Saturday, April 20, 2024

Doctor Love: The X-Factor and Bad Friend

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Dear Doctor Love,
A former boyfriend from twenty years ago just sent me a friend request on social media. I am happily married and my husband knows this man contacted me, so there is no secret about it. I admit I am curious about him, but I am not still in love with him or anything. We have many good friends in common, so I see his posts sometimes anyway. My husband laughs says go ahead but my best friend says absolutely do not talk to this guy. So far, I haven’t deleted or accepted the offer. Should I just ignore and delete it, answer him tell him I’d rather not or accept it and catch up with an old friend?
/s/ The X-Factor

Dear X-Factor,
Contact with an old flame can be playing with fire if you are not honest about why you want to be in touch. It is natural to be curious about a love from the past. We want to know what they look like and what they have done with their lives and it can be harmless as long as it remains on purely casual ground. You’ve been honest about your interest and you have not kept it secret from your husband so the Doctor thinks your motives are pretty safe. Just watch for the warning signs that he may not be so above board. Complaints about his marriage, intimate chats about the good old days and offers to meet in person might indicate his desire to do more than just catch up with an old friend. If at any time you begin to feel guilty or have the need to keep it from your husband, end the contact immediately. As long as it is simply normal conversation old loves can be friends without benefits.

Dear Doctor Love,
My friend just told me he is gay. I had no idea, and I feel bad for the years I made jokes about gay people and how he must have felt when I said those awful things. I will see him this weekend and I don’t know if I should bring it up or just let it slide.
/s/ Bad Friend

Dear Bad Friend,
The lesson to be learned here is that making fun of others can end badly, and you should clear the air when you see him. A sincere apology for your juvenile behavior and the assurance that you have a much better attitude would go a long way in helping the two of you remain friends. If he is just coming out, he will need your support and knowing that you are there for him will make you the best friend he could have.

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