We were friends, that was as far as it went
June 6, 2009 6:33 PM Subscribe
I was rejected pretty kindly, we are being friends, and we're hanging out an awful, awful lot. Please help me get some perspective.
posted by anonymous to human relations (10 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
A couple of months ago, I met an acquaintance at a party and we spent the whole night talking, splitting away from the group. I am terrible at reading people when I find them attractive, and adding an age gap - I'm in my late twenties (and female), he's about twenty years older and lives with his daughter to whom I'm closer in age - so I was too unsure to make a move that night. I got in touch a few days later to say I'd really enjoyed talking and would be totally into doing it again, and we arranged to meet for coffee.
We live in a small town and there are only bars open in the evenings, so that's where we met, which would have been helpful in the get-drunk-and-figure-it-out-that-way except that I don't drink. So, we did this about three times, with good conversation and nothing overtly date-like, but it was intense conversation and we were meeting up alone outside our mutual friends. After the third, I was going slightly crazy from the ambiguity, but I couldn't quite get the words out and ended up sending a text message on my way home, to the effect of "so you know I'm attracted to you, right?"
He called right away and said he wished I'd said it in person, and gave me a pretty specific variant of "it's not a good time for me and I'd really like to keep to being friends", about not wanting to make emotional ties. I've met this enough times to realise it's a kind, gentle rejection, and I was pretty sad but got the message.
Since then, we have been being friends, and have met up alone and also at events, ending up pretty stuck into conversation. Last week, we went to the beach one day (with another, newish friend of mine), and that continued pretty much every single evening for hours each time, good playful and more serious conversation, alone and with others, and me properly meeting his (awesome) daughter.
I realise we're getting more trusting and open in conversation, but I am slightly wary that in some ways it feels like making a best friend when you're 12, and neither of us is 12. There's an ease developing between us physically and the conversation is hitting on more personal and intimate territory, our interaction has slipped into partly being quite playful and teasing, and we are spending an awful lot of time together.
I keep being asked by other people if there's something going on. My closest mutual friend is baffled and agrees with me that the rejection must have been just that, but also notes that he talks about me a lot and seems "very, very fond" of me. I am getting a whole lot out of the friendship and I am not trying to either guilt or seduce him into anything else - I accept that he's not interested. I don't think either one of us is likely to start seeing someone else soon.
I am trying to be comprehensive without going into excessive detail, apologies if I have missed the mark. The only extra thing that I feel I should add is that I'm moving away at the end of the summer and he knew it was a possibility - when I fessed up about liking him, it seemed worth risking having a good fling in spite of that.
Am I being stupid, getting into this weird in-between territory with someone who has made their feelings clear? Is this a really bizarre friendship to be having, even for two slightly strange people? Have you done this before and had it work out well? Is there something here I'm failing to see?