Author Topic: Maintaining Boundaries? (asks my sister)  (Read 7179 times)

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strangetimes

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Re: Maintaining Boundaries? (asks my sister)
« Reply #30 on: January 09, 2012, 05:52:14 PM »
He then told me that he doesn't want a romantic relationship, but hopes we can continue on as  friends, because he is afraid adding a romantic element to the relationship will ruin it.

[...] I want to convey to Lawrence that I think he has been duplicitous in his behaviour. More importantly, though, I want to know how to politely tell him to 'back off' the relationship if there is not a commitment behind it. For example, now that he has expressed that he does not want to be in a romantic relationship, I will not go out for dinner with him, have him over 'to visit', etc. How do I explain that all the things he likes about our 'friendship', the things which he does not want a romantic relationship to 'ruin', will be going away anyway? And how do I politely decline his invitations? (I think it would look bad to say "I'm sorry, unless you ask me to be your girlfriend, I will not be available for brunch on Saturday. hee!)

Honestly, I don't necessarily think Lawrence has been duplicitous; I think he's trying very kindly to tell Maya that while she's very nice, after getting to know her more closely he's decided that he's not interested in marrying her.  He's telling her honestly that he doesn't want a romantic relationship with her, and she should believe him.  If I'm right, she won't have to find ways to decline his invitations, because he's already telling her that it's not going to work out.

If for some reason he's saying one thing, and then doing another by continuing to invite her to get together one-on-one, she should simply treat him as a friend with whom she's not courting:  group get-togethers are fine, but just decline any one-on-one invitations.  No long explanations are necessary.  "I won't go out with you unless I'm your girlfriend" sounds weird, yes, but how about "Sorry, you told me you don't want to pursue this relationship anymore, so I'm not really comfortable spending time with you one-on-one."

It hurts terribly, I know, but I don't think there's anything to be gained by trying to tell him how hurt she is by his not pursuing the courtship further, or how much he's missing out on by choosing not to be with her.  If he actually thinks he's still going to get the benefits of hanging out with her, simply let her actions show him otherwise.  If he's actually confused or conflicted, her best bet is still to believe what he's telling her and consider the courting relationship over, withdraw with dignity, and let him realize he's made a mistake and pursue her again.

My sympathies to your sister.  It hurts, but she also deserves to find someone who really does want to be with her, and I hope that she finds that person.

ITA. It sounds to me like he has decided he doesn't want a romantic relationship with her, for whatever reason. In his attempt to be "nice" and let her down easy, he's sending mixed messages. I am inclined to interpret "you would be an awesome wife, but let's just stay friends" as a version of "it's not you, it's me." It's time to write him off and move on.

If he does ask her to get together one-on-one, she can just say she's not comfortable with that now that she knows they're not heading toward a romantic relationship. She might even say directly that she needs to distance herself from him to work through her feelings and is not interested in being "just friends."

I won't say anything about whether she should talk to the rabbi because it's not clear to me whether he violated the norms of their community. In mainstream dating, there's nothing wrong with changing one's mind and it doesn't necessarily indicate leading someone on. In any case, it's better to find out his true feelings now than later.


(((Hugs))) to your sister. The situation sounds heartbreaking.

With regards to the bolded part- It sounds, from the OP, like he hasn't violated the norms of the community by engaging in courtship behaviours with her, as long as was doing so honestly from the start. The biggest red flag to me, is that he wants to go on like he has and that sounds like it would be violating the norms. If he's changed his mind, then he needs to let her go and not ask her to keep seeing him alone, because *that* would violate the norms of their community.

LifeOnPluto

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Re: Maintaining Boundaries? (asks my sister)
« Reply #31 on: January 09, 2012, 09:01:14 PM »
I agree that he is sending very mixed messages. I think that Maya should be upfront. Let him know that she fancies him, but she needs him to clearly tell her whether he eventually wants to marry her, or whether he just wants to be friends.

If the latter, then I definitely think Maya should scale back her contact with him (and not do one on one activities, etc). Being close friends with someone you love, and who doesn't feel the same way about you, is a recipe for disaster.

hyzenthlay

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Re: Maintaining Boundaries? (asks my sister)
« Reply #32 on: January 09, 2012, 10:52:10 PM »
This sounds just shy of an arranged marriage where you seek out a compatible partner as best you can given all the various limitations.  Lawrence may be approaching this from that viewpoint.

If your sister is looking for real romance then she needs to move on and see Lawrence only in group settings and in a manner appropriate to males who you are not courting. Lawrence has made his feelings clear, and for your sister's sake she should take him seriously. He will not be a romantic partner even if they do pursue marriage.

But I would also suggest your sister think about exactly what she wants in a long term relationship. What is 'romance' and how is it different from how he acts on a regular basis? that might help her move forward and find a better match.




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Re: Maintaining Boundaries? (asks my sister)
« Reply #33 on: January 10, 2012, 11:19:36 AM »
She needs to take him at his word. He doesn't want romance and she does. The best thing Maja can do is pull back, see him only at group events and get on with her life. If he asks her out, she should decline.
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hobish

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Re: Maintaining Boundaries? (asks my sister)
« Reply #34 on: January 10, 2012, 12:41:50 PM »
I have a question.  If they were to get married, would he be intimate with her, or would they have a completely platonic marriage?

That is what I am wondering, too; I think it makes a difference. As others have said, it seems like he is saying two different things.
1. I could be happy married to you
2. I do not want a romantic relationship with you.
No matter what your religion or method of dating, they sound like cross-purposes, unless as PP’s have suggested he is implying that he is interested in a completely non-romantic marriage.


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Raintree

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Re: Maintaining Boundaries? (asks my sister)
« Reply #35 on: January 10, 2012, 03:45:49 PM »
I have a question.  If they were to get married, would he be intimate with her, or would they have a completely platonic marriage?

That is what I am wondering, too; I think it makes a difference. As others have said, it seems like he is saying two different things.
1. I could be happy married to you
2. I do not want a romantic relationship with you.
No matter what your religion or method of dating, they sound like cross-purposes, unless as PP’s have suggested he is implying that he is interested in a completely non-romantic marriage.

Exactly. My thought was, "huh?" But I think that a lot. There seems to be an epidemic of men these days who behave like boyfriends but then state that they want to keep things the same, but "this isn't a relationship." I don't get it either.

Shoo

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Re: Maintaining Boundaries? (asks my sister)
« Reply #36 on: January 10, 2012, 03:49:25 PM »
I have a question.  If they were to get married, would he be intimate with her, or would they have a completely platonic marriage?

That is what I am wondering, too; I think it makes a difference. As others have said, it seems like he is saying two different things.
1. I could be happy married to you
2. I do not want a romantic relationship with you.
No matter what your religion or method of dating, they sound like cross-purposes, unless as PP’s have suggested he is implying that he is interested in a completely non-romantic marriage.

Exactly. My thought was, "huh?" But I think that a lot. There seems to be an epidemic of men these days who behave like boyfriends but then state that they want to keep things the same, but "this isn't a relationship." I don't get it either.

I suppose it's possible the guy in the OP is gay.  That might explain things.

Raintree

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Re: Maintaining Boundaries? (asks my sister)
« Reply #37 on: January 10, 2012, 03:57:11 PM »
I suppose it's possible the guy in the OP is gay.  That might explain things.

That occurred to me as well. Especially if his religion doesn't accept homosexuality and expects him to suppress it and lead a straight "lifestyle." Hard enough even for gay people who don't follow any religion, in a straight society. He would still want close friends and deep conversation. Of course all this is mere speculation. He could just be flaky and commitment shy, but straight.

JoieGirl7

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Re: Maintaining Boundaries? (asks my sister)
« Reply #38 on: January 10, 2012, 04:13:00 PM »
"Lawrence, I am not interested in spending time alone with a man who is not interested in me in that way.

Even if we were to remain friends, being close to you this way would interfere with me developing a close romantic relationship with someone else.

What you see as merely a friendship, I have seen as a possible romantic relationship.  I don't want to be "just friends."  And since you cannot give me that, I must end this relationship.  Please do not ask to spend time alone with me anymore."

MyFamily

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Re: Maintaining Boundaries? (asks my sister)
« Reply #39 on: January 10, 2012, 06:48:47 PM »
If this is a Jewish relationship, my feeling is that he doesn't want to marry her, he just wants to be friends.  He likes her, but he is not able/ready to make the committment of marriage.  He may not have been lying to her, he may have only realized this at this point.  She needs to be talking about this with a rabbi/rebbetzin and not on an etiquette website (or any website to be honest, because this is not something that can be fully understood on-line - there needs to be a knowledge of the personalities involved).


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Gyburc

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Re: Maintaining Boundaries? (asks my sister)
« Reply #40 on: January 11, 2012, 06:40:14 AM »
In a way, I don't think that the background about religion is necessary to reach a conclusion on the central issue (although it's good to have background!)

The situation seems to be this: Maja is looking for a serious long-term rel*tionship and nothing less. Lawrence is telling her that he likes her, but is not prepared to enter a serious long-term rel*tionship. Sadly for Maja, this does mean that they are currently incompatible.

I think Maja should be honest with Lawrence about what she feels and explain that it's better for both of them if they stop spending time together - because it is.

(((Hugs))) to Maja. And I think it might indeed be helpful for her to talk to the rabbi, if this is likely to be a community issue as well.

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TurtleDove

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Re: Maintaining Boundaries? (asks my sister)
« Reply #41 on: January 11, 2012, 09:11:04 AM »
I think the religion issues matter because I didn't hear that the guy doesn't want a serious long term relationship with the sister - I heard that he does want that, just not a romantic one. And I don't know that we know whether the sister is okay with that. If she wants marriage, it sounds like this could work. If she wants romance, sounds like it won't.

cicero

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Re: Maintaining Boundaries? (asks my sister)
« Reply #42 on: January 11, 2012, 09:53:03 AM »
I think the religion issues matter because I didn't hear that the guy doesn't want a serious long term relationship with the sister - I heard that he does want that, just not a romantic one. And I don't know that we know whether the sister is okay with that. If she wants marriage, it sounds like this could work. If she wants romance, sounds like it won't.
see, but that's what is puzzling to me about the whole story and why my initial response was that maybe he actually *does* want to continue the relationship toward marriage but without it becoming "romantic" at this stage.

I am assuming (because i know how these courtships work in the very orthodox jewish world) that there is no *other* kind of relationship. You either have a "private" relationship with the intent being toward marriage (and, as verified by the OP, this means no physical contact) OR you don't. but you don't have friendships between man a woman under other circumstances.
ETA - which is why i think that maybe he *is* being honest. if they are both par t of this type of community, then it wouldn't make sense for him to "offer" *another* kind of relationship. just a thought. is OP able to enlighten us?
« Last Edit: January 11, 2012, 10:45:32 AM by cicero »

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Petticoats

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Re: Maintaining Boundaries? (asks my sister)
« Reply #43 on: January 11, 2012, 10:10:59 AM »
I suppose it's possible the guy in the OP is gay.  That might explain things.

That occurred to me as well. Especially if his religion doesn't accept homosexuality and expects him to suppress it and lead a straight "lifestyle." Hard enough even for gay people who don't follow any religion, in a straight society. He would still want close friends and deep conversation. Of course all this is mere speculation. He could just be flaky and commitment shy, but straight.

My first thought was that Lawrence is gay and sees Maja as a great potential beard. All of the societal approval of being in a marriage with none of the icky boy-girl love stuff.

Either way, I feel sorry for Maja. In her position, I would feel like he'd been leading me on.

Twik

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Re: Maintaining Boundaries? (asks my sister)
« Reply #44 on: January 11, 2012, 11:52:19 AM »
But in that case, he'd be willing to marry her.

If this were a non-religious community, I'd say the "I don't want to ruin our friendship with romance" is a slow brushoff. It makes the brusher feel quite noble, and can be used to convince himself that he is not hurting the brushee any, because he's keeping the relationship, just redefining it on a higher plane. I think the same thing is going on here.
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