Have feelings for friend who is a recovering sex addict and struggling with recent break up. How should I proceed ?

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I recently (1 month ago) started to get to know a guy from my church through mutual friends. We really hit it off and would talk for hours and hours. We have so much in common and we just really enjoy each other so much. There had been comments along the way of flirting, and naturally I started to have feelings for him.

We had gotten together in group settings to go out and always have a great time. So much fun. Once a week, we get together for lunch with a friend, but sometimes its just the 2 of us.

Well, a few days ago, I admitted that I had begun thinking of him romantically. He was flattered and thinks I am amazing as well. BUT he is coming out of a recent breakup (3 months ago) with a girl he intended to marry. He said he’d really done some stuff that hurt her. So because of that and “other things” he is just not interested in pursuing anyone right now. And that he hoped we could still be friends and not have any awkwardness.

I saw him a few hours later at an event at church and he didn’t avoid me at all. We were as comfortable as always with each other and sat next to each other during worship. That was really special to worship with him. We both love God so much and want to do right by Him. We each went home and went online and ended up having an incredible talk. We shared our very personal life stories.

During this long talk, he trusted me with a very big struggle of his. He is a recovering sex addict. He goes to a group weekly and he says he is doing very well. But that is why he doesn’t want to be in a relationship at all right now.

Knowing this definitely made me think—and I have been doing research about what he is dealing with and what partners of sex addicts face. I understand the risks, but in the end, I still have feelings for him. And if he continues this group therapy that is helping him, I would definitely still be interested in having a relationship with him.

But I know and understand without a shadow of any doubt, that right now he needs to be single, and I completely support him on that. What I don’t want, though, is for him to consider me only a friend after many months of me just being a friend for him.

At the same time, I don’t want to be flirtatious and give him any difficulties in his recovery process.

How would you recommend I proceed with him?

Answer

You sound sincere…keep that attitude!
If this person is truly in a recovery process and committed to such, they will be healthy ‘enough’ to know that getting involved again in a romantic/sexual way is not healthy or conducive to their growth and recovery journey.

If YOU truly care for this person aside from your own agenda, then I suggest you do NOTHING to enable their addiction to resurface in your ‘relationship’ at this time.

Let them decide when/IF they might be interested in you in other than a strictly platonic manner.

Sex/relationship addicts are notorious for rebound relationships to mitigate their inner pain. Why would you wish to be the tempting force in such a serious healing journey?

I would offer nothing but healthy support and I would not even entertain any otherwise thoughts until a good amount of time has gone by and this person is feeling strong and healthy again.

You should KNOW that this is a VERY fragile time for someone who is trying to make healthy changes in their life.

You should not ‘prey’ on this persons time of weakness and confusion.

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