Advice

Miss Information

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I slept with my best friend, and now he's being standoffish and weird.

Have a question for Miss Information? Email missinfo@nerve.com.

Dear Miss Information,

I'm a straight female, and I just slept with my best friend, a straight male. We've been friends for four years and always had sexual tension, which we'd always denied. He always tried to play it off as if he didn't have the same feelings for me. But last week, after a few drinks, we went from never having kissed to having sex. He told me before any of this happened he didn't want a relationship with me, but that he wanted me.

A few days went by after we hooked up, and everything seemed fine. He texted me late Friday night asking if I had plans, so I assumed he wanted to hook up again, and I asked him if he wanted to come over, to which he promptly replied that we were probably never going to do that again.

I never asked him for a relationship, but I'm confused by this. I know I'm not giving you much to go on. I think I just really need a slap in the face to get over it. I'm just really disappointed because I care about him, and I was hoping it would turn into something more.

— BFF

Dear BFF,

When I was in elementary school, my mom briefly summarized Romeo and Juliet for me. "The whole thing was stupid," she concluded. "If they had just communicated better, nobody would have died." With the exception of a brief period of Leonardo DiCaprio-induced-psychosis in the late '90s, I've tended to agree with her. (I obviously come from a long line of pragmatists, if not literary scholars.)

This is a similar case of crossed wires. You each made the fatal mistake of saying one thing and doing another; thankfully, no vials of poison were involved. It sounds like he knew you had feelings and leveraged them for an easy orgasm, which falls somewhere between "emotionally irresponsible" and "icky." From your end, you made the "mistake" of hoping that the actions (i.e. getting naked) spoke louder than the words ("He told me he didn't want a relationship with me"). Note that I put "mistake" in quotations. He warned you, sure, but who among us has not ignored copious fair warnings in favor of chasing some hope? It sucks, but you should chalk it up to experience.

Despite your request, I won't give you "a slap in the face." It sounds like you've already gotten a slap in the face, probably more than once. As inconvenient as these feelings are, you're allowed to be mad and hurt. You're allowed to acknowledge that you wanted more, and that that disappointment is crushing. That doesn't make you stupid and that doesn't make you wrong. That's just hope bumping up against an unpleasant reality.

Dust yourself off, take ownership of your feelings, and use them to inform your future. You get to pick how to proceed. You may find you're ultimately better off keeping different company: people who validate your bonds, say, rather than denying or exploiting them.

Dear Miss Information,

I've been with my boyfriend for four-and-a-half years, most of that time long-distance. Our relationship was amazing and, to most, pretty damn close to perfect. We broke up recently because he'd begun to do things behind my back that he knew wouldn't make me happy. He never admits to anything, even when I already know the truth. He manages to turn things around on me, no matter the situation, making it seem like everything is my fault. In his eyes, he does nothing wrong.

This is how the breakup went: I sent him a text at midnight telling him that we needed a break. In the text, I explained to him why we needed a break, and that he had been hiding things from me. He texted me an hour later saying, "Yeah, we are done." Just like that — no explanation, no clarification. He sent texts after that telling me that he did nothing wrong, but if he did, he shouldn't care because all I did to him was lie — again, turning things around on me.

I replied saying how betrayed I felt, how hurt I was, and how all I wanted was for him to admit to things and to apologize. The last text I got from him said, and I quote, "Get out of my life, you lying, unfaithful, cheating ass!"

I never replied to that. I was too heartbroken. I've been an emotional wreck since. He's all I think about. If I were in his shoes, I don't think I could just leave things at that. How can someone just not care? He has yet to call/text me, and I get a feeling he won't — he's extremely stubborn and prideful.

I just don't know what to do. Text him first? Wait for him to call me? What if he doesn't ever try to contact me? I know that talking to him face to face would be the most effective conversation, but again, we're long distance. Should I ask him to see me so we can talk?

— Utterly Heartbroken

Dear Utterly Heartbroken,

Let's do a quick round-up of how you've described your ex in this letter: "He never admits to anything. He always manages to turn things around on me. In his eyes, he does nothing wrong. He'd begun to do things behind my back that he knew wouldn't make me happy. He's extremely stubborn and prideful." This guy is newly single? Do you have his number?

In all seriousness, UH, you say not one nice thing about him, then spend the last paragraph trying to angle to get him back. While I appreciate the M. Night Shyamalan twist, I'm going to stop you right there. You are understandably hurt, understandably mourning, and obviously still reeling. All of this is normal. However, don't confuse "this hurts" with "getting him back will stop the hurting." Getting him back will not undo the behind-the-back-things-doing, the gaslighting, or the stubbornness and pride. Getting back together won't nullify the sting of his words or repair the breaches of trust.

You wanted a breakup; you got it. His reaction just took the control out of your hands. You have every right to be upset, but it really looks like your instincts were right. Delete his number and put your energy into moving on. You may someday get the explanation you seek, but don't sit around waiting for it.