Dear Wayne and Wanda,
“Jim” and I are part of the same big group of friends and many months ago, on a handful of occasions, we spent the night together a few times. It was fun but he said it wasn’t serious. We were both single and agreed we didn’t want to cause any drama within our group and it was better to just keep it between us. After those few times, it didn’t happen again. I still think he’s hot but I understood it wasn’t anything more than what it was.
Recently, Jim started dating our friend “Jen” and this has caused all kinds of problems. First of all, the reason he said he couldn’t date me was we’re both in the same group of friends — but so is Jen! Second, he told me I could not tell anyone about us ... but then I learned he told Jen we had been together and now she’s mad at me for keeping it from her. I feel like he threw me under the bus to make himself look good!
Finally, I feel like I often end up being the girl guys have fun with but won’t get serious about. What’s wrong with me? This whole thing has proven to be a mistake. I find myself mad at Jim, sad about Jen being mad at me and just over the whole thing. How can I move on?
Here’s an idea: Get new friends. It sounds harsh but bear with me. Wouldn’t it be nice to have male friends who see you as an actual pal and not a side piece to fill a boring weekend? Wouldn’t it be nice to have girlfriends who give you the benefit of the doubt and are willing to hear your side of the story before passing judgment?
I’m not saying cut off Jim and Jen entirely, or abandon your squad for good. If Jen truly is a friend, and you want to salvage your connection, ask her to coffee and share your side of the story; do this without speaking badly of Jim, who is after all her boyfriend, but by simply laying out the facts that when you and Jim had your fling, discretion made sense, and there was never ill intent. You’ll know pretty quick whether she cares enough to listen.
In the meantime, branch out a bit. Maybe there are some people at work who would want to hit up a happy hour at day’s end? Or perhaps you have other casual acquaintances you could nurture so that you have some socialization options beyond your current inner circle, which sounds rather toxic and demoralizing.
And speaking of toxic and demoralizing, if you’re serious about wanting a serious a relationship, here’s a pro tip: Any person who asks you to keep the arrangement a secret probably isn’t in it for the long haul.
First of all, be kind to yourself. Why be angry at yourself, or others, over something that really had nothing to do with you? Could you have seen this relationship coming? Maybe. Were they being deceptive? Debatable, at best. Was any of this aimed at upsetting you? Uh, no.
Take a second and rub your eyes, then look back on your time with Jim with a little clarity. It didn’t exactly sound like you guys had a love connection or anything. When you were bored or buzzed at the end of a friend session, you kept the party going. When you weren’t in the mood, there were no “R U up?” texts. When things fizzled, they fizzled — no tears shed, right? So why are you suddenly stunned and bummed and mad and sad that your no-strings-attached hook-up buddy is now hooking up on the regular and even enjoying a real relationship? Probably less about Jim being in a relationship and more about you not being in one.
Sure, it’s two friends — one close homie, one you had sex with numerous times. And yeah, that could be a little awkward if you let it be. But let’s try to adult up in here. Their relationship isn’t about you. The fact that you and Jim didn’t have what it took to go beyond the bedroom is no one’s fault, either. So how about this: Be happy for them and be happy about your life, try salvaging things with your close friend and enjoy your friend circle, and keep on keeping on until something real comes along.