Your friend isn’t go­ing to be­come more, move on

The Hamilton Spectator - - GO - el­liead­ DEAR EL­LIE

Q . We’ve been best friends for 10 years, since uni­ver­sity, hang­ing out twice weekly at least.

Mu­tual friends al­ways in­vite us to cou­ples’ events to­gether.

Last year, we both got tipsy, be­gan flirt­ing and kiss­ing and fell asleep in each other’s arms. Noth­ing more happened, but I re­al­ized I have feel­ings for him.

I’m 29, sin­gle, so I tried online dat­ing. I met a nice guy but when we bumped into my friend, he vis­i­bly dis­liked my date.

He later told me how much I meant to him, and we started flirt­ing. We agreed to din­ner at his place in a week — our first “date.”

Days later, when walk­ing with a fe­male friend, I spot­ted him and went to say “hi.”

He was with an­other woman and I quickly re­al­ized that it was a date.

My friend then revealed that he’d been dat­ing this woman for sev­eral months and in­tro­duced her to some of our friends who’ve felt he’s been “string­ing me along” as a “filler girl­friend” for years. There was no din­ner date. Now he wants to hang out again. I don’t want to lose my friend, but I don’t feel I can trust him any­more.

Also, our mu­tual friends weren’t hon­est with me. Now I don’t know what to do.

A. Blame the “stringer,” more than the au­di­ence. He isn’t the qual­ity of best friend you want in your nearly-30s. You’re past hang­ing out when he isn’t in a re­la­tion­ship. And not be­ing told when he is.

You can re­mem­ber the good times, but for­get hav­ing a cur­rent close friend­ship. You need to shed any “feel­ings” by also re­mem­ber­ing that you can­not trust him. His flirt­ing was just to keep you around as needed.

You’re older and wiser from this. When you date, be se­lec­tive and rec­og­nize red flags, but be open to gen­uinely “nice guys” without relying on the group’s ap­proval.

Only you have your best in­ter­ests at heart. Feed­back re­gard­ing the family wor­ried about a hus­band’s in­ad­e­quate care­giv­ing for his wife with de­men­tia (April 18):

El­lie: Many peo­ple sent help­ful sug­ges­tions, which have been pub­lished in feed­backs.

The fol­low­ing is from a so­cial worker ex­pe­ri­enced with de­men­tia pa­tients and care, with added com­ments use­ful to this family and many oth­ers.

Reader: “The most ef­fec­tive family so­lu­tion was to hold a family meet­ing to dis­cuss their con­cern, e.g. not only about the woman with de­men­tia, but also about the im­pact of care­giv­ing on her hus­band, and how the rest of the family is griev­ing her ill­ness.

“Her hus­band’s health is likely threat­ened and he’s prob­a­bly plain ex­hausted.

“Is de­pres­sion cloud­ing his judg­ment? Could he too be de­vel­op­ing cog­ni­tive prob­lems?

Is he us­ing al­co­hol to cope (sur­pris­ingly com­mon) and that’s af­fect­ing him?

“The family needs to ex­plore his feel­ings and ex­pe­ri­ence, as well as their own. And talk about what as­sis­tance each of them can of­fer.

“In­tro­duc­ing some­one to clean or deliver Meals-on-Wheels gets a non­threat­en­ing foot in the door.

“If fi­nan­cial con­cerns are the ob­sta­cle, the family could do what many oth­ers have done — tell him a ser­vice was free, which some ac­tu­ally are, while fund­ing any cost qui­etly them­selves.

“Maybe he’d wel­come a move to­gether to a re­tire­ment home where he’d no longer need to cook or do laun­dry, but would still be with his wife.

“Maybe he’d wel­come her mov­ing but feels guilty say­ing so; guilt that could be re­lieved if the family makes it clear that it’s an ac­cept­able idea.

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