First time round, he got his heart broken. Five years later, we meet again. I really like him but he’s not long out of a relationship.
posted by anonymous to human relations (10 answers total)
I’ve seen the recent ask.me on a similar topic but this is quite a different scenario.
- The ex (let’s call him Sam) and I went out around 5 years ago (I was 23, he was 26). The relationship only lasted 5 months, but there was a long build-up before that.
- The relationship was fun and adventurous, and he really made me laugh. Our conversations covered the sublime and the ridiculous. He was kind, generous and caring (in general as well as towards me).
- Things ended for two reasons: first, Sam was moving abroad for work; second, he said he didn’t want to continue as he was in love with me and could tell I didn’t feel the same way. I thought Sam was fantastic and really enjoyed his company, but he was right that I hadn’t completely fallen for him. A part of me was holding back, although I thought my feelings might deepen with time (I’ve since realised I wasn’t completely over my previous relationship).
- The breakup, which happened as he left the country, was very civilised. I missed him but got over it fairly quickly. I heard from mutual friends that he took it pretty hard (one told me he cried for days).
- Sam and I kept in irregular friendly email and phone contact for about six months. I heard he’d started seeing someone new and got the sense he wanted a bit of distance. I didn’t push the contact and it tapered off.
Cut to a few weeks ago when out of the blue he invites me to a barbecue at his house. We hadn’t seen each other since the breakup, although occasionally I’d hear about him through mutual friends and knew we were living the same city again. I’d also heard he was recently single, having broken up with the woman he started seeing after me.
I went to the barbecue, could only stay for a couple of hours as I had another commitment, but wow. Strong chemistry, easy conversation, major attraction. All his good qualities I remembered were there, but he’d matured and was interesting to me in a whole new way. I’ve also grown up a lot and could better appreciate how awesome he is.
The follow up
We met up a week later (it was my general suggestion to meet again, but he followed up to suggest the specific time). Once again, we really connected. We stayed up talking late into the night and after some hours, he said he wanted to kiss me but wasn’t sure whether that was appropriate. We kissed; it was incredible. This was all completely sober, by the way. We didn’t discuss the specifics of our respective situations and what this meant, although we talked a little about general attitudes to relationships and how a lot of people settle, and he told me that he’d left his last girlfriend because he felt that he would have been settling.
That was the weekend before last. As he was away last weekend, he suggested meeting again up this week, and said he’d call me over the weekend to arrange. I didn’t hear from him (argh!), so on Tuesday I messaged him to ask what was happening. He apologised for not being in touch, said he’d been thinking about it and “to be completely honest it has been super awesome seeing you again but I’ve realised he’s really not ready to be dating. Would really love to see you as friends though?”
I decided it was worth letting him know how I feel in case his decision was partly due to fear of getting hurt like last time. I responded: “Understandable and I’m all for periods of solitude. Was planning to have a conversation about just that when we met up. For the record, I was going to suggest that we got to know each other again slowly. Didn’t want to get ahead of myself, having only seen you once, but frankly, I haven’t fancied anyone as much in ages and thought that if you were ready to date, it could have real potential. If that’s not an option, I’m totally happy to do the friends thing. You just have to promise not to kiss me again. [Joke about thing we’d been discussing.]”
To which, he responded: “[Reference to joke.] I appreciate the frankness and to be frank back, it will be pretty hard not to kiss you. Despite also fancying you, with my current frame of mind I think friends is the wise option – something I should have realised a little sooner. Perhaps we can discuss fully over dinner tomorrow night?” I had other plans last night so we’re meeting this weekend.
How do I play this, both at the dinner and afterwards? I feel like I have to strike a balance between letting Sam know how strongly I feel, to overcome any wariness he may have about history repeating, and not scaring him off if he’s not ready to date, which would be understandable (it’s only four months since they broke up, and they went out for four years).
Should we hang out as friends and take things slowly? I absolutely want to avoid a friends with benefits situation, so to the extent we do see each other, it's probably wise to stay away from the physical stuff. Not sure how easy that will be to maintain given the level of attraction. Or would it be better to take a break and see each other again in a few months? Being rather impatient I'm not so keen on that option, but would consider it if seeing each other now would jeopardise the long-game.
In case it’s not clear from the wall of text, I really like this guy. I think it could turn into something special and I don’t want to screw it up.