to extricate yourselves from the mess.

Really, though, the first thing is for you to take responsibility for yourself and your own actions. You'll need to make some hard choices, some of them immediately, and you need to make them for yourself and for your own sake.

Part of what I read in your story is that you and the others have been drifting along, letting things happen, making decisions with judgment impaired by strong feelings or by alcohol.

You need to start making some decisions based on good judgment, guided by your own self-interest, respect for the others involved and for your wider group of friends, and by a good understanding of the situation itself.

I need to be blunt about this but, again, please understand it is not meant to be a final judgment on you. I hope it will be helpful. Here goes:

1. Stop making assumptions.
2. Stop cheating.
3. Stop lying.

Quote:
The one I love is with my best friend. He claims to be polyamorous and she is monogamous.
He really claims to be polyamorous? What does he understand that to mean? Has he told you, or has he just assumed you'd know what it meant?
Could he be using it as an excuse to fuck around? Do you know that she is monogamous?

This is not to put blame on him - his faults and mistakes are a separate discussion. For the sake of your own decision making, you need to insist on clear answers to these questions. You need to know what you're dealing with.

Quote:
I've known her for several years. We met him at a party, at the same time, but I was oblivious to whatever advances he made, and meanwhile, they "clicked". Within a few days she was head-over-heels for him, and they were a couple. But I suppose he divulged to her that he had also been interested in me, that he was polyamorous.
In a few days? That seems quick! Do you know what kind of commitment they have to one another? Do you have reason to suppose he divulged any of this to her? Have you asked about it?

Again, you should be more inquisitive, or at least assume less.

Quote:
And when she told me how wonderful he was, & I expressed excitement & some envy (after she told me how he had been going after me), she all-of-a-sudden threw us together & pretty much said, "Here! She hasn't had sex in a while! Make her happy! I don't care, just don't tell me about it." We were both apprehensive, not sure if this was some kind of test, not sure about each other.
This probably should have set off alarm bells and set the red flags flying. Consider your words: you were apprehensive and unsure . . . but you acted.

That looks to be a big mistake. You should have found out more, forced the conversation, especially if you have good reason to think she's committed to monogamy. You might just have asked: "What are you up to? What does this mean for you?"

That's all water under the bridge. You might still have to have this conversation, with him and with her. What is the nature of their relationship? What are her thoughts on commitment?

Quote:
And then one night we went to a club, got drunk, & when we were on our way home (with a DD) she suggested that we have a threesome. Both of us were blown away, but she was adamant about it, so... that's what we did. And man, was it weird. And apparently watching him have sex with me really messed with her head. In fact, she was doing all of this to make HIM happy, and & inside she was NOT okay with it, which was an awful thing to do & confusing for both of us. And it's like she held these decisions of hers over our heads from then on.
Again, you seem to be making a lot of assumptions here. You seem to have gone ahead and acted without knowing crucial things about the other two, lulled further into carelessness by alcohol.

Any healthy relationship requires good communication and clarity about consent and intentions. A relationship that would land three people in bed together requires even more communication and clarity.

Again, it's too late to go back and fix this particular set of choices, but these are conversations you still may need to have. You may need to ask her: What did this mean to you? What were you hoping for?

Quote:
And he was in love with me. And as he has told me, everyone he has connected with emotionally or physically, he still loves, and each person has 100% of his heart. That's why he considers himself polyamorous.
That's nice, and all, but that's not polyamory as it's understood here. His later actions demonstrate that.

(It might help you to read this: http://www.xeromag.com/fvpoly.html )

Again, this response isn't about him. But you need to press him on this: What does polyamory really mean to him? Is he aware that people who practice polyamory - as discussed on this forum - are at least as firmly against cheating as those who insist on monogamy?

Quote:
If I said that I loved him, I would be confirming it, making it concrete, sealing our fate, & there would be no going back from those words without pain.
There will be pain, no doubt. You can't avoid that now. You may be able to minimize the damage, though, by stopping what you're doing and insisting on total honesty from the guy involved.

Feelings aren't everything. The fact that you're swept up in emotion for this guy does not mean you have to act on that emotion. In fact, the intensity of the feeling should make you even more cautious about choosing and acting.

(Search the forum for something called NRE. You'll likely gain some perspective from discussions of it.)

Quote:
And now this has all devolved into full-blown cheating. My friend left for a week, and it got worse. We've been to each others' places. We've had sex a few times. We get together & cuddle, watching movies. It's like we're dating. But he's not "mine". And it kills me to think of how hurt my friend would be. She'll be gone a lot more often, for longer periods of time, at a new job that requires her to drive around the country.
Are you still doing this, or have you stopped due to social pressure? If you've stopped, good. If not, stop now.

Really, just stop.

Then, if you think it's worthwhile to salvage your friendship with him and with her, start talking.

Or, if you just need to keep your distance for a while, then keep your distance, and focus on other activities and other relationships . . . and ask yourself hard questions about how you can avoid drifting in to that kind of mess again.

Quote:
But now it's all gone to ruin. Our other friends are suspicious. They've been talking about me behind my back. He told me today... and I've never felt so awfully depressed in my life. Gut-wrenching despair.
Really, this is the least of your worries. People will talk, yes. You may get caught, yes. The disapproving gossip of others is not in itself the reason why some of your choices were wrong.

Whether you get caught or not, whether people gossip or not, the simple truth of the situation remains: you've been assuming, and cheating, and (now) lying, and you need to find the dignity and the strength to stop doing all three of those, immediately, for your own sake and out of respect for your friend and his girlfriend.

As harsh as some of this sounds - and there are others here who will be even more blunt than I've been! - I think this forum may be a safe place for you to figure some of this out.

If nothing else, you can find models here for healthy and happy relationships involving more than two consenting adults, which may help you to understand all the ways in which cheating with your best friend is neither healthy nor likely to make you happy.
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Last edited by hyperskeptic; 06-12-2012 at 06:03 PM.
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Old 06-12-2012, 07:06 PM
greenchild90 greenchild90 is offline
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I can't tell you how grateful I am for this sound, calm advice. It means... so much to me. I'm on the verge of tears because it's caused me to look even deeper into myself & as I continue to do so I know I'll find the answer, of what is truly important for me, and all other parties involved.

Thank you.
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Old 06-12-2012, 07:40 PM
greenchild90 greenchild90 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hyperskeptic View Post
He really claims to be polyamorous? What does he understand that to mean? Has he told you, or has he just assumed you'd know what it meant?
Could he be using it as an excuse to fuck around? Do you know that she is monogamous?
I know that my friend is monogamous. She has extreme jealousy with the idea of sharing a partner. She does not even like it if I cuddle with him on the couch watching a movie. She considers that "physical intimacy".
He has told me that every partner that he has had in his life, he still loves, even if they are not physically together anymore. They now have a part of his soul, he says, forever. And if any one of them were to come back into his life, and want a relationship with him, he feels he could not turn them away because he loves them so deeply.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hyperskeptic View Post
In a few days? That seems quick! Do you know what kind of commitment they have to one another? Do you have reason to suppose he divulged any of this to her? Have you asked about it?
It was indeed a whirlwind romance. The same night we met him, the three of us & a few other friends all met up at a 24-hour diner & we were joking amongst ourselves that it was as if they had already been together for 5 years! That's how much they were "into each other". Within the first week they had hooked up.
Now when they had first met, my friend had gotten out of a heavy relationship, & she was in the mood to mingle, so to speak. She was talking about all these guys she had talked to on online dating sites, and how she was going to have multiple sex partners (separate from one another), and how she was going to live freely, and so on. But as soon as she met him, she pulled a 180. All of a sudden she was all about him, ONLY HIM. And in her eyes, if he has free time, it should be spent with her. She was even "confused" why he would want to hang out with any of us (her other friends) WITHOUT her. If he wanted to hang out with our other friend's boyfriend because he thought he was a cool dude & wanted to get to know him as a friend, she would think, "Well why can't I be there too?" I know this because she told me exactly this on many of our driving-in-the-car conversations.
This amount of clingy-ness was driving him up the wall. He told me so. He says he needs his space. He's content with seeing her once or twice a week & having the rest of the time to himself. (He also works 5 days a week, early morning to late afternoon). But she wants to be there every day, going out, doing things, even if it's just aimlessly driving around, and he hates that. Most of the time he wants to either stay home, or have a specific activity to do, that he (preferably both of them) enjoys doing.
He has told me that 3 months is too soon for it to become a "serious relationship" for him. He does not think it's appropriate for them to be "serious" yet. But she is all chips in. She's stuck like glue. (Except for the fact that now she'll be gone most of the time on her new job...)

Quote:
Originally Posted by hyperskeptic View Post
Again, you seem to be making a lot of assumptions here. You seem to have gone ahead and acted without knowing crucial things about the other two, lulled further into carelessness by alcohol.
I was intoxicated. We all agreed it was a stupid, STUPID mistake, after the fact. And by the time the act was done we were all sober & quite a bit ashamed.
Again, in another driving conversation days later, she confessed to me that the image of him having sex with me was haunting her mind. And that hit me in the gut. I felt so awful for having done that to her. But at the time, she had been there, saying something like, "Yeah, go on, I want to watch." She's completely different when she's drunk. (We've all agreed never to get drunk around each other again.) She also confessed to me that she had suggested all this because she thought it was what HE wanted, so she was doing it for him, and putting on a smile, because she thought if he got it out of his system he wouldn't bug her about it anymore... (I'm thinking: "What.. the fuck.") But on other occasions after this, she would make snide jokes about me & him hooking up, and/or use it against him in arguments (as he would vent to me about it).

Quote:
Originally Posted by hyperskeptic View Post
Feelings aren't everything. The fact that you're swept up in emotion for this guy does not mean you have to act on that emotion. In fact, the intensity of the feeling should make you even more cautious about choosing and acting.
This is the most difficult thing for me. Whenever I hear from him, whether by text or call, or see him in person, all my emotions rush up again. And when I try to suppress them, it consumes my mind even more, and I get depressed because I can't have him. I know it's an unhealthy reaction, but I don't know how to change it...

But since yesterday, when he told me they were talking about me, I cut off most of my contact with everyone. I deactivated my Facebook account (a horrible addiction, I might add). I've been offline from IM programs. Only one friend has texted me (not the one involved) and she's the one I lied to. I know if I confirm their suspicions and tell them what's really going on, I'll lose everyone (except maybe him). I don't want that. I'm going to back off and let things fizzle out, die down. And I'll try to come back fresh.


Quote:
Originally Posted by hyperskeptic View Post
As harsh as some of this sounds - and there are others here who will be even more blunt than I've been! - I think this forum may be a safe place for you to figure some of this out.

If nothing else, you can find models here for healthy and happy relationships involving more than two consenting adults, which may help you to understand all the ways in which cheating with your best friend is neither healthy nor likely to make you happy.
I really, REALLY appreciate your advice. It has not been harsh, but it has been real, and honest. Blunt, you might say, yes. Necessarily so.

I know what we've been doing is wrong & unhealthy & I hope to salvage it in the future. I hope that someday I can have a healthy relationship... Haven't had one yet in my young life. *sigh*
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Old 06-12-2012, 07:46 PM
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Everywhere I look hyperskeptic is giving really awesome advice. Not much I can add so I'll just say what I'd do in your position, which is that I'd need him to talk to his girlfriend clearly about poly, have discussions with her about safe sex, and other boundaries so both of them knows just what is going on, before being intimate with him again.

She should have the right to know where she stands so she can choose to leave the relationships if monogamy is important to her. She should have the right to ask for a DADT situation if she prefers that (though I don't really see how that would work when you are all friends). She should get to decide if she is willing to be in a mono-poly relationship or wants to explore poly herself, I'm not clear that they've really discussed what all this means enough for her to even know what options there are or what he wants out of a relationship.

You deserve to feel good about caring about somebody and falling in love with them, so I do think that trying to keep things above board is really going to provide you with that. Really as hyperskeptic says, stop assuming and start asking, because if you end up in a relationship with him, you'd want to know all those same things I mentioned in the previous paragraph about other relationships he's having wouldn't you?
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Old 06-12-2012, 07:56 PM
greenchild90 greenchild90 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anneintherain View Post
She should have the right to know where she stands so she can choose to leave the relationships if monogamy is important to her. She should have the right to ask for a DADT situation if she prefers that (though I don't really see how that would work when you are all friends). She should get to decide if she is willing to be in a mono-poly relationship or wants to explore poly herself, I'm not clear that they've really discussed what all this means enough for her to even know what options there are or what he wants out of a relationship.
Well, as far as I know from what both of them have individually vented to me (not assumptions), she is not comfortable with him being "poly", and he is not comfortable with giving up his "poly" lifestyle. However, both of them are clinging to whatever relationship & commitment they have, and don't seem like they necessarily want to give up each other as people. So they've kinda got themselves stuck in an awkward situation. She does not want to be poly, she is strictly monogamous, and a very jealous person who does not want to share her partner or be shared. She tried to make it seem like she was okay with a DADT situation, but obviously she was fooling herself to make him happy, and was not actually okay with it. Why she "allowed" it anyways, I don't know.

Last edited by greenchild90; 06-12-2012 at 07:59 PM.
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Old 06-12-2012, 08:06 PM
greenchild90 greenchild90 is offline
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I should add that I do not necessarily need a monogamous relationship with him, should we ever end up together. I am perfectly fine with seeing him a couple times a week, and having alone time, or time with friends, or even time with another included partner the rest of the week. I respect that he likes his space, and I feel the same way. If I were to spend every day with him I might get a bit burnt out after a while. This applies to anyone I know, and I suspect is pretty common with most people and their relationships.

I enjoy getting together, chilling out in the hot tub, talking, joking, or cuddling up on the couch, watching TV or movies, or playing video games, and probably having some form of intimacy, but not necessarily every time. Just... normalcy. I really enjoy his company. But I don't need him every minute of every day to be happy. But now I can't have it at all... I shouldn't have had it in the first place. I know I need to find that happiness elsewhere... for the time being.
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Old 06-12-2012, 08:48 PM
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Just a few further comments . . . in reverse order!

Quote:
I know what we've been doing is wrong & unhealthy & I hope to salvage it in the future. I hope that someday I can have a healthy relationship... Haven't had one yet in my young life. *sigh*
This is important. You are very young, yet. (Your profile says you are 21). You have lots of time to learn, and are bound to make any number of youthful mistakes.

You can be a little patient with yourself. Consider that your brain isn't finished developing yet. As I understand it - second- or third-hand, mind you - the parts of the cortex associated with judgment and self-control aren't fully on line until around age 25.

And, in any case, you have a long life and many possible relationships ahead of you. If this one doesn't work out, there will be other opportunities to connect with people, at various levels.

At the same time, it's important that you do own your own mistakes, fix what you can, and learn . . .

Quote:
But since yesterday, when he told me they were talking about me, I cut off most of my contact with everyone. I deactivated my Facebook account (a horrible addiction, I might add). I've been offline from IM programs. Only one friend has texted me (not the one involved) and she's the one I lied to. I know if I confirm their suspicions and tell them what's really going on, I'll lose everyone (except maybe him). I don't want that. I'm going to back off and let things fizzle out, die down. And I'll try to come back fresh.
I understand the urge to hide, and it may be that a cooling-off period will help everyone involved . . . to a point. At some point you need to open the conversation with him about being honest with his girlfriend. At some point, you may even need to have a conversation with her about what happened and what should happen next.

Quote:
(We've all agreed never to get drunk around each other again.)
That's good. It's what we around here call establishing a boundary, and that you did this together, consciously and openly, is a good model for other boundaries you all need to set.

Quote:
It was indeed a whirlwind romance. The same night we met him, the three of us & a few other friends all met up at a 24-hour diner & we were joking amongst ourselves that it was as if they had already been together for 5 years! That's how much they were "into each other". Within the first week they had hooked up.
This is something you can't deal with directly, at least where their relationship is concerned, but it raises a set of questions any young person (and older person) should consider. What exactly are the terms of their relationship? Is the fact that they had sex (which is what I assume you mean when you say they "hooked up") enough to make them "a couple" with an exclusive commitment? Is that how each of them understands it? (Apparently not, but it's not clear.)

What are the distinctions among interest in someone, attraction to someone, lust for someone, love for someone, and a commitment to someone?

Your friends may be mushing all these together, which confuses a lot of issues. It's not really your responsibility to sort these things out for them, but you might do well to steer clear of him until the two of them have sorted it out.

You might also do well to keep the distinctions in mind yourself!

Quote:
He has told me that every partner that he has had in his life, he still loves, even if they are not physically together anymore. They now have a part of his soul, he says, forever. And if any one of them were to come back into his life, and want a relationship with him, he feels he could not turn them away because he loves them so deeply.
Well, that's very nice. He may be a generous and warm-hearted guy, but he clearly needs to sort out all of the distinctions I mentioned just above.

I still care deeply for past loves, and I'm happy when I get to see them again, but that doesn't mean I should take them to my bed (even if I kinda want to . . .)

Again, it's a question of explicit commitments and boundaries, not just feelings.

Again, sorting out his mind on these issues is not your responsibility, but you would do well to be cautious of him until he does get it sorted out.

So far, I haven't seen anything to suggest this guy is polyamorous. It seems more that he just has trouble being decisive in his commitments, trouble distinguishing what he wants and what he feels from what he should be doing.

If he's going to continue to claim to be polyamorous, he should get his young fool self on this forum, and he should read widely.

You might even direct him to this thread, as a way of opening the conversation with him.

Quote:
I know that my friend is monogamous. She has extreme jealousy with the idea of sharing a partner. She does not even like it if I cuddle with him on the couch watching a movie. She considers that "physical intimacy".
The mere fact that she feels jealously does not in itself amount to a conscious commitment between the two of them. If you do any reading on this forum, you'll see that even people who have consciously adopted a polyamorous approach to relationships feel jealously, and sometimes very strongly.

We just have to learn to understand jealousy for what it is - and it's complicated! - and keep it in perspective.

That said, your female friend might, in fact, be committed to monogamy. That's fine, but then she and he need to work that out, openly and honestly, between themselves.

You probably shouldn't be directly involved in that particular conversation. It's really not your responsibility.

But you should not do anything further with the guy until they've had that conversation, and come to some firm conclusion about the terms on which they'll stay together . . . if at all.

Should I assume your friends are the same age as you? If so, remember what I said about neurological development, and note that - if car insurance underwriters are to be believed - it's far harder for males under 25 to exercise good judgment and self control.
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Old 06-12-2012, 09:03 PM
greenchild90 greenchild90 is offline
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All very good advice which I will try to adhere to, as I agree with all of it.

As a note to the last bit of your response, I am actually the youngest. My friend is going to be 24 in a couple of months, and he is 29, soon to be 30 in September. So... he should be the more mature one out of we three... (And none of us have any reservations towards our differences in age.)
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Old 06-12-2012, 09:10 PM
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hyperskeptic hyperskeptic is offline
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Quote:
As a note to the last bit of your response, I am actually the youngest. My friend is going to be 24 in a couple of months, and he is 29, soon to be 30 in September. So... he should be the more mature one out of we three...
All right, so he has the capacity for judgment and self-control. That's no guarantee, though!

Quote:
All very good advice which I will try to adhere to, as I agree with all of it.
I hope this becomes an opportunity for you to learn courage and self-possession. Even if these particular friendships can't really be salvaged - and that's always a possibility, largely beyond your control - you can take that away with you.

Good luck.
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