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My big girl panties are pinching
December 25, 2012 6:56 PM   Subscribe

I should have gone the no-contact route a coupe of years ago when he told me that he only saw me as a friend, but I struggled through and we got back to good friend status. Recently the old feelings have resurfaced. Do I have to "use my words" again or is it okay to do a slow fade?

I almost tagged this with jesuschristnotagain.

In the past few months he's been extra attentive and my mostly-dormant crush flared back up. (I was on temporary dating hiatus last fall and particularly susceptible.) Trust me when I say that he's not interested -- he's had multiple opportunities to make a move, recently remarked on our long-ago "just friends" conversation, and a few days ago I saw him kissing another woman. I really don't want to have to have that crazy awkward conversation with him again and plan to get real busy come the new year with work projects, exercise classes, getting together more often with other friends, a drawing or language class, and definitely dating again.

What I think I'm looking for is your perspectives on the validity of choosing an indirect strategy over clear communication. Any advice on how to stop being a pseudo-girlfriend would be great as well.

We're middle-aged, if that matters.
posted by Neneh to Human Relations (12 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
Don't worry about saying anything, he knows how you feel. Multiple opportunities, kissing in front of you, making comments all indicate he doesn't see you like you want him to. Just get busy and move on, not worth the stress of being the pseudo-girlfriend without any of the reciprocating benefits.

Don't even do a slow fade, just drop from the picture - remember, you're busy now enjoying your dating life, classes, and the TV you don't get to watch during the week.
posted by lpcxa0 at 7:06 PM on December 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh friend.

Look, is the friendship *so* amazing that it is worth being around him if your crush feelings keep resurfacing?

Think about why you're in this friendship:
- do you like the attention?
- do you like the companionship?

If you can be more conscious of why you're in this friendship and put yourself in check, it might be easier to kill off the crush feelings.
posted by k8t at 7:06 PM on December 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah. The slow fade is fine. If he courners you, then you can be soft-honest: "you know i've been working through some stuff- you understand, blah blah blah."

I hate that thing where the crusher somehow is completely responsible for the crush while the crushee just gets to enjoy the benefits as Long as They make a cursery show about not being anything more than friends.

You arent actually obligated to explain why you've grown apart. You dont actually have a contract with your friends. You dont need to go through a divorce. You do have an obligation to yourself to keep yourself up and in working order.
posted by Blisterlips at 7:29 PM on December 25, 2012 [8 favorites]


What conversation are you asking about having with him? I don't get it. If he doesn't like you for sure, then you don't need to have a conversation. That is likely going over old ground. This could be at most a one-way communication where you mention that it's hard for you to be friends although you've tried, so you're [taking whatever action]. Or it could be saying nothing and you just have less of a friendship over time.

If this is someone who you think would want to know your reason for backing off, and if it is important for you--for your own personal reasons--to respect that, then share it. Otherwise, I would tell him I was getting busier or had to re-prioritize a little and would let the relationship fade out (possibly in the opposite order--start fading it and then have that answer ready if asked). This is the way I might actually act if a friendship just weren't fitting anymore, so it is (for me) a good model for one that is feeling a little out of control.

If having a conversation, you for sure could express, "I don't like being a pseudo-girlfriend," without any type of "I like you a lot" connotation--people without romantic interest can set boundaries in a relationship.
posted by ramenopres at 7:31 PM on December 25, 2012


This situation sucks, and I think you can do the slow fade if that will work for you. I personally prefer to be direct, but people seem to take it as confusing and insulting whereas the slow fade seems to allow them to assume that I'm busy, sick, whatever and there are less issues that way.
posted by the young rope-rider at 7:51 PM on December 25, 2012


When something similar happened with my ex, I sent him a short email saying I needed some more space and time and that I'd be in touch when I was ready. It took about a year and then I was able to hang out, no problem.
posted by bananafish at 8:52 PM on December 25, 2012


Drop him. Drop him like you'd drop a brick.
posted by easily confused at 3:00 AM on December 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Drop him. Drop him like you'd drop a brick.

This X 2. Every moment is precious - don't waste your time.
posted by incandissonance at 7:21 AM on December 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


What easily confused said.
posted by Silvertree at 7:53 AM on December 26, 2012


Blisterlips: I hate that thing where the crusher somehow is completely responsible for the crush while the crushee just gets to enjoy the benefits as Long as They make a cursery show about not being anything more than friends.

Yes, lawd, yes. Reading through other friend-crush questions, I found this comment by the young rope-rider that was so apt:

"There is a whole genre of person who really like having people around crushing on them whom they have no intention of ever getting with. Whether it's low self-esteem, they want a backup plan, they don't like being lonely, they think you'll sleep with them with no strings attached, whatever--they do things to keep the hope alive, usually things they can deny. They also make excuses that make it sound like maybe they'd get with you, if only... Then if you're like 'WTF, you are really acting like you like me' they can deny everything and say 'look, I SAID I wasn't into you'. Then technically they don't have to feel guilty and (this is important for people like this) they're not the bad guy, you obviously misunderstood because you're so into them you weren't thinking straight. It is crazymaking."

So much of that resonates (he has a lot of "surprise" friend crushes in his past). However...

k8t: Look, is the friendship *so* amazing that it is worth being around him if your crush feelings keep resurfacing?

Think about why you're in this friendship:
- do you like the attention?
- do you like the companionship?


You are not the first person to make this point. We're playmates -- mostly making each other laugh (via frequent phone calls and chat sessions) and are good companions for outings. It's mostly not too deep. We don't live near each other so getting together is an effort and, for me, making an effort = caring because I didn't have that in some other relationships... hmmm. It's not just him doing the pseudo-girlfriend thing but me making him a pseudo-boyfriend. Will be firing up the ol' OKC profile soon.

I don't want to get rid of him forever, just get back to being casual friends without the inner angst.
posted by Neneh at 8:00 AM on December 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Nothing's going to help minimize that inner angst like hanging out with men who are interested in you. Firing up the profile is a good idea.
posted by garlic at 9:57 AM on December 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


In the past few months he's been extra attentive and my mostly-dormant crush flared back up.

I don't know your whole situation, but my first impression is that he sensed he was losing his hold on you and (consciously or not) stepped up his efforts to secure your attention. It's not that he wants you; he just wants to know that you want him. It's like the male version of cockteasing, which I affectionately refer to as cuntteasing (apologies for the crude language, but I do find having a label for it really helps me identify this selfish and crazymaking behavior when I encounter it in men). And as your quote from the young rope rider suggests, it's probably because he needs the self-esteem fix, the allusion of a backup plan, or whatever.

You could do the slow fade, but IMO you should just drop him until you get your head on better track (i.e. no longer find yourself compelled into pseudo-girlfriend mode when you're around him). He doesn't need to know how you are emotionally extricating yourself from him anymore than you "need to understand" that he's extricating himself from you. He's already showing you this via his behavior; why not do the same? If his big boy briefs start to pinch, so what? Let him adjust them himself.

Re: pseudo-girlfriend mode. The pseudo-girlfriend energy your pour into him really, honestly steals away from genuine-girlfriend energy you could be pouring into a relationship with a man who wants you back. Don't let "friendship" be a reason to be more intimate with a man who has rejected you already instead of with other men who are level-headed enough to want you when you want them. Remind yourself as often as necessary. Best of luck, Neneh!
posted by human ecologist at 2:46 PM on December 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


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