I'm a 22-year-old female, and I'm writing to you because something has been weighing on my mind. Shortly after I broke up with my long-term boyfriend (we were together for four years), I became fuck buddies with my friend Daniel. A few months after that, I started hooking up with my other friend, William. Everything was on the up and up, everyone knew about everyone else, and everyone was on the same page. Or so I thought. About a month into the situation, William started pressing for exclusivity, was upset that Daniel got to do more boyfriendly activities than he did, and said that he loved me. I told him that I didn't reciprocate his feelings and was still not ready to be exclusive with anyone. We continued on for a couple weeks longer, and then "broke up."
I thought that would be the end of it, but then the phone calls started. Among other things, he said that although I had asked everyone involved if they were okay with the situation, that I should have "pressed the issue," and made sure that "everyone was really okay with it." He also said that I should have established more rules for the set up, and that I had forever scarred him from trusting women ever again. Dan, these phone calls would last for hours at a time, all with him berating me for being a horrible person. I eventually grew a backbone and stood up for myself, but a niggling fear still remains: Is he right? Am I to blame for his heartbreak, or is he overreacting? I knew he was inexperienced, but he's a grown man.
Maybe Bitch, Maybe Not
My response after the jump.
He's in the wrong—so long as you were completely clear, at every step, that you weren't interested in anything exclusive, and that you couldn't see yourself falling in love with him.
But I wouldn't say he's overreacting, MBMN. He's reacting, he's having the feelings he's having, and he can't modulate their intensity, only deal. What he's doing wrong, what he can do something about, is this projecting bullshit. He's angry and hurt and he's taking it out on you; he's heaping on the guilt and blame in a conscious or subconscious effort to make sure that you feel just as bad as he does. He got hurt, yes, and hurting hurts, etc., but he hurt himself.
The only mistake you made, MBMN, was not ending things the moment he told you that he was falling in love with you. Perhaps you thought continuing to see him was the kind thing to do, but it likely filled him with false hope. And he now can't look back at the two weeks between his confession and the official "break up" without feeling mislead and humiliated.
NSAers, FWBers, and fuckbuds: don't make MBMN's mistake. If you're fucking someone that you have no interest in romantically, and that person confesses his or her love for you, end it immediately—end it compassionately, be as gentle and kind about it as possible, let 'em vent at you a bit if they need to. But end it.