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Friends Without Benefits, Part 3

By: The 4-Way Panel

Dear 4-Way
,
I recently started hanging out again with a woman I used to date. We mutually decided that we wanted to be friends—nothing more. I really enjoy spending time with her and I know she feels the same. My problem is that when she mentions other women she’s gone on dates with or is interested in, I feel jealous, and that confuses me. Do these feelings of jealousy mean I still have more-than-friendship feelings for her? If so, should I still hang out with her? I thought my romantic feelings were gone, but I can’t imagine what else would be causing me to feel jealous. Any thoughts?—BJ, San Francisco, CA

  The gay man’s perspective: Darren Maddox

I don’t think it’s at all unusual for you to have these feelings. I’ve always been a firm believer that once someone touches your heart, she will always have a special place in your life in one capacity or another.

Remember, just because you’ve agreed to change the status of someone in your life, it does not mean that change will happen overnight. Some of us make a clean break from a partner and walk away. We never have to see that person we left behind again and we don’t have to address feelings of replacement. Some of us choose to keep people in our lives no matter what it takes.

There’s a big difference in loving someone and being in love. Which one fits in this instance? If you reach the conclusion that you are in fact still in love with this person with whom you’ve parted ways, be honest with yourself and with her. You’ll either open doors or close them, but you’ll be better equipped to deal with your feelings. Just don’t be selfish and try to get her back simply because you’re jealous.

Check back tomorrow for the straight man’s perspective by Chris Kennedy.

The 4-Way is published monthly. If you have a question for our 4-Way panel, please send it to them in care of the editor at rbrown@realgirlsmedia.com. To read more of The 4-Way columns or to listen to our podcasts, visit The 4-Way now.