Author Topic: That Rel@tionship Is Long Over (Long) - Update, p. 22  (Read 15263 times)

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Aria

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That Rel@tionship Is Long Over (Long) - Update, p. 22
« on: March 31, 2012, 09:25:14 PM »
BG: I met "Peter" about six years ago when we were in college. We had a lot of the same (somewhat obscure) interests, so we became good friends. After about a year of being friends, he asked me out on a date. We went out for about 4-5 months, and then I broke it off. I told Peter I really liked him as a person, but I felt absolutely nothing romantic for him. He took it well and asked if we could still hang out and do things together as friends, like we did before we dated. I said I would be glad to do that.

We didn't see each other for the next few months, but then we started hanging out again occasionally, just as friends. We still got along really well and had fun together. After about a year, he told me that he still really liked me and wanted to have a rel@tionship again. I told him that I didn't feel that way. Peter said he thought I had been sending him mixed signals, so I told him frankly that if I ever changed my mind about wanting a rel@tionship with him, I would say so, not just hint at it. Peter said he understood and wouldn't bring it up again. /BG

Since then, we have continued to be friends. Since we've graduated we have not been able to get together very often, but we still try to when we have time. Today we met to see a movie and then discussed it over a meal. We had a good time and everything seemed normal. When we were about to leave, he asked me to wait and then hesitated. He then said that he really liked me. I sighed internally and said that I liked him too, but not romantically. He seemed to understand and apologized, then turned to leave. Then he turned back and said he thought I was sending mixed signals again, so he wanted to see if I was trying to tell him something. (The example he mentioned happened about a month ago, when we were watching a movie at my apartment. I bent down to look under the sofa for my cat, and apparently he thought I was being suggestive  ???) I said very firmly that I was not, and then got in my car and left.

What Peter said today made me very uncomfortable. He's been a good friend, but I still have zero romantic feelings for him. I've suspected that he still had feelings for me, so I have been careful not to do anything that might confuse him. I told him in the past that if I felt anything for him, I would say so and not try to confuse him by hinting. I feel like maybe it would be better if we just didn't hang out together anymore. Should I give him another chance but tell him I never want to hear about it again, or just tell him it's become too uncomfortable?

To make matters worse, Peter texted me about two minutes after I drove away to ask if I wanted to go to an event coming up next month (we had talked a little about it earlier). I haven't responded.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2012, 06:26:20 PM by Aria »

Sharnita

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Re: That Rel@tionship Is Long Over (Long)
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2012, 09:32:00 PM »
I think you need to stop hanging out with him, stop telling him "if..." In his mind that is you telling him things could change in the future.  WHenever you say "if" he hears you saying that he has a chance.

Adelaide

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Re: That Rel@tionship Is Long Over (Long)
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2012, 09:35:02 PM »
I think that it's a red flag for you to have said "If I ever want a relationship, I will tell you" and he has insisted that you're sending him "mixed signals".  I have had this happen to me before as well. If you would like to maintain your friendship, you need to tell him "Peter, I value our friendship but I am not at all interested in you romantically. I'd like you to stop reading too much into my behavior because I have told you before that I would let you know, with words, not with signals if I was romantically interested, which I am not and never will be."

However, some guys (and girls!) can never grasp that you're not interested. You're not sending mixed signals, he is reading way too much into your actions. You're not obligated keep hanging out with him, especially if he won't let go of this notion that he has. I agree with Sharnita that you shouldn't say "if" because he still has hope that way. So crush his hope (politely) and hang out with him if it isn't too weird for you, or just distance yourself.

NyaChan

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Re: That Rel@tionship Is Long Over (Long)
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2012, 09:36:57 PM »
I think you need to stop hanging out with him, stop telling him "if..." In his mind that is you telling him things could change in the future.  WHenever you say "if" he hears you saying that he has a chance.

POD to this.  He is interested in you and when you hang out with him, it keeps the hope alive.  He needs to hear a firm no backed up with behavior that makes it clear.

blarg314

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Re: That Rel@tionship Is Long Over (Long)
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2012, 10:16:59 PM »

Yeah, you've run into the hopeless hope case.

I would say that he still has pretty strong feelings for you, and he hasn't been able to get rid of them. Someone in that situation will interpret everything, no matter how tentative, as a hopeful sign that you're returning their interest. Saying "If I ever want a relationship, I will tell you" doesn't mean, to them, "No, never, back off", it means "Yes, there's a chance she'll decide she wants a relationship! Woo Hoo! If I'm just patient enough, my time will come."

So in a situation like that you have to be blunt. "No, I'm not interested in a romantic relationship. I will never be interested in a relationship, we've tried it, and it just isn't there."

At the point when it become apparent that he still is holding out hope, the  kindest thing you can do is back off. Either tell him "Look, I know you still want a romantic relationship. I don't, and keeping it to friendship isn't working.  I think we need to back off.", or just quietly withdraw from the friendship.

But basically, the *only* way a platonic friendship after a romantic relationship works is if/when *both* of the people are completely over the relationship. You decided that you're not interested in him and broke of the romantic part. He's never gotten over his feelings for you and wants the romantic relationship back. Keeping contact will mean that he isn't getting the chance to get over things. 

In other words, I think your friendship is over, at least for the next few years.


Harriet

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Re: That Rel@tionship Is Long Over (Long)
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2012, 11:16:13 PM »
But basically, the *only* way a platonic friendship after a romantic relationship works is if/when *both* of the people are completely over the relationship. You decided that you're not interested in him and broke of the romantic part. He's never gotten over his feelings for you and wants the romantic relationship back. Keeping contact will mean that he isn't getting the chance to get over things. 

In other words, I think your friendship is over, at least for the next few years.

I agree with blarg314. If you continue to hang out while he not-so-secretly carries this torch for you, it will come to a head later and it will not be pretty. It sounds cruel to say let the friendship fade out, but it is more cruel to allow him this fantasy when you know it will never happen.

Has he dated anyone else in the interim?

shhh its me

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Re: That Rel@tionship Is Long Over (Long)
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2012, 12:39:44 AM »
   He is seeing what he wants to see , I think most people are guilty of that sometimes, but he is exceptionally at it.  It's not that he is bad or you're doing anything wrong he just wants it so he is "willing" to overlook things like telling him directly " not gonna happen" and pin all his hope on " she smiled at me for 7.8 seconds a friend would smile of no more then 5 seconds , she totally digs me that way"  He'll proable ask about every year or two until he is in love with someone else or maybe when you marry someone else if you continue hanging out with him.   Obviously I can't know this but I'd bet he has been wanting to ask and seeing signs since the first time you hung out.  You can be super clear(take the word if out)  but it might not work forever , he might need a tuneup every couple years.

greencat

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Re: That Rel@tionship Is Long Over (Long)
« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2012, 12:50:03 AM »
It is possible to be platonic friends with a member of the opposite gender.  It's not possible to do so when the member of the opposite gender is romantically interested in you.

LifeOnPluto

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Re: That Rel@tionship Is Long Over (Long)
« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2012, 01:10:45 AM »
I think the kindest thing to do is stop being friends with Peter. It's clear that he's seeing what he wants to see (as other posters have said). Hanging out with him will only give him false hope. I'd gently tell him that you think it's best that you go your separate ways.

Another thought - if you keep your friendship with Peter, but start dating another guy, things could get pretty messy. I've seen this happen with friends who are crushing on other friends, and it never ends well for the friendship.

Aria

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Re: That Rel@tionship Is Long Over (Long)
« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2012, 10:28:14 AM »
Thank you all for the advice.

I've been concerned about "leading him on," so I've always been careful about not giving any indication that I wanted anything other than friendship. I guess I wasn't careful enough. You're absolutely right that I shouldn't have said I'd let him know *if* I wanted a rel@tionship again--I should have just said it would never happen.

Like I said, Peter is a really great person and has always been a good friend to me. We get along so well and have so many of the same interests that it would seem we'd make a great couple. However, I feel absolutely nothing romantic for him and the thought of being in that kind of rel@tionship with him makes me feel really uncomfortable.

How should I go about letting Peter know that I don't want to get together anymore? Should I stop responding to his e-mails, or send him an e-mail that lays it out for him? If the latter, what exactly should I say?

Has he dated anyone else in the interim?

No, he hasn't dated anyone else.

Minmom3

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Re: That Rel@tionship Is Long Over (Long)
« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2012, 10:46:05 AM »
IMO -
1) tell him that he keeps saying you send mixed signals means no contact anymore (or for a long while)
2) tell him he's in the 'friend zone', not the 'sweetie zone'
3) tell him he deserves a sweetie who will make him happy, and it's NEVER going to be YOU...  And you're afraid that even platonic contact means he won't be looking for a better fit elsewhere.
Mother to children and fuzz butts....

Dindrane

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Re: That Rel@tionship Is Long Over (Long)
« Reply #11 on: April 01, 2012, 11:47:33 AM »
I would send him an email, rather than breaking things off (however gradually) without an explanation.  His feelings for you are already front and center, so it would be the kinder choice to give him an explanation before you refuse all contact.

You should tell him that while you value his friendship and like him a great deal, you don't have feelings for him and never will.  It's made you very uncomfortable that he apparently reads romantic intent into very unromantic actions, and so you do not think it is good for either of you to continue an active friendship while he clearly wants much more out of it than you do.

You probably want to put things on an indefinite hiatus, because if he ever did truly get over his romantic attachment to you and was still interested in friendship, it sounds like you would be as well.  But on the other hand, you don't want to restart an active friendship when he just thinks he's over it, or has convinced himself he'll hide it better this time.  So even though there's probably circumstances under which you would consider changing things, I wouldn't actually tell him that in this email.


Harriet

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Re: That Rel@tionship Is Long Over (Long)
« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2012, 12:12:58 PM »
I've been concerned about "leading him on," so I've always been careful about not giving any indication that I wanted anything other than friendship. I guess I wasn't careful enough.

Please don't think this is in any way your fault. You were perfectly clear (and polite!) but he is choosing not to believe your words. That is why you are breaking off the friendship, not because you screwed up in any way or "led him on."

It's important to really understand that, because it's going to be easy to feel guilty otherwise and he can use that guilt to prolong the relationship. Don't let there be any sense of "You at least owe me X" where X is some ploy which will mean further engagement (a full explanation, or one last trip to the movies, or an exchange of each other's stuff, for example) It never turns out to be the last thing, and it can get really dragged out.

I would send him an email, rather than breaking things off (however gradually) without an explanation.  His feelings for you are already front and center, so it would be the kinder choice to give him an explanation before you refuse all contact.

You should tell him that while you value his friendship and like him a great deal, you don't have feelings for him and never will.  It's made you very uncomfortable that he apparently reads romantic intent into very unromantic actions, and so you do not think it is good for either of you to continue an active friendship while he clearly wants much more out of it than you do.

You probably want to put things on an indefinite hiatus, because if he ever did truly get over his romantic attachment to you and was still interested in friendship, it sounds like you would be as well.  But on the other hand, you don't want to restart an active friendship when he just thinks he's over it, or has convinced himself he'll hide it better this time.  So even though there's probably circumstances under which you would consider changing things, I wouldn't actually tell him that in this email.

I agree with all this, and would add that this email should be the end. His response will likely invite/require further reply. Don't do it, even if his request seems reasonable. And especially don't do it if his response is trying to provoke a response out of you through accusations or emotion-twisting etc.

After you clearly lay out your position (for what, the 5th time?) nothing more needs to be said. Further interaction is more of the relationship you're trying to end.

Aria

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Re: That Rel@tionship Is Long Over (Long)
« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2012, 12:27:07 PM »
Thank you, Harriet. He's been a good friend to me, so I can see myself getting guilt tripped into more contact. Your advice (and everyone else's!) was really helpful.

Here's the e-mail I drafted, borrowing heavily from Dindrane's suggestions:

Peter,

I value your friendship and like you a great deal, but I don't have romantic feelings for you and probably never will. What you said yesterday told me that you apparently read romantic intent into unromantic actions, and it made me very uncomfortable. I don't think it is good for either of us to continue an active friendship when you clearly want more out it than I do. I wish you the best.

Aria

Thoughts? Alterations? Anything?

Dindrane

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Re: That Rel@tionship Is Long Over (Long)
« Reply #14 on: April 01, 2012, 12:34:29 PM »
I would not say "probably never will."  Part of the problem seems to be that he's reading waaaaay too much into what you've said.  I would just say that you will never be interested in him romantically.  Period, end of sentence.

I would also state clearly that you will not be responding to any attempts to contact you, just so that there is no ambiguity in what you're doing.  So perhaps,

"I don't think it is good for either of us to continue an active friendship when you clearly want more out of it than I do, so I will not be responding to any attempts to contact me.  I wish you the best."

Otherwise, I think it's great.  It's enough of an explanation that he should know exactly why you are doing this, but it's short and to the point.