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New relationship, old FOB getting in the way


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EDIT: Sorry about the subject line... supposed to say "FWB", not "FOB"...


So I'm seeing this guy (Alex) and it's been about 2 months now. Everything is going really great so far and I really don't want to mess it up... but here's what is going on:


I have this guy friend (Luke) who I have some sexual history with. When I was single, we had kind of a friends-with-benefits thing going on. The situation was working for awhile, then he started calling me his best friend. Then after awhile he started telling me he was in love with me and that he wanted to be with me. I didn't feel the same way about him, and I felt awkward, so I started talking to him less and less and making up excuses to not hang out. Lately, he's been incredibly depressed to the point where he's been to the ER for overdosing, and called ME because he claims he has no one else to turn to. Now, I realize that I am not responsible for his well-being and it's not MY job to take care of him... HOWEVER, I've dealt with suicides before and if he ever did anything that stupid, I know I would feel guilty for the rest of my life for ignoring someone who was clearly begging for my help. I've learned that you never ignore red flags like that.


I don't know what to do. It clearly makes Alex uncomfortable that Luke still calls and texts me all the time. I really want this relationship with Alex to work, and I would be uncomfortable if he were talking to an old FWB. I completely get where he's coming from and I completely agree that I shouldn't be talking to Luke anymore (nor do I even want to). I just feel stuck... I want to just ignore him, but it's hard to ignore someone who needs help. But I want to move on with my life and I'm really happy about this new relationship with Alex and I really don't want to screw it up.


What would you do? Should I just stop talking to Luke? Should I explain to him that I'm dating someone and I can't be talking to an old FWB if I want it to work?

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OK, you think you are being kind but you're not helping. This is a guy in the midst of unrequited love, which is extraordinarily painful, so adding that heap of pain on his load by continuing to see/talk to him and extend his infatuation with you isn't helping.


What you need to do is be honest with him. You need to tell him that if he is suicidal and depressed, you are not a professional or a therapist, and he needs to get professional help rather than turning to you. Have the name or cards of a couple professional resources for him, and give them to him (i.e., suicide hotlines, mental health clinics etc.). Tell them he needs to talk to them to address his feelings and also if suicidal probably needs medication to lift his depression, which you also can't prescribe so he needs to get serious about getting himself well and start talking to a therapist rather than you.


You also might try a suicide hotline or website yourself to ask for advice on how to deal with this. What to tell him etc. and how to handle breaking it off with him.


But I do think the professional advice is that if anyone threatens suicide, you call the police and his family members (parents/siblings) and immediately get them involved. He is not your responsibility and you are not helping by continuing to let him have the illusion that if he clings to you enough, one day you'll fall in love with him. You won't, so you're just postponing the inevitable and that isn't helping either.


You also have to be aware that these threats of suicide and 'you're the only one' are very manipulative of him. He is getting down and dirty to do anything he can to manipulate you into being with him rather than accepting that you are both adults and you don't have to be his FWB/friend unless you want to. So he is emotionally twisting your arm to try to hang onto you and manipulate you. That is just wrong. The reality is, you don't love him and know that you don't want him as a BF, so it is time for you both to move on. You have a new BF now, and he needs to find someone who loves him back. That is the approach you need to take with him, that he needs professional help and not you, and that you need to get police and/or family/friends involved to deal with him rather than yourself.


And you do have to tell him that you have a new BF, and that you can no longer be his FWB or spend time/communicate with him. He deserves to have his own GF and someone who feels the same way about him, and unfortunately that isn't you. Otherwise are you really going to spend your whole life not being in a relationship in order to indulge his fantasy that you'll one day love him back? That just isn't reasonable.

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I think you should help Luke by having Alex respond. Let Luke know that you really care about him, just not in a way that you'd want to be in a relationship with him. So, since it's making Alex, the guy you do want a relationship with, uncomfortable. You can have Alex respond to him. Then everyone is happy yay

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