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I wish I could ask him about this rather than the the internet...
October 27, 2008 5:16 PM   Subscribe

I hooked up with an old friend who I had very long standing crush on, I'm pretty confident I'm being rejected, but his behavior during and after is still making my head spin and I would really like to understand his behavior more so that I can move on.

So me and X were roommates several years ago. We were very close and there was always A LOT of sexual tension between us, but he was in a very serious (but very dysfunctional) long distance relationship so nothing ever happened between us and we never talked about it. I ended up moving away to go to school and eventually dropped contact with him because I felt I needed to do so to get over him.

Recently, I was back in my hometown and decided to give him a call since we were such good friends and things were different now or so I had thought.

We end up going out and getting fairly wasted. He told me he had broken up with his girlfriend a year ago. One thing leads to another and we end up back at his place. We fooled around but didn't have sex. Things got weird when he didn't want me sleeping in his bed and wanted me to stay in the guest room. He also didn't want to cuddle and kept pushing for sex. After I got angry and nearly called a cab at 4 am he broke down and told me he couldn't handle sleeping in the same bed and cuddling when I was going to be leaving and going back to my new home on the other side of the country. When I brought up how I had always had feelings for him he said he had felt the same way but he didn't want to talk about it since there was no point as "we were in very different places in our lives" and therefore nothing could come of it. He refused to really talk about anything beyond that, he kept saying we could talk in the morning or over email about everything but he couldn't talk then. We left things with him driving me back to the place where I was staying at 8 am.

Afterwards, we sent a couple random texts and I sent him an email basically trying to clear the air to which he never responded. He has sent me a couple of other emails that didn't mention my email and were just short and chit chatty in nature.

In a couple days I am going back to my hometown to visit relatives and I sent him an email letting him know and saying we should hang out, to which he hasn't responded. I know there is nothing I can probably do to change this situation, but I really can't wrap my head around what happened and his bizarre behavior.

To give some background I'm a female in my mid 20s and he's in his early 30s.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (29 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Two things, first, it seems he's being pretty honest. You are in different places, literally and figuatively. Second, he sounds like damaged goods.
posted by Pollomacho at 5:21 PM on October 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


the thing is, you can talk it to death but none of it matters and you really won't ever get a real understanding of his behaviour unless you ask him (and that's not even really a guarantee that you will). just move on from it. the quicker you learn to do that whenever someone does something that makes no sense to you, the easier your life will be. but of course, that is easier said than done.
posted by violetk at 5:27 PM on October 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure what the question is. It sounds like he was very honest and straightforward about the situation, and you wish he didn't feel how he says he feels. You can't change how he feels.
posted by Nattie at 5:29 PM on October 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


Second, he sounds like damaged goods.
posted by Pollomacho at 5:21 PM on October 27


Indeed. This part in particular "We fooled around [ . . .] the other side of the country" is indicative of a very emotionally messed up dude. Sorry, it's a bummer.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 5:29 PM on October 27, 2008


It sounds like he doesn't want to put himself in the same position he was in with the previous LD relationship, which should be pretty understandable given that you saw his end of it the first time around.

As to the sex-but-no-cuddling-please aspect, here's some conjecture. Maybe he was hoping he could rationalize it as a drunken fling. Once cuddling is added to the drunken fling, it's not a simple drunken fling anymore; it's possible-beginnings-of-a-relationship sex.
posted by CKmtl at 5:32 PM on October 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


He let his guard down with the fooling around, and then he realized what a bad idea it was and he's trying to send you signals to cool it down. He probably shouldn't have given you the opening in the first place, but sometimes in the heat of the moment people make bad decisions. He doesn't want to go any further with you. You need to let it go.
posted by matildaben at 5:32 PM on October 27, 2008


I sent him an email letting him know and saying we should hang out, to which he hasn't responded.

Things went about as badly as they could of the last time you guys hung out, so what's the point of hanging out again? This is a guy who's had lots of relationship drama, and you two hung out and there was drama, and he's rightfully spotting the flag and keeping his distance. Allow him to do so. Your feelings do not trump his feelings just because you luuuuuuurve him- feelings don't automatically mean something has to happen. Cherish your positive feelings just for what they are, paint a rosy picture of the life you'll never have with this guy and put it over your mental fireplace. Peek at it every now and again while you're off pursuing romance with guys who are available, because this one is not.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:37 PM on October 27, 2008 [13 favorites]


Let me take a stab at what is going on here: Is there anything I'm missing here?

he couldn't handle sleeping in the same bed and cuddling when I was going to be leaving and going back to my new home on the other side of the country.

Oh lord, he said that? Look, the first part of that statement is true, but the second part is bullshit. It's frustrating as hell, being curled up and horny with someone who is not going to put out. He just didn't want to admit that he was only interested in sex.

What exactly do you want from this guy? It sounds like the possibility for a relationship is a long shot - he has done the long distance thing already, you can't expect him to do it again... you're willing to hop in bed with him for the night, but not have sex... so...

You're basically in a weird area here. A relationship is out, but casual sex is off limits too...

So, why are you doing this, again?
posted by wfrgms at 6:21 PM on October 27, 2008 [8 favorites]


Wait a minute: out of the blue, on your way through town, you called a old friend whom you know was hot for you (and who knows you know that) for a spontaneous drinky hook-up, and went back to his house to fool around? How was he supposed to think that was anything but a booty call? And then after you got him drunk and hot you shut him down — but wanted to cuddle and sleep together? At that point many if not most guys would have said whatever they thought would re-start the action; I don't think anything he said merits further analysis.
posted by nicwolff at 6:24 PM on October 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


My basic interpretation: you are someone who he is sexually attracted to but there are aspects of your personality or life environment that make him rule you out as a potential relationship. I hasten to say this is only his judgement.

Congratulations, by not sleeping with him you have avoided being badly hurt.
posted by Sitegeist at 6:24 PM on October 27, 2008


Agreeing with wfrgms.
posted by greta simone at 6:27 PM on October 27, 2008


wfrgms' presentation is a bit crude, but he's probably right.
posted by ikkyu2 at 6:41 PM on October 27, 2008


followup from the OP
Ok, I feel I need to clear up a few things about the basic nature of our friendship given some of these comments that seem way out of left field. We were very close friends and whenever I would come into town (which was often given that my family lives in the same town) I would always call him and we would grab lunch, go out drinking, etc. Nothing ever happened. I mean this is the guy who helped me pack up all my stuff and ship it across the country, sent me care packages when my first year in grad school was hell on earth and who I'd sit and email back and forth with for hours at work when we were bored. I don't think that was all a grand plan to try and have sex with me on the off chance that a couple years later he would be single and I would randomly call him when I was in town. He's also always been very protective of me.

It should also be said I've crashed at his house plenty of times before. Also on the night of the hook up he spent a lot of time just generally freaking out, pacing around the house, not wanting to talk about anything, trying to get me to go sleep in the guest room so he could clear his head. Also that night, pre hook up, he told me multiple times how glad he was I'd gotten back in touch with him, how I should stay in town longer so we could go to a bbq his friends were throwing the next day, etc.
posted by jessamyn at 6:53 PM on October 27, 2008


Honestly, I'd probably do about the same thing as he did, and I don't have any of the same kind of drama history.

Look, if some hottie from my past came through town, sure I'd want to hang out, and sure I'd be happy to try and get it on with her that night. But I have zero interest in some drama-filled long distance relationship, and I have equally little interest in a frustrating cuddle-fest all night. Hot one-night-stand sex, sure. Peck on the cheek and "see you next time," sure.

But cuddling all night like we are in high school? Ratchet up the emotional intimacy right before you leave town? I don't think so. I'd say "no thanks, here's the guest bedroom, night night," and ignore the follow-up emails, just like he did.

Now, my reaction would be totally, completely different if you were saying that you were moving back to town soon. Then I'd be happy to ratchet up the emotion intimacy, because you'd be living here and we could have a real relationship.

But his whole history with you is one based on frustration -- you flirted but didn't take it further when you lived in the same place; you wanted to snuggle the other night; and you gave every sign of wanting a (frustrating and unsatisfying) long distance relationship. The only way you are going to have a chance with him, in my opinion, is if you change this dynamic. How do you propose to get from where you are now (living in different places, wanting to cuddle) to where you'd need to be to have a solid relationship (same city, your personal baggage resolved, sexual tension resolved happily for both parties)?

Answer that and you've answered your real question here, I think. (Also, email and texting are the wrong formats for talking about this stuff with him. Phone is ok if that's all you have, but in person is the way to go. And unless you have something good to say (more than just "I love you so much!"), I'm not predicting good results from that conversation.)
posted by Forktine at 6:53 PM on October 27, 2008


It sounds like he's being as honest as possible with you, so I'd try not to read into it. If you were his roommate and good friend, I'm sure he isn't distancing himself to hurt you.
posted by jaynedanger at 6:56 PM on October 27, 2008


He sounds like a guy who makes emotional attachments to the women he has sex with. He knew you wouldn't be around, so got cold feet when it came to having sex with you. Do you think a long-distance relationship would work? Make your case with him. Or do you want a more casual friend-with-benefits situation? Make your case about that, then.
posted by zardoz at 6:59 PM on October 27, 2008


Wtf, wfrgms?

From the scenario as related by the OP, the only interpretation you can see is that the guy's a cad? Not only that, but a cheating cad? Despite the information that when the two of them were roomies, he didn't cheat on his then-long-distance-girlfriend with the OP even though he probably could have gotten away with it?

Oh lord, he said that? Look, the first part of that statement is true, but the second part is bullshit. It's frustrating as hell, being curled up and horny with someone who is not going to put out. He just didn't want to admit that he was only interested in sex.

Because the only emotions that a male over 12 ever experiences are lust, sleepiness, and hunger, amirite?
posted by CKmtl at 7:04 PM on October 27, 2008 [3 favorites]


Maybe he's really really hesitant because you live far away, and he knows that that leads to pain. You could ask him how he'd feel if you lived near him, but there probably isn't much point in torturing each other if the odds of your living near each other aren't that good. In other words, if he really is close to you, it might be kind of thoughtless to seem to offer him only once or twice encounters.
posted by amtho at 7:36 PM on October 27, 2008


My gut reaction: he wanted to have sex, but he does still have a girlfriend. I'm right there with wfrgms on this one, except I don't think the guy is a sleazeball. This is how I see it:

He probably does genuinely like you, but he has a relationship going on. Still, he's attracted to you, always has been, but he wasn't going to act on it, because he values you and the friendship and doesn't want to ruin things with the girlfriend.

Then you both got wasted, and everything changed. Really bad ideas suddenly seem to make sense when you're insanely drunk, and all those ethical concerns went out the window. He acted on his attraction, telling himself it was just sex, but found that he couldn't do that when you didn't just go for the sex as well and started to get romantic and cuddly.

That jolted him, he came back to his senses, remembered that you are his friend and he is, basically, a decent guy. "Oh, shit, what am I doing?!" So he sent you off to the guest room so he could clear his head, and he's only responding to your emails with chatty answers because he not only feels guilty but there's a girlfriend in the picture looking over his shoulder.

I don't, for the record, think he is a total cad. He could have cheated before, when you were roommates. This time, though, he got wasted and that made the difference. When he got his act together, he did the right thing.

I understand you're feeling hurt and still need closure, but he probably needs some space because I'd bet he's not liking himself so much right now. He's human, he made a mistake, and he doesn't know how to tell you.

Say I'm wrong about the girlfriend thing, and I don't think I am, he's still acting like someone who wouldn't have let anything go this far if he hadn't been wasted, and he's keeping his distance from you by keeping his responses to your emails on the friendly level, so the answer is still the same: this relationship is not going anywhere. Give him space. Let this all blow over. If you're lucky, you can salvage the friendship.
posted by misha at 8:12 PM on October 27, 2008


I mean this is the guy who helped me pack up all my stuff and ship it across the country, sent me care packages when my first year in grad school was hell on earth and who I'd sit and email back and forth with for hours at work when we were bored.

You basically just blew into town and fucked with this guy's head. This isn't something you do to a friend. I really think you should apologize and give him some space after this. There is a high likelihood that you will not have the same friendship after this. It's a tough lesson, but you generally only make this mistake once. Next time you're in town for the night, pick up someone you don't know as well.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 8:15 PM on October 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


My gut reaction: he wanted to have sex, but he does still have a girlfriend.

I think it's very possible that his head is still with someone else, even if he did break up with the girlfriend. If she's still the topic of conversation when he's drunk a year later, it may have "ended", but it's not over.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:16 PM on October 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


Because the only emotions that a male over 12 ever experiences are lust, sleepiness, and hunger, amirite?

It's not about you, CKmtl. In the absence of specifics, we can only make generalizations.

I stand by my assessment that the most simple and straight forward explanation is that the guy wanted to get laid, the chick didn't want that, or at least didn't want it with no strings. Guy feels dejected, rejected, and like he's wasting his time, which is probably accurate... or, to his credit recognizes the situation for what it is: majorly screwing up an otherwise okay friendship.

I only mentioned the fact that he may have a girlfriend or other commitments because that too would help explain some of his behavior.

We're not all princes like you CKmtl, seeing every chance interaction with a female as an exercise in poetry, good, and lightness... many of us are, at specific times in our lives, only concerned with your short list of lust, sleep, and hunger...
posted by wfrgms at 8:44 PM on October 27, 2008


You basically just blew into town and fucked with this guy's head.

I don't think this is totally fair (takes two to tango) but gets at an important point - both of you got your heads fucked with by the other, and you might both do to have some space. You already tried to clear the air via email and that didn't work, so maybe just take a little time off from contacting him. See how you feel in a few months time and then go from there.
posted by lunasol at 8:49 PM on October 27, 2008


Yes, it is well within the realm of possibilities that the guy is a cheater and his sole concern that night was lust. That would explain his actions. But, so would these scenarios:... but, like the possibility that he's a lust-ruled cheater, these scenarios either go against what the OP has told us about the guy or inject completely unfounded stuff into the incident.
posted by CKmtl at 8:06 AM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


follow-up from the OP
Alright, just to clarify even further. I'm about 99% sure he is no longer with the ex girlfriend. When we went out that night we met up with some old friends of his who are also friends with his ex. Early in the evening, pre getting drunk, I asked him how his girlfriend was in front of the old friends, just in the normal sort of conversation of "how's work? how's the girlfriend? how's your new place? etc" At which point he said he didn't really know what she was up to because they broke up a year ago and one of the old friends chimed in that she was now working at this one place etc etc. These people are mutual friends of the girlfriend and I highly doubt they would help my old roommate lie to me in order to enable him to cheat on her. We didn't discuss the ex girlfriend again at any point.

Also, I don't really understand the whole I just blew into town and fucked with his head thing. He's my old roommate, not my ex boyfriend. Up until this night nothing had ever happened between us. I called up an old friend for a drink, when I did so I assumed he was still with his ex girlfriend and that absolutely nothing had changed. He also initiated me staying at his place and everything that came after.

I do however agree a lot with lunasol that we are both really reeling from what happened and there was so much baggage going into this one off night that we could both probably use some space. And at the end of the day he's probably right we are both in really different places in our lives and dragging this out is probably just torturing both of us. It just sucks to find out someone you really could see yourself with feels the same way, but that you've lost your chance to be together. But it is what it is and I've got to accept that.
posted by jessamyn at 9:03 AM on October 28, 2008


If you want to discuss serious things, why not chose a serious time to do it? Drunk, frustrated and high tension late night is not the time to air emotional baggage and resolve hidden crushes. The situation is confusing because one or both of you were not fully functional. I wouldn't read too much into what happened. Now, if both of you would mature up and place everything on the table during a sober face to face session, you can get a lot of things done. It will take a lot of courage from both sides, but it will save a whole lot of time and anguish. See if you can convince him to do that, once, with you.
posted by curiousZ at 11:49 AM on October 28, 2008


Also, I don't really understand the whole I just blew into town and fucked with his head thing.

Respectfully, you knew that there was extreme sexual tension between you guys, and then start fooling around with him. When things reach a certain point, you want to cuddle and he wants to have sex. Given that you are both aware of the incredible SEXual tension between you, making him think that you were going to have sex but then only cuddling with him is a mindfuck.
posted by 23skidoo at 12:44 PM on October 28, 2008


I think wfrgms and forktine have pretty skillfully nailed the male perspective on this one. OH, how I wish they were around when I was dating more in my mid 20s! As a woman, though, I totally feel your frustration/confusion with this one. This is where I think you and the guy are missing each other: I think maybe you're putting too much weight on the "relationship" that had been building while living together and then when you were in grad. school. You've got a lot of evidence that there was something there - he's protective of you, etc. and you were in so deep you had to cut off contact to get over him. And he was there for you in a tough time. You may have grown attached to him then. But I think he may really have just been trying to be a good friend to you. Your reaction is totally normal, and hell, I probably would have really fallen for him a bit over that too. But in his mind I really think you're still in friend territory.

That said, it does seem like he genuinely wants to maintain a friendship with you. He wouldn't have been pacing around the house at all hours if he had nothing to lose. But in sort of typical guy fashion, he's negating all conversation that may steer things into talk of a deeper relationship because after cost/benefit, that's not where he wants things to go. I think he's pretty clearly indicated that. But you're kind of hung up on the what ifs between you. Which again, is normal. But he doesn't want to clear the air because it probably feels too risky and he's got nothing to gain by having that conversation with you. He probably doesn't know - nor does he want to know - just how deep your feelings from him are. I'd just let it be. Show him that you're reading the signal and let him off the hook. I really wouldn't force the conversation about "what happened" unless you absolutely can't manage it.

I don't know you at all but if I was in your shoes, I'd be wondering about going out drinking and then fooling around, only to shift it to cuddle territory, along the lines of did I pursue that situation to force an opportunity to talk to him about the "what ifs". This is the comment that led me there: "It just sucks to find out someone you really could see yourself with feels the same way, but that you've lost your chance to be together." I think you've been wondering about this one for a while, and had an opportunity to test the waters, and while he was thinking great, I know I can get some (albeit from someone I genuinely like - not saying he's a total jerk), you're thinking, great, obviously there's something there, now we can have a talk.

If you want to maintain the friendship, that seems to be on the table. But not much more and you really risk erroding that if you push on discussing what happened. I know it's not fun and I'm sorry you're not getting everything you want.
posted by smallstatic at 2:59 PM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Also, I don't really understand the whole I just blew into town and fucked with his head thing.

I realize this, and I'm sorry if I came of as harsh, but that's what happened. This guy is a friend of yours, and from what you wrote it seems you consider him a good friend. If you are in town for a night or two, you don't hook up (or almost hook up) with a good friend and then leave. If he were writing this askme, I would say the same thing. You guys messed up and the friendship is now going to be very different. Unless you intend to have a relationship with this guy, I think you should apologize and give him some space before trying to talk about it.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 3:11 PM on October 28, 2008


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