What is he hiding?

You're loyal. And witty. But you already knew that.

Hi Meredith,

I love your column, including the commentary from your loyal and witty readers. I'm writing because I'm rather peeved with a long time friend/could-have-been suitor, Jay. I met Jay about 15 years ago when I was 19 and he was 29. Timing and other issues (he was weird and a bit too intense/I had a boyfriend) prevented us from pursuing a relationship. We remained friends until it became too awkward being around him knowing he had feelings for me that I didn't reciprocate.

After losing touch for a few years, we became reacquainted. We spoke and e-mailed each other throughout the day, hung out several times during the week, and later we started an intimate relationship. I introduced him to my family and friends but never met any of his. He would speak about his family in the vaguest terms, never even mentioning them by name. Still, I found myself developing strong feelings for him, but Jay was hesitant to acknowledge we were anything other than friends. I wasn't okay with this, so I made clear we could be friends but there would be no more sex.
When I started dating other people, he admitted he was jealous and expressed happiness when things didn’t work out with the new guy(s). He hinted that we should be together and constantly reminded me that if I had "chosen" him, we'd be married with children today. He even planned a weekend trip out of town -- nothing romantic, just something to do (a sudden death my family caused us to nix those plans).

My feelings for him never really diminished -- actually quite the opposite -- but during this time some red flags went up (no home or cell phone/roommates denied Jay actually lived with them, even though I've spent several nights there). I've always joked that Jay is married or living with someone, but he has always been ready with a plausible excuse. I don't have concrete proof that he is involved with anyone else and he has never changed his story, but lately I just don't feel right about this situation. To be honest, it shouldn't even matter considering I'm currently in a relationship (fyi - I never cheated on my boyfriend with Jay). However, I do love Jay and at the very least, I've always considered him one of my closest friends. I'm angry and saddened that he would lie to me like this for so long, and a small part of me feels that I should get some actual proof before cutting him completely out of my life.

Meredith, what is the likelihood that there's a perfectly logical explanation for Jay's situation? Does he deserve a chance to prove that he is not married or in a relationship with someone else? Why would someone who purports to be a good friend do something like this?

– I Need Better Friends, Boston

Jay isn't your friend, INBF. He's your ex. (Thank goodness.) And because he's your ex, it doesn't matter what he's up to.

Maybe Jay is married. Maybe he's a spy. Maybe he is a superhero like Batman and has no family (besides Alfred) and doesn't want to expose you his lair. Or, more likely, his roommates are just total jerks who want to see if they can pull one over on you. The truth doesn’t matter. You don't have to know the details. You just have to know that he's a guy who's now a part of your past.

Treat him like any other ex. Catch up with the occasional e-mail, send the holiday card (to his fake address), and stop to chat if you happen to run into each other at Fenway. But don't think of him as a close friend. You don't even know where he lives.

As for loving Jay, well, let's work on that. You're allowed to care about him because you dated him, but you should have other priorities now. Don't let the fact that Jay is older, unattainable, and mysterious make him seem more important or more desirable.

Take the energy you've spent trying to play detective and use it to set some new boundaries. And yes, find some new friends. Better friends. Close friends are not people who hide things from you and tell you that you’d be married to them if you’d have made different/better choices. Close friends are people who tell you everything -- even the stuff you don’t want to hear.

(Of course, if you do happen to figure out what Jay is hiding, please send us an update. Yeah, you've got me curious.)

Readers? Is she still in love with Jay? Can you have a close relationship with someone who discloses so little? Is Jay a superhero? Married? Or a bank robber? (Sorry. Just saw "The Town.") Why is she still thinking about Jay to begin with? Help.

– Meredith