Advice needed: Should I attempt to reconcile with an estranged friend?

There are many intricate details concerned here, so it might take me a while to lay it all out for you.

I became good friends with “Daniel” several years ago. (FYI: I am a mid-20s woman; he is an early-30s guy). We met through mutual friends. When we met, I had a boyfriend of about 6 years. I was also just out of college, and a lot of my old friends weren’t around anymore, so I was happy to have made a new friend. We shared a lot of the same interests and had a good time together.

After about a month or two, my long-time boyfriend and I broke up and I was very unhappy. Daniel was a good friend to me during this time. It was sort of clear at the time, but really clear in hindsight, that Daniel was romantically interested in me from the get-go, and he saw his chance to move in. I was never interested in him from the beginning, mainly because I wasn’t attracted to him and he just wasn’t “my type.” But I really liked him as a friend.

Anyway during this time I was kind of depressed over the break-up and there was one night we went out and I got pretty drunk. To make a long story short, we started making out and we had sex. The next day I was very upset over this because I did not want that to happen. I was just drunk and reeling from a bad breakup and it just happened.

So we came to an understanding that we were just to be friends. I explained to him that I did not want to ruin our friendship, etc. So time went on and we remained good friends. There may have been one or two more times where there was some drunken fooling around between us, something of which I am NOT proud of, but that happened because of my depressed, drunken state.

But all in all, I ended up considering Daniel a very good friend–actually a best friend. Although I always kind of knew in the back of my mind that he was still interested in me as more than friends. But he didn’t act on it or do anything about it so it was OK. And, I really cared a lot for this friend and enjoyed his company. We have had some really great times together. And what I really loved about him the most is that we can really talk to each other, for hours and hours…about anything.

That’s not to say that we always got along, though…we both are very opinionated people and would sometimes get in arguments. So there was one period where we got in some stupid argument and we didn’t talk for like 6 months (his choice), which made me really sad. But eventually we became friends again and all was good.

I should also mention that during our friendship, we both dated other people with no problem.

So that covers like a year and a half, approximately…Then came a time when my old boyfriend, we’ll call him “Jerry,” and I got back together. Then Jerry and I moved in together. I could tell that Daniel did not like this, and acted jealous sometimes. Then a little while later, Daniel moved to another state, about 8 hours away. So from that point forward we didn’t really see each other a lot, but we talked on the phone a lot, e-mailed a lot, and I really missed him!

Then after not seeing him for like 6 months, he came to visit me. I was so excited to see him! He was supposed to spend the weekend with me. That first evening we went out to an old favorite bar of ours. We were having a great time. Then later in the evening, after drinking and getting kind of buzzed, he started becoming all “touchy feely” with me, which is something he used to do all the time which annoyed me. You know, he would put his arm around me, touch my shoulder or arm, etc. It just made me uncomfortable because I am not a “touchy feely” kind of person. I would have felt the same if it were any guy who weren’t my boyfriend–it was nothing personal against him.

So I delicately tried to move farther away from him, and he just scooted closer. Then he started to notice I was getting uncomfortable and he started saying “what’s wrong? why can’t I touch you? What’s your problem?” And I tried to be really sensitive and nice and I said something like “I just don’t like to be touched, I am not touchy-feely, and need some personal space.”

Well, he blew up and started yelling at me. He said some pretty mean things to me. Then he started implying that I wasn’t so innocent, because in the past I had fooled around with him, and implying that he might say something to my live-in boyfriend Jerry. I tried to just bite my tongue but that got me mad and I told him I was not going to risk Jerry finding out about my past indiscretions, etc. Then he said he wish he had never come to visit me and he was going to leave, etc.

So he stormed off and said he never wanted to see me again and that this was the last time we would ever see me, etc. That was the last time I saw him. Then he wrote me like two nasty e-mail shortly thereafter, which I ignored, and that was the last contact.

That was almost a year ago. I know the argument was pretty bad, but I feel like it was a stupid argument and there were so many other good times. I think about him occasionally and miss him as a friend. I’d like to think that we are adult enough to put the weirdness of the past behind us and move on.

Question: should I contact him and see if he wants to reconcile our friendship? I was thinking about writing him a letter. Or should I just let it be? I just think it would be really nice to catch up and see how he is doing, and repair our friendship, whic was one of the best ones I have ever had…

Thanks for reading such a long post. I really need some advice!

Yeah, I had a friend like that. Unfortunately, my advice would be to just let it go. It wasn’t healthy before, and it won’t be healthy again. Sometimes people live under different skies. It wouldn’t be kind of you to dredge it up for him again.

I dunno…April 2nd IS Ann Lander’s Reconciliation Day…

Any possiblity that the alcohol had anything to do with it?

SouthernSky is your friend here.

I’d have to say ‘let it go’.

Unfortunately he has/had different feelings for you than you do/did for him.

While it wasn’t intentional on your part, you sort of gave him false hope by fooling around with him. Even if you talked about it afterwards, it happened more than once. He probably took that as a sign of hope. This probably won’t change if you try to be friends again.

Your expectations for the friendship probably cannot be compatible with his. Maybe I’m wrong though.

Best Wishes.

As a guy I would say also ‘Let it go’. It’s sad, but it is really only fair to both of you.

I have to agree. Let him go.

I used to have a very good friend who stood beside me when I was having issues with another friend (D and J, respectively).

J and I were friends first, and we did a lot of online roleplaying with the geeks. Then I became friends with D, and managed to juggle the two of them. J and I later had a blow up, and a several month period in which we rarely spoke.

So D and I became closer friends. A lot of mutual friends speculated that he actually fell in love with me (which I don’t agree with).

At the end of the several month period, J and I reconciled, but D and a lot of the so called mutual friends didn’t like that idea. I was forced to take sides, which I didn’t like, and wound up taking J’s side. After all, said I, why couldn’t we all just be friends?

The situation disintegrated. A lot of harsh words were traded between D, myself, and a lot of the mutual friends. A nice chasm opened up, and D swore to never talk to me again.

Almost two years later, I sent him an email, asking him if he’d be interested in a reconciliation, because I was very very very sorry for what I had said that caused the breach between us.

We spoke briefly a few times…and then it faded.

One of our mutual friends (whom we both still talk to) later explained her theory of why she thought D might have loved me. I disagree with it, but…I wasn’t there. I don’t know.

I haven’t talked to D in three years now (on the other hand, J and I have remained solid friends since then).

Sometimes…it is just best to let them go. Treasure the good times you had. And be civil and kind if they ever reach out to you first.

You and he have a history of having an unstable friendship. (You’re friends, you’re not, you’re friends but arguing, you’re friends but having sexual contact, you’re friends again.) I can’t see the future being any different. It’s just unstable, is all, and that’s not a judgment on you or Daniel. That just seems to be the way some relationships go. Unless you want to get back on that rollercoaster ride, it’s best to just let it go and have fond memories.

(bolding mine)

Best friends do not typically make the best f*ck buddies. I’m sure that is not how you see it but perhaps you should ask Danield how he felt about it. I think that it is fairly obvious from your post that Daniel had/has feelings which are not reciprocated. Had those feelings never been reinforced with drunking groping than I would say try and reconcile. However, in light of the facts I would suggest that you not contact him anymore. He doesn’t want to be “just friends” and future contact will likely lead to more situations like the one you described.

BTW, does current boyfriend Jerry not know about Daniel? I ask because of Daniel’s threatening to tell Jerry about the two of you.

I think you all are right, that it is better to just leave it alone. Although, what would you think if I just sent a nice, brief Christmas card or something like that? Afterall we live in different states, like 8 hours apart, and would likely never really see each other. What would you think if we just occasionally e-mailed or wrote letters? Would that be OK?

I thought of some other things that might be relevant here, just to flesh out the story: You may have wondered why I was never interested in Daniel even though we got along so well and had a lot in common. Well, he was a decent looking guy, so that was not it. It’s kind of hard to explain…

You see, I think he has “sexual identity issues.” I think in truth he is bisexual. He prefers women, but has had sexual experiences with guys too. And sometimes he acts a little gay. I have NO PROBLEM with gay people. In fact one of my best friends is a gay guy. But I would feel very uncomfortable dating a guy who is bisexual. Also, he has other baggage, which includes a bad chilhood with physical, emotional and sexual abuse. I think the sexual abuse contributed to his sexual identity problems.

And as much as we had great times together, he wasn’t the most emotionally stable person. That’s when I really tried to be his friend, to be there for him, because he has always had problems with relationships, probably because of his childhood issues. So this emotional instability is another reason I wouldn’t feel comfortable dating him

Anyway I know in hindsight that what I did was wrong. Fooling around with him was wrong. But I also did feel a little violated by him, because I felt he took advantage of me when I was 1) upset over a breakup and 2) extremely drunk.

Anyway, those are just some more thoughts on the subject. Thanks for the advice.

P.S. Jerry knew Daniel and I were good friends. Jerry just never knew we fooled around. I am one of those girls who has lots of guys for friends. And Jerry never cared about that, luckily. However, he would have cared if he knew Daniel and I had fooled around. Footnote: Jerry and I have since broken up. However that has NOTHING to do with me wanting to reconcile with Daniel.

There’s a part of me that would like to say “Closure would be nice”. And then I remind that part of all the time, pain, and water that’s gone under the bridge. Sure, it would be nice to communicate…from a distance & not where it could ever become more frequent than that. But that’s a pipe-dream or the Heroine calling from the needle.

It won’t be the same. And in your head you’ll replay what you do end up saying and what they say back, looking for hidden meanings or clues. But there won’t be any. And the whole time that you’re talking to him, you’ll feel something funny in the pit of your stomach…something that will keep you from saying what you want to say & will make you want to say things you’ll regret later. nAnd he’ll have the same feeling.

You see, its called baggage. And you’ll both Think up until the time you decide to communicate, that you’ve let it go. But the funny thing is, if you go back & speak, it will all just show up on both your doorsteps with postage due. Now, I’m not trying to Dis- Dear Abbey…she means well. But this time, you Both need to really…let it go.

It sounds like you want to make up with him. You don’t need our permission.

did you tell him before that you didn’t like this behavior?
In short, I have to agree with the rest of the group here.
Things are not going to change. you will continue to have an on again off again relationship with Daniel.
I realize that it’s a difficult situation, but, and I’m just readng in between the lines here, but…

it sounds like you get off on it. You like the attention Daniel is giving you.

Ask yourself what you really expect to get out of a reconcilliation.

More imoprtantly, you say things happened more than once while you were drunk; that you were depressed. Have you considered getting help for that?

I’ll chime in with the other Dopers and say that really, I think that it’s not a particularly good idea to attempt to re-establish communication between Daniel and yourself. It was an on-again, off-again friendship with problems concerning interest levels that ended pretty badly. I suggest that you use the situation as a learning experience and let both Daniel and yourselves get on with your lives, seperately.

Ditto with the others.

Only contact Daniel if you are looking for more than friendship. If he contacts you later, then you can establish ground rules. However, if you go to him first, he might misconstue your intentions because of what y’all were to each other in the past. He was probably needing much more than a friend when you last saw him.

Just let it go.

If you are trying to reconcile it, you should also let him contact you. You should not go searching for him, because this shows a lot of sexual interest on your part. Hopefully he will have moved on and have a girlfriend since you haven’t seen him for a year.

Also, I think you send a lot of mixed signals. You show that you put out when you drink alcohol with him. Then you go out to a bar and drink with him. If you are uninterested in him sexually you should not go drinking with him at all ever again. I don’t see a harm in reconciling the friendship though it isn’t the best thing to do. You just have to have good set of initial boundaries. In the very least you will be able to get closure.

Wow, alot of dissenting for me today. I’m going to disagree. I have been in the same shoes as you. There are a couple women in my life that are similar to your Daniel. I love them to death, but they wanted more than friends. Occasionally, we’d get really drunk and they’d take advantage of me. I knew I shouldn’t be fooling around because I knew it would lead them on, but I was horny and they were offering.

Anyways, these two people are some of my best friends. I would not trade them for the world. The only difference I see is that I have been friends with these girls for 8+ yrs. Under no circumstances would I just let them drift away.

They do not live in physical proximity to me anymore. One lives in Hawaii (She’ll be getting married in May, and I got the invite!), the other lives in Australia.

I’m going to stick up for true friends. There are good times and bad times, and quite frankly, I don’t think it would be unreasonable to say, ‘I miss you friendship’.

Ok, now for the one bad thing. I question how strong your friendship really was. One of the girls, used to love being touched, kissed, etc. We would frequently exchange kisses (on the check etc) without even thinking about it. It wasn’t sexual, it was just a kiss. The other girl, even through she ws very romantically interested, wouldn’t let me touch her with a 10 foot pole. She would have kicked my ass (literally, I’m afraid).

Anyways, you have to judge who are your friends going to be? And right now… you need to make that decision.

Sorry for my circular comment. I’d give 85% to contacting him and 15% let it go, it depends how you feel!

Oh… I forgot my punchline…

Through trial and heartache brings strength.

In my opinion this goes for friends, family and romantic interests!

I think it’s best if you don’t contact him. It’s clear from his last visit that he is not able to just be friends with you. You can no more force him into a friendship relationship any more than he can force you inot a romantic relationship. You just want different things. it sucks, but you gotta let it go.

I’m still against contacting him, even if it is just holiday cards here and there.

But there’s something I’m not getting.

You and Daniel fooled around…when Jerry was no longer in the picture. Once Jerry came back, you and Daniel no longer fooled around.

Is that correct?

'Cause if so…I don’t see why you were so afraid of Jerry finding out. He was no longer in the picture, you didn’t do anything with Daniel while with Jerry, so…what’s the shame?

Well, other than being inebriated during the encounters, that is.

(If it sounds like I’m flaming, I promise I’m not. I’m just really confused.)