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    • #59142

      Hi everyone,

      Since ending things with my ex a while ago I’ve been trying to make a lot of positive changes in my life, such as establishing and maintaining boundaries, ending toxic friendships, working on my goals and practicing self care. After months and months of this I decided that making some new male as well as female friendships could be a really positive thing for me to feel more balanced about the world.

      I’m feeling quite upset because a new male friendship I had made has ended painfully. This person was initially really kind and helpful and the friendship felt very healthy. I felt happy to have this person in my life as a friend to talk to about some of the things I’ve been going through and he always gave really good insightful advice and we got on well with quite a few shared interests. We started to talk every day so I really got used to him as a big part of my support network and looked forward to our chats, and it was lovely that it was not a romantic thing, it felt like pure friendship and felt safe.

      Things went wrong when he said he had feelings for me. He started to get controlling and got angry if I didn’t message him every morning and acting entitled (just like my ex). We weren’t even in a relationship – I’d told him I wasn’t ready to date anyone and encouraged him to date others but thought we could keep talking as friends anyway. I then found out some quite disturbing things about him that I didn’t know before, a side he had completely hidden from me which was full of ignorance and hate.

      I established boundaries and made it clear I didn’t want a relationship to avoid any confusion and wished him all the best in finding the right person. What has really hurt is that he has now publicly denounced me, said hurtful things about me and has also ignored my last message rather than thanking me for my friendship and wishing me all the best too. It hurts a lot that this person I thought was a friend has so callously done this, blamed me for everything and not even had the decency to say goodbye. It’s like he as a blindspot for my feelings (for example he knew I am a domestic abuse survivor but didn’t seem to care that I wasn’t ready to date, he was only focused on the fact that he wanted a relationship and seemed frustrated that I didn’t) and is also completely ungrateful of the friendship I gave to him. And all this after he knew what I’d been through!

      I feel really upset because to me this person represented hope, that there are still good men out there, and now look how it has turned out. I feel even worse than before our friendship. I am glad to have him out of my life as I can now see that he is quite an immature and toxic person, but also miss our daily chats which made me feel supported and understood.

      I feel upset that a lot of men don’t seem to value friendships with women, a lot of them call it ‘the friendzone’ and are horrible to us if we won’t sleep with them. I honestly didn’t see this man as being like that so it hurts a lot to experience this from someone who had initially restored some of my faith in men.

      Do you have any healthy male friendships? I would really like some but don’t want them getting weird with me and trying to turn it into a sexual thing. The only sexual relationship I want from now on is with my future husband/life partner and I think he will be a very rare and special gem, who possibly doesn’t even exist. I’m not interested in dating or relationships unless I am completely blown away by a man’s amazing good qualities like humility, wisdom, kindness, maturity, honesty etc rather than all these weak, immature, entitled, selfish, sexist, dishonest, low-empathy victim-playing men I keep encountering.

    • #59162

      Hi sunshinerainflower,

      I am so sorry that this friendship turned out this way. I don’t have any male friends. There are colleagues at work who seem to be decent guys, but I wouldn’t say they are friends on any deep level. I think I am still not ready to approach friendships with men, let alone dating. I still feel too damaged and “who’s going to want to take on my baggage?!” I do still find men attractive and daydream about another relationship but it is always tinged with reference to my ex. I look at guys I pass in the supermarket, or sitting on the train and think “he looks nice” and it is rapidly followed up by “but is he an abuser?”

      Sorry I’m not much help! Sending you hugs and strength though x

      iwillbeok X

    • #59171

      Hi Sunshine.

      What a horrible man!!

      I have around 6 male friends. Some of them are work friends. All of them I have sat and had long conversations with. None of them I speak to daily though. Some I only see on nights out as they are part of the group. Others I meet up with to catch up one a one to one basis.

      One of them is an old Ex. He is one of my best friends. I can sit for hours and talk with him. We love each other like brother and sister. I still know exactly why we are Ex’s and that we weren’t meant for each other and he feels the same (which is good as he is married now!).

      These men are my salvation. They make me see there are good men out there.

      Please don’t lose hope Sunshine.

    • #59178

      I have a bunch of male friends. Most of them are guys I will meet up with and have a great time with if we are in the same location, but whom I have never had more than a five minute conversation on the phone. I can think of a couple of friends about whom this is untrue – guys I can have several hour long conversations on the phone – but these are all people I know really well and have known for a long time. Actually the same is true for my female friends. We are maybe a bit better at texting each other about major life updates… But basically most of my interactions with friends are when I actually see them, and I only have a few friends I am comfortable having longphone calls with. I would say that even in friendship then long nighty conversation is too much too fast. Not saying his behaviour was justified – he sounds like an a*****e. Just a way to think about being careful…

    • #59187

      I have some good friends on my college course (male and female) – I don’t see so much now that I am approaching finishing the course.

      The reason I responding is that I could have written this and have recently experienced it from someone I no longer wanted to have a relationship with.

      They were helping me with something (my allotment) this week, I had helped them, often enough in the past, as well as lending them money etc.

      I did not want a sexual relationship with them anymore, just friendship, although maybe if they hadn’t pushed so much and turned nasty maybe we could have taken up with that again.

      As it is it was clear on the phone today that they were angry in fact about me not wanting anything further. I think this sort of thing is rubbish.

      Still I have managed to laugh about it with another male friend as to how some men think on the dating scene. I have seen someone from a dating site I met once who I went out to a restaurant with – they paid for one course (not an expensive meal…) and seemed to think they were entitled to have sex because of that.

      If that happens again at all, if I go out to dinner with anyone. I’m paying for myself. I’m sure not all men are like that, it is very underhand and nasty when you simply want to share the intimacy of a long telephone call on a regular basis (especially if you have kids and can’t get out of the house so much…) and the bloke lays all that on you , or tries to. It is rubbish. Well done for writing this. And identifying it. We should all be able to choose what we want and when we want it…within reason…
      All best

    • #59216

      When i read the post, I want to congratulate you, you should be proud of you, how you dealt with the situation.
      Despite of his pushing – you were standing firm on the boundaries, you made a plan, what you want and you stick to it.
      That he is now discrediting you – do not worry too much, you did not want to be in this relationship and it was very wise. Time shows everything – I would say max what they can wear the mask, around 6 months, not longer, then something happens, and they start to show colours, specially if something is not going the way, they want to.
      May be it feels like you lost friend and you counted him as support. But I found myself too in the situation with my second abuser – who was pretending to be my friend, make me to trust him, show my weak part and then abuse me.
      If the first one was more obvious, the second one was like a snake in disguise. I did not see it straight away.
      Abuse was in the hidden way, there was a period when he was grooming me.
      Your story reminds me of mine.

      About friends – I do not have right now male friends. I’m not feeling safe to do that, specially staying alone with a man, in one space.
      Like you – I think I want only to give myself to my husband. I do not want to go on dates and do dating, like people do. I try to focus on rebuilding my self esteem and feeling safe, and healing process.
      For example I would not stay alone in one place with any man – for me it is a trigger.
      Now I take baby steps – just sticking to my girlfriends, therapy, group , family.

    • #59279

      Hi everyone,

      Thanks very much for your replies, it feels like quite a silly thing but it has upset me quite a lot so I appreciate your help and viewpoints.

      – I know what you mean about finding men attractive but wondering if they are abusers. I thought that for ages but only recently started to think I could trust some of them, but I think I need to do more healing before I can make friends with any men and definitely not date until I feel like I will be able to protect myself from any potential abusers.

      – Thanks! I must say I am a bit envious of your good male friendships, I used to be in a big friendship group when I was younger which included a big group of young men who for the most part were always respectful of boundaries and didn’t make things sexual. I used to really enjoy going to pub with them together with my female friends and having a good laugh, I always found them very funny and enjoyed their company and it meant we didn’t get hassled by idiots on nights out as they assumed we were all couples. Unfortunately this friendship group started to feel a bit toxic because these guys all gradually got girlfriends and got married, new quite judgemental wealth and status-obsessed couples joined the group and I felt like this random single woman with a whole different value system. They always used to ask why my relationships didn’t last and why I was single, implying it was something to be frowned upon, and didn’t like my more creative work choices either, so eventually I left but have never managed to make any good male friends since then.

      – Thank you. These conversations I had with him were by email, but I agree that it was all a bit too intense way too soon. I just enjoyed talking to him and before I knew it it had evolved into something a bit toxic. I used to have friendship groups like you describe but their values and mine moved in different directions (they became increasingly right wing and I realised I was more left wing) so I just have a few random friends dotted around now. I miss the groups but don’t miss feeling judged by them. It would be nice if I could make a new more left-wing mixed friendship group locally.

      – It sounds like you had a similar experience to me although I had not done anything sexual with this friend. It seems that once you cross that line it can be pretty difficult to go back, although Jane above has managed it which is good to know. I think it all depends on the maturity of the man, a lot of men seem to want to be rid of us if we won’t sleep with them. This male ‘friend’ said he ‘wanted nothing more to do with me’ and was vicious about me simply because I didn’t want a relationship with him. A lot of them seem really entitled to sex and feel like if they offer friendship they deserve sex in return, which is a pretty warped worldview. It’s good to know not all men are like.

      – Thank you, your post really resonated with me. This guy was like a total snake too, I absolutely did not see this coming and that makes it hurt all the more. It sounds like your second abuser was the same, pretending to be a friend whilst having an ulterior motive. Thanks also for saying that I didn’t the right thing, it helps to think that I noticed the red flags early and shut him down, and it’s typical of someone like him that he would denounce me because I figured him out which he won’t have liked. I think I’m still probably not ready even for male friends, they often seem to trick me, I still find it hard to see the red flags but am getting there.

      I was surprised this morning that I woke up feeling hurt about it still. I think partly the viciousness really took me by surprise, there was no need to do what he did. I’ve just found out that he has asked someone else out, so clearly it was all just a big lie about ‘having feelings for me’ and he was just thinking with his male genitalia. It’s awful how some people can be so selfish and manipulative yet somehow turn it round and make you look like the villain when all you did was follow your gut and put up a boundary. I also did not see this coming from him at all, he seemed like a really good kind safe friend, and that makes it feel so much worse, and reminds me of how I felt when I realised my ex was an abuser and had been lying about lots of things. I also dug a bit deeper and asked myself what the root of the hurt was. And I have identified it as:

      The Void / Love Deficit

      Because I didn’t get the love and positive attention from my family growing up and was bullied, I always felt kind of like something was wrong with me, and had a sadness and emptyness inside which would have been filled with love had I come from a happy home. So anyone who turns up acting really interested in me, kind, listens, seems to care about me feels amazing and I feel ‘safe’ with them like they are the loving parent figure I never had. I relax with them, instantly trust them and think ‘finally!’

      Unfortunately, most of these people are manipulators, but even if they weren’t, I definitely need to fill that love void myself, because I can’t be dependent on another person or people to feel complete and safe. I have to do that myself, and have been trying, but am not entirely sure how to do it. I’m hoping the therapy I start soon will help with this, plus the recovery books I am working through. Does anyone have any good advice for healing trauma and filling the love deficit with self love? I’ve worked on it for the past year but this incident has shown me there is still some way to go as I was still attracted to someone like this and was fooled by them, because I’m obviously still looking for love/acceptance/care/validation from external sources and still don’t see manipulators immediately. I guess working from home and not having many friends is making me quite vulnerable so these are things to focus on, like continuing to look for a volunteer job then a part time job, and keep exploring community/hobby groups.

      This has been a bit like a therapy session for me, thanks for listening and for your help.

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