DEAR KELLY: Recently, my boyfriend and I broke up on a Wednesday. On Friday, I went out with my friends and we bumped into one guy who is in my ex-boyfriend’s “squad.” I started telling him why we broke up and what happened. He was really funny. We talked all night and he was just so nice and easy to talk to about anything, even personal things I don’t tell other people. The next night, I asked him if he wanted to go get ice cream. We did and, again, I had so much fun with him just sitting in my car and laughing. I’ve honestly never connected like that with someone. Nothing happened between us.
The next day we went to play volleyball together with some other people and I told him I was starting to like him more than friends. He said that he liked me too, but if it was between me and his friends, he would have to pick his boys. He said he would talk with my ex on Monday and see what he said. Long story short, he chickened out and didn’t say anything for a whole week. Finally he did it when they had both had some beers, and things got out of control and my ex-boyfriend punched him. The guy I liked texted me that night and said that nothing could happen between us because he couldn’t take a chance of losing his friends. I said that I understood, but it was sad. A few days later, my ex texted me and said that he knew I liked his friend and that he was mad at first, but now he’s OK with it because he actually likes another girl now. When I texted the other guy to say we were good, he said that too much has happened and he can’t do anything with me even if his friends are OK with it. I told him I really liked him and that I thought he felt the same, but he said that he was following “bro code” and we can’t go out. I’m heartbroken and I don’t know what to do. When I asked him to talk about it, he said he didn’t want to complicate things and we shouldn’t see each other, because if something happened between us it could turn all his friends against him.
What can I do? Why do bad things always happen to me, and why did he chose his friends over me when we really had a great connection? Is it wrong to go out with someone even if they were friends with your ex?
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DEAR CARLIANN: Unfortunately, things don’t always go how you want them to, especially when it comes to relationships. The guy you like seems to have a strong bond with his friends, and the fear of losing them is more important to him than the risk of dating you. If he is claiming “guy code,” there is a strong possibility that there is nothing you can do besides let go and move on.
Make sure you stop to reflect on good things in your life rather than dwell on the “bad things.” Thinking that bad things always happen to you sets up a negative mindset and makes you out to be the victim in all circumstances. When things don’t go your way it isn’t always a bad thing, just not the right thing.
Start by being friends with him. Instead of pushing for a relationship, why not just be friends? Take it slow and just get to know him as a friend. Perhaps he just needs time to be sure his buddy is OK with things and being friends is the best approach to slowing things down. Or maybe he changed his mind and doesn’t see you as more than a friend. The more you push him, the more he might run away and avoid you because he wants to avoid the conflict. Back off and just be a friend to him without complicating the situation by asking for more than friendship. He told you how he feels right now, so you should be respectful and understanding.
Be careful of rushing from one relationship into another. Take time for you. There is nothing wrong with being single and spending time with girlfriends. Get some clarity on who you are and what didn’t work in your last relationship before you jump into another one. Even bad situations can teach and guide us to making better choices and setting healthier boundaries. Being single is a great time to explore what you have learned, to do the things you like you do and have fun enjoying this time as a teenager.