Question: My ex and I kept in contact after the break-up and still hang out from time to time. We were together for nearly four years and are best friends and it just didn’t make sense not to stay in contact. She broke up with me but a couple of weeks later said she wanted to us to work things out. I was a bit skeptical because there were lots of things that happened in the relationship. Lots of drama mainly to do with her insecurity/expectations but also to do with my failure to be the boyfriend she wanted and needed. My job is so demanding and leaves very little time for other things.
In the beginning I really wanted to work things out with her but there have been new developments that are making me unsure of what it is that I want. I’ve developed feelings for a woman from my workplace. I’ve known her for the past year or so, and we’ve become close. She works the same demanding hours so she understands the pressure. My ex knows her but does not know we have feelings for each other. My question is, do I tell my ex I have feelings for his other woman or do I just slowly disengage and let her figure it out for herself? My fear is that if I tell her, she’ll think I was cheating behind her back all this time which I wasn’t. Any advice will be very much appreciated.
The Love Doctor’s Answer: That’s some mess you got yourself into. If things are that serious between you and this other woman, and you think she might be the one, my suggestion is to tell your ex about it. Just be honest with her. Sometimes finding out that someone was doing things behind our back hurts more than what the person actually did. And since you are best friends which I take to mean you really care about her, just leaving her in the dark to figure things out for herself wouldn’t be acting like a friend who cares.
But if you’re not sure about who you really want to be with, my advice would be to tell both women you need some kind of break/space to figure out what it is you really want for yourself. The reason I say this is because you seem to have moved from one relationship to another without any time in between to just be on your own.
A little distance and time on your own may help you figure out whom you want to be with. It’s a risk of course, neither woman may want to hang around until you have yourself sorted out. You most of all can appreciate that they have to do what is best of them under the circumstances – just as you have to do what is best for you. But this is also where you get to find out which of these women truly cares about you and which one just wants to be in a relationship – any relationship – even one in which a guy doesn’t know what he wants.