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I slept with my best friend

(38 Posts)
SailOnSilverGirl Mon 26-Aug-13 15:07:39

Warning - Longer than I planned, I understand if you don't read it/skim it. I probably would ;(

Hi Mumsnet - I have been lurking here unregistered for about a year now, mostly in Relationships & AIBU. I'm a mid-20s male and have found this forum to be a real eye-opener and I have learnt a lot. I have been an active forum poster since the mid-90s when I was a wee lad and most of the internet is male-heavy, so reading the views of so many women has been a source of much fascination. Anyway, to the topic at hand:

Went to the pub last night, met up with my best female friend and a few others. She has a boyfriend who she lives with. He was away all weekend. Me & my friend got quite drunk and left to go back to hers for a spliff (no drug lectures please, this isn't the place and I'm a toxicologist and was a hard drug user until 3 years ago so I know exactly what I'm doing to myself). We walked past another pub, could hear a band playing, went in on the fly, we were dancing, having great fun (we are really good friends). It was so spontaneous which isn't my forte. Then we were touching, it all felt so right, we kissed. Went back to her house, just chatted in the garden looking at the stars (actually mostly clouds) for ages...We had sex, chatted more after, I woke up at hers today (I did migrate from the bed to the sofa at some point cos she was out like a light, I had no room, didn't want to wake her and my mind was racing, couldn't sleep). This morning wasn't awkward, we were going to go for a day trip today (this was planned before yesterday) but she sacked it off because she is too hungover. She didn't seem too bad when I left, so maybe she just wants some space, I don't know. To be honest, I'm slightly relieved because my head is swirling and it ain't the hangover.

I don't really know if I have a specific question here, I just like getting my feelings on paper, it's extremely cathartic. I guess my problem is that I don't know what I want here. I like my friend a lot and there has always been a spark there, back when we first met in our late-teens our friends always used to tease us about our dynamic, made it awkward by saying we fancied each other all the time. I do find her attractive, body and mind. However, she has got a boyfriend, I know him (I like him well enough) and I have some serious intimacy issues of my own. I am in my mid-20s and have never been in a single relationship...nada, nothing, plenty of casual sex and one-night stands but nothing more. In fact I have nearly posted here before asking if MN saw this as a red flag. I have massive anxiety issues about it, I have low self-esteem and I am wracked with thoughts that I have been a 'bachelor' so long that I have no understanding of relationships & love. Intimacy makes me nervous, and I don't know if I can completely open up to anyone, I always hold a part of myself back. I'm scared that I have never loved, and I have developed a highly idealised notion of love (I blame Disney movies and cheesy love ballads) that I don't think reality can ever live up to. I sometimes think I should stay single my whole life because I can't live with hurting people.

This is all very fresh and perhaps I should have waited for what the next week holds before I posted. I feel quite bad. Maybe I shouldn't have gone with it last night, it takes two to tango but I could have stopped it, I should have stopped it as soon as our lips touched. She told me she was sexually unsatisfied in her relationship. I hadn't had sex for over a year. I was weak, but hell, I just want someone to hold just like everyone else. The two women I have fallen for in the last five years both rejected me and I'm depressed about it.

She is the one with the boyfriend and a big part of me feels that what happens next depends on her. However, I have some major issues in my mind relating to taking responsibility. I have a lot of regrets about not taking responsibility in my life in the past. My dad died unexpectedly when I was 17 and when my mum & sister needed me to be a man, to be strong, to be there for them, I couldn't do it. I withdrew for a year, they got addicted to anti-depressants (I don't believe in them). When they needed me to take responsibility I failed them, and I am racked with guilt about it. Maybe that's another issue altogether. I never took responsibility for my drug use (well I did eventually), I'm a very smart guy (we all have our pride, that's mine and I truly believe it), I was a 'gifted' child, but have insulted my intelligence, my gift, with the way I have lived and underachieved.

A year ago I became determined to always take responsibility for the rest of my life, to be Atlas. This morning my friend said things like 'you must think I'm a total slut' (No) and 'this was my decision' (No). I just hugged her, she had a bit of a cry, I tried to re-assure without being preachy. I really really don't want for this to all land on her, as I said it takes two to tango. Maybe she feels like crap for sleeping with me, but I can't feel crap for sleeping with her in all honesty, I enjoyed the intimacy, and for the first I time in my life I got to lie there and hold someone I care about.

As I said, this was mostly catharsis and I have talked about some stuff I had no intention of bringing up...I should probably pose some sort of question. If you think I'm a bastard for sleeping with someone in a relationship, feel free to tell me, I'm almost impossible to offend. I just need to chill out a bit maybe? Give my friend some space and let her be. However like I said I find that hard because I feel it is shovelling all the responsibility on her. I'm confused. If when I next see her we can?t keep our hands off each other and she wants me I highly doubt I will be able to stop. I really need to calm down I think.

If you have read all 1000+ words of this, you're a saint and I thank you. I feel a bit better now anyway. Normally my mum is my rock but I won?t talk to her about matters of intimacy, and the friends I might get advice from all know me & her so that's a no go. I couldn't keep this inside.

EBearhug Tue 27-Aug-13 21:03:42

Work out whether you want a relationship with her or not (what you want, not what you think about it all ending in tears or whatever.) Go and talk to her - she might or might not be wanting the same outcomes as you. If you both want the same thing, fine, but if you want different things, you just have to live with that.

Do try counselling. It's not about pushing medication, but it's someone to talk to and that helps you work through your own thoughts, and I think you do need to work on your self-esteem. Otherwise you'll end up like me and still single in your 40s.

AFishWithoutABicycle Tue 27-Aug-13 20:46:43

You remind me a lot of an old friend. He was wonderful and extremely intelligent but thought about things way too much.
I'm not going to try to diagnose but do you think there is something more going on here?
My friend was Aspie. I'm not saying you are but perhaps there is MH issues or something?
I wish you all the best, you have one life try not to live it in your head.

SubliminalMassaging Tue 27-Aug-13 20:28:14

Oh come on people, don't be so harsh! He's young and inexperienced! I'm sure we've all over-analysed and over-romantised every shag we hoped would turn into something more when we were that age. If you can't navel gaze about the trials and tribulations of love and sex when you are only 20-odd then when can you?

SubliminalMassaging Tue 27-Aug-13 20:22:17

I'm not reading any other replies, I'm just wading right in with my immediate thoughts.

Have you seen When Harry met Sally? The bit where they ended up in bed together? Well when you woke up in the morning did you feel like Harry or did you feel like Sally? Ok, I know Harry came round in the end, once he'd freaked out for a bit, but if you were feeling like Sally from the off it would be much less complicated wouldn't it?

I don't really buy all this 'I can't be in a relationship with anyone because it'll end in tears' stuff. You sound like you are trying to protect others, but actually I think you are trying to protect yourself. Nowt wrong with that of course, except nothing ventured, nothing gained. Trust in love. Sometimes it takes a while, with a few false starts but it gets there in the end, if you open the door and let it in.

Perhaps you are subconciously getting involved with women you think you can't have, as a way of avoiding the likelihood of an actual proper relationship? Much easier to write a script of 'we had a fling but it could never go anywhere as she is spoken for' or 'I really fancy her but she's out of my league so I have no chance' and than 'I really like this girl, I've started something now - I wonder where it will go and whether I will get hurt?'


She has a boyfriend so evn if she really likes you she's bound to be feeling confused and a bit crap for a while. Even if she is not terribly happy with him being unfaithful will have messed with her head, and leaving takes guts. Just keep your cool and see where it goes.

mummylin2495 Tue 27-Aug-13 20:06:09

It appears that as one door closes another opens OP.

FondantNancy Tue 27-Aug-13 18:58:12

"I can be melodramatic I will admit"

No fucking way! Never would've picked that from your posts grin

Look, you are way, way, way overthinking this. If you want a relationship, tell her how you feel. If you don't want a relationship, take a step back. All this angsty self analysis is terribly tiresome 'in one so young' or anyone, really.

CatsAndTheirPizza Tue 27-Aug-13 18:43:17

I thought you had gone OP but you seem to have resurrected yourself. You seem to enjoy writing - maybe consider creative writing as a hobby - a screenplay perhaps? Animals can be soothing too - a cat maybe?

LoisPuddingLane Tue 27-Aug-13 09:49:22

I do genuinely believe I am mad

Do you? Do you really? Please stop this silly posturing and analysing as if you were a lakeland poet or Dante bloody Gabriel Rossetti.

You are not mad. You did what a lot of people do (young or old). You say you don't want a relationship with her, so - what is all this about?

larrygrylls Tue 27-Aug-13 09:10:47



I have never heard so much self indulgent and over analytical tosh, both from you, OP and the respondents.

You slept with someone who has a bf. So what? She is not married and you are both really young. Shit happens. You both just need to decide what you want from here.

OP, if you are a toxicologist, you will know that drugs (especially hard drugs) do have an influence on the mind beyond the period when they are actually psychoactive in your body. If you have anxiety issues, why on earth are you still messing with dope?! First step, stop the drugs, cold turkey, for ever. Second step, why not try to make a go of a proper adult relationship with your friend, assuming she is interested? If she is not, look for someone else. I personally do not believe that a succession of one night stands is psychologically healthy either for a woman or a man. In any event, what are you doing to boost your self esteem? Are you investing time in doing really well at work, pursuing a meaningful hobby, further academic study? Self esteem will come from treating yourself decently, regardless of your relationship history. You may "feel old" but you are decidedly young, with all the time in the World to have meaningful relationships.

Lazyjaney Tue 27-Aug-13 07:26:18

You're way overthinking this, you're a free agent, people in their early to mid 20s are forever chopping and changing partners, bonking each other on the spur of moment etc etc, it's hardly a form of madness.

Just talk to her, see what she wants to do, be prepared though that she may feel very guilty and be a bit offish.

ForTheLoveOfSocks Tue 27-Aug-13 05:58:38

It sounds like your head over heels in love with her, and you've spent several years trying to suppress that feeling that you cannot admit it to yourself

SailOnSilverGirl Tue 27-Aug-13 04:36:05

Cheers for the posts guys, all of your perspectives are valued.

RE my friend, I'm planning on telling her tomorrow that I would like to talk about what happened, and asking her whether or not she wants to talk about it. I have a fair idea of what I will say, I'm not going to write it down though because I'll second guess it like crazy and I feel I need to be instinctive here and express myself naturally.

I have thought about all this a lot today, in fact I got quite fraught and just passed out in the early-evening. I have woken up now in the middle of the night (work is gonna be fun!) and feel somewhat philosophical. I am feeling a bit like the situation with me and my friend is a smokescreen. Most of my thoughts today haven't been about me & my friend, but about my mental wellbeing and issues that just get swept under the carpet in the humdrum of daily life. My OP does on reflection read like a cry for help, and despite all my railings about psychology and taking responsibility, I do need help I guess...

I do genuinely believe I am mad, which is the most horrible thing to believe because it needles into every core of your identity and makes you question who you really are. Society pathologises any minds that fall outside the norm and portrays them as a negative and any interaction with the mental health profession could see me labelled and brought into 'the system'. The most I will do is talk to Samaritans on the phone, which I do quite often - my stock response to anxiety is to ring them, they talk me through, I take a breath and slow down, actually I fear they have become my crutch a bit. I do think I need to get some hobbies, I basically spend 90% of my leisure time alone, I read a lot and think a lot. Sometimes I think I spend way too much of my time stuck in my own head and I feel trapped by it. My main activity is swimming, I love it because you can just lose yourself to the implementation of the stroke and time flows away. A few people have said 'in one so young' but I don't feel young, I feel like I broke my brain already and now I have to live with it. I do have a lot of happiness in my life that I appreciate hugely, I don't want readers to think I am swirling in a pit of despair. I can be melodramatic I will admit, despite all I have said I am a barely functional human being. To the poster who said I sounded self-obsessed, I think this paragraph confirms your diagnosis blush

I have never talked about this to any of my friends or family. Even my mum who I love beyond measure and lean on for many things, I don't want to worry her, I just want her to be proud of me and can't show her a problem this integral to me because she would naturally want to 'fix' it. This feels too personal to burden my friends with.

I could write for a long time about this, in fact I already have, but this is relationships advice, not my own personal self-help forum, so I'm going to stop for my own good. This has been positive and educational and I will try and take it further through other means.

LemonDrizzled Mon 26-Aug-13 23:57:35

Just one point to make here, as you have had excellent advice already. Don't close your mind to psychological help - psychiatrists help people with mental illness and counsellors and psychotherapists help the rest of us with adjusting to difficult things as we go through life. That doesn't need to be medication it can just be talking things through. Some of your ideas are unnecessarily rigid for someone young!Be open minded you may be surprised !

blueshoes Mon 26-Aug-13 23:34:11

OP, you sound somewhat dramatic. From what you describe, she did not take it that bad the next morning. The ball is definitely in her court whether she wants to tell her boyfriend or not or even whether she wants to develop things further.

Neither of you came out smelling of roses. It is both of your fault. I appreciate that you do not want all this to land on her but really, it was never her fault or your fault solely ever to begin with.

You just have to decide, if she wants to carry on with more of the same with you, whether you are going to draw your boundaries and say 'no' or give it a go and how both of you are going to square it with her boyfriend.

You need to get a clear head (no hangover shit) and first decide for yourself what YOU want. But please no martyr talk about protecting others from yourself. If you want something, you should go for it and do the right thing, that includes getting yourself sorted and in a better place. It is as you said about taking responsibility for yourself and those you love.

LoisPuddingLane Mon 26-Aug-13 23:12:05

Also, you don't get addicted to anti-depressants. I was reading a passage about this yesterday. I'm going to bed now but I can find it tomorrow...

Lavenderhoney Mon 26-Aug-13 23:11:53

Would you want to be with her if she was single and you had slept with her?
Because it seems to me somewhere ( and correct me if i am wrong) you may be worrying if she splits with her bf for you, there is pressure for it work for ever, and that is no way to start a new relationship.

To protect yourself from any blame or fallout, emotionally, you could tell her you are not sorry you slept together, and you would like a relationship ( dating) with her, but not whilst she is with x. That's it. No calls, texts, secret meetings where you get messed up. And you can tell a close friend what happened, dont manage alone, there is no special prize for that.

If she decides to leave her bf, its for her well being, not into your flat and your life. That way you can date and stay together or split as a normal couple behave.

I don't think you need fixing btwsmile do you have any male friends who are mature and sensible enough to discuss this kind of stuff? Or a family member?

Also, and this I am aware sounds a bit boring, but do you see lots of different people in hobbies, work, and meet women naturally? Now might be the time to get out and start a new hobbysmile ( where you can meet other women, obviously)

SquidgyMummy Mon 26-Aug-13 23:06:12

I think the sleeping with your bf is a bit of a red herring.
Even if you did both eventually want to have a relationship, i think your head is not in the right place.

How long since your Dad died? Have you really grieved for him, or perhaps numbed it all with hard drugs / casual sex (summarizing your OP)
At 17, it was not your job to "man up".

I hear what you are saying about psychiatrists, but it doesn't have to be about pumping you full of drugs. I don't know enough about all the different types of therapy, but have had it on and off over the years and would best describe it (for me) as a safe place to say what you really need to express and also have a bit of breathing space / support / advice whilst you do whatever work is needed on yourself.

VisualCharades Mon 26-Aug-13 22:57:24

Poor boyfriend concerned.
Atlas your turn of phrase is really cold..."I like him well enough"

internationallove985 Mon 26-Aug-13 22:49:52

Okay easy for me to say I'm not living your life or with with your thoughts, nor do I know your circumstances, but the bottom line is you had sex with someone (albeit) your best friend but it's hardly the end of the world. You can't go back and unsleep with this women so there's no point worrying. xx

LoisPuddingLane Mon 26-Aug-13 22:28:33

Oh thanks. I thought I might get hissed for that!

Portofino Mon 26-Aug-13 22:21:47

Great post Lois.

LoisPuddingLane Mon 26-Aug-13 21:42:53

OP, it may just be because you were disgorging all that stuff in one post, but your first post does come across as a little self-obsessed.

I would suggest stopping all the overthink. If you don't want a relationship with this lady - and you've said you don't - then hopefully you can still be friends.

By the way, on the subject of anti-depressants - I'm not sure what you mean by not believing in them. That sounds a bit Tom Cruise at his Cruisiest.

A lot of people with depression require them to address a chemical imbalance in the brain. I am one of them. It's not like fairies - they work whether you believe in them or not. It isn't a sign of weakness to take them if or when you might need them.

Snapespeare Mon 26-Aug-13 17:05:28

I used to think I should 'protect other people from myself', so relegated myself to the status of a fwb or 'bit of fun' then I realised that this isn't my decision to make on my own, that when I let my guard down, I not only allowed myself the possibility of being hurt, but also the possibility of being loved...& that's scary, but also awesome.

I agree that the ball is kind of in her court, as she is the one with the current relationship, but that you should also be honest about how you feel once you've worked that out! & dont panic or remove yourself or be unnecessarily quiet, because a prolonged lack of contact might help her feel that you are ignoring her, because you don't know what to do (arguably you don't, or you wouldn't be here) please don't help her think you're a fuck & run, even as 'just' a friend, she means more to you than that?

CatsAndTheirPizza Mon 26-Aug-13 17:01:33

Hmm - familiar writing style.

antieverything Mon 26-Aug-13 16:55:01

I was in a similar situation (but from the other side) so I can only give you that perspective.

A while ago I had both a boyfriend and a "best" male friend. To be fair, my relationship with my boyfriend was crap at the time and I knew I was having feelings for the friend - and people had been asking since we met if we were a couple - at one point we started joking that yes we were having an affair.

To cut a long story short, we went out with some friends one night and had one of those magical fun spontaneous nights where everything connected perfectly and we were totally in sync and god it was perfect.

We didn't sleep together, but we could have done if we weren't so blind drunk by the end.

The next day we had a very grown up conversation in which I berated myself as a horrible person and the upshot was he left it to me to decide what to do - he didn't want to be "the other man" and that was fair enough. I suppose I partly wanted him to fight for me - stand up and say I love you, leave him, be with me! And I probably would have done... But he didn't, and I was left with it. And I kind of resented him for that, but looking back it was the right thing to do. I don't think starting a relationship under those circumstances would have meant it survived very long, and I can see that he didn't want to pressure me. I was way too confused and unhappy and the rest to be jumping into something new.

The end? I am still with the boyfriend. We bought a house together and plan to get married fairly soon. I no longer see the friend.

But it could have gone the other way. I didn't know myself what I wanted. But I did confess to the boyfriend, and I realised once and for all that it was him I really wanted after all. Who knows what your friend really thinks?

I can only say, looking back, that I am so grateful that the friend gave me the space to work it out, because it wasn't meant to be for us and I know now that I made the right decision. If your friend wants to talk, talk. If she doesn't, leave her to it and see what happens.

(The flipside of this is of course that I sound like a total using bitch retrospectively - I suppose it's worth mentioning that I did stay friends with the guy for a while, but then I moved away and we didn't see each other anywhere near as much, and the friendship just fizzled out. Plus I don't think my boyfriend was ecstatic about it and I felt I owed it to him to let it go and devote my energies to our relationship rather than saving that friendship).

I apologise for the epic. I really meant to say, you don't have to do anything. See what happens. You won't be being the bad guy. You sound a lot like my (ex) friend in fact. Don't feel bad. Don't beat yourself up. Just give it some space.

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