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Catalyst, Future or Friend?

Posted by on Jun. 11, 2012 at 6:06 PM
  • 8 Replies

I'm pretty new here but I don't know where else to turn so I thought I would ask for some outsider perspective. I have discussed all aspects of this tale with everyone I trust minus the last paragraph. I apologize in advance for the lengthy details, I'm often overly thorough and also an enthusiastic writer.

About a year ago I met Chris* through my very good friend, Marie*. Marie and I had been very close for years, she was always my go-to gal for anything and everything. She had invited me to Chris's house often and I really enjoyed playing cards and having a few drinks with them on the weekends. When Chris started to develop feelings for Marie, he confided in me about what he should do. He eventually poured his heart out to Marie but she chose not to address the situation, assuming that if she stopped talking to him that Chris would understand her stance. Her means to substitute the friendship she had with Chris was to latch onto his best friend and roommate Joe*, who took the sudden female attention for face value and threw Chris under the bus for her. Heartbroken and angry, Chris called me one afternoon to talk about the situation; since I knew the score from all angles, I consoled him the best that I could. We soon noticed that more we talked, the more we saw pieces of ourselves in the other person, and by this I mean a mutual understanding of core ideals and values, not a liking for spaghetti or other surface bonds.

We have remained very close friends ever since, even though Marie has ostracized us both from her life for feeling wounded by our budding friendship; let's face it, if she knew Chris and I as well as she claimed she should have known we would click but I digress. Chris and I were slightly hurt by her sudden urge to cut all ties but took it as a sign that Marie had merely just been the messenger who brought us together in life, and even though she wasn't in our lives anymore, that we still had each other and are better off that way.

I have much respect for him, as he does for me; our friendship has been nothing more than platonic during it's entirety. We crack jokes, share a pizza, watch movies, play cards, bake cookies--I know, I know--and talk for hours on end about various things. If my car is making a funny noise, I can count on him to help me. Likewise, if he rips his favorite jeans, I'll happily patch them up for him. I appreciate the lack of score keeping that most friendships have, the "I did such and such for you..." type of thing, which we both have plenty of and vowed to prevent with each other.

He's one of my closest friends and his advice has never been about ego, it has always been about honesty. So when I reached the breaking point in my current relationship with Mark* I turned to Chris for his bird's eye view, when everyone else would only giving wishy washy answers that to make Mark look like the "bad" guy--Like they assumed I wanted them to. I had accepted the eventual end of my relationship with Mark long before I had met Chris, might I add, as we had one point lived in separate homes for a few months in an attempt to repair things that had broken between us. A relationship is a two way street and for a long time I was sacrificing much more than I should have for the sake of it than Mark was so, feeling as though I was beating my head against the wall, I gave Mark the "ship up or ship out" ultimatum for the final time.

I keep thinking that if Chris hadn't spoken truthfully, when nobody else would, I would still be harboring the idea that it had been my fault that my relationship wasn't working. I took his opinions to others only to find that they reciprocated. Mark had become controlling and abusive, it wasn't my imagination. This sparked a major personal growth for me, and I vowed to give my relationship with Mark one final go before I give up for good. And before I'm viewed as dishonest or whathaveyou, Mark knows 100% about Chris; the occasional time I spend with Chris or the conversations we share are not a secret as Mark has his own friends to whom he spends time away from me with as well, even though Mark, Chris and I spend time together more often than Chris and I spend time together alone.

Having said that, things sound okay so what's the issue? A few weeks ago, when I was seeking the aforementioned relationship advice, I saw a change in Chris's perception. We went out for drinks, which happens once in a blue moon, and got into a deep discussion about my relationship. That's when I noticed his opinions were fiery and that things had shifted on us.

Our conversation then moved to a friend of ours who uses Chris as free labor, more often than a listening ear. I got upset about a this mutual friend of ours only calling him when he needs something and I got heated about it; it hurt my feelings to know that this person doesn't see Chris for who is actually is and is so eager to exploit his desire to help a "friend" in need. I tried to explain that nobody tracks their feet on someone I care about, even if that person is just a friend. He reluctantly discussed my frustrations for a while, I assumed he had been gauging where my anger had come from. I could tell he had been taken back by my concern on the subject and had an expression of understanding on his face as we spoke; it was here that I thought we had graduated to a whole new level of friendship and it pleased me to know that the barrier of what we felt we could or couldn't say had been torn down. 

Last week he paid for our meals at the restaurant we went to without letting me even see the check, he's been calling more often to ask how I'm doing because he's worried about me, and even dropping by unexpectedly to check on me. I know he's a good man and have told him that he doesn't need to prove it to me however his reasoning is that he knows what I'm going through and that he wants to try to make things easier for me since he has nobody but himself to look out for with his hefty salary, whereas I have two small children on a paycheck to paycheck budget.

Have I considered the possibility that Chris has feelings? Absolutely. Have I considered the possibility that he and I would make a smart match? Yes. However my friendship with Chris has been one of a kind, out of the gate, and I value that too much to bring up the awkward discussion on whether or not there may be something there. In the meantime, Mark and I have decided that if things don't get better between us in the next two months to throw in the towel; a topic we've been circling for over two years.

So the question that has been on my mind almost daily for the last month is this: has Chris been the catalyst in the make it or break it mentality I've adopted with my current relationship, is he searching for more when he looks into my eyes or is he just doing his duty as a loyal friend?

*Names have been changed

by on Jun. 11, 2012 at 6:06 PM
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Replies (1-8):
by on Jun. 11, 2012 at 6:19 PM
I think you need to talk to Chris. You can't focus on fixing whatever with mark if you are too busy worrying about Chris. Figure out how you feel about both men and go from there. You can't do anything until you know how you feel and how all others feel.
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by Bella on Jun. 12, 2012 at 12:21 AM


by on Jun. 12, 2012 at 11:54 PM


by on Jun. 13, 2012 at 12:37 AM
Sounds like my sitz.. my assband former bestfriend now my best bud when he found out what an asshole assband is, he talks to me a lot and willing to help, financially, if I decide to move out from my controlling assband.but I know hes interested in me too.. And ive two lil ones as well.
But im not interested to jump into a new relationship whilr trying to get out from one.i believe people needs time alone, to heal, to gather themselves together, focus on what should be prioritize, job, kids, and when u got back on ur feet and become whole again, then thats when u think if u want to jump into anothet relationship or not.cause u have kids u need to reconsider.

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by Marianne on Jun. 13, 2012 at 8:15 AM
1 mom liked this

 I certainly understand the frustration, but the fact of the matter is, you're never going to know until you address it head on. Sure, it can be awkward for two friends to discuss their feelings for each other, but honestly, of all my friends and family, the only times I've ever seen a friendship change over this is 1) when they decide to start a relationship and therefore shift from friends to couple; and 2) in movies. Even if it turns out one or both of you aren't in that place where a romantic relationship would be the right choice, it will most likely not hurt your friendship at all. Especially if you really are as close as you say. And I just keep coming back to the fact that you're never going to know how he feels until you ask. So it looks to me like a conversation is in order!

Good luck!

by on Jun. 13, 2012 at 2:14 PM

Thank you ladies, I've definitely received some validation here. I like to think of myself as a very rational, level-headed and educated person but for those who have been around an emotional leech who slowly tears you down without you even knowing because they "love you", you know how tough it is to get feedback from those around you. I just kept thinking to myself that if he said I was too heavy and that my friends don't like me then it must be true right? He wouldn't lie to me, would he? Then once I was whittled down to a managable state it just got worse. Anyway, while I believe Mark and I should have one final chance it's hard to respect someone who keeps you prisoner in your own home and lets you get only so far on the leash, on the few chances you get to run alone. As I said, I value my friendship with Chris very much for the unguarded conversation and genuine concern. I am prepared for a lengthy discussion on the matter and we'll either move forward as friends or our friendship will be the foundation for a great relationship. Part of me wants to believe that Chris thinks that by puffing up his chest for me that he's trying to prove that there really are better men out there for me and that Mark is the toxic relationship that lasted far too long. Believe me, any man who would let his family lose the roof over their heads is only concerned for himself. I started disconnecting emotionally after that situation. But again, after thinking that my mind was playing tricks on me about the abuse nobody wanted to step in and give me their two cents except Chris. I'm not saying I'm crushing hard or only giving my current relationship one last try because of him, I'm saying that I've prepared myself mentally and emotionally for the eventual end of my current relationship and once I've repaired the fractures I've suffered, and my heart is strong again, that I wouldn't be against giving Chris a chance. I've dated far worse characters...

by Platinum Member on Jun. 13, 2012 at 2:33 PM

 That is something you need to talk to Chris about

by Kendall on Jun. 13, 2012 at 5:25 PM

First off, I think "Mark" needs to go.  Everyone in your life is right about that.  If you spend more time discussing if you should stay in your relationship or not, than actually trying to make the relationship work, then it's time for it to end.

Second, I think you need to sit down and have a frank discussion with "Chris".  It might be awkward afterwards, but you still need to have that talk with him before things get even more complicated than they already are.

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