/u/Waterfailure_ on /r/relationships writes…
“Long story short, I [21F] met “Max” [26M] freshman year of college and we were good friends for a long time after. Over the years we’ve hooked up a handful of times, he’s met my whole family, done shows together, and gone on weekend trips, been dates to formals. At times I wanted more and Max staunchly rejected me, so we remained friends. We have not spoken in a number of weeks as of now due to a fight over him blowing off expensive and important plans.
In a complete coincidence, I happened to match with “Alex” [23M] on tinder and hit it off famously a few weeks ago. It wasn’t until after several days of talking for hours straight he said some details about his family that made me realize he was an older brother of Max’s. Immediately I let Alex know I had been involved with one of his brothers, and he was understandably weirded out but muscled past it.
Fast forward several weeks of very promising new relationship and dates, Alex grew a little distant and confessed he doesn’t know if he can get over my having had sex with Max. Due to pictures posted online, Max is well aware of my and Alex’s relationship but hasn’t spoken to either of us about it. I’d really like to comfort Alex and continue seeing him, what can I say that makes such a weird situation normal?”
Dear Water Failure,
What a tiny and incredibly small world we all live in!
There might not be much more you can do for Alex to make him feel more at ease here. You’ve already done your best to acknowledge and discuss this as early as you can. You can continue to reassure him to help him understand that you are with him for a reason.
It is a little weird. So admitting and acknowledge that it is weird will be your next most obvious step. At least now that it is out in the open, it should be easier to talk about all of this instead when Alex is ready to come to you for help in processing. This isn’t something that you can help with, or ease the burden of. Just continue to be there and provide support whenever you can. If that means a sounding board for his vent or active participant in a dialogue to help flesh out what this means for you two, you need to be there for Alex if you want this connection to strengthen.
Also understand that this is an immense price of admission to be with you for Alex. You said so yourself that there were some romantic intention from your part to intensify and escalate your physical relationship with Max. That is a much more concerning detail that might weigh heavier on your relationship with Alex, as he might incorrectly get the idea that he was the “second best.” So accept that this could very well be the end.
Whatever the case is, we do live in a weird, weird world. Even if this doesn’t work out, this will at least be an interesting story you can carry on forward.
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