Author Topic: That Rel@tionship Is Long Over (Long) - Update, p. 22  (Read 15099 times)

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Gyburc

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Re: That Rel@tionship Is Long Over (Long)
« Reply #30 on: April 03, 2012, 06:34:57 AM »
POD to both Harriet and Dindrane. You did not lead him on. Honestly, although there may be a minority of women out there who deliberately lead men on, I think this is a situation which has someone become believed to be a pervasive problem, when I don't think it really is. It smacks of entitlement to women's attention and bodies and reinforces a kind of self-validating image of the man as irresistible - of course a polite smile means she's into you! - and the woman as devious and somehow at fault for the man's rejection.


Based on Aria's update, that sounds like exactly what Peter was doing.  It sounds like Aria told him several times that she was not interested in him romantically.  Instead of taking Aria's word for it, he decided to twist any friendly gesture as a sign of "true love."  This type of behavior makes me angry.

I'm not sure why you're assuming that Peter deliberately decided to act in the way he did, or that this kind of behaviour is somehow the result of male entitlement! I've heard enough stories on this site and elsewhere about women who behave exactly like Peter to think that it isn't just a 'man thing'. I think we're all - men and women - likely to see what we want to see, and to ignore the things that don't fit in with our desires, particularly when we're in that giddy stage of attraction.

None of which, however, means that the OP is in any way at fault. OP, I'm sorry you've had such an upsetting experience.

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greencat

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Re: That Rel@tionship Is Long Over (Long) - Update, p. 22
« Reply #31 on: April 03, 2012, 07:03:30 AM »
POD to both Harriet and Dindrane. You did not lead him on. Honestly, although there may be a minority of women out there who deliberately lead men on, I think this is a situation which has someone become believed to be a pervasive problem, when I don't think it really is. It smacks of entitlement to women's attention and bodies and reinforces a kind of self-validating image of the man as irresistible - of course a polite smile means she's into you! - and the woman as devious and somehow at fault for the man's rejection.


Based on Aria's update, that sounds like exactly what Peter was doing.  It sounds like Aria told him several times that she was not interested in him romantically.  Instead of taking Aria's word for it, he decided to twist any friendly gesture as a sign of "true love."  This type of behavior makes me angry.

I'm not sure why you're assuming that Peter deliberately decided to act in the way he did, or that this kind of behaviour is somehow the result of male entitlement! I've heard enough stories on this site and elsewhere about women who behave exactly like Peter to think that it isn't just a 'man thing'. I think we're all - men and women - likely to see what we want to see, and to ignore the things that don't fit in with our desires, particularly when we're in that giddy stage of attraction.

None of which, however, means that the OP is in any way at fault. OP, I'm sorry you've had such an upsetting experience.



There's a pervasive trope in popular movies, television, and books that men should interpret a woman's behavior in this way - that no matter what the woman thinks about the man, eventually she will realize the man is the greatest thing since sliced bread and want to be with him.  Arista's update a few posts before yours listed a few, but it's depressingly common and pervasive.  It's just as much a trope that if the best friend character suddenly reveals his feelings for the woman when she's about to commit to someone else, she'll break things off with that guy and go for the best friend, because of COURSE she's really in love with him.

Both men and women do fall victim to wishful thinking, but I can't say that I know ANY women who've carried an unrequited torch for a guy for years and kept actively pursuing him after being turned down.  On the other hand, I have several of my own "Peters" who I have had to avoid hanging out with because I KNOW they have feelings for me and I know that I will have to have the "no, absolutely not, I'm not interested in you," conversation every time the subject of dating/relationships/etc. comes up somehow. 

Anniissa

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Re: That Rel@tionship Is Long Over (Long) - Update, p. 22
« Reply #32 on: April 03, 2012, 10:36:11 AM »
I really think it is something that can affect both men and women. I think there are equally plenty of television/movie/book plots which portray the idea of "true love winning through in the end" if you just wait long enough or that eventually your best friend will realise that he's just been playing around with all the other women but he will realise that Miss Right was right next to him all along.

I have seen both men and women I know fall into this seemingly endless cycle of longing and pining over their unrequited love. One of the women I used to work with was a classic case who was totally obsessed over her male friend. The friend had made it perfectly clear on numerous occasions that he was NOT interested in her in anything more than a friendly way and continued to date other women. She really would not believe that he wouldn't change his mind - she was convinced that he was using the other women as an excuse to avoid commitment but that one day he would be ready to commit and realise that she was the perfect one he had been waiting for   ??? Eventually he was in the same position as the OP in terms of realising that keeping the friendship going was only giving her false hope. Not that he ever did anything to encourage her thoughts but that whatever happened she would always believe that as long as they were friends, going out for drinks, chatting on email etc that she would take it as a sign that he was, at least in part, interested in her in a more than friends way.

Seraphia

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Re: That Rel@tionship Is Long Over (Long) - Update, p. 22
« Reply #33 on: April 03, 2012, 10:51:04 AM »
I have seen both men and women I know fall into this seemingly endless cycle of longing and pining over their unrequited love. One of the women I used to work with was a classic case who was totally obsessed over her male friend. The friend had made it perfectly clear on numerous occasions that he was NOT interested in her in anything more than a friendly way and continued to date other women. She really would not believe that he wouldn't change his mind - she was convinced that he was using the other women as an excuse to avoid commitment but that one day he would be ready to commit and realise that she was the perfect one he had been waiting for   ??? Eventually he was in the same position as the OP in terms of realising that keeping the friendship going was only giving her false hope. Not that he ever did anything to encourage her thoughts but that whatever happened she would always believe that as long as they were friends, going out for drinks, chatting on email etc that she would take it as a sign that he was, at least in part, interested in her in a more than friends way.

Yup. I've seen it too. In fact, I know a man and a woman who do this so similarly, they could be a matched set. Of course, they aren't interested in each other, because they both say the other one is "too desperate." They refuse to believe it when the Object of Their Affection says "Nope, isn't happening." Instead, they pine and mope and analyze and despair and hope again. It's almost comic.

OP, I'm sorry your friend wouldn't take you at your word. Please don't respond when he contacts you again.
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Decimus

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Re: That Rel@tionship Is Long Over (Long) - Update, p. 22
« Reply #34 on: April 03, 2012, 11:32:47 AM »
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.

I think this is, essentially, the core of the problem.  There are people who believe men and women can be friends without it ever getting to scrabble.  There are people who believe opposite sex friends will have scrabble but never get romantic.  Neither is actually the case here.

The problem is that Peter isn't "a guy friend" he's your ex-boyfriend.  He probably feels there must have been some attraction or you wouldn't have dated for 4-5 months.  He IS wrong to badger you and not take a no for a no.  But he's probably going to keep asking you as long as you are both "available" so you probably are going to have to cut him out of your life.  Possibly in a few years time, if both of you find romantic partners, you might be able to resume doing group activities together -- or even activities with just you two and your (currently hypothetical) SOs.  Or possibly you will lose him as a friend permanently.  Either way, you are making the right choice, hard though it is, to cut him out.

SleepyKitty

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Re: That Rel@tionship Is Long Over (Long) - Update, p. 22
« Reply #35 on: April 03, 2012, 05:09:57 PM »
I do believe this behaviour is the result of male entitlement, but I don't believe that Peter is consciously saying to himself: "Ok, Peter! Time to harass a woman against her will and pretend like it was all her fault!" (And in case that comes across sarcastically, as sometimes text can, it's my feeble attempt at a joke :) ) I have seen this type of behaviour in both men and women, but I think that it stems from different places. If this post had been about a woman claiming a man led her on, then I would have addressed that, but this was about a man, so yes, I do think this stems from male entitlement. I also POD the previous posters who have noted that there's a strong societal trend that encourages this sense of entitlement. After all, doesn't the hero of the movie always earn his true love? No matter what - she can hate him in the beginning, be involved with someone else, in some cases even be attracted to women instead (I'm looking at you here, BBC's Sherlock) and yet she still falls for the hero. And since, in everyone's mind, we're starring in our own lives, these tropes are very convincing. 

And it's these very reasons that I think there needs to be a sense of compassion for Peter and everyone laboring under these sometimes unhealthy messages media sends to us, and I don't think this is an attack on him personally. I'm sure he's an awesome guy - but these types of discussions can help illuminate possible motivations to help our OP understand she did absolutely nothing wrong. We're all part of a greater society that shapes our actions and reactions, so looking at that society can sometimes be really helpful in specific personal circumstances.




Dindrane

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Re: That Rel@tionship Is Long Over (Long) - Update, p. 22
« Reply #36 on: April 04, 2012, 12:40:53 AM »
To me, this looks like a situation where Peter is hurting, so he wants to lash out and make it somebody else's fault.  If it's your fault he's hurt, then it doesn't have to be his fault he's hurt.  It's a pretty common instinct, though it's not a very polite one.

And for the record, I think it's primarily his fault he's hurt, and you're just a casualty of the situation.  In other words, you have no responsibility for his hurt feelings, but he definitely has at least some, and "the situation" or "life" gets the rest of the blame.


workingmum

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Re: That Rel@tionship Is Long Over (Long) - Update, p. 22
« Reply #37 on: April 04, 2012, 05:52:28 AM »
Oh Honey! Been there, done that, got the t-shirt and the shot glass! Peter's heart is in the right place and I doubt he is being malicious, but he's never going to see you as just a friend. As long as you hang out with him and otherwise have a friendship with him, he is going to think that there is some chance that his persistence and charm will pay off.

I had a friend who acted exactly the same way - the subtle and not so subtle ways of letting me know he was interested even though I had flatly told him I would never be interested in him romantically. In the end, it broke my heart, but I gave up on the friendship. We had been friends for 16 years but I just couldn't handle the little guilt trips when he'd tell me how he felt. Sure, I'd tell him it made me incredibly uncomfortable for him to say these things, and he'd behave for a few months, but then go right back to his previous behaviour. It sucks, but some people just can't understand the word "no".

And I know you didn't ask for them but {{{hugs}}} cuase I know what a sucky situation it is!
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weeblewobble

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Re: That Rel@tionship Is Long Over (Long) - Update, p. 22
« Reply #38 on: April 04, 2012, 09:44:27 AM »
Peter is counting on you feeling guilty, because that way, it's not his fault that this didn't work out the way he wanted.  He's not unattractive or undesirable, it's YOUR fault for not returning his feelings because you're confused and a tease. (His words/impressions, not mine.)  Also, if you feel guilty, you're more likely to want to continue contact with him, which will give him more opportunities to "change your mind."

Resist this impulse.  Withdraw from the friendship.  Save your sanity.

Petticoats

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Re: That Rel@tionship Is Long Over (Long) - Update, p. 22
« Reply #39 on: April 04, 2012, 11:24:45 AM »
Aria, I'm sorry he responded in such a defensive and hurtful way. You have absolutely nothing to blame yourself for: he had clearly created a delusion to live in and couldn't respond in a mature way when you called him on it.

I'm sorry that you're having to go through such a painful end to your friendship on top of losing a friend. But it sounds like you are very, very wise to break things off, if this is the kind of person he is when things don't go his way. (((hugs)))

Curly Wurly Doggie Breath

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Re: That Rel@tionship Is Long Over (Long) - Update, p. 22
« Reply #40 on: April 04, 2012, 08:54:57 PM »
((((Hugs)))) for the OP.

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blarg314

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Re: That Rel@tionship Is Long Over (Long)
« Reply #41 on: April 04, 2012, 11:26:48 PM »
Honestly, although there may be a minority of women out there who deliberately lead men on, I think this is a situation which has someone become believed to be a pervasive problem, when I don't think it really is. It smacks of entitlement to women's attention and bodies and reinforces a kind of self-validating image of the man as irresistible - of course a polite smile means she's into you! - and the woman as devious and somehow at fault for the man's rejection.


In my experience, this type of situation is pretty gender neutral. 

There are, of course, men who think that any woman who has a pulse and is in their presence is *obviously* hitting on him. And there are women who believe that every guy she meets is doing the same (I've met both types, and they are equally annoying.   I've also heard other people talking about them behind their backs, and it wasn't pretty).

The crush situation is a bit different. Person A has fallen for Person B, hard. They are looking for any sort of evidence that their feelings are reciprocated, and will wildly over interpret anything even vaguely positive. If the two people have an ongoing friendship, there's ample chance to do that.  Throw in a few Hollywood stereotypes (hang around being the best friend and she/he will eventually see that you're her/his soulmate, rather those other people actually dating).

Some recipients of this sort of crush are totally oblivious (although their current partner frequently isn't), others see it, but aren't sure how to stop it (like the OP), and others, whether consciously or subconsciously, rather like the attention of a devoted follower.

From the point of the person with the crush, the only way to handle it is time and distance.  So if you realize you're crushing on a person, and you realize that they aren't interested, you have to summon up the courage to back off and limit your time with them to group activities (no email chats, no one-on-one socializing). If you're the one who's being crushed on, and you've very clearly turned down any direct overture, and they're still not getting it, then it's in you're interest and theirs to do the same sort of backing off.

And it's definitely not kind to use that longing for your own benefit, even if you've told them no way directly.  So no calling up the crushee for a shoulder to cry on when your BF has been insensitive, or asking the for help repairing your car, or a place to crash when you're in town, because that will just give them hope. Also no friends with benefits situation justified by "But I told them I'm not interested in a relationship! If they didn't believe me that's not my fault!" For someone who is genuinely a platonic friend those things would be fine, but doing so with someone you know has an unrequited, hopeless crush on you is crossing over into leading them on. 


Drawberry

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Re: That Rel@tionship Is Long Over (Long) - Update, p. 22
« Reply #42 on: April 10, 2012, 04:54:41 PM »
Arista;
That was wonderful! and I agree with everything you said, and have discussed this to no end with both lady friends and male friends. From a very young age the impression is given that if a young man just pushes and pushes and just waits long enough then the woman he loves will realize one day that she loves him back. It is displayed in 9/10 romance movies, in popular novels, and even television shows aimed at teenagers. That if they just won't take 'no' for an answer everything will be the way he wants it to! Which I am sure more then a few women can attest to being one of the most horrifically annoying, and down right unnerving types of men to deal with. 

When a man ignores the woman's unspoken signals , when he ignores her verbally saying 'no', when he ignores everything her entire being is telling him then he's proving to her that his own want's and desires trump that of her own. That her 'no', physically and verbally is not validated. That no matter what she says, he deserves what he wants.

It is not romantic, or cute, it doesn't make us thing that you are a 'knight in shinning armor' or that you really love us deep down. It's inappropriate, it's rude, and it can become a chilling experience to deal with.

If you encounter someone like this, it doesn't matter what great friendship you've had in the past. If you've saved Earth from falling asteroids and alien invaders as a tag team duo, or if you where joined at the hip since birth. Because that friendship will now be lacking in part of the integral foundation that friendships are built on;respect.


Arista

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Re: That Rel@tionship Is Long Over (Long) - Update, p. 22
« Reply #43 on: April 11, 2012, 10:49:46 AM »
I just wanted to add that this definitely isn't limited to just the male gender -- I have certainly met women that fixate on a man and keep trying and hoping despite getting clear discouragement.  Two cases involved very accomplished and intelligent women pursuing doctorate degrees! 

Since reading this thread, I've been noticing this trope even more.  I overheard a middle school girl singing along to the Taylor Swift tune "You Belong With Me," and Death Cab for Cutie's "I Will Possess Your Heart" came up on my iPod the other day.  I think the Death Cab song could give the stalker's anthem (otherwise known as The Police's "Every Breath You Take") a run for its money!

Drawberry

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Re: That Rel@tionship Is Long Over (Long) - Update, p. 22
« Reply #44 on: April 11, 2012, 12:52:27 PM »
Trust me, I know fully well that women are just as capable. I've known a few girl's who go to fixation levels not seen since 'Hey Arnold!' was still on Nickelodeon. I think the isolated discussion focusing on men doing it to a women was simply because that was the case in the story here, not that we think women are any less capable.