Broke up with her over a year ago; we're still good friends; I never got over her; now I think she might be "the one." What the hell do I do?
posted by CommonSense to Human Relations (34 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
There are two ways you can answer this AskMeFi: Jump to the short, to-the-point question, or read the backstory and offer insights/advice/thoughts on that and, in so doing, indirectly answer the “to-the-point” question as well.
The short question (and yeah, it’s a classic): For those of you who are (or were) married, how did you know this was the person to marry, and what would you say to folks like me who wonder what the telltale signs are?
Now, the longer backstory. I am a 32-year-old guy who’s presently single and pretty much taking a break from dating, and I’m Indian (of the south Asian variety), albeit born and raised in the US. Of late, I’ve even been slightly less visible to my friends also. And I still can’t quite seem to “get over” my last girlfriend -- even though we (last) broke up in September, 2005 -- just over a year and a half ago. (Hell, that’s the same length of time we were together.) Like a couple of girlfriends before her, we became friends afterward, though after a sort of mandatory no-contact-whatosever period. I am 100% platonic with my previous girlfriends, but somehow I just can’t quite make that switch with this one.
Meanwhile, we hang out as friends, strictly platonically, aside from the occasional innocent, vaguely flirty comment (early on from her, then occasionally both of us, but nowadays only from me to her). Somewhere around last year, it kind of dawned on me that she sneakily climbed to “my best friend” status. I feel a level of comfort with her that I don’t with anyone else, except perhaps my GF before her at our peak. The few things I don’t feel I can share with her fall under the “every couple, even married couples, have a few secrets from each other” heading.
It was me who initiated the breakups -- this last one, and also a couple of mini-breakups that occurred during the time we were together and were on the order of days in length. The reason was the typically male curiosity about what else might be out there, standard fear of commitment, etc., which wasn’t helped by the fact that I’m a BIT of a late bloomer when it comes to the whole dating/relationships thing (not radically so, but somewhat so, especially by this culture’s standards). And also just a generalized sense I sometimes got that I really don’t know what I want. I’m also embarrassed to admit that some part of my reason for the last breakup was my parents’ reactions upon meeting her -- my father was ambivalent and unenthusiastic, but my mother was downright disapproving -- looks, weight, not showing “proper” Indian girl respect, and thin hair(!) were her issues. And something insanely vague along the lines of “she won’t fit in with our family.”
In the time since our breakup, I’ve re-evaluated a lot of these things. At times the looks/weight thing kind of bugged me, even when I was with her, but I’m beginning to really see what crap those things are. And meanwhile, this girl has remained just as attractive to me, if not more so. The weight thing is crap, too -- it isn’t even that big a deal to begin with, and hell, it’s not as if I’m some model of perfection myself in that department, either.
I freely admit I still love her; I never apparently stopped. I think it has to mean something that, unlike my previous GFs, I haven’t been able to transition over to a 100% platonic, no-feelings setup where my brain can’t even comprehend intimacy with the person. I politely ask her to not tell me about her dates (and secretly feel great relief that she hasn’t really clicked with anyone yet). A couple of months ago, we were going to a friend’s birthday party and stopped at a gift shop to find a card and a couple of balloons, and she (the ex-GF) saw a card that she thought was really sweet, one made for one person to give to a GF/BF/spouse. Last week, I went back to that gift shop and bought that card, maybe hoping on some level I could give it to her some day.
Occasionally I find myself saying things that hint to her that I haven’t let go, or say things like “well it’s not like I could tell [a girl I’d been dating for a few weeks, up until two months ago] that part of the reason I broke up with her is because I’m not over you!” and various other things that I know are unfairly sending mixed messages and creating confusion. I know it’s an asshole thing to do, which is why 75% of the time, I shut my mouth when I have these thoughts . . .
Oddly, in having her as a best friend, I see the traits that anyone would want in a spouse. I can more and more readily imagine her as one -- there’s no questioning how supportive she is and how well she treats me. She gives me just the right level of crap when I deserve it and the right level of unconditional understanding and help when that’s what’s required. There have been times when she’s been in a bad mood recently, and I have pleasantly surprised myself with the amount of patience and understanding I’ve had (something I’m NOT really known for with other people).
I’m kind of laying the groundwork with everyone else BUT her -- bringing up the notion of marriage and running it by friends, even telling the parents that I still think about her and haven’t quite moved on. And even they’re starting to be open to the idea. (I don’t have to say “marriage” because with Indian parents, just mentioning a person of the opposite sex makes them assume you’re talking marriage anyway.) But the somewhat ironic thing of all this is that I haven’t had the nerve to bring it up to her BECAUSE I love her and care about her so much. I already did a couple of “mini-breakups” as well as this “final” breakup in 2005, so I don’t get any more chances. I know that if I even broach the subject of getting back together, it’s going to have to come with some kind of plan for marriage; otherwise, she (rightfully) has no reason to entertain any more of my boy-who-cried-wolf crap.
Plus, of course, a large part of me is genuinely terrified that she’s moved on and wouldn’t be interested anyway.
I wonder if I haven’t begun to answer my own question here. In any event, I’d love to hear input from you, if you’ve managed to make it this far . . .