“His friend accused me of being manipulative”

I met this guy playing an online game. I was attracted to his personality right away, but for him it took a little longer to reciprocate. After a few months though we had grown closer and I confessed my crush. We started an online relationship where the pros vastly outnumbered the cons of such an arrangement.

I’m gay but my family and for the most part my friends don’t know. His family knows he is gay, but he is very shy and introverted. So even though an online relationship isn’t ideal, it really kind of worked for us both. Everything felt amazing. He was amazing! We talked everyday for hours. He was constantly on my mind. He was the best thing about my life. Yes we had disagreements but we always worked through them.

Then one day things changed, it wasn’t gradual. Suddenly he felt like a completely different person who was only trying to pretend to be the person from before. Bad things were going on in his life and I held out hope that once they were worked out he would be himself again. It never happened. We tried to continue on, adapt to the way things were now. I loved him so much and didn’t want to lose him, but depression was consuming him. He felt guilty for changing and thought it wasn’t fair to me so we decided to take a break.

Eventually we got back together but it wasn’t the same and so that didn’t last very long. After that we had a kind of unspoken on again off again flirty relationship where some days would be good, some bad. We realized that was just really confusing so we determined to just try and be friends. Sometimes that works but lately it hasn’t. It took me a long time to let go of the romantic, deeper part of our relationship but I really thought that I was improving. I really thought that at least we could still be a part of each other’s lives.

Recently he told me about a conversation he had with a friend and how that friend accused me of being manipulative and controlling. I have no idea what I’m doing to give that impression and he couldn’t really explain it. Now I feel like we can’t even try to be friends anymore if that’s what people are thinking about me. I don’t want to be seen as some controlling ex who won’t let go of the past. He’s going through a hard time and despite everything I know he still views me as someone close to him and therefore I don’t want to just abandon him. I don’t know what to do. I miss him so much. Should I fight to keep our friendship or concede?

One thought on ““His friend accused me of being manipulative”

  1. Dennis Hong says:

    Just to clarify, this is someone you still haven’t met in real life, right? As of today, your entire relationship is still entirely online?

    If so — and I’m sorry to be so blunt — I think you have to accept that this is NOT a real relationship that you have. Or at least not a romantic one, which is how you seem to see it.

    Don’t get me wrong, connecting with someone online can stir up powerful emotions. Especially if you’re still in the closet, it may feel safe to be able to confide so deeply in someone who’s so far away, and who therefore poses no risk of outing you. I get that this relationships serves a purpose for you.

    At the same time, you have to understand that this, in itself, is not enough to constitute a romantic relationship. A true romantic relationship can only take place in real life, where you can actually see how the other person behaves at any given moment, not just when they’re in front of a computer. We all have our online identities, and they’re rarely representative of the actual person we are in real life.

    On some level, I think your crush knows this. I think he realizes that the two of you are online confidants, not romantic partners, and that’s why he’s distancing himself. Maybe that’s why his friends do see you as romantic and manipulative — because you’re trying to treat him as a romantic partner, even though the two of you have never met in person.

    My suggestion to you is to back off a bit at this point. If you still do want to be his friend, make sure you’re treating him like a friend, not like someone you’re settling on as a friend, but whom you also have ulterior motives with.

    It’s a subtle difference, but I bet he — and his friends — will be able to pick up on that.

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