I’m still thinking about my former friend/crush

I was close friends with a guy for six years. We did so much together. It was the kind of friendship where he would bring me my favorite things when I was sick. He went out a lot and hooked up with many women. Then he'd come to me as his safe place. We were there for each other in ways that I hadn't experienced with anyone before. After a while, I started to realize that I had romantic feelings for him, but I never brought them up because I didn't want to ruin the friendship and I didn't think he'd want to settle down.

A few months after this realization, I met the man who is now my boyfriend. My boyfriend felt uncomfortable/threatened by the closeness of my friendship with the guy. Thinking I was doing the right thing, I stopped talking to my best friend. It's almost three years later, and I'm still with my boyfriend, but I constantly think about my old friend and wonder if he even thinks about me now. I know he was hurt at first, but I wish I could know if he's feeling the way I do. I don't know if he was my first real love (even though we did not have a physical relationship), or if I'm supposed to be with him. The littlest things remind me of him. I care for the person I'm with because I know how much he cares for me. He's safe. I would have a safe life with him and wouldn't have to worry about stepping out of my comfort zone.

I should say that it wasn't always great with my boyfriend; I was once crazy in love with him, but almost a year ago we broke up for a short period when I found out he'd been lying to me for months. But the whole experience strengthened the relationship, at least on his end. I still feel hurt and less enthusiastic on my end.

I have this fantasy where my friend and I run into each other at a party. Right when we see each other, we started talking and being honest about how we felt. That's why I think the most frustrating part of this is the chance I never took three years ago. The fact that I don't know how my old friend really feels about me anymore, or if he ever loved me the way I did him. What do I do?

– Thinking about him

Let's say you knew for sure your ex-friend had no interest in a romantic relationship with you. Would that fuel some new excitement about your current partner? Would it give you the confidence you need to put all your effort into the relationship in front of you?

Something tells me the answer might be no. The way you write about this "comfort zone" ... it doesn't sound very comfy. You're still upset that partner lied to you. You're fantasizing about anything but him. I have to wonder whether you're looking for a way out, and this friend is the easiest distraction. Maybe without him, you'd find someone else to think about.

I do think it might have been for the best that you let go of this friendship three years ago. You had strong romantic feelings, and they were beginning to get in the way of your ability to fall for anyone else. You needed a boundary. I just wish you'd made it for yourself.

The thing is ... if you really want to reach out to this friend now, you can. I mean, you'd want to tell your boyfriend that you're doing it, and he probably wouldn't like it, but three years later, maybe things are different. Also, it's possible that seeing this man will change your fantasies. It might help you make real decisions about what you're really seeking right now.

– Meredith

Readers? Would seeing this friend be messy? Does the LW sound happy in this relationship?