Friends: How Many of Us Have Them?

QUESTION: So I've had intense feelings for this guy since we first met two summers ago. At the time, he had a girlfriend, so we hung out a lot and he acknowledged his feelings for me but nothing ever "happened." We continued to text back and forth, call, and e-mail periodicially (after that summer we were several thousand miles apart).

Well, a year and a half passes, and I visit him after he breaks up with his girlfriend of several years. During the days, we hang out; at night, we hook up... never sex, but everything but. I go back home, and tell him how I feel (why I didn't do this while I was down there I have no idea). He tells me that he's sorry I misinterpreted his signals and that it was really good to see me but he absolutely is not ready for a serious relationship after breaking it off with his longtime girlfriend, but that I'm really great and we just need to let things cool off for a while. He still has feelings for her, blah blah.

In my heartbroken state, I declare that we should still be friends. Well, I don't hear from him, or contact him, for two months. After the two months, though, we've been speaking on a relatively frequent basis. I saw him for one day, and he was obviously into me, but I was not going to let anything happen.

My ultimate question is -- what in the world? Does he just not know what he wants? Or am I being stupid to try this friend thing... always subliminally letting him know that I'm still around if he ever wants me? I have something that I really want to tell him, but I don't want to regret making the call. I can't decide if he's an asshole, stupid, or just conflicted -- or if I am stupid or conflicted. Your thoughts?

GARLAND: Thanks for your question.

One thing that I have noticed in the four years that Chuck and I have been doing this blog - is the fact that a surprising number of people, ladies, tend to ignore the fact that there are plenty of other fish in the sea. With this guy you saw something you liked, a year and a half goes by, you hang out for a minute, then two more months goes by and still nothing and yet you still have a candle of hope burning for this guy.

I'm not really knocking you for this, I am just stunned at how you've dedicated so much of your life to hoping this guy gives you the time of day. One thing that I want you to know about men is this: We know when we've found a woman that we want. It typically doesn't take us years to acknowledge it to her or to ourselves. We know, and if we are mature men - WE ACT ON IT.

Since you asked, I don't think you are stupid. In the same vein, I don't think that he's an asshole, stupid or conflicted either. I just don't think that he's interested in you. If he was, it would NOT take him so long to reach out to you. He probably thinks you're nice or cool to chat with once in a while, but I don't think he wants you like you want him - that doesn't make him an asshole or stupid. He's just not that into you.

I suggest you really make strides to move on beyond this guy. Don't make any last ditch / big play moves on his emotions. Don't bother trying to get him on the phone or into a bunch of text messages so you can proclaim your greatness and love to him. Don't put yourself out there and risk him playing you for the fool. A lot of times people will proclaim their love [and inadvertently, their desperation] for someone and that someone decides to use their vulnerability against them.

If you've read our blog before, you may have found that I really hate the "just be friends" thing. I think FRIENDS are great people that are truly loyal and loving to each other - "friends" as many of our questioners present them, are just guys that they don't want to completely let go of. Treat this guy like an acquaintance, if he calls, be polite, if he texts, be cordial, but don't take them or treat them like and invitation to start pining away for this guy again.

Be careful out there - your heart is valuable and should be treated like gold, Don't be so willing to give it away to a guy that clearly doesn't hunger for it.

CHUCK: Garland, I don't know if I can forgive you for using that sentence (you know, the "just not that etc." one). We might have to pay someone now. Isn't that copyrighted or something?
As much as I hate that phrase, though, he's probably right. That time you spent with this man after he broke up with his girlfriend, I think you were so hung up on him you might have "everything but" AND sex, if he'd said the right thing. But you both held your peace then, and I think that was a good thing.
Your "just friends" relationship is a sort of fallacy, because what you have is another romantic relationship that never got off of the ground. He likes you, and respects you well enough. But he is unwilling to go that next step with you. Meanwhile, you continue to subsist on the emotional scraps he sends you, hoping that you've sent him sufficient hints to know that, when he's ready...
It really disappoints me to see women putting so much control in a man's hands. If you had told him how you felt, face to face, back when you spent those days with him, things may have worked out differently. I doubt it. And I think the ship has sailed now. He may be stupid, an asshole, and conflicted. But I think that he has made up his mind about you, and his possibilities with you. Move on.


TJ said...

It seems like a lot of women like to keep in case of emergency break glass male friends, which aren't really male friends. Just contingency booty.

Chuck and Garland said...

I agree completely. Don't diss your true friends by calling emergency booty "my friend."

CLAIM you booty! Call it what it is, "Booty!"


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