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Platonic friendship gone bad

(34 Posts)
rosesmelling23 Sun 23-Aug-15 13:25:21

I'm a long term single female and one of my closest friends is a guy i work with. known him for about 4 years, good mates, he has a DP (no kids). I have a bit of a thing for him but have never shown that.

We have a woman working with us on a four month secondment for a specialist project. Male friend seems to have taken a shine to this woman and they have been spending quite a lot of time together, both at work and outside (she's only in town for the length of the contract). Coincidentally, or maybe not, me and male friend had a huge row just before he started to spend a lot of time with this woman.

I feel like a jealous girlfriend, even though I have no place to be. Because of the row I'm worried I have been replaced as a friend by female work colleague. Also, because i have a thing about him, I am paranoid that he is going to fall for her and leave his DP. I guess at the back of my mind I always had a thought of if anything bad happened between him and DP then I could make a move.

I've spent a lot of time apologising for the row and being unattractively needy to try and get some reassurance that we are still friends. I am constantly thinking if only I had done this or that differently then he would be spending time with me not her.

I also have crazy stalkerish thoughts about how i can find out if they are just friends or if there is something going on. I've considered hanging round outside her hotel, and because of our work environment i could probably easily get access to his work emails. I'm aware of how crazy both these ideas are.

Before you think that we are all twenty somethings with nothing better to do, me and male friend are early 50s. I am going through menopause which i think may be causing the crazy thinking. Female work colleague is a good decade younger, pretty, sporty, funny and probably all the things I think i'm not.

How do i get my head back in control and stop wasting some much time overanalysing this.

DoreenLethal Sun 23-Aug-15 13:34:04

Erm...I think you need to back away from this relationship entirely.

Seriouslyffs Sun 23-Aug-15 13:48:20

Ouch. I think the friendship was probably a very comfy place to be. Somewhere safe to daydream, company but none of the hassle of relationship. Now new colleague has come along a) you're missing his company and b) the likelihood of ever getting together looks less likely.
You mention being long term single- how do you feel about that honestly? Taking him out of the equation, what do you want? What do you want emotionally, socially, at work?
flowers

rosesmelling23 Sun 23-Aug-15 14:04:01

Seriously, you're right the friendship felt quite comfy and comforting (it's always good to know you have a close friend) and i think him suddenly being free to spend so much time with her has made realise that he's possibly not that interested in me either romantically or even as a good friend. He's had plenty of opportunity over the years to spend as much time with me as he now is with her and he never has. I've felt lucky to drag him to the pub once a week whereas he has spent the 4 evenings in the past week with female work colleague.

I'm happy being long-term single most of the time but i miss sex and having someone who clearly adores you to spend time with. But I don't think I would want that all the time.

AnyFucker Sun 23-Aug-15 14:06:04

Bloody hell, has this bloke got a gold plated cock ?

I am cringing for you

TheStoic Sun 23-Aug-15 14:09:47

Take some time off work. Go somewhere nice, distract yourself, get some distance.

TopOfTheCliff Sun 23-Aug-15 14:27:06

This never has been a platonic friendship because you have feelings for him. He has a DP and is now in an inappropriate relationship with an OW. You have been doing the same thing for years. He isn't a nice man or a good friend is he? He is at the very least being disloyal to his DP.

Step away. The friendship clearly met some of your needs for intimacy so now you need to find another way to fill this gap in your life. But with someone free to have a relationship.

CheersMedea Sun 23-Aug-15 14:55:35

Sounds like because you see yourself as "long term single" you have given up on finding anyone. This man in some way has been serving a psychological purpose for you - so that you can fool yourself that you haven't quite given up. He's like a comfort blanket of unavailability "maybe one day if he splits up with his DP we can live happily ever after."

My guess is that this new woman has in effect ripped away your comfort blanket. You are having to face up to the fact that there was never any prospect with DP and that is disturbing you enormously because you'd got used to using the friendship with him and the theoretical fantasy future relationship as a crutch.

If I were you, I'd totally back away from all of this. Go as no contact with him as you can manage in the work place and totally no contact socially/social media.

And start internet dating up a storm. Internet dating can be very grim but also funny if you have the right attitude. It's unlikely you'll meet Mr Right straightaway - but it will make you realise that there are men who find you attractive, move you mentally away from this guy and distract you.

CheersMedea Sun 23-Aug-15 14:56:18

*was never any prospect with this man even if he split up from his DP

Aramynta Sun 23-Aug-15 14:59:57

I know what you mean about having that kind of friendship with someone of the opposite sex. It is lovely, having someone you connect with on such a level without all the complications of sex and romance. However, I think you need to distance yourself from this man, regardless of what's going on with Project Woman.

Get yourself out there and form friendships with other men who could fill that friendship gap with the potential for progression. They are definitely out there for you OP thanks

PeanutsOnTheFloor Sun 23-Aug-15 15:23:20

He sounds horrible OP. He doesn't sound like a good friend to you or his DP.

rouxlebandit Sun 23-Aug-15 15:39:50

In a way this new woman has done you a favour. Your frienship with this married man was never going anywhere. Move on and enjoy life with a fresh, positive approach. Have you got family & friends you could reconnect with. Start a new hobby that involves socialising with men & women of all ages.

rosesmelling23 Sun 23-Aug-15 16:05:42

Thanks for the comments. I think I have also had it in my mind that as i have a thing for him and he would have a thing for me if he didn't have a DP. My ego has taken a bit of a blow to realise that actually his head could probably actually be easily turned, it just needed to be a younger, prettier woman.

rouxlebandit Sun 23-Aug-15 16:33:40

"....younger and prettier...." Don't put yourself down. A woman of any age can be attractive without being obviously pretty. Men are attracted to women who are happy, witty, cheeky, caring, sensitive, unselfish, imaginative etc. and simply great to be with.

pictish Sun 23-Aug-15 16:41:16

I am sorry - he doesn't harbour any romantic notions about you I don't think.

What was your row about?

rosesmelling23 Sun 23-Aug-15 17:20:19

Pitish; I'd had a bad day at work and regrettably got very defensive about something personal. It was my fault we had an argument. Friend then got into a big strop about me being defensive, and refused to accept an apology, or even discuss why we had argued. We went from what felt like us being good mates literally having a beer together one day to me being the worst friend on the planet the next.

The next week he started spending a lot of time with new work colleague (who was already working with us when the row happened) and being very dismissive to me. Maybe his anger at me had been simmering for a while and me being defensive was the final straw, or maybe it's more convenient for me to be out of the way so he can make a move on work colleague, or maybe it was just a coincidence that we had a row and then he finds a new friend.

newnamesamegame Sun 23-Aug-15 20:42:30

I can totally relate to this having been in very similar situations and you have my sympathies...

But this is not a healthy situation and you do need to back away for multiple reasons:

a) he almost certainly isn't romantically interested in you -- if he was seriously interested in you he would have let it be known by now
b) he is probably aware that you have some feelings for him and is dangling you by a string in a way which suggests he is not nice or at least emotionally immature
b) he's at the very least being emotionally unfaithful to his partner and is therefore untrustworthy and deceitful
c) this has the potential to make your place of work uncomfortable and unpleasant which can be a living hell

Its very difficult when you work with someone but you need to have as clean a break from him as you can without being actively unpleasant and creating an atmosphere.

Keep everything upbeat and friendly but detach, stop going out drinking with him (unless its part of a bigger social thing) and reframe your relationship as one of workmates rather than this uneasy platonic friendship that nearly isn't. If he questions you on it say you were upset at his behaviour, you're still friends etc but you don't think you should spend as much time together. Resist the urge to spill everything out to him as it won't end well.

It will probably be quite tough for a few weeks. But nothing good will come of your continuing to hold a candle for him and you need to reprogramme yourself. Unless of course you are happy to and in a position to move jobs.

It also sounds as if you have quite low self esteem and should probably try to fix that.

pictish Sun 23-Aug-15 20:58:01

You know, if he's going to freeze you out like that over a single indiscreet moment, he's really not on board as your friend anyway.

I think newname's advice is good. Keep it bright and friendly but be busy at any suggestion of time alone together. Detach now and retain your dignity.

BoskyCat Sun 23-Aug-15 21:08:44

You're upset that he spends more time with this new woman than he ever did with you... but it wouldn't have been good if he had – it's inappropriate in someone who has a partner, and she's become and OW emotionally if not physically.

I suspect this bloke could tell you liked him (in that way) and quite enjoys having someone at home and adoring females to string along at work too. That makes him bad news as a partner.

I also think he was a bit over-friendly with you – having a personal row with a work colleague of the opposite sex, suggests over-involvement.

As for new woman, if she knows he has a partner then her behaviour is pretty crap too.

I'd try to rise above all this and just be professional at work and keep your distance. Meanwhile find something new to do or join where you could meet new objects of flirtation.

rosesmelling23 Mon 24-Aug-15 07:43:45

Thanks for all the great advice. I really don't feel like I can talk to anyone about this in real life. Woke up this morning feeling sick that I have to go to work and see friend and female colleague, particularly as I know they had lunch together yesterday. Bright, breezy and detached is my new mantra but it's going to be hard.

ObsidianBlackbirdMcNight Mon 24-Aug-15 07:47:38

This isn't a platonic friendship, it's a protracted ego trip for the man who clearly knows how you feel. You are running about waiting for scraps from his table - if he was interested in you he would have let you know long ago.
Time to move on and end your crush. He's not a nice person and he definitely isn't your friend.

FinallyHere Mon 24-Aug-15 07:52:59

Ouch, as as said upthread, this is hard for you.

YY to detach, be bright breezy and open yourself to other interesting things in life. Be kind to yourself and to this woman who has done you a very great favour by opening your eyes to his real, not really very pleasant, nature. All the best, xx

featherandblack Mon 24-Aug-15 08:47:50

Not sure why you would ever want to be with this stroppy man. Why would you want to be the partner of someone who is prepared to spend four nights a week with another woman? Where was she while that was going on? He really doesn't sound like a nice guy. To be absolutely honest, I'm not sure that it was very nice of you to cultivate a superficially platonic friendship with someone while keeping your eye out for something going wrong in his relationship on the off-chance it would provide an opening for him to be with you. You could easily have ended up being the other woman.

You do need to act your age about his friendship with someone else. It's very natural to grieve and to feel jealous. Just wait for it to pass and accept that this has all been a bit silly and not a shining example of mature friendship from either of you.

BalloonSlayer Mon 24-Aug-15 09:03:03

I wonder whether he had tentatively hinted to project woman that he was interested in her, to be met with "But I thought you and roses were an item? You're always chatting, always together." And so engineered a row and end to your friendship pretty sharpish.

I think you have had a hard time on this thread. Hope it all works out ok for you flowers

Haggisfish Mon 24-Aug-15 09:08:13

Yy to it being a protracted ego trip for man. He sounds like an utter twat tbh. Pity his poor partner. Bright breezy and detached. Repeat repeat repeat!

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