I reconnected with an old fling

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Hi Meredith,

I reconnected with a high school fling over the summer. We're both in our 30s and it was nice to catch up. We both mentioned our partners (he's married, I'm in a relationship), but we just clicked. We are both living in different states, however we texted daily, flirted heavily, and talked on the phone quite a bit for a few months. My head was in the clouds over him; I was instantly smitten.

I was beginning to think we were developing an emotional connection until recently – when he began to mention his wife and started friend-zoning me. I took this as a sign and began to contact him less to give myself space. He's now mentioned his wife and I meeting in the near future, and while I think this would be nice, it also stings because I caught feelings for him along the way. I absolutely respect his marriage and would never pursue him, but I feel that I was led on.

I love my boyfriend but also hate this guilt that I feel about our relationship. What makes me even more torn is that I've developed a genuine friendship with my married friend and we are pretty affectionate toward each other (nothing that crosses the line), but I feel if I were to cut him off to distance myself, it would lead him to question why.

I would rather avoid revealing my true feelings knowing he's married. However, my feelings are eating me up inside. I value our friendship so I'm trying to quietly let my feelings fade, but it's been absolutely difficult to do. I think about him constantly. What to do? I feel crushed.

– Crushed

"I absolutely respect his marriage and would never pursue him."

It doesn't sound like that's true. You feel led on, which means you wanted some kind of mutual romantic experience. I think you're fooling yourself about your intentions. Did you expect to flirt with him forever without hitting some kind of wall?

I do think you should back away from this relationship out of respect for his marriage – and to take care of yourself. This is "eating you up inside." That doesn't sound healthy for your brain at all. If you're thinking about him constantly, you need time to get over it. You can't do that if you're texting every day and waiting for replies.

If you don't want to talk to him about why you need space, simply as for it – and say you're busy. I have a feeling he'll understand. Maybe later, when you're over the whole thing, you can say more about what happened.

As you step away, consider your boyfriend and whether you want to be in this relationship as is. Is the connection giving you what you need? Are you in a good place to be exclusive? Pay attention to how you feel about the person in front of you.

– Meredith

Readers? Any chance this LW can get over these feelings without backing away? Would you tell the ex-fling why you need space?