Smart guy with a confusing girl, help?
June 16, 2009 4:11 PM   Subscribe

I like this girl and all signs say she digs me, but the situation's funky...read on and help me! Help me figure out this conundrum.

I meet a girl at the orientation for the internship program I'm in at a company in my native city. I'm in college at the moment. I flirt with her, she flirts back and laughs at my jokes, ends up asking for my number before I can ask for hers. We get in touch, I take her out and she has fun. We get lunch a few times during the next week. I'm a good looking, confident, socially apt guy. But I thought something was fishy about this girl. Something that stopped me from making a move at other times. I ask her if she has a boyfriend a couple weeks after meeting her, and she says yes, not too enthusiastically.

Interesting.

Anyway, as I said, I'm a native of this city, but she's from a few states away, and goes to school there. So does her boyfriend. I still flirt with her and remain friendly with her, but most importantly I have a big crush on her, and almost everything I read about her says she is attracted to me. She calls me to hang out often. She seems to get nervous when I lay down the more heavy duty flirting, in a "I want to but I shouldn't way." I'm not the kind of guy who gets off on breaking up relationships, but I'm attracted to this girl in more than a physical way, and her boyfriend whom I've never met is far away and I really don't care much about him. She seems to drop hints that he is annoying her at times.

To wrap it up:

Is she being flirty with me because she's lonely in this new city where she doesn't know anyone and just wants me to stick around while the summer lasts? Or is she waiting for me to make a move despite the obvious ethical boundaries around it? Should I just grow a pair and kiss her or is she playing some kind of weird game with me?

What do you all think?
posted by Born to Hula to Human Relations (49 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
She's got a boyfriend. Unless she tells you they have some open arrangement, she's off limits to you. If she's trying to mess around anyway, you could find yourself in the middle of a whole lot of drama if you comply.
posted by katillathehun at 4:13 PM on June 16, 2009 [10 favorites]


This sounds like a case of what happens in summer internship stays in summer internship! I say hang back - if she likes you well enough to break up honorably, great... otherwise your best case scenario is landing a sneaky jerk.
posted by moxiedoll at 4:19 PM on June 16, 2009


Who cares why she's flirting? Do you really want to be that guy? If you're really good looking, confident, and socially apt, you'll have no problem finding a single girl.
posted by desjardins at 4:20 PM on June 16, 2009 [18 favorites]


what desjardins said.
posted by violetk at 4:20 PM on June 16, 2009


If she's gonna cheat on her boyfriend with you, she'll probably also end up cheating on you with someone else. Stay on the sidelines until she officially dumps him.
posted by spilon at 4:21 PM on June 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Of course I have no way of knowing this, but I am guessing that it's a combination of her being lonely, her relationship with her boyfriend not being in the best shape, her genuinely liking you, and (most importantly) her liking hanging out with you because she knows you're pining for her and that makes her feel like hot shit.

I was the "you" in this equation once, and it didn't work out that well for me. I'd advise you to cool it with her.
posted by kitty teeth at 4:22 PM on June 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


Is she being flirty with me because she's lonely in this new city where she doesn't know anyone and just wants me to stick around while the summer lasts?

Hole in one.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 4:25 PM on June 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


Here's something I've learned: the kind of woman (or man, I'm sure, but my experience is with women) who can be stolen away from someone else is not the kind of woman worth stealing.
posted by paultopia at 4:25 PM on June 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


I say go for it. Life's too short.

And, by "it", I mean ask her whether she's serious about her boyfriend, because if she isn't you're interested in her, but if she is, you're not. Why waste the energy wondering? The best-case scenario is probably that she's on the fence about him and you putting yourself out there will give her the incentive she needs to break it off with him. The worst-case scenario is that she says she's serious and won't be friends with you now because she nows you're interested -- but that's actually a good thing, because otherwise you wander around the whole summer like a puppy dog when you could be out hooking up with someone single.
posted by davejay at 4:27 PM on June 16, 2009 [8 favorites]


Oh, and: if she *is* serious about him and admits it, but still wants to hang around you, bring a date to your next outing. That should make it pretty clear whether she wants you around for the ego boost, or because she likes you as a person.
posted by davejay at 4:28 PM on June 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


What you see as flirty may be her way of being friendly.
posted by Carol Anne at 4:28 PM on June 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


Find someone who won't jerk you around slash cheat on Mr. Many States Away.
posted by ShadePlant at 4:33 PM on June 16, 2009


Would you want your girlfriend to heavy duty flirt with a confident, good looking socially apt guy?
posted by jdp at 4:37 PM on June 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


If you really like her and are becoming closer, ask her about her relationship. If you really, really like her ask her to drop her boyfriend because you really, really like her. Take a risk if you really want her. You might not get what you want but at least you've tried.
posted by Fairchild at 4:54 PM on June 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


i'm a big believer in "your relationship, your problem" - as in, you haven't made any commitments to either of them so their commitments aren't really any of your business. if she's acting available then she is betraying her partner and that is something she has to deal with.

BUT! if you like this girl and want to actually build something with her then you should realize that she's the sort of serial monogamist that likes to overlap her relationships for a month or so to make sure she has something steady before she looses what she has at home. this is important information to have, because, while people can change, in general a tiger doesn't change its stripes.

if you want something that lasts past the summer, she has given you no reason to believe that you can trust her when she goes back to the state she lives in. if you just want a summer fling, and you want that summer fling to be filled with drama, guilt, and overheard hushed phone calls to her boyfriend, then dive right in.

if it were me, i'd find an unattached girl who is recently single who just wants to have fun this summer.
posted by nadawi at 5:11 PM on June 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


----

Would you want your girlfriend to heavy duty flirt with a confident, good looking socially apt guy?
posted by jdp at 4:37 PM on June 16 [mark as best answer] [+] [!]


----

No, but I wouldn't in a million years ask this type of girl out a month before she goes off to intern in another city by herself. I would feel a little more questionable about this whole thing if I didn't have some feeling that her boyfriend is probably not the last boyfriend she'll have.

----

i'm a big believer in "your relationship, your problem" - as in, you haven't made any commitments to either of them so their commitments aren't really any of your business. if she's acting available then she is betraying her partner and that is something she has to deal with.

BUT! if you like this girl and want to actually build something with her then you should realize that she's the sort of serial monogamist that likes to overlap her relationships for a month or so to make sure she has something steady before she looses what she has at home. this is important information to have, because, while people can change, in general a tiger doesn't change its stripes.

if you want something that lasts past the summer, she has given you no reason to believe that you can trust her when she goes back to the state she lives in. if you just want a summer fling, and you want that summer fling to be filled with drama, guilt, and overheard hushed phone calls to her boyfriend, then dive right in.

if it were me, i'd find an unattached girl who is recently single who just wants to have fun this summer.

posted by nadawi at 5:11 PM on June 16

----

You're voice rings the clearest to me.

You all are helping me realize that my fishiness instincts weren't off in the beginning. It's hard to keep my mind from going astray because this girl is quite attractive and cool. I wouldn't want to enter a long term relationship with her after the summer, because I'd have to do long-distance afterward and I'm not looking for that. Really I just see her a lot and it's been a long time since I've been as attracted to a girl as I am to her, so its hard to keep her off my mind.

I have asked her about her relationship, and she seems unenthusiastic, "eh", about it for lack of a better word. She may not want to betray him, but I say with certainty that this guy is not going to marry her, if you know what I mean. I don't want to be "that guy" like someone said, but other times I think what the hell, I'm young and can't really bear the thought of a platonic friendship with a girl I'm attracted to.

It's an ongoing debate in my head. What would be nice is to meet a single girl that could drive me crazy like this one can...
posted by Born to Hula at 5:21 PM on June 16, 2009


*your voice* in the above post
posted by Born to Hula at 5:22 PM on June 16, 2009


is she waiting for me to make a move despite the obvious ethical boundaries around it?

The important thing here is the obvious ethical boundaries, no? Whether it's your desire to have something happen, or mutual, the obvious ethical boundaries remain. Respect them. You know the alternative.
posted by bricoleur at 5:27 PM on June 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


I have asked her about her relationship, and she seems unenthusiastic, "eh", about it for lack of a better word.

I had a friend like this in college. I was attracted to him, he flirted with me like crazy... and he had a girlfriend back in his hometown. He was completely unenthusiastic about this girl, told me all about how boring their relationship was--how boring she was, especially compared to me. It was one of the most embarrassing moments of my life when, over a few too many beers, I finally confessed to my friend that I was interested in him--because immediately afterward, he twisted the story around and began telling our social circle: I had been throwing myself at him for the past few months, with no regard for his relationship; he just wanted to be friends, but I wouldn't take no for an answer.

I don't know how many friends you share, or if this type of this would embarrass you, but if this girl--like my friend--is simply looking for attention and validation, not an actual affair or relationship, then you should consider the possible fallout.
posted by Meg_Murry at 5:29 PM on June 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


I was devastated when an ex cheated on me. My ego took a huge hit. I later learned that she was cheating on the person she ended up with after me and that were many cheating and other unethical escapades before me, including one sexcapade that got her kicked out of a university. Throughout years of this, she was usually in a longish term relationship with a partner/victim. I'm not saying that I think your girl is like this based on the very limited information you've provided, but these people do exist, and aren't as uncommon as one might hope.

You're a good looking, confident, socially apt guy. So am I, most of the time. Let's up the ante a little and assume that you're also amazing in the bedroom. But so what? If she ends up with you, she might decide that, this month, she wants a good looking, confident, socially apt guy who is Middle Eastern, or into water polo, or has enough money to take her to that really expensive sushi place. He might not be that great in the sack, but there's only one way for her to find out.

If she isn't like this, and you want to date her, don't encourage her to get blase about fidelity by pressuring her into cheating on her boyfriend. You don't have to care about the guy, not really, but keep it strictly ethical for your own safety and well being.
posted by Derive the Hamiltonian of... at 5:34 PM on June 16, 2009


But I thought something was fishy about this girl. Something that stopped me from making a move at other times. I ask her if she has a boyfriend a couple weeks after meeting her, and she says yes, not too enthusiastically. Interesting.


Like most Relationshipfilter questions, this one answers itself.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:52 PM on June 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


She seems to get nervous when I lay down the more heavy duty flirting, in a "I want to but I shouldn't way." I'm not the kind of guy who gets off on breaking up relationships, but I'm attracted to this girl in more than a physical way, and her boyfriend whom I've never met is far away and I really don't care much about him. She seems to drop hints that he is annoying her at times.

In six months, "the guy who is annoying her at times" and who she's prepping to cheat on is "you." Good luck.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 6:03 PM on June 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


Have a fun summer fling and keep fishing for someone else all the while. This chick will be gone at the end of the summer & it's always easier to find strange while you're with someone than it is when you're single.
posted by torquemaniac at 6:58 PM on June 16, 2009


Attention and validation is it.

We have empirical evidence that she is not the most honest person. She went out on dates with you and pursued you romantically and allowed you to pursue her romantically without saying that she had a boyfriend. She is betraying her boyfriend by flirting with you and by telling you that she feels "meh" about him. (And, just in case you are trying to convince yourself that she wouldn't be dishonest with you because you have a special connection and she doesn't really like the other guy etc, stop that right now.)

Her whole "I'm dissatisfied with my relationship" thing is a fabrication/exaggeration. She and her boyfriend are probably not in deep-deep love, but they probably aren't having huge problems either. Maybe she's a little annoyed/bored with him sometimes, but I'll bet they're all sweet on Skype with each other.

She tells you that she's dissatisfied to keep you stringing along, but she's been keeping you at a just-so distance, either because she never will or isn't yet ready to fully cheat.

You are a toy.
posted by thebazilist at 7:20 PM on June 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


So say I am a toy up to this point. What should I do from here? Ignore her? Pretend I'm not attracted to her? What would she be doing differently if she was attracted to me, and losing interest in her boyfriend, as some of you seem to think she's not necessarily doing? What I don't understand is how a girl would behave if she did meet a guy she liked more than her current boyfriend. I know it happens.
posted by Born to Hula at 7:48 PM on June 16, 2009


If she were actually unhappy enough with her current boyfriend to dump him and date you, she would have dumped him already. She hasn't.

You should treat her the way you would treat any friend/acquaintance who is in a relationship.
posted by decathecting at 8:04 PM on June 16, 2009


The issue is not "does she like you more than Current Boyfriend," but rather that she was willing to lead you on without disclosing the existence of Current Boyfriend. That, more than anything else, is what is setting off alarm bells for me (and, I'd wager, for a lot of others in this thread.)

A worthwhile person who met someone they liked better than their current SO would discuss the matter in a frank way with their potential new SO, assess their relationship carefully, and either break off the old or decline the advances of the new in no uncertain terms. That she has not done this but has dodged and ducked the question is a warning sign. There is only a slim chance of this situation ending well for either of you. I'd say go find someone else, anyone else, for the summer. They may not "drive you crazy," but they also won't drive you crazy, if you follow.
posted by Scattercat at 8:06 PM on June 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


What I don't understand is how a girl would behave if she did meet a guy she liked more than her current boyfriend. I know it happens.

From what you write about you both being in college, I'll assume you're both probably in your early 20s.

That's not necessarily relevant, but I can think of at least a few girls who pulled *exactly* that sort of routine with me around that age - clear flirtation & mutual interest, some kind of spark, apparent compatibility in things like lifestyle, interests & 'intellectuality' etc - but they all had medium-to-longish term boyfriends (say, a year to a few years) who they would avoid mentioning at all costs, or otherwise project that "eh" attitude about them that you describe.

To me, it seems like something that a subset of youngish women just do. No idea why - whether they're looking for a parachute out of a stale relationship; wanting to feel they're attractive to other guys; or they've lost their chemical swoon for the current guy but are starting to feel it for you; maybe they really think you're the one they should have met first? Impossible to know.

In my situations, I always walked away, and most times the girls in question later admitted that they were waiting for me to make a move & they actually did want to be with me - they just needed more certainty that I'd be there for them, before dumping their boyfriends.

And like others have said above, who the hell wants a girlfriend who operates like that?
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:13 PM on June 16, 2009


She's dropping all these hints hoping that you'll make a move -- that way she can look back on the short-term dalliance that follows and blame it on you, instead of her immaturity or her disinterest in her current relationship.
posted by hermitosis at 8:39 PM on June 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


What would she be doing differently if she was attracted to me, and losing interest in her boyfriend, as some of you seem to think she's not necessarily doing?

She may well be losing interest in her boyfriend and she may well be attracted to you--the point is that if she were making a mature decision and considering everyone involved ("I'm no longer interested in my current relationship, and want to pursue something fun with Born to Hula"), then she'd call up Boring Boyfriend to end the relationship and tell you "I'm single now, wanna go out?"
posted by Meg_Murry at 8:59 PM on June 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


This is all sounds so very exciting and dramatic. Is that something you're looking?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:01 PM on June 16, 2009


What should I do from here?

Treat her civilly and don't see her outside of work. Find other women. Repeat as needed.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 10:19 PM on June 16, 2009


other times I think what the hell, I'm young and can't really bear the thought of a platonic friendship with a girl I'm attracted to.

Considered growing up, acting like a responsible adult?
posted by ambient2 at 11:57 PM on June 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Please don't kiss her. She has a boyfriend, and until she makes it completely clear that she wants you to do something like that, it would be completely out of line.

I say this as someone who has had guys misinterpret my being friendly before. Some people are naturally flirty. Some people are in serious relationships and get crushes on other people but do NOT want to do anything beyond flirting. You'd be a huge jerk if you kissed her when, at least as far as I can tell, she's made it clear she doesn't want it to progress beyond that.

If you have a crush on her and don't want to settle for being friends, you're under no obligation to hang out with her. If you do hang out with her, it shouldn't be under the assumption that she'll change her mind about anything or suddenly cheat on her boyfriend. If she makes a move then that's her decision, but you'd be pretty foolish to wait around for something that may never happen, or try to push things when the ball isn't in your court.
posted by Nattie at 1:04 AM on June 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


jesus, Don't listen to the uptight goody goody naysayers. Go for it.

its up to her to deal with the BF issue if it comes to that. I'd just go with the fling. if something comes of it then maybe she will breakup with him. maybe not. either way you will experience something.

I've always been of the belief that If she's not wearing a wedding ring she's essentially single and fair game.
posted by mary8nne at 3:14 AM on June 17, 2009


She is obviously up for something. be a man and push your luck. you could regret not doing anything for the rest of your life.
posted by mary8nne at 3:16 AM on June 17, 2009


you could regret not doing anything for the rest of your life.

I'd suggest that more likely you wouldn't.

You might occasionally wonder what might have been, sure, but "regretting it for the rest of your life" is massively overstating it, in my opinion.

When people are hanging out, seeing shows, say, having drinks & flirting, you're largely guaranteed to be seeing their best, most people-friendly side. Unless you've actually been romantically involved with them, you have no idea what psycho shit they might pull, what annoying habits they might have, whether they're selfish or supportive, or even whether or not they're any fun in bed at all.

Until then, it's all nothing but an abstract possibility, and it's hard to so strongly regret something when it's on that abstract kind of level. Basically, it's never been put to the test or subjected to any kind of reality, so there's literally nothing tangible to regret.

You're much more likely to regret people you get involved with & it doesn't end well. You get over those, too, but they have a far more real impact.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:19 AM on June 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Have some class. Leave this girl alone.
posted by srrh at 6:55 AM on June 17, 2009


SSDD

She's lonely and removed from her normal surroundings, and while she probably would date you sans SO You're her confidence boost.

Regardless of the "don't be that guy" comments (although a valid question) you're the guy she come to when she needs a lift. Stay friends, but don't' go further for your own sanity.
posted by doorsfan at 8:04 AM on June 17, 2009


You are not breaking anyone up. It's her call. What you are doing is living your life through her boyfriend.

Time to man up and take this girl. If she doesn't want to then say goodbye.
posted by Zambrano at 8:18 AM on June 17, 2009


My freshman year of college, I became infatuated with a really cute and smart female. We had tons of computability, all signs pointed to yes, except she had a boyfriend. Ultimately, after about a year of pseudo-courtship, I confessed my feelings.

She broke up with her BF, we started a whirlwind romance. I figured we'd be together forever, we lasted about 1.5 years.

Life is too short for regrets, but now all these years later I think about how I caused some poor dude to cry, and for what? Find a single girl and build something fresh and new, the detritus of a mostly-dead relationship makes a poor foundation for love.
posted by satori_movement at 8:24 AM on June 17, 2009


Girls sometimes say they're "eh" about their other relationship, but they're really not. They're just giving an excuse for hanging around you. When they're *with* their other relationship, they're not "eh" about it.

If you want her, ask her out on a date. Make clear it's a date. If she doesn't want to, then I'd pull back a bit, because she's yanking your chain. If she goes with it, then be prepared for a lot of whining about her other relationship, but there is no reason why you have to listen to any of it. Her other relationships are her issue, not yours.
posted by musofire at 11:24 AM on June 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


What do you do? Tell her you'd like to date her, but that you don't want to date someone who has a boyfriend. Then the ball is in her court.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:40 AM on June 17, 2009


the sort of serial monogamist that likes to overlap her relationships for a month or so

Uh, no, that's not what a serial monogamist is. Monogamists practice monogamy. At best, that would make her a brachiating cheater.

Cheating's lousy and dishonest, and there's no reason to suspect that she'd treat you any better in a relationship, but it's also your life (and her life, and his life). You could have an exciting affair, but you'd also be participating in hurtful dishonesty perpetrated against an innocent. I think Sidhedevil's suggestion is the best suggestion. Do unto others and all that jazz.

Either way, your description makes it sound like she'd like to approach her summer internship like Las Vegas. It also sounds like she'd like you to make the first move - worst case scenario, she's interested, but if you make that first move, she'll take that moment to indulge herself and then reject you. People are complicated like that. A "meh" feeling for her boyfriend, having a sense of loyalty, plus having an attraction to you in a new setting, will give her mixed feelings like that. Or, maybe she doesn't have mixed feelings at all, and she's just eager to cheat on her boyfriend with whomever she likes who will make that first move.

Could be fun, would be morally gross, and you'll earn some bad karma. Why not grab a single girl instead? Cities are full of single girls. Wouldn't it be nice to look back on your life and think, "I am the kind of person who can get laid and not have to commit any ethical violations to do so?"

Unless, of course, you're hungry for drama, in which case...
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:20 PM on June 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


It's not cool to make a move on someone who's in a serious relationship, no matter what version of "my wife doesn't understand me" they're spinning. It's unethical and you're better than that. I generally believe that it takes two to tango and that the cheater in a relationship is the one responsible for his or her fidelity, not the person they cheat with; but it's still not okay to get involved with someone who's involved with someone else. Put yourself in the shoes of the other guy.
posted by alicetiara at 1:40 PM on June 17, 2009


I'm not the kind of guy who gets off on breaking up relationships, but ...

Actually, if you deliberately hit on someone who's in a relationship, you kind of are. No matter what justification you give.
posted by jacalata at 4:58 PM on June 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm leaving her alone for now. We work in different departments so I don't really have to see her unless I want to. She will probably get in touch soon, if not, maybe I just won't really see her anymore. She did make me a little crazy this last month, and you're all right, she tooled with me, whether she meant to or not.

Looking for something new. Despite being confident in myself most of the time, my life has been lacking in a deeper opposite sex relationship for a while so I think I've been very attracted to unreasonable options recently just cause they've been nearby.

I must say it's been a little hard to admit to myself that I was played, more or less. Whatever. If she wants more and makes it clear, I'll go for it, but I'm done pursuing hard.

She must feel a bit guilty about the way she hangs out with me, because she knows we flirt and there isn't a chance in hell any normal boyfriend would approve of her recent socializing with me. She's probably as confused as I have been. At least I'd like to think so.
posted by Born to Hula at 5:09 PM on June 17, 2009


geez this thread is so moralising...

I just don't think there is anything at all wrong with chasing someone in a relationship. If they are open to your offers then obviously they don't have very strong feelings about the other.

you are not "breaking a couple up" you are "helping her realise she is in the wrong relationship". The other guys is probably a loser anyway.
posted by mary8nne at 3:13 AM on June 18, 2009


geez this thread is so moralising...

Ethics are generally a personal thing, and I don't think people in this thread are talking about absolute, universal moral standards, but rather talking about their own ethical take on the situation; it's up to Born to Hula to decide whether he agrees with those standards or not.

But there's another, more practical vein running through this thread, which could be paraphrased as "if you lie down with dogs, don't be surprised if you wake up with fleas."
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:27 AM on June 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


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