I'm in a long distance relationship. However, my boyfriend and I talk every day (MSN, SMS, calls) and we see each other every two months. He is my best friend and the best boyfriend I could ever imagine. Yet I didn't imagine how hard it would be to be so far away from him. I simply underestimated how important a hug can be, a kiss, to take somebody's hand when I'm feeling down, just the company while watching TV. We will be together again after a year, settling into a relationship that is made for life.
Still, I am worried. I have many guy friends. One in particular is my ex boyfriend. The relationship hurt me in so many ways and yet I decided I could be friends with him. We live in the same apartment complex and we spend a lot of time together. This would be okay if this ex was completely over his feelings for me, but this is not the case.
I enjoy being with him, though. He is finally the person I wanted him to be in the relationship although he still lies about certain issues, which was a huge problem in the actual relationship.
I don't ever want to be with him again. He even leaves the country in three months. I'd like us to enjoy the friendship because I went through a lot with him and I feel like I deserve him being there for me after he tortured me for so long. My benefit is I get a hug or two when I'm sad. He never knows why I'm sad because, although he knows I'm with my boyfriend, I wouldn't want to hurt my ex by talking about my boyfriend all the time.
It would probably be better for me and my relationship if I'd never see my ex again. Yet, I can't tell why it's so hard to tell him No when he asks me to come over to have dinner together, watch TV, go to parties together. I miss my boyfriend a great deal because I love him so much. I need to be given a hug though every once in a while and I'm afraid that I'll search (am already searching) for this closeness in my ex boyfriend who is simply available. I don't know when the lines of friendship might fade away and when it's actually considered cheating. Is it when I let him take me into his arms for 5 seconds too long, when I let him put his arms around my shoulders, when I lean on him, when maybe one day I'll fall asleep on his couch while watching TV? I know that I'd go absolutely crazy if the same thing happened to my boyfriend and a friend of his. The problem is that I don't have family in this town, nor my best (girl)friend to be there for me. The only person that seems really close is this ex of mine.
What can I do?
Signed, Needs a Hug
Dear Needs a Hug,
Let me get this straight. You love your boyfriend and plan to spend the rest of your life with him. At the same time you hug your ex-boyfriend and snuggle on his couch to watch TV, knowing he still has feelings for you ... and you're not sure if you have exceeded the bounds of simple friendship?
Of course you know.
Here are a couple of simple ways to tell if you are crossing the line. After you've spent some time with your ex, would you then call your boyfriend and tell him everything that happened? I bet not. Similarly, would you act differently with the ex if your boyfriend was standing behind you the whole time, looking over your shoulder? If you wouldn't do it with your boyfriend watching, then you shouldn't do it at all.
Several of your statements fail to hold water for me. For instance, you say your ex is now the person you always wanted him to be, but he still lies to you. Lying seems like it should be a deal-breaker. Why hang around someone who treats you like that, regardless of your circumstances?
Secondly, why are you worried about hurting your ex by talking about your boyfriend? If your ex is just a friend, then he should be perfectly comfortable hearing about your boyfriend and should be supportive of your need to talk about him. This is another clear indication that your relationship with your ex is more than just being friends. If you are truly committed to your boyfriend, then you should be more concerned about hurting him by being with the ex.
Finally, let's call a spade a spade; you are dating your ex-boyfriend. Where I come from, that's what we call it when he phones you up to go to parties and to come over to his place and the two of you end up snuggling. This relationship has progressed to the point where you are uncomfortable enough to write to me. You know there is an issue, but you seem to be trying to convince yourself this is okay because you have to be apart from your boyfriend for a time and you feel all alone.
I understand loneliness is no fun but let's look ahead a bit. How are you going to feel when you are back together with your boyfriend and you have to think back on how you acted when he was out of town? Will you feel proud of your actions or will you feel guilty? I suspect it's the latter, and let me tell you, that one is no fun either. Then the two of you get married and he has to go away on a business trip for a few weeks. You'll be lonely then too. Would that make it okay to look up another guy for the physical contact you miss while your husband is away? Of course not, and it's not okay now, either.
What can you do? You can start honoring the commitment you have made to your boyfriend and stop wandering over that line. Start acting like you would if he were there watching you.
If you find you can't do that, then I wonder just how strong your commitment really is. If so, then it's not fair to your boyfriend to deceive him. Let him know what has been going on.
You say that's not what you want, though, so if I were you I would get a kitten to snuggle with, or find a new girlfriend or two so you can have someone to spend time with and confide in. Join a club. Take a class. Get a part-time job to fill up your extra hours. There are plenty of ways to distract yourself from your loneliness without resorting to cheating on your boyfriend.
All the best,