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I have known Matt since 1st year of college but were only friends until we had a summer class together about 5 months ago. We started talking more and began dating in August.

 

2 weeks ago I was using Matt’s computer when an iMessage from his best friend Eric popped up, saying something along the lines of “You need to unfollow her and stop overthinking stuff”. I was curious and Matt wasn’t in the room so I clicked on it, in time to see Matt’s response “Do I have to? Diana and I broke up on good terms. We’re still friends”. Right then Matt walked in so I exited the chat and acted like nothing happened because I didn’t want to tell him that I snooped.

 

I met Matt and Diana at the same time about 5 years ago, and they had the kind of friendship so tight everyone thought they were dating, always in their own world laughing at inside jokes, always inseparable. When they finally got together no one was surprised, and when they broke up 3 years ago no one could believe it. I can see why Matt would want to reconnect since they shared so much history together.

 

Last Saturday I went to a party that Eric was also at. We’re also really good friends, so after a few drinks I got the courage to ask about Matt and Diana. He said some stuff that make me feel very uneasy:

 

They broke up because Diana realized she only dated Matt because everyone said they should. So while he actually had feelings for her; she didn’t feel the same

 

He repeatedly tried to hang out/meet up even though Diana kept dodging his requests

 

There was another girl between Diana and me, and after that ended. Matt came to Diana to tell her about how much the girl reminded him of her and that he was sorry for his wrongdoings and the misunderstandings in their relationship

 

Diana unfriended him on all social media after their breakup. He then sent her friend requests and when she didn’t accept, he messaged her asking why. “Is it really uncomfortable? Can we really not be friends?” Etc.

 

She is the only ex that he still follows on Instagram, and he watches her stories religiously. He even overthinks and over analyzes some of them, constantly messaging Eric “Is this directed at me? What do you think this means?”

 

For a year or so after they broke up, he kept saying that missed her and their friendship, even while he was dating the next girl

 

I don’t know if I’m reading too much into it, or I’m projecting my insecurities because I saw how close Matt was to Diana and I’m just afraid that I won’t measure up, or if I’m valid in feeling bothered and uneasy.

 

TLDR: BF believes he only wants to be friends with ex but I believe he still has feelings for her. Am I overthinking? What should I do?

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Ugh.

 

This doesn't sound great, and I'm not talking about the Matt/Diana dynamic, though I'll get to that. But first things first: I can of course understand how seeing that message made you uncomfortable. What I don't quite understand is why you didn't talk to Matt, so you could see what he would say and how you two could deal with that—or not—as a couple. Did you have a sense, even prior to that message, that Matt was hung up on Diana? Did you have doubts about your connection, together? Has being nervous or jealous been a consistent emotional state for you in this short relationship?

 

Curious to hear answers to those questions.

 

By turning to Eric, an uncomfortable moment—one that, yes, could have been fatal to the relationship, though also not—became a very dramatic and convoluted one. In your shoes, right now, I'd take a moment to think about all that and ask—regardless of all this information—if this is a relationship that is encouraging healthy habits, allowing you to be the kind of person you want to be inside a relationship. There may be more clarity and power in that than further trying to solve the Matt/Diane puzzle through third parties and detective work.

 

Still, here we are.

 

From what you've learned, it sounds like Matt is still processing this Diana business. I think there are often some "loose ends" with people we meet and get involved with, and the kind of lingering question in early dating is both "how loose" are they and whether the person is tying them up gracefully or fiddling with them like a cat with a ball of yarn. In the best case scenario, all that kind of happens organically, with little confrontation—or maybe some very light conversation to create boundaries that allow a connection to breathe and expand. It's not particularly pressurized because (a) it's new and (b) you're pretty secure in the connection.

 

What's tough about this situation is that, instead of having a conversation with Matt, you've been having one in your own head and with Matt's friends. That hasn't done much, has it? If what you know, right now, is enough to know you can't proceed—well, then you can end things. If you don't want to end things but have some concerns—well, I'd say it's time to replace the detective cap with the relationship cap, and talk to Matt. That is what couples do: they address things that are bothering them, with those who "work" addressing them in a way that restores harmony.

 

I'd say this is a great moment for you to learn a little bit more about how you and Matt get along—and who Matt is as a person—but to do that you have to engage with Matt, while trusting that you'll proceed in accordance with your authentic feelings, rather than accumulating information in secret and moving those pieces around in your head. That's just making you dizzy and disconnected—from him, from yourself.

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Sorry this is happening. Don't put yourself in a precarious position. There are plenty of other guys to date. He is still very much thinking about her and clearly would take her back in an instant. Cut your losses.

We started talking more and began dating in August.

 

2 weeks ago I was using Matt’s computer when an iMessage from his best friend Eric popped up, saying something along the lines of “You need to unfollow her and stop overthinking stuff”. I was curious and Matt wasn’t in the room so I clicked on it, in time to see Matt’s response “Do I have to? Diana and I broke up on good terms. We’re still friends”.

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Unfortunately, it seems like he is still completely hung up on Diana and although he may be trying to move on, date, etc because rationally he knows he should, emotionally he is still not available to anyone.

 

So are you a placeholder? Not consciously, but still same end result. He is not fully with you and isn't capable. You'd be better off dating other guys who are ready and open to be completely invested with you.

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There's a lot of he said/she said there. I'd speak with Matt about it and see what he says. I'd also come clean about seeing the messages between him and Eric. The nature of your conversations should be free of assumptions or any quick judgments against each other. Trust is key in relationships. If you do trust Matt, even if to a limited degree, now's the time to engage in that trust.

 

The hearsay from Eric is inappropriate. I hope you know that. It's called gossip. Leave that out of your relationships in future. It muddles up a lot of waters and clouds your own judgment. Learn to develop your opinions independently from what you see before you and the things you feel.

 

I'd also spend more time thinking about your connection with Matt and asking yourself whether it's at a level that you would like. I think you're sensing a void in your relationship, a lackluster that's disturbing you. You're finding ways to break it down and reasons to gossip and dig for more information against the man you're seeing. I hope you realize this is a very destructive and negative way of approaching your insecurities. Don't do this. Respect each other more, use that trust if there is trust in the relationship, come clean on the messages and gossip and form your own opinion of whether Matt is really right for you.

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Ugh.

 

This doesn't sound great, and I'm not talking about the Matt/Diana dynamic, though I'll get to that. But first things first: I can of course understand how seeing that message made you uncomfortable. What I don't quite understand is why you didn't talk to Matt, so you could see what he would say and how you two could deal with that—or not—as a couple. Did you have a sense, even prior to that message, that Matt was hung up on Diana? Did you have doubts about your connection, together? Has being nervous or jealous been a consistent emotional state for you in this short relationship?

 

I guess I didn't bring it up with Matt because it seems too trivial and I didn't want to stir the pot over a non-issue. My last boyfriend cheated on me with an ex, leaving a deep scar that I suppose I carried into this relationship.

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The hearsay from Eric is inappropriate. I hope you know that. It's called gossip. Leave that out of your relationships in future. It muddles up a lot of waters and clouds your own judgment. Learn to develop your opinions independently from what you see before you and the things you feel.

 

I think 1 of the reasons I did not come to Matt is that when I previously brought up the topic of past relationships, he brushed it off dismissively and simply said that he didn't want to talk about exes. In addition, the texts had been weighing in my mind so after a few drinks, my inhibitions were lowered. I know that this doesn't excuse gossiping about my partner in a relationship. I find it difficult to give the relationship 100% of my trust due to being cheated on in the past, and I realize this is an issue I need to work on

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I guess I didn't bring it up with Matt because it seems too trivial and I didn't want to stir the pot over a non-issue. My last boyfriend cheated on me with an ex, leaving a deep scar that I suppose I carried into this relationship.

 

But was it trivial? It doesn't sound like it was it you—and getting a secondhand rundown is, of course, stirring the pot.

 

I'm still curious about the other questions I'd asked—namely, how you feel, generally, about your connection with Matt. Did you feel it's a bit lackluster, as Rose suggested? Something about the potency that you didn't or don't quite trust?

 

Those are kind of always the most important questions, as trying to figure out what another person is "really" feeling or "really" thinking is kind of impossible. So, sure, I can take everything you've heard and write a story titled "Run!" But I could just as easily write a story that titled "Listen!" To yourself, to him.

 

People are complicated. You yourself, for instance, clearly have a lot of jagged thoughts and feelings connected to your own ex, yet you are also in a relationship. If Matt found a tipsy friend of yours and asked for an emotional dossier, what would he hear? Would he wonder if he was "placeholder," or perhaps a "cure" of that past pain?

 

That's kind of why the level of connection is so critical. It's okay to have doubts about it, to not quite feel it but still be curious about where it can go, just it's okay to decide, without "proof" of anything, that something is just not right because your spirit is unsettled. The tricky part is how we handle those moments.

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I think 1 of the reasons I did not come to Matt is that when I previously brought up the topic of past relationships, he brushed it off dismissively and simply said that he didn't want to talk about exes. In addition, the texts had been weighing in my mind so after a few drinks, my inhibitions were lowered. I know that this doesn't excuse gossiping about my partner in a relationship. I find it difficult to give the relationship 100% of my trust due to being cheated on in the past, and I realize this is an issue I need to work on

 

‘I know I shouldn’t have gossiped.’

 

‘I know I shouldnt bring my baggage into this relationship.’

 

Your words aren’t really matching your actions though are they? I mean you know but you still did it, now you need help dealing with the aftermath of a situation you essentially knowingly put yourself in.

 

If I tell my workout trainer, ‘hey I polished off a whole pizza last night, but I knew I wasn’t supposed to.’ My trainers not going to be like ‘oh great! That makes it all ok!’

 

Just because you know you’re poisoning yourself doesn’t mean you aren’t poisoning yourself...

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I think the real reason isn't that you think it's "trivial" (because you obviously don't ) but because you don't want to confess you snooped his messages and interrogated his friend about him and his ex.

 

You're obviously insecure about Matt and it's making you stressed and anxious. Dating someone shouldn't make you feel stressed, anxious or insecure.

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That scar from your previous experiences will always be there. That's what scars are. Over time they do heal and eventually smooth out but the memory will be there. It's on you to change your life around and start re-evaluating your choice in partners. Matt seems to still be in love with his ex unfortunately. Be realistic about this. You can either continue dating a man who still has feelings for his ex or you can move on and meet new people who are more available overall. Don't exist in cyclical or self-fulling situations. Get out, learn, move on, move on from those bad habits and confusing situations.

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Agree. But you now know what you know and should run far away knowing he is holding a torch and unfortunately, you are a placeholder in that sense.

I think the real reason isn't that you think it's "trivial" (because you obviously don't ) but because you don't want to confess you snooped his messages and interrogated his friend about him and his ex.You're obviously insecure about Matt and it's making you stressed and anxious. Dating someone shouldn't make you feel stressed, anxious or insecure.
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honestly... my advice and it's gonna suck, but I'd break it off.

 

I really feel the "pining for the ex" situation cannot be fixed while you two are still together. You have to let him go to heal over this woman. she obviously doesn't want him back but he's not a good catch right now in his current state.

 

But just cuz she doesn't want him back probably makes him want her more. And based on just human nature, that makes her that much more attractive.

 

But that is his cross to bear and something he has to work out for himself. It sucks for sure but you deserve so much more than he can give at this time....

 

If you end things with him now maybe in time you'll Circle back around. Or maybe you'll meet someone better.

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Speaking only for myself, my private rule is that I won't involve myself with anyone who is still involved with an ex, in any way, shape or form, beyond shared children. You're learning why.

 

I'd liberate myself from this situation and trust that when the right guy for me meets ME, he'll be all in, and I'll know it. Anything less than that is just a placeholder for me, and what do I really want with that?

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