Dear Miss Emily:

I began dating a man I've known for 30 years. He is my younger brother's friend and there is a six-year-age difference between us. He was off-limits for the first three decades, but I figured what the heck we're in our forties why not give it a try? He came on to me like gangbusters professing a desire to be with me throughout the years.  I gave it a shot.  Let me mention that during those 30 years he always visited me and was very generous giving me things. We'd laugh and joke, even while I was dating other men.  I never, during those times, had a desire to be with him although he is very attractive and was always considered a player. Well to make a long story short, he came by one day and one thing led to another and we dated for a while and then did the deed.  I was uncomfortable after that and backed off after the first time, but he pursued me for six months. So I gave in again.  He was very positive at first and prefaced sentences with "We're going to do this, we're going to do that."  He did a lot of handyman things around the house and visited quite often (for about six months).  I wasn't smitten in the traditional sense since I knew his MO, but the sex was fantastic so I took a chance and decided to put my cards on the table and tell him that I was looking for a relationship. I had a feeling that would bring things to a head so I ran with it.  Well, guess what?  He did a complete about face and began to act really crass. He stopped kissing me hello (complaining about my lipstick), foreplay became almost non-existent, he started fights for no reason and after sex he would jump up and put his pants on and leave in about an hour or two. (During the six months he would mostly spend the night). The next to last straw was when he said he would return and never showed up.  So I read him the riot act. The last straw was when he left me a voice message after the fact saying that he did not want a relationship and he told me this from the beginning (lie). I still continue to be his friend because, I guess, we probably made a mistake sexualizing things in the first place.  I refuse to allow his bad behavior to affect our original friendship, and I continue to communicate with him, as does he, on a regular basis.  I'm not about to have sex with him again (I'd rather bash my head on some concrete), but I am curious about his behavior.  He calls me everyday for one thing or another.  I always accommodate him like I used to, but we don't laugh and joke as much as we did before the sex, although I can because even though I do love him, I know a relationship is not in the cards.  He's toxic and I've dated his type before.  He was the one who said he didn't want the sex to interfere with our friendship and I believe I'm honoring that.  What gives?  Can we ever go back to where we were?  Before the sex?

------------------------------------------------Miss Emily's advice-----------------------------------------

It's sort of classic for a guy who thought he was getting away with dictating the terms of a sexual relationship and, then, ends up rebelling if it turns out to backfire on him. Okay if you're an android, but when human emotions come into play, anything can happen. You say he said from the beginning he didn't want sex to interfere with your friendship. That's like saying, "Here's a box of candy for you, but don't eat any if you think you'll like it." You've known this guy for 30 years, it wasn't a one-night stand and having sex had consequences. He handled it poorly, to say the least. His disappearing act, and the sudden change in his behavior was totally inappropriate and had the emotional maturity of a sixteen year-old boy (no offense to the 16 year-old); although I am aware some sixteen year-old boys can be quite charming. Had he said, after you told him you wanted a relationship, "You're great, but I'm not the "relationship" kinda guy, and when I led you to believe I was, I take full responsibility for my deception. I am so, so sorry." At least, although you would have been hurt, you could have a better chance of repairing any damage to the friendship without feeling as if you were last night's leftovers. As I often say, you can't un-ring a bell, and it won't be easy to undo the current feelings you have for him. He pursued you, he lied when he said he told you from the beginning he did not want a relationship, and he behaved like a jerk. I think some distance would help. Do not be too accessible. It's not game playing, but it would give you some charity concerning your true feelings for him. I think you care very deeply, and would settle for friendship if that's all you can have with him. But I don't know if that will ever make you truly satisfied. And that's the bigger question.