I’m dating a guy but we are not official (I denied his asking me to be official) . I’ve had an off and on relationship with another guy (before I met the guy I’m dating) , and I always had extreme feelings for this guy. We go to the same school and I saw him today. We chatted for a long while and told each other we love each other (as friends). The thing is, my friend from school is friends with the guy I’m talking to and knows that me and the other guy have a history and that I loved him. She wasn’t at school today and didn’t see us talking, but she usually is and will probably see us talking together next time. So my question is have I done anything wrong, that I should worry about? Does it seem like something that should concern my friend..to tell the guy I’m dating?
I like this question, but I hate using the same noun to describe two different people, so let’s call your casual dating guy Casual Half-Boyfriend, or Cash for short, and let’s call the other guy Friend you’re Definitely in Love With or Fred for short. To avoid confusion and also because I love giving people random names.
Okay here’s the deal as I see it: You’re dating Cash, it’s not an official, and it seems like you don’t want things to become official, whether that’s a temporary or permanent sort of feeling. Fred is a friend who you’ve had an on-and-off relationship with, who you said you have “extreme feelings”, which in my head looks like this. But, in all seriousness, it sounds like if he wanted to, you’d definitely become official with him. You told Fred you loved him “as friends”, and now you’re wondering how Cash might feel about that, and more importantly whether or not anything that’s happened is wrong.
Honestly, I don’t have one real answer to give you. On the one hand, I’m all about personal responsibility, so I don’t think you deserve the entirety of the blame for not clarifying whether or not you’re exclusive, but part of that is your fault. If he asked if you were “official” there’s a certain assumption around exclusive sexual monogamy there. If you refused him, one of you should have asked if despite the fact that you aren’t official, will you be monogamous sexual partners. So you didn’t necessarily do him wrong there, you both just sort of made a mistake by not bringing it up. You’re both doing yourself a disservice here. I don’t think it’s a mistake to tell someone you’d rather not be official with them, the heart wants what the heart wants, so no problem there. There’s nothing wrong with telling someone who you don’t want to be in a relationship with them.
Have you done anything wrong by having a conversation with Fred where you told him you love him “as friends”? No, not really. I’ve been in relationships and told friends “I love you”, meant it platonically, and never once doubted that I might be doing something wrong. There’s nothing wrong with telling a friend you love them, platonically, while you’re dating or in a relationship. The problem is, that’s not really how you feel, is it? It seems to me that the reason you’re feeling guilty is because your feelings for Fred are more than just platonic. We can skirt the issue, or use your language, but let me call it like I see it: You’re in love with Fred, romantically, and would probably rather be dating him than Cash. It seems like you’re feeling guilty about that, and that’s why you’re wondering if you’ve done something wrong.
With that said, I’m still on the fence as to whether or not you’ve actually done something wrong. I’m not saying that you’re 100% in the right, but I’m having a hard time saying “You are definitely wrong”. Are you being dishonest by omission? Yes. Do I feel like you’re not being honest to yourself about your feelings for Fred? Yes. Do I think you should stop dating Cash because you’re still in love with Fred and would rather be dating him? Yes. Do I think you did Cash wrong? Mehhhhhhhhhh. I’m still not sure how open you have to be with someone if you’re not dating them seriously. Yes you should be open about whether or not you’re dating other people, but how open do you need to be about someone who isn’t currently in the picture romantically, but who you have strong feelings for? Honestly, I’m not quite sure.
So, since you’re in the weird gray area, and I’m still sort of undecided about whether or not you’re in the wrong, the best thing I can suggest is doing the thing that feels the most right. In your case, to assuage your guilt and to feel like you’re doing the right thing, I would suggest telling Cash about Fred, and be honest about your feelings for him. Odds are good that Cash will want to end things, but at the very least you’ll feel confident knowing that you were as open and honest as possible. Again, I don’t think telling him or not will flip some imaginary “Right/Wrong” switch, but at the very least it will get rid of the guilt you’re feeling.
Good Luck Out There.