so recently, i broke up with my girlfriend of about a year, and her friends called me an asshole for it. i broke up with her because she was depending on me far too much for things (we are in high school) and my grades and happiness were suffering because of her dumping most of her problems onto me. her friends also consistently called me a jerk because i didn't constantly stay behind to cheer her up (which i would try and do but i also had classes to get to) whenever she was a bit sad about things, they would say ‘dude, she was crying’ and stuff like that, but here's the thing, she cries really easily. So i don't know, what do you think? am i an asshole?
i am firmly of the fairly uncontroversial belief that a relationship between two people should amount to an improvement in both of their lives—in other words, the good should outweigh the bad. in a longer, more serious relationship, prolonged periods of badness are more permissible; but that kind of devotion should come with time—not be defaulted into. if a relationship ceases to make you happy, then you aren’t obligated to stay in it. actually, you aren’t obligated to stay in any relationship for any reason. it’s always something you get to opt into.
yes, as a partner, it is your job to occasionally comfort and provide support to your partner. but it is almost never healthy—especially at your age—to put your partner before your career/school/life obligations and your own happiness. and if your partner is so unhappy that the amount of energy she needed from you was taking away from your ability to manage your own life, it doesn’t sound to me like you’d have been doing her any favors by trying to solve those problems for her. you are a high schooler, not a therapist—unless there’s some kind of Doogie Howser (look it up, it’s a good show) style subplot to your question, but i feel like you would have mentioned that.
anyway, it sounds like her friends gave you a pretty hard time which is uncool; but they are her friends so naturally they are going to take her side. i think it’s a good thing that you’re setting healthy boundaries and advocating for yourself. that said, this question does omit some key details: why it was you were with this person in the first place and what kind of things this person did for you during your relationship. there is a fine line between self-care and selfishness. as you continue to navigate the dating world, make sure you’re paying attention to patterns. if you consistently find that partners are unsatisfied with the amount of emotional investment you’re putting in, you may want to make a point to seek more casual, less serious relationships.
i’m not even sure where to start on this one. i’m a 38-year-old woman and my guy friend is the same age. we've been friends since middle school. i was in love with him in high school but way too terrified to do anything about it. he got married pretty young to someone i thought was an awful choice and when she divorced him he hinted at interest in me, but i didn't want to be some rebound, plus i think i felt a little offended like oh NOW you like me? he remarried and his second wife died three years ago. he has a son.
his older brother died two months ago. i am close with the whole family and am saddened by this tragedy. he lives in another state, but his sister lives here. one month ago the whole family was here to visit her and her family. i spent three days with them. during that time i felt strong romantic feelings for him and he kept talking about the possibility of him moving here. it was glorious (although sad, of course, with lots of reminiscing about the brother), and at the end of the third night i confessed my feelings to my friend. he said he also had feelings for me that weekend and HAS HAD THEM FOR OVER 20 YEARS.
so what's the issue? he has a girlfriend of one year. i’ve met her three times and she's nice. i feel guilty for confessing feelings to her boyfriend. BUT, he's also been complaining about their relationship for 8 months of that year. and earlier this spring they probably would've broken up if i hadn't talked him through what she was wanting from him. i don't think they're a good match. she doesn't feel comfortable with him having been married twice.
i guess on some level, once he said he's had feelings for me 20+ years i thought that meant he'd leave her. well, it's been almost 4 weeks since our conversation. he's still with her and he's barely responding to me. the advice from my friends has been wildly different, with most of it falling into one of three categories: 1) his brother just died so he doesn't have the emotional bandwidth to dump someone, he'll be with you eventually but you must wait, 2) any guy who gives you the brushoff is shitty regardless of your past friendship, so stop talking to him or liking him, 3) he's a very passive man who's confused and overwhelmed, he probably wants to be with you but can't take action--if you want him, you have to step it up and steal him from her.
none of these options feel right. help.
first of all, you mention that this person has been complaining about his (current) partner to you for the majority of their relationship. while i do think that confiding in a friend about some of the friction in a relationship can be healthy, once that confiding surpasses the 50% mark, it gets suspicious. either he’s actually been unhappy for most of this fairly short relationship and yet chosen to stick it out; or he’s just complaining so that he seems more romantically available to you. neither of options speak positively to his character. i also think him confessing these feelings to you is a horribly selfish thing to do. he led you on while simultaneously betraying the trust of his partner.
your question doesn’t really paint this guy in a positive light. the only real defining characteristics your question gives this guy are that he’s got bad judgement when it comes to partners (you didn’t like this first wife, he doesn’t seem to like his current partner) and that he’s a very passive person. i found myself really wondering why you want to be with him in the first place.
all of this is irrelevant, though. your friend has made his choice. he went home to his partner. he isn’t responding to your messages. these facts amount to your answer. and it sounds like this friend has done you a favor. his actions don’t show respect for his current partner and they don’t show respect for you.
it would have been a nice story, getting together with your long lost love of 20+ years but here’s a nicer one: you sign up for a dating app or some other place or event where single people meet new people. you go on the requisite amount of bad first dates. and then you meet someone who you really like, who’s available and who really likes you—you as the adult you’ve grown into and not the lifelong crush you represent.
what should i drink on a first date?
something with alcohol (i.e. a martini) that you aren’t likely to spill (i.e. not a martini).