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Apparently I've wandered into a Love to get out?
January 22, 2011 8:38 AM   Subscribe

Fell for someone, thought it was over and started to move on, now maybe it isn't?? Lots of complexities and juicy details inside (long, naturally)

We met almost two months ago online - to keep things clear, I'll call her "Jess". The first date was around the holidays and was simply incredible (I've probably been on dozens of we-met-online first dates, and this blew them all out of the water - it was THAT good). We subsequently went on a couple more dates over the course of almost a month (none as perfect as the first, but still really good dates) - had fun but never did get physical (I tend to be a bit reserved on such matters, although I did give her a quick kiss on the cheek the last time we saw each other). We seemed to be moving slowly but steadily towards a relationship...something that I thought had very good long-term potential.

All that came to a halt about 3 weeks ago, when she suddenly said there was a family emergency and she had to leave town ASAP. She sounded distraught and didn't give details, so I offered my support then waited a week before sending her a quick "how are you?" text. She thanked me and gave me a quick update - one of her parents was in the hospital and she was staying to help them and we left it at that. Wasn't sure how to proceed, so I just decided to leave her alone, hope to hear back from here at a later date, and meanwhile keep myself open to other opportunities (I still have feelings for her, but it seems debatable as to whether we are/aren't in a relationship).

So an added complication occurred a week ago, one I'm not proud of (and the reason why I'm posting anonymously). A distant friend I didn't know well was visiting from out-of-town with a friend of hers in tow, and they asked if they could stay at my place. I have a spare room and no roommates at the moment, so I said "sure". BTW I purely meant this as a fun social gathering, I have zero romantic interest in these girls. Of course that's not what happened - we all started drinking, I found out one of these girls is developing a massive crush on me, one thing led to another...and I ended up sleeping with her. The next morning she started alluding to how amazing I am and bemoaning the fact that we live so far apart - I suspect she really wants a relationship out of it, but I also think she knows it probably won't happen. As for me - I think she's a really sweet girl (and simply amazing in bed), but I just don't really see a relationship happening between us - we're just too different (plus I don't really want to deal with a long-distance relationship right now). I was kind of leaving things open after she left, but am starting to think I should just say flat-out "I don't want a relationship right now" if/when she contacts me again.

So after all that happened, I started thinking about "Jess", and kind of realized that part of my reservations with the hookup was because I still have feelings for her. So I decide to make a last-ditch effort last night and sent her a text asking how things are, etc. At this point it's been two weeks since I heard from her and I was assuming she'd moved on. Low and behold, she texts me back! She's very friendly but not too engaged - says things are unfortunately "not going that well" but that she's handling it fine and makes a couple of other friendly comments.

So if you made it through all that, I have a few questions. First, how do I proceed with "Jess"? I haven't texted her back yet because I'm not sure how to proceed - whether I should ask if she's back in town (I don't know if she is or isn't) and try to set something up, or just offer my support again and put off seeing her a little while longer. Second, how do I sort out my feelings with regard to the hookup situation? I'm a bit new to casual sex and have mixed feelings about it - part of me enjoyed it, part of me is guilty for sleeping around when I still have feelings for someone else.

Throwaway e-mail is:
Thanks and I look forward to your replies :)
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Be direct: call her, or text her to set up a phone conversation. Ask her how things are going, and then tell her straight up: "I'd like to see you more soon."

You've been reserved - she might be taking that as a sign you aren't too interested. Don't make her guess.
posted by natteringnabob at 8:53 AM on January 22, 2011

Offer her any help or support with her parent. Tell her that when she is able, you would like to spend more time with her. Ask if you can call.

As for the casual sex, guilty is not something I think you should feel. You sound like you have been honest and forthright with the girl to the extent you know your feelings yourself.
posted by AugustWest at 9:05 AM on January 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

This is not that hard.

You slept with a girl but you do not want a relationship with her. Apologize to her and tell the truth: You let things get out of hand, but you are not interested in a relationship with her. ("I'm not interested in a relationship right now" is lying and will be hurtful if you do wind up with Jess.) There are tons of AskMe threads about how to break up with somebody, if you need more help.

On the Jess front: You want a relationship with her but it sounds like you aren't quite there yet. However, she is involved in personal family stuff that means her mind is just not in the romantic space right now. It's possible her crisis is still going on, and ex. her father is in the middle of dying of cancer. Pushing her to set up a date with you in the middle of that will not reflect well on you.

But you can text her and be supportive -- you've been on my mind a lot, let me know if you need to talk, and so on. This keeps you in her life until such a time as she's ready to start thinking about dating again.
posted by Andrhia at 9:08 AM on January 22, 2011 [4 favorites]

It sounds like you are definitely NOT in a relationship with this Jess girl. You shouldn't feel bad about hooking up with the other girl, and you are under no obligation to tell Jess about it, so don't. As for how to contact her again I don't really have any advice. It honestly sounds like she is blowing you off. When people really like one another, especially if they are in a relationship, they make the effort to communicate regularly and to see one another, even when bad shit is going on. Doesn't sound like she's really doing that (more like she's just trying to be nice), so maybe take the hint and move on?
posted by buckaroo_benzai at 9:10 AM on January 22, 2011

First, how do I proceed with "Jess"?

Well, for starters, it sounds like she's going through a lot, so your best bet is to offer her an opportunity to hang out, talk about what's going on in her life and to be supportive and kind. THAT's the kind of guy who's going to win a girl over. I would leave the big, romantic talks for a more solid period in her life, sometime in the near future.

As far as the hookup is concerned, until you say you're exclusive, you're not. You and she are free to do as you please until you have the conversation that says you are a couple. There's nothing to say that she hasn't done the same since you've known each other, and you don't owe monogamy to someone unless you've explicitly agreed upon it.
posted by dflemingecon at 9:10 AM on January 22, 2011

I would be sensitive to Jess's family emergency without prying, and read absolutely nothing into her lack of contact over the last few weeks for a few reasons:

1. She's busy dealing with a crisis, so budding romance is probably not top priority right now
2. She may think you're not interested in anything romantic if after several dates the only thing that happened was a kiss on the cheek - many platonic friends are more affectionate than that!
3. Women are used to being pursued in the dating world, so if you are not clearly pursuing she also likely thinks you aren't interested

So, pursue clearly, while being sensitive to the family situation (meaning, tell her you want to go on another date when she is feeling up to it - say you are thinking of her, etc).

BTW, calling is MUCH better than texting when you don't know someone well. It's really hard to read any emotional context in a text, so I would suggest calling her on the phone and checking in, while making it clear you want to see her when she is ready.

As for the other girl - don't even think about it unless you have to have a "talk" with her. It's totally ok to date multiple people at once unless you are explicitly exclusive with someone.
posted by rainydayfilms at 9:26 AM on January 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

>>but it seems debatable as to whether we are/aren't in a relationship

Not really. Three dates over the course of a month, with you once kissing her on the check, does not a relationship make... especially when you're both online dating and no one has used the "relationship" word.

But could she still like you? Yes. Does she? Dunno. What should you do? Tell her you'd love to get together when she's back in town and ask her to let you know when she is.
posted by J. Wilson at 9:41 AM on January 22, 2011

Continue to text with Jess and pursue a relationship as she seems comfortable and her situation allows. You guys had something great going there. Feel free to step it up a notch while being clear that you don't want to impose during a tough time.

You don't want a relationship with casual sex woman. Seeing as it a one-time hookup I think you can just say something about not being good at the long distance thing (while reiterating that that was Fun!). It doesn't sound like you are so close to either of these women that you need to say something about one to the other.

In other words, go with what feels right for you, including respecting them enough to tell them what you want.
posted by ldthomps at 10:11 AM on January 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

No, you are not in a relationship with Jess. It is entirely possible that you could end up in one, but it's been a VERY short time. And it shouldn't be at all discouraging not to hear from someone you've been on three dates with who was suddenly called out of town for a family emergency, if it had only been two weeks. She could like you a great deal and still be a mite distracted by a parent in the hospital. Give it a little bit of time. Write her an e-mail or give her a call or something. She'll likely be grateful either for the distraction, or the chance to vent.

You sound like a romantic. Speaking as another, I think this is a fine quality, and so do many potential partners. But regrettably, the world doesn't always work precisely in concert with one's romanticism. Sometimes other things come up. Sometimes you have a one-night-stand that you're not entirely comfortable with, and sometimes your object of interest has other things that demand attention for a while. Don't let it get to you too much.

Oh, and speaking as someone who has had worse, I don't think you really need to worry too much about this turning into a full-blown love triangle. Girl B doesn't live in your town. That should make it fairly easy for her to get over it. Unless, of course, she's a romantic too...
posted by Because at 5:55 PM on January 23, 2011

Do not apologize to the casual sex girl, you didn't do anything wrong. Thank her for the good time, but tell her under no uncertain terms that you are not interested in a long distance relationship and wish her the best going forward. The important part is that you do not want to leave her with the impression that you want her to move to where you are to continue this, but that is unlikely.

As for the other one, you do not have relationship with her yet, if you want to change that then there is plenty of good advice upthread.
posted by BobbyDigital at 7:36 AM on January 24, 2011

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