Honesty about my romantic feelings

Me and an ex-girlfriend broke up a while ago, but have remained close friends. I still had strong feelings for her but didn’t say because I wanted her to be happy. Only a few weeks after we broke up, she started seeing someone else and now they officially a couple. As a result, I’ve felt really sad and it makes it really hard to try and keep in touch. Should I be honest my feelings or should I stay quiet for her sake?

Thank you for sending in your question as it sounds like you are dealing with some painful feelings right now. After a relationship break-up lots of people wish to remain friends with each other. However that is not truly possible until both people have grieved the loss of that relationship. It seems like you have not yet fully grieved that loss because if you had, you could feel OK about your ex being with someone else.

You said that after your breakup you still had strong feelings toward her but didn’t say anything because you wanted her to be happy. You are also querying whether being honest would be bad for her in some way. To me this sounds like you are taking responsibility for how she might feel – but actually you can’t make her, or anyone else, feel a certain way. Each individual person is responsible for how they feel in response to whatever life gives them. So in fact we could argue that to be honest and allow the other person to have whatever emotional reaction they have in response, rather than trying to protect them, is being respectful to that person.

Another question you could ask yourself is “When I’m 50 and look back at this time in my life, how will I feel about being/not being honest with my feelings with her?” If you are honest and open with how you feel, it gives her the opportunity for her to also be honest about her feelings. It may not necessarily be a comfortable conversation but may help you to feel some more resolution about this experience.

Good luck with whatever you decide. If you feel you’d like to discuss things further in person to help your decision making, you can also book an appointment with a counsellor at Counselling and Psychological Services.

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