Q: I slept with my good friend. A couple times. The first time I was single and he wasn’t, the second time he was single and I wasn’t. Both times we got incredibly drunk. Both times he bought me drinks and made the first move. Now we’re both newly single and I don’t know if we should pursue something more or just leave it as friends who casually hook up. We talk about everything (including partners) we have a lot in common and we’re really attracted to each other. The hardest part is that we work together. But I don’t know what he’s thinking and I don’t want to ruin our friendship. I don’t have the best track record with relationships, but I’ve had feelings for him for a while. I don’t know if I should address them or push them to the side.
A: First things first: There needs to be a big understanding that alcohol completely ruins our inhibitions and our decision making abilities. It’s called liquid courage for a reason. And sometimes it really messes our relationships up. If you guys hadn’t gotten incredibly drunk, do you think you’d be in this situation right now? Just because something happened when you 2 were drunk, doesn’t mean that his feelings necessarily go further than that casual hook up. Obviously he finds you attractive, or he wouldn’t have gone there with you, but guys can find lots of gurls attractive and not want anything more with them than sex (and the same goes for gurls, no discrimination here)! I wanted to get that harsh reality out of the way first.
I think the next step is to have an extremely honest conversation with this guy about your feelings and his. I know that’s seriously scary, but it seems necessary in this situation. If you don’t do this, there may always be a “what if” going off in your head about your relationship with him. Conversations like this help you understand boundaries, which is so incredibly helpful in situations like this. You don’t have to declare your love, or even like for him. You can simply say that you’re confused about what your relationship is because you guys have slept together a couple times. There’s nothing wrong with trying to get some definition around that. If you find that he doesn’t want anymore than to be friends, or casually hook up, I encourage you to try and go back to the way things were. Also, be honest with yourself and ask yourself if you’re okay with just casually hooking up and not taking things further. If he states that he does have some feelings for you, I would encourage you to proceed with caution and take things slow. I say this because he is your friend first, and I’m also looking at the fact that you 2 work together. You wouldn’t want to ruin something good you have going on – friendship wise and work wise.
So what if you’re both confused? Make a pros and cons list! How do you guys work well together? What are some reasons that would make you hesitate being together? Also, really take some time to think about how being together would impact your work.
I know that you’re going to figure this out. Don’t push any feelings aside before you talk to him about it. Work through this situation by being open and honest; you won’t regret it.
Sheri is a registered therapist. Ask her questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.