Setting a Boundary vs Giving away my Power


I’m in my early 20s. I’ve started a company with a friend about a year and a half ago. I had been on a date with him two years prior, but we lived in different places and that one date didn’t really go anywhere. His dad, my professor, had introduced us. He does have a complicated relationship with his dad.

As we started to work more closely, I started to like him and I told him, and he said that he wasn’t really interested romantically. I moved on. We kept working. I briefly dated another guy. As time went on, we got more emotionally intimate, and in retrospect, I think I was receiving all the support and encouragement for my future career from him instead of my parents, especially given I had just switched career paths and my parents were starting to have issues, which he helped me process given his parents had gotten divorced not long before that.

A few months after, I briefly dated another guy. I told him I liked my best friend (business partner/previous friend/now best friend) and we broke it off because obviously he didn’t want to be with a girl who likes another guy. He wasn’t for me.

This best friend and I haven’t yet lived in the same city. We have worked virtually and met and stayed with each other a few times. Over the past few months, I began to realize while journaling that I had attached my heart and mind to this best friend/business partner because I was receiving from him what I wasn’t receiving from my parents nor giving myself. I got coached on that and was reminded that I can have him AND my perfect partner who IS romantically interested but whom I just haven’t yet met.

My business partner seems to be dealing with his own stuff. After breaking off with the guy whom I dated then told that I liked my bestfriend, I told my bestfriend what had happened. I told him my brain was confused and that I wasn’t actually attracted to him but that I like him. I think that was me rejecting him before he rejects me again?

About 7 months have passed now. In quarantine, I’ve realized that my attachement to him and love was anxious and conditional in certain aspects. I asked myself, would I take him as a creative and business partner? My answer is absolutely. I asked myself would I take him as a romantic partner? My answer is no (mostly because he’s very sexual and I don’t want to have sex before getting married and we definitely disagree on that).

This past week, my brain was tempted with other thoughts, and after talking with a friend about this situation, I decided today that I was going to tell him that I had lied to him before by saying I wasn’t physically attracted to him and finally said it. He said: “I don’t love you, I adore you, but I’m not physically attracted to you, and you are beautiful.” I was fascinated. My brain immediately wanted to think that he’s not admitting the truth or that something is wrong with him, which is super interesting.

I was sad, then free. During our conversation today, before we began talking about what I wanted to tell him, I could hear that he was masturbating. This has come up recently. We would be meeting and talking and then I notice he’s not mentally with me but masturbating. I feel so uncomfortable about that and I wonder if it’s my own exposure that differs from his, if it’s my judgment about masturbation given my background and judgment to myself experimenting with that and exploring as a kid, or if it’s something I should address and bring up to him. I want to be compassionate and love him unconditionally but I also wonder if this is going to be a problem in the future.

Over the past year, he has told me about around 6-7 women he was dating or seeing or were his “sexual partners.” Today, he asked me after I told him how I felt if he had been sending mixed signals, and I said no, but later, I felt like I should have said yes, but I was worried that I was over-interpreting to feed my own bias and desired explanation of his words. He said that he’s been told before that he gives mixed signals. Hmm.

We come from different faiths and I’m Christian. He’s gone out of his way before to tell me he believes in Jesus, which I believe him; his father does too. He’s also made a comment about “some of my religious beliefs” and said that needed a whole other conversation which never happened. And then he’s also mentioned “wanting to have sex with someone so bad but cannot for some reason.”

Our work is so important to the world and us. We are compatible partners and work well together (so far). I think he’s insecure and more afraid than I am, but that also might be my own judgment and projection of my judgment of myself onto him.

So my question is, should I confront him about the masturbation situation? What if he denies it?

I’m realizing now too that after asking myself who my ideal romantic partner would be, it definitely wouldn’t be him. He would be my ideal creative and business partner but not my life partner. I’m also realizing that I wasn’t believing I was worthy of that ideal scenario, which could be why I was self-sabotaging and holding on to the drama about my business partner in my head and thinking I love him but in reality he’s not my person.

Can I just make a decision and recommit to it everyday to let go of that “love”? A friend told me I need to allow it and not resist it until I can release it and really free myself. What do you suggest? How do I go from I love him to something else? Well I still want to love him but only as my business and creative partner.

Why was my brain so attached to the idea of him? Is it right of me to question if he has an issue of himself or am I making an excuse for why he’s “rejecting me?” Why does the brain want and have an urge for something I don’t even want…… wild. I don’t want to dissolve our partnership, but I’m ready to move on and was wondering if interacting everyday will prevent me from that? Well, I guess that’s not a good thought.

Thank you!!!