I Thought He Was My Friend

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    I’ve been going through the loss of an “almost relationship.” I’ve been in the same friend group with this guy for some years—he’s divorced as of a couple of years ago and we reconnected earlier this year in the same friend group. We built a stronger friendship recently and I thought I could trust him… I thought he cared about me. He expressed interest in subtle ways over this period of reconnection and liked me in the past when he was single. I always friend-zoned him and he’s never been someone I saw romantically, but he supported me through an emotional time and now I feel like he used my vulnerability to manipulate me into liking him. He listened, was loyal, held me while I cried, and kept doing things that a boyfriend would do (ie. subtle touching, flirting, talking about “us”). I don’t know why I’m wasting my time writing about this guy on a forum, because I know now that he is not worth it, but I’m still very much in the hurting phase and maybe it will help if someone out there can relate at all.

    He made me feel something for him so suddenly which has never happened to me before, and now I think it was love bombing.. I ended up asking him to clarify if he still likes me / means all of the things he kept saying to me when I’d see him in person, because he was never acting on it, or asking me on a date or making anything actually happen. I told him I developed feelings for him, and he reciprocated, all of this over text mind you because I couldn’t get him to ever meet up in person :/ He strung me along over text for a month, using excuses of covid and starting a new job, but when the rubber met the road and even when none of those excuses applied anymore, he still was not making the date he said he had planned actually materialize. I again had to ask him for clarification and he said he thought he was ready but that he’s actually not, and that he’s been having ptsd and a lot of issues from his divorce after we started talking about going on a date. He claimed he didn’t want to end it until he was sure he couldn’t work through his issues, but it was so selfish dragging me on an emotional roller coaster for over a month and I don’t know if he ever had any intention of actually dating me. I’ve thought a lot about why he’d chose to not pursue something with me after claiming to like me for years— I know he’s damaged from his divorce but I think that’s an excuse he uses to keep playing the field. He told me he was going to stop drinking and going out and was going to work on himself, and I see our other friends on venmo paying him for drinks that very weekend and every one since… I wonder now if he ever meant anything he ever said to me.

    On top of all of the lies and breadcrumbing for that month, he basically traded my friend and I out like playing cards—I think he’s been playing with us both, our friendship ended in large part over this situation (she has not proven to be any friend of mine), and now he has chosen to spend his time with her again (as “friends”) after comparing her to his ex, talking badly about her to me, and blocking her # in front of me. I feel betrayed by them both, I feel used by him, and I wish I never was in this situation to begin with… I wish I never let him get the best of my emotions to make me start liking him in the first place. I’ve been learning some hard lessons about watching people’s behavior instead of what they say, even if you think they’re someone you can trust. I also learned to probably not trust emotions that come on that quickly and intensely, but instead test those emotions over time and someone proving to you that they’re there for you time and time again.

    For now, I’m trying to get back out there and am still dreading running into that friend group anywhere in town. I feel like I’m starting over and I lost a relationship that could’ve been, but also a friend group. Anyone else been through something similar?

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