The Disappearing Window

QUESTION: This guy and I met through a mutual friend we both had. After several months we started talking every day whether it was via text or calling. He called me sometimes I called him. We became very close friends, and he started dating this girl and I started dating this guy around the same time, but me and him continued to talk regularly.

Eventually one day when we were talking he admitted to having more than friendly feelings for me, and I told him the same. However we decided it was best to just be friends, because we were both still in realtionships. A year passed both of us still seeing the other people and one night at a party we kissed, but it didn't go any further.

Anyways he and his girlfriend broke up and me and my boyfriend broke up just before them, and we have started to talk more about an "us", but it doesn't ever seem to go past that, and now our friendship is becoming more straining. We argue a lot more now, and don't talk as often anymore. So I was just wondering like what is going on?

CHUCK: Gee, I don't know. You tell me. If I were to speculate, I would say that the window of opportunity for the two of you to move from friends to lovers has passed. You both have come to some unspoken realization that the Next Step is not going to happen for you, and in the absence of sexual tension, all you have left is just tension.

How did this happen? In movies like When Harry Met Sally..., couples flit around each other for years, flirting and pining, until that romantic moment on New Year's Eve, when they profess their undying love for... Oh, forget it. When has life ever worked like that? Maybe, after months of experiencing obstacles to your getting together, you both are afraid to pull the trigger on dating each other. Maybe you think you know each other too well now.

My wife and I were in a similar situation as you. We were friends for a couple of years before we started dating. And actually, when we did start seeing each other, it was kind of a relief. We had had numerous conversations about numerous different topics at that point, and there was no period of being on "your best behavior" (i.e., fake) in the early days of our relationship. I think it was actually good, as there was no stress about when either of us would let the mask drop.

I'm not going to try to tell you that things could work out between the two of you, but you should probably try to find out for sure. It may be something that you look back on years from now, and wonder if it could have worked. So I'll ask you to talk to him seriously, try to put your recent disagreements behind you, and maybe clear the slate enough for the two of you to see if the chemistry is still there. It might not be. But one way or another, you should find out.

GARLAND: Thanks for your question. The window of opportunity may have passed for you all like Chuck said. However, your situation could be caused by one of several other things as well.

#1. Sometimes things look prettier in the store window than they do on your wrist. The two of you may have seen something desirable and highly attractive in each other when it was safe to do so. You were tied up with someone and he was tied up with someone so as long as you didn't act on these feelings it was safe, dare I say fun, to tease each other and speculate about a hot romance together. Now, the barriers are gone and you are both faced with the reality of having to go into the store and buy that watch you've been looking at for the last 12 months. You may be worried about buyer's remorse.

#2. You both may be a little leery about jumping into a serious relationship with someone who has basically been in a less than sincere relationship for the last year. Let's be real here, he's had feelings for you and you've had feelings for him and yet you've both stayed in your other 'relationships' for over a year. Maybe one or both of you are a little mistrustful of the others true emotional capabilities. Maybe you are worried that you may fall into a sham relationship with one another.

#3 [and last] You both may be Spotters and neither of you are the actual Shooter. What I mean is this - a successful sniper team has a shooter and a spotter, the spotter finds the target and makes certain assessments and the shooter actually uses that information to pull the trigger and take the target out. You both sound like Spotters - talking and making decisions and looking and thinking and yet neither of you is willing to take the shot and start a realtionship.

I think the time has come to either take the shot or walk away. If the target doesn't feel right, move on. If it does - TAKE THE SHOT.

The question now is, are you a spotter or a shooter?

Good luck-

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