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Friend misunderstood our relationship


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Old 23rd December 2017, 1:40 AM   #1
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Friend misunderstood our relationship

Iím a female in my mid 20s. About a year and a half ago, I moved to a city where I knew no one to start a new job. The first person I met was ďJohn.Ē John had been in a relationship for about three years. I was single at the time, and Johnís GF was in grad school (they saw each other about once a month).

We developed a friendship at work and started hanging out outside work as well. Nothing physical ever happened nor did it seem likely to. I was never attracted to him that wayóI did consider him my best friend and thought it was mutual.

About six months later, I met ďBill.Ē We started dating and are now living together. Bill and John seemed to get along at first. I tried to include John sometimes if we went out because I knew he was lonely, and his gf and he saw each other infrequently. John told me that his relationship had started to sour and wanted to talk, so I met him for lunch. During this time, he broke down and told me about his insecurities with her (She is very pretty and John is an average looking guy). Mistakenly thinking I was helping, I told him that I thought he was very attractive. He asked if I hadnít met Bill if I wouldíve considered dating him. (The correct answer was ďno,Ē but thinking it would make him feel better, I said ďof courseĒ)

Cut to the chase, he broke up with her and then basically started planning on us being a ďthing.Ē He had a breakup timeline for me and Bill and started sending me love letters. I had no idea he felt that way. If I had known, I NEVER wouldíve said what I did. I told him I had no intention of breaking up with Bill. John became very angry and started making accusations and waiting for me by my car after work to pick fights. Bill had to step in and ask him to leave me alone.

A couple of months passed, and everything seemed to be getting better. John got back together with his GF (who seems to sincerely care for him, despite his image problems). We began speaking to each other at work again. (Itís really difficult to totally avoid speaking to or interacting with someone you work with). I told Bill that John and I were on better terms (he wasnít too thrilled, but I assumed everything was ok). I had lunch with John last week, everything was going well until he blurted out, ĒI still love you and you owe me a relationship.Ē

OWE him a relationship? I got really angry at that. I never promised him anything. We were never anything more than friends. Heís been telling people at work that we were involved in a physical relationship. Of course, Bill heard the gossip. He says he doesnít believe John, but at the same time heís started questioning me about things (like who Iím texting, where Iím going, etc...). Itís really affected Bill, because he broke up with his former GF because of trust/cheating issues.

So now I feel like I lost a good friend and am in the process of maybe losing my boyfriend. Itís only been a few days, but everything seems headed downhill fast. I donít blame Bill for his trust issuesónone of this is his doing. But, I just canít understand how John, who seemed like my best friend is now trying to sabotage my life. He doesnít even seem like the same person anymore (all because I tried to build up his self esteemóor at least thatís what I thought I was doing). Iím starting to wonder if Iíve totally misjudged his character. Would a person who has waited for me at my car to yell at me, told lies about me to friends and coworkers, and informed me that I ďoweĒ him, have the potential to get violent? I donít know if heís simply hurt and angry and getting revenge because things didnít turn out right for him, or if heís got some kind of violent personality disorder. Has anyone experienced something similar? What did you do? As far as I know, heís never hurt his current gf. He doesnít follow me home or anything like that (that I know of). I blocked his phone number, and so far, he hasnít tried to email me or contact me another way. Iíve managed to avoid him at work this week. I canít read the situation. I donít know if this is over, and heís satisfied that he hurt me back, or if there is more to come. I donít want to make something out of nothing, but Iíve never had anything like this happen to me and I donít know if Iím over-reacting.
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Old 23rd December 2017, 2:58 AM   #2
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I hope it's obvious (and you did say you've blocked him), but you shouldn't try to resume a friendship with John again. He is clearly unstable, doesn't care about your wellbeing at all, and is affecting your relationship with your boyfriend.

Maybe consider showing Bill this thread, and explain to him that you're done with your friendship with John.

When you have to deal with John at work be courteous, disengaged, and firm. Only engage in the minimum communication required for work and to maintain civility. Hopefully sooner or later he'll take the hint and leave you alone.
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Old 23rd December 2017, 1:46 PM   #3
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I donít suppose thereís a reliable way to determine who might be a potentially dangerous person, and who is just someone who is angry and will eventually get over a perceived wrong? It worries me that he believes I ďoweĒ him something. Perhaps he didnít realize that could sound threatening?
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Old 23rd December 2017, 8:25 PM   #4
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Yes, you misjudged his character because people are on good behavior until you get to know them better as time goes by. He sounds like a lunatic and you're going to have to write him off as a friend and tell him a firm "NO and not ever" because he's a trouble maker. Classic case of "platonic friend" who is in reality blocking you from dating other guys by spreading false rumors that you are with him and causing trouble. You're going to have to excise him for good. And you need to tell Bill you're going to do that. You might even have to change jobs, unless he crosses such a line at work that you can report him to HR or management.
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Old 25th December 2017, 10:48 PM   #5
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This guy is delusional and obsessed. Good to block him. To wait at your car and say you owe him things, that is almost a restraining - order kind of scary.

I would feel completely unsafe and would be taking all measures possible to get rid of him. He is clearly capable of doing something dangerous and needs real mental help. This is Lifetime movie stalker stuff.
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Old 26th December 2017, 2:08 AM   #6
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Yeah. Thatís what I was afraid of. Iíve known guys that were hard to discourage before, but they were always guys I had at least dated and werenít saying things that sounded like threats. I just donít get it. He seemed like a perfect friend and then for him to just do a total 180 and seem like a crazy person is hard to accept.

He and his gf are supposed to be getting engaged (or that was the last story I heard). I donít know what the purpose of him doing all this is. I have promised Bill not to interact with him in any way (which I really donít need to have direct contact with him anywayóI can go through somebody else in his dept). I donít intend to speak to him if I can help it. Iím just not sure if this will make things better or worse. I know I should probably report him at work, but Iím also concerned that would set him off. Iíve told my parents and Bill. Thatís it.
Iím thinking that maybe the best course of action is just to keep quiet unless he starts harassing me again. I donít want to make trouble at work and have it turn into a whole big thing before seeing if maybe things will be ok.
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Old 26th December 2017, 5:17 AM   #7
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I would say first do your best to keep your boyfriend if you are happy with him. Ask him what to do (even if you don't do exactly what he says), and make him a part of the solution. If you and your boyfriend are happy and want to have a long term relationship, he already is a part of the solution.

Don't just think of John as a bad person, people sometimes go psycho (Although, imagine a relationship with a person who might become psycho every now and then!). Look at it from his perspective, he has image issues, he lost a caring and beautiful girlfriend, and he was in love with you (or at least thought he was). You have made a mistake by saying you might have considered him an option and you accept your fault, but it doesn't mean you have to lose Bill. So first, do what ever it takes to keep Bill if you are happy with him. I'm not saying you need confirmation from Bill to do something, but if you want it to work with him, get him involved as long as he feels safe.

As for John, he needs time. Know when to be frank with him, avoid "fights". Maybe talk to Bill and the three of you could hang out and just talk? Either way, you don't owe him anything. And your friendship might not be like it was before, accept it.
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Old 26th December 2017, 10:24 AM   #8
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Thank you. I hope what you have described is what is happeningóthat he just ďlost itĒ temporarily, and everything will be ok in time. And youíre right, when many things go wrong at once, people do things they wouldnít normally do. He seemed like a totally rational person before all this happened. He is back with his girlfriend now, so Iím hoping that he gets past this. I donít think we will ever be friends again, but I will settle for ďless tense.Ē
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Old 26th December 2017, 10:42 AM   #9
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If he continues you should definitely go to your boss or HR dept. It's a mistake to think you can mollify or control the behaviour of someone like this. Assert your boundaries, and make him accountable to others.
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