I sympathize with LW2. When I was getting married, my best friend was single (divorced, actually). Over time I started to realize how self-centered she was, like how I would drive the hour and a half to visit her, but she would hardly ever come down to visit me; and how I listened to her for hours when she complained about her marital problems, but she didn't seem as interested in listening when I needed to talk to her about a problem in my own life.
But the last straw was when we went shopping for bridesmaid dresses. I'd picked out a bunch of dressed I liked, then I brought the whole bridal party to the store to try them on and get their opinion. I was really excited about this. We walked in the front door, and I immediately spotted one of them. I hurried over and pulled it off the rack to show them, and as soon as I turned around, she was on the phone with some guy. And it wasn't just an, "I'm busy right now, can I call you back later?" thing—they had a long conversation while she mindlessly thumbed through the rack next to her, while my other bridesmaids excitedly looked at the dresses I'd picked and couldn't wait to try them on. I was crushed. (We're not friends anymore.)
@sallysitwell I had the same reaction. I think there is some truth to both perspectives ("you've got to move on from these friends" and "you are the worst person ever"). And @paddlepickle, you're right—E is a sketchball. If he really wanted to make the LW feel better, there are plenty of other ways to do so. Though if he really thought kissing was the way, he should have cleared it with B first.
@smartastic That is 100% true. Being lonely and married is a million times worse than being lonely and single, believe me.
@hockeymom It IS hard, I do the same thing! "We try to make stuff better by apologizing, analyzing, comparing, and along the way we nail ourselves to the wall like specimens." This is all so me. I need to hang that whole answer on the wall.
@BeccaLovesRocks I've been in that situation lots of times. I always seemed to attract that type of guy, and I tended to give them the benefit of the doubt, inadvertently leading them on. Eventually I learned that subtlety doesn't usually work and that I had to be upfront about my lack of interest. It does suck, but it sucks more the longer you wait.
LW2: Don't play games with this dude and give him those wishy-washy "hints" that may be misinterpreted. As long as you refrain from giing him a straight answer he will think he has a chance. Just straight-up tell him you're not interested in being anything more than friends/colleagues! You're a grown woman.
@anon8150 I'm sorry, where did someone make the assumption that men are violent sexual aggressors? RAPISTS are violent sexual aggressors. Some men are rapists. Not all men are rapists.
Loving each other is not a magical "cure-all." Having parents who love and respect you does not mean you will not grow up to do awful things to people. My rapist had loving parents. The problem is not that simple. If a victim wants to share their story, they should do so. Talking about it helps other victims, and it may help prevent others from becoming victims in the first place. Talking about it helps men to understand (to the extent they can) what it's like to be a rape victim. It helps them be more compassionate in their own relationships with women who have been raped. There was no harm in this post. The only harm was in the chain of events that led to its creation.
@Jocasta Carr There are also many men who do have terrible things happen to them who never grow up to be rapists, or violent, or emotionally abusive, or any other awful behavior. It's true that everyone is the way they are because of their experiences, but that doesn't release them from responsibility for their behavior.
@marenca These are gazes that mean something because they see you, not your perfect, fleeting skin or good hair day.
So true. I just spent an entire week camping with my boyfriend. I didn't shower or bathe with soap the whole time (swimming in the lake only helps a little). My hair gets very oily when I skip even one day, but I only washed my hair twice the entire week. I got a lot of pimples from being sweaty all day and sleeping in a hot tent. And my body stunk big time. I didn't look or smell beautiful at all, but my boyfriend still got turned on looking at me.
@rabbitheart I don't know. the mentally-ill statement was in the letter, but it didn't have to be repeated in both the response AND the title. I actually didn't even read the whole response because I was so upset at the prospect of hearing any more mental-illness bashing.
Some mentally ill people I've known are jerks for sure, but most of them (myself included) are very nice people who deserve love and make good partners.