Dear Miss Emily:

Hi. I have asked for advice from you in October 2007.  My topic was "Torn Between Two Men." I was seeing my fiance's best friend for a while, but decided to end it after reading your advice. I thought it through, and I really wanted to make my relationship work. Well, a week after this New Year’s Eve, my fiance and I broke up. Two weeks later, he told me he was seeing co-worker and was thinking about dating her. So much for that relationship! I didn't even have my belongings out of our home, and she was already going over. Needless to say, I was devastated and told myself this is what I get for seeing his best friend behind his back. Although I never did go all the way, I still had an emotional affair going on.  It never occurred to me to run to my ex-fiance's best friend for emotional support.  That would have been foolish, for I was in an emotional state of mind.  About the end of February, I finally responded back to the best friend, after he had made numerous attempts to talk to me to find out if I was okay.  The thing that strikes my attention was, even after I stopped making contact with him after I read your advice last year in October, he was trying to get a hold of me. He wondered what he did wrong. But wasn't it obvious enough that, at the time, I was ignoring him to fix my relationship?  Anyway, back to the topic at hand. As soon as I made contact with him, he was very concerned about what had happened and wanted to lend a helping hand. I was thankful and said I would keep in touch to let him know how I was doing. I still find him attractive and charming. I had missed his sense of humor and his smile. I felt that we had a connection, but I was unable to do anything about it because of my status at the time. Well, I have seen him recently and it was nice. Even if it was only for a couple of hours that day, he did manage to take my mind off my broken heart. Not completely, but a good amount. I still have contact with my ex fiance. He wants us to remain "great " friends. What I'm getting around to, is it bad for me to have a friendship with my ex's best friend?  Sometimes I'm afraid if my ex finds out he would be mad and end our "great" friendship. I don't want to lose him, although I have lost him to someone else.  But I feel I need him in my life right now, so that I may ease him off my heart. I told my ex's best friend that I don’t want to date anyone now, but only want to be friends at this time. If something happens between the best friend and me in the future, it will happen. If not, it wasn't to be. We do kiss here and there, but nothing further from that.  I'm not ready to be intimate with anyone. I feel so confused. What should I do? I would really appreciate your take on this complicated situation.

---------------------Miss Emily’s advice------------------

I went back and read your previous letter.  It was a sad revisit, but I am not really surprised at the outcome.  I believe you when you say that he had become a better person and your relationship was a supportive one, but there were red flags waiting to be unfurled.  You don’t say why your plans to marry were dashed, but the fact that he has someone else in the picture, so soon, says it all:  He’s moved on (and possibly before the breakup) so are you, and somewhat in the same manner.  Let’s be honest, you really want to pursue his friend.  Now you are free to do as you please.  I’m not sure why you need your ex to be a “great” friend, ‘cause I think the new lady in his life will, ultimately, ask him to cut ties with you.  It’s rare for a new girlfriend to accept the ex as part of the package, although he might keep you a secret.  And no, it is not a bad thing that you wish to have “a friendship” and, possibly, an open romantic relationship with your ex’s best friend.  You should not be mentally tethered, for life, to a man whom you no longer are committed.  Continue an open, honest dialogue with this friend of your ex’s and shake-off the guilt.  He’s interested in you, and it seems that he has every intention of waiting in the wings.  If you want to take any sting out of seeing him (when you are ready, of course) invite the ex to lunch, with his best friend, and get this thing out in the open.  He may not be angry over it, but if he is, tough.  Rivers flow, and life moves forward, with or without our approval.  Gather all the strength you can muster and start looking ahead.  In time, your heart will be ready for a new tenant.  And (I might be getting ahead of myself here) IF for some reason it does not work out with your ex and his new girlfriend, do not run into his waiting arms.  It’s time for you to listen to your inner voice.  It seldom fails us.  Good luck!