I don’t trust myself not to hurt him. What do I do?

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ThatOneChickShawna asks:

I legitimately love my boyfriend. We have been friends for 6 years & got together a month ago. I hastily agreed to be his gf & wish I had thought it through. I’m sure I like my bf but I’m unsure that I will not hurt him . I have guy friends, and I’m a flirt naturally sometimes. I’ll like touch their hair but that’s basically it. A lot was on my mind today so I talked to my bf & told him my fears about what would happen if we ever split up b/c he’s important to me. He is so great & reassured me he’d never do anything to hurt me. He wondered where it all was coming from so now I regret saying anything. I’m just so fearful that I’ll hurt him. I already have attraction toward a new guy friend & he’s truly an interesting person so we’re supposed to hangout (as a group) but I’m scared.

 Any experience with this?

Demetrius says:

Where to start, where to start? Let’s start with the idea of hurting others in dating.

I may have written about this before, in a much longer post, but I’ll give you the “too long, didn’t read” version. Dating, and by extension human interpersonal relationships, involves some amount of hurt. Unless you meet someone, fall in love with them, stay together for your entire lives, never once have a disagreement or argument, then you both die within milliseconds of each other, you will feel hurt because of a partner. Maybe it’ll be big, maybe it’ll be small, but some amount of hurt is going to happen in your relationships. In fact, curveball, you could be hurting the guy friends you’re flirting with because they’re in love with you, you’re flirting with them, and they know they can’t be with you. Crazy, right?

I say all this not to excuse people’s bad dating behavior, or even to give you some morbid view of life and love, just to give you some perspective. People hurt each other, but not all pain is equal. It sucks to be rejected by someone you’ve never met on a dating app, but it’s not the same as being left at the altar, you know? Anyway, you’re going to hurt pretty much everyone you date, or vice-versa, in big and small ways, best intentions be damned. The best way to not hurt people is to abstain from dating, or just generally try to do as little harm as possible. Which brings me to my next steps for you.

Can I be frank with you? Great, we’re old pals right, we can be honest with each other? Good. You need to break up with your friend, ASAP. You need to pull the band-aid off now, rather than wait til it’s really stuck in there and tearing it off will only hurt more. I’m okay with people flirting, I’m pretty flirty too, but you aren’t really saying that’s the issue, are you? You know when I people say “I’m sure…”, what they’re usually saying is “I’d like it if I was certain”. The fact that you said “I’m sure I like my bf” sounds iffy at best, and at worst like you’re dating him because of your friendship, not necessarily your attraction to him. I’m sure he’s a nice guy, and a great friend, but maybe not a great boyfriend for you. It’s clear that things between you two aren’t going to last, and it’s also clear that you have your eye on a new guy, AND it’s clear that you know you aren’t going to stay with him, hence the anxiety around hurting him, so what are you waiting for?

I don’t think the real issue is your nebulous fear that you’ll hurt him in some way, what you’re really worried about is the fact that you know you want to break up with him, and you’re afraid you’ll lose him as a friend. We’re old chums so I’m going to be honest with you, it’s a possibility. The break up is coming, and your best bet would be to do it sooner rather than later, because the longer you date the harder it’ll be to transition back to being friends only. What you don’t want to do with said break up is bring up the whole “I’m afraid of hurting you” thing because it sounds like bullshit, and it kind of is. The real reason you don’t want to be in a relationship with him is that you don’t have a spark with him. Besides declaring your love for him (which doesn’t have to be romantic, btw), the only thing you said that even remotely sounds like you have a spark with them is this new guy friend, who I can almost guarantee is going to be your next boyfriend. Your current relationship you describe using words like love, hurt, unsure, and fear. Not one mention of a positive. Your only mention of this new guy refers to attraction.

You are going to hurt your boyfriend, and you may lose him as a friend, but you need to handle this as soon as possible before he grows more attached. Oh and, future reference, maybe don’t ask people to promise or reassure you that they’ll stay in your life, in the way you want when you aren’t prepared to give them the same thing. It’s unfair. I understand not wanting to lose a friend, but maybe he doesn’t want to lose a girlfriend? Which is going to happen, and it’s going to hurt. It’s up to you to do it sooner rather than later, to minimize how much pain you cause. It’s entirely possible that you can salvage your friendship, and you’re best bet to do that would be to end things sooner rather than later, be honest about why you’re ending it (ex. We rushed into things, I don’t think we’re a good fit romantically but I still want to be friends), and see where things go from there.

Good Luck Out There.

4 thoughts on “I don’t trust myself not to hurt him. What do I do?

  1. Six years? As ‘just friends’?

    Not to sound harsh – but – there are times when a relationship is just a convenience and not something that both parties are willing to work at and grow together. Six years is a long time. I want to ask whether either of them had dated other people in those six years. Perhaps you could certainly grow together because of life experiences in those six years but it sure doesn’t seem like that happened. Those decisions aren’t ‘hasty’.

    Not an enviable situation, but its only been a month.

    Liked by 1 person

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