How to deter an unspoken crush without cruelty?
February 13, 2012 6:19 AM Subscribe
Awkward situation with male friend and obvious crush on me, though he will deny it up and down. What to do?
I am a woman with a male friend who clearly has a strong crush on me. There are many reasons why this is not so great: I am dating someone, he is married, he has multiple kids, I am not attracted to him and would not date him even if none of the above issues existed.
The guy is a good guy. He is tremendously helpful to everyone. He is well-meaning. He is going through an extremely tough period in his marriage right now (wife is having problems), and spends a lot of time talking to me about it and I know that does not help the situation. Because he is a good guy I feel bad about ignoring the sad texts. Recently I have been doing so more and more often as I get more and more uncomfortable. When I do reply it is along the lines of "That sucks," "Go to counseling," or "Be there for your kids." When I ignore him too long though he complains, and I do not know how to convey the message that I do not mind him as a polite acquaintance but am uncomfortable about his attention. Especially since before I was wise to the crush I assured him I was not.
We share a mutual hobby and without dropping it entirely I cannot completely avoid him, and due to other people in our hobby I need to stay polite (plus like I said, he is a good guy, no need to be a jerk to him). I avoid the few invites to other things he throws to me, so my sole interaction with him outside this hobby is when he texts me. Until now. Now he has started bringing his kids to see me at some of my performances (weird), even when it involves hours of driving (double weird). He invited himself to an activity I was doing with someone else from our hobby--he is good at this activity and would be a good instructor to me, but I am not interested because of the crush weirdness. I would have turned him down but he asked the other person first and I do not want to cause drama by telling the other person to disinvite him. He also helped fix my car once and now expects me to bring it to him whenever there are problems. I do not have a good reason to say no because everyone knows he does it for free and does a really good job, and if I stopped taking it to him he would raise questions with other people. I do not think he is actively trying to force himself on me, I think he is infatuated and in his head he has convinced himself he is just casually being nice and helpful.
He is a very protector-I-Am-Man type of guy and he is trying to take that role over me. I do not want it, he is married, I can take care of myself, and I am dating someone else. Who, by the way, is not thrilled about the attention but also has no good idea of how to deter the guy. Crush Guy has made a couple digs at my boyfriend (which I immediately berated him for doing) but otherwise has only said how much he respects our relationship, thinks we are great together, etc etc etc. Which always came off weird and disingenuous by the way, because those comments usually came out of the blue and nobody randomly says that when it is not an issue.
If Crush Guy was openly propositioning me it would be really easy, I would shoot him down, that would be that. But he has not actually admitted to the crush and never would. Instead I am getting the Nice Guy treatment and he still has plausible deniability. What do I say, "Friend, you are a good friend but everyone knows you have a crush on me, please cut it out"?
To make matters worse I have been thinking about ending my most current relationship for unrelated reasons, but one of the reasons I am balking because I do not want the awkwardness coming off this guy to get any worse. This is also why I do not want to use the "My boyfriend does not like us talking" card, because not only is that copping out but if I break up with the guy Crush Guy will think I am open season.