I'm in love with a girl 3000 miles away, what do I do?
July 20, 2009 9:39 PM   Subscribe

I'm in love with a girl 3000 miles away, what do I do?

Hi there,

I think I am in love with a girl that lives 3000 miles away. We have had no past relationship; just close friends. This is a girl I've known for 7 years and have had feelings on her before. I have had a relationship during that time period but even then, I still had feelings for her. I saw her at Thanksgiving and came to the realization that I loved her. By the time I went home in March and saw her again, my feelings for her were stronger. We went on a date and had a great time. After moving to California, I sent her a message confessing my love to her.

She gave me a response that was pretty much expected; it was something she hadn't thought about and had always considered us as friends.

Now I probably won't see her again until Thanksgiving, which will be nice. We talk on the phone about every month, usually myself initiating the phone call, leaving a message sometimes and her calling me back.

This situation may seem ridiculous, but having spoken to others about this, their solution to their relationship was to be persistent and not overbearing. I have the feeling that she loves me, but does not know it yet. As much as I hope for something to happen in the future, maybe she doesn't consider it.

I guess I am hopelessly optimistic of marrying this girl because I know deep down it would be incredible.

I am having trouble deciding if this is something that is healthy for my emotional status and should be gone through even though nothing is for certain.

I am looking for insight, comfort, and shared experiences. It would also be great to hear some good idea's to keep it interesting and exciting.

Thank you all for reading my post and for your idea's and insights.

posted by weh546 to Human Relations (35 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
What can you do? Not much. She already rebuffed you once (not entirely clear on when, but sounds recent). Continue to enjoy your monthly phone calls and see what happens. Sounds like the advice your friends have given you is right on the money.

I guess I am hopelessly optimistic of marrying this girl because I know deep down it would be incredible. Whoa, easy there, tiger. Don't fall too madly in love with The Dream.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:52 PM on July 20, 2009 [6 favorites]

If she's already said she thinks of you as a friend, the only thing you can do is let her take the lead lest you be overbearing. Because you won't be able to tell, and by the time you find out it will be too late.

I have the feeling that she loves me, but does not know it yet.

In my experience, this is rarely if ever the case. In fact, you betray your love for this woman by implying that she doesn't know herself as well as you do. That way lies madness.
posted by rhizome at 9:56 PM on July 20, 2009 [2 favorites]

Ok, I'll jump in and be Debbie Downer. It's time to move on. She's rejected your advances. Considering your optimism, it doesn't sound like you left out a part where she says "well weh, it would be great to be together, but geography got in the way..." She said no to a romantic relationship. Until that changes, that is, she makes advances towards you, it's time to write this off as being a viable romance and start looking elsewhere.
posted by craven_morhead at 9:57 PM on July 20, 2009 [1 favorite]

I'd be a little wary of getting swept away really early with romance. Yes, you've known her for seven years -- yes, you're really excited at having told her how you feel -- but all you've really done, at this point, is let her know how much you like her. You may WANT to marry her -- but you're way early for that stage!

What I'd do -- based on knowing nothing but your enthusiasm in the question -- is not push her for a response. You live 3000 miles away anyway - nothing's going to happen right now. Instead, use it as a way of reconnecting and communicating. You've told her that you care about her -- that's good! Now you can focus on actually getting to know her again -- send her a funny email, maybe, not declaring your love, but showing her something cool you found online,? Nothing big -- just friendly correspondence. Include her in your big friend mailings (if she's not already there). Basically, make it clear that you like her a whole lot, and you want to stay in touch REGARDLESS of whether she returns your feelings. It's tough responding to declarations -- what you want is to lower the stakes as much as possible, so you can actually reconnect and decide if you want to spend more time together around Thanksgiving.

I'm not sure if that's a good answer, but it's what helped me when I was super head over heels for someone I had loved for a long time. Rejection is really scary!

One thing to keep in mind, though, is that it's OK if it doesn't work out. If you get to hang out with her and spend more time with her -- great! If not, that's too bad, but it's not the end of the world. Keep whatever level of contact feels comfortable -- and if it starts to make you crazy, then stop and reevaluate. (it doesn't sound like it's actually driving you crazy right now -- it mostly just sounds like happiness) But just check in with yourself periodically, and try to stem obsession if it starts to get out of hand.

.02 from the peanut gallery....
posted by puckish at 10:00 PM on July 20, 2009

I have the feeling that she loves me, but does not know it yet.

Please please please let this idea go. For your sake, for her sake, and for the sake of your friendship.

I have been the girl in your story. I had a male friend whom I just saw as a friend. He had feelings for me, but also had this notion that I had feelings for him but just didn't "know it yet" - which was not true. To make a very long story short, we are no longer friends. He kept trying to win me over, and every couple of months would re-confess his feelings for me, and I'd turn him down again as blatantly as possible - but he seemed to hold on to the belief that I would one day have feelings for him. I finally stopped hanging out with him altogether, because I felt uncomfortable around him and was always afraid that he was interpreting my "normal friendship behavior" as potential romantic interest.

I cannot deny that someday in the future she may possibly have feelings for you - but no one has any insight into whether or not this could ever be true - not me, not you, and well not even her necessarily. And I think it's very emotionally unhealthy for you to take that gamble and hold on to the idea that she might one day return your feelings. It could destroy the friendship you have with her now.

You have to go with what's she's given you now - she only sees you as a friend - and move forward in your life with that information in mind.

I suggest you try not to contact her for a while. Give yourself time and space to get over her. Focus on doing things to make yourself a better person - exercise, pick up a new hobby, study/work harder, hang out with your local friends. Or consider dating other girls in your area, perhaps through an online service like OKcupid - just to see what other awesome single girls are out there; you don't have to necessarily pursue a relationship with someone else right now. Then again, that might help, too.
posted by Squee at 10:11 PM on July 20, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for all the input. It's all very true. I just need to be patient and chill out a little. Squee, thanks for the input. True, I don't want to disrupt the friendship, that would be a horrible turn of events. I guess I need to give her space. This is something that I am not the best at, in general.

It's strange though, the girls give me the advice to stray away, but the guy's tell me to keep pursuing and doing what I am doing.

Yes this is a dream. It is large. It is also way too serious and the whole Marriage thing, is not something that would happen until many, many years down the road.

True, I shouldn't try to guess her emotions about how she feels towards me. Insinuating she knows more than me is definitely not the road I want to go down.

She has not actually said no so that stands for something. In all actuality, facing a rejection from her would not necessarily be a bad thing. It would be an answer to the problem. When that finally does happen, someone who is better for me is out there, which is amazing and that blows my mind.

I have asked a few girls out, two to the avail to a boyfriend, and one gave me her number, but I was not incredibly interested in her. Maybe because she said yes is why I didn't find her as attractive, while the ones that say no are more attractive.
posted by weh546 at 10:40 PM on July 20, 2009

People on this site often say "believe what people tell you about themselves." She's told you that she isn't interested in a relationship and I think you should respect that.
posted by yaymukund at 10:42 PM on July 20, 2009

She has not actually said no so that stands for something.

Here's where you're wrong. Saying that she hadn't thought of you as a romantic prospect and that she only thought of you as a friend IS saying no. You just aren't listening.
posted by moxiedoll at 11:01 PM on July 20, 2009 [9 favorites]

Dear Wille,

I don't know how to put this gently. As a fellow man among many who has gone through this, I know so well how you feel from experience. But here goes.

Your girl might be a sweet, old-fashioned gal for all I know, but more than likely she's like Squee up there, and you have already been FZed, and she does not find your declarations of love impressive. To that type of woman, you are at best cute or amusing, and at worst awkward and annoying.

You can continue to be persistent -- that's an option -- but it could end badly for you if/when some other dude jumps in the car with her and drives away, while you are still convincing her to love you back.

My advice is not to pursue this for the near future. Let it go for now, stop contact with her and let her forget you. Focus your energies on making money, traveling, your career, business, or whatever, and then come back to her one day and see if you still feel how you feel now. Chances are she'll still be there.

How old are you, by the way? Consider how much of this you need to chalk up to hormones.

"Ridiculous" you might say, "Hormones? Not me, I'm more evolved than that." Fair enough, but a lot of us do seem to go through this phase when all we care about is being in love and we get stuck on the nearest girl who seems like a good bet, and we'll jump through hoops thinking "This might be my only chance!" Then we look back on it one day and go "I was crazy about her?"

Look, I know so well the feeling that this might be it, this might be the only woman for you in the world. That's an illusion. To paraphrase Joey from Friends, women are like ice cream flavors. There's no reason to get hung up on one single flavor. Grab a spoon and taste a few more. Think this through.
posted by Theloupgarou at 11:33 PM on July 20, 2009 [1 favorite]

She has said no. The possibility of a relationship is over. You need to move on.

Because you are in love with her, you no longer have a friendship with her; you have an unrequited relationship. I would recommend treating this like a breakup. Do not see, speak, or spend time with her unless and until you no longer want to marry her.
posted by decathecting at 11:33 PM on July 20, 2009

Listen, I've seen your AskMe questions before, and here's the thing: you're not good at reading social cues. So I'm going to try to help you by being as direct as possible (been there, done that).

She doesn't love you. She knows she doesn't love you, and she's right. Even if she had some small degree of romantic feeling for you, which she does not, she wouldn't spring for a relationship with someone who lives 3000 miles away, and anything you do to make that possibility more real (like, say, moving closer to her under any pretext whatsoever) is going to be interpreted as creepy and will leave you worse off than when you started. You're never going to marry her. You're not going to be in a relationship with her.

Now, what is up to you right now? You can try to be pushy about it, which will ensure that she'll never talk to you again. Or, you could not do anything and wait for her to make the first move (which will not happen).

Good idea, right? Actually, it's a bit more complicated than that. What you have now might not be a friendship at all. It might be a hollow sham in which she thinks you're her friend and you just want a "friendship" because you think it gets you in on the ground floor of Relationship Towers. Your job right now is to think long and hard about whether this is the case or not. Don't bullshit yourself. You're going to bullshit yourself, but make sure you recognize that you're bullshitting yourself and STOP.

Also, resist the temptation to make Thanksgiving into a standing-under-her-window-with-a-boombox kind of weekend. Really. Bad idea.

Basically, just remember that you being "in love" with her is something about you, not her, and it's something about you that you're going to need to get over right quick if you want a happy life or a decent friendship with this girl.
posted by nasreddin at 11:50 PM on July 20, 2009 [9 favorites]

Can you be a pleasant friend, and not bug her with professions of love? If so, and she comes to value your friendship, and she doesn't happen to meet anyone else, maybe it will take off from there.

I only say this because I've seen it happen, so I don't think it's quite right to tell you there's no hope.

I'd echo nasreddin's warning about making Thanksgiving into an embarrassing disaster. On the other hand, if you do bring up romance again, be prepared to take no for a final answer.
posted by zompist at 12:43 AM on July 21, 2009

For some reason your question reminds me of the Velvet Underground song The Gift. Anyway it is a lesson in the perils of trying to surprise a girl who lives a long way away but is not that into you. Worth a listen.
posted by rongorongo at 2:37 AM on July 21, 2009

Let me copy and paste my most-frequently-used answer here, because it applies...

Friends are more important than lovers. Value the friendship, cherish the friendship, and nurture the friendship. Eventually you will realize that's what matters.

You're allowed to love your friends. Just don't expect anything back. And as many above said: stop pushing, right now, or you'll fuck up the friendship by making her uncomfortable.

Relationships come and go. Friends are golden. The rest is just chemicals.
posted by rokusan at 2:44 AM on July 21, 2009 [2 favorites]

Get over it. Get a local girlfriend. etc. Even if you got her, long distance relationships suck royally. Anyway, I suspect your whole deciding that you love her is partially the social trauma of moving.
posted by jeffburdges at 4:32 AM on July 21, 2009

Time goes by, faster and faster as we get older, and a moment that's gone by is one that's gone forever. While you're pining for this girl, the seconds and minutes and hours of your life are ticking off, one by one until they add up to the thousands. Meanwhile, you're not in a relationship at all, which is something you seem to want, because you're waiting for something to happen that will never happen.

You're taking the easy way out. By telling yourself that you're in love with a woman who lives far away, you can avoid the effort and the potential heartbreak of having a real relationship with someone who is there with you.

I guess I am hopelessly optimistic of marrying this girl because I know deep down it would be incredible.

Do you know what marriage is? It's not some never-ending wedding day. It's the hard work that two people do to make a life together. It's good days and bad days and a lot of in-between days and "it's your turn to empty the dishwasher" and "his snoring makes me want to kill" and just a whole lot of other stuff that happens when you entwine two lives. Don't be hopelessly optimistic about this. You can't know deep down that it would be "incredible". Those are cliches that you've learned from movies and television. Saying you want to marry someone who has already rejected you makes me think you're a little out of touch with reality here.

Look. Shake yourself off and start living your life, and interacting with the people around you. Stop mooning over this woman. Let it go. Time is really precious and it sounds like you're wasting it.
posted by Kangaroo at 4:44 AM on July 21, 2009 [3 favorites]

What everyone else said, but also: go ahead and get heartbroken about this and claim the heartbreak if you have to, that's a good experience in itself. Whether you're 15 or 50, not making it with The Best Girl Ever is a fairly big deal.

Just so long as you keep half an eye on reality at the same time as you're mourning.

P.S. the girl that comes after the one that broke your heart is so sweet.
posted by mhjb at 6:08 AM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

I have the feeling that she loves me, but does not know it yet.

I have to echo the others and warn you that not only is this not the case, but you really, really need to accept it. You do NOT know her feelings as well as she does. Not only that, but it's my opinion that you cannot love someone you are not actually in a romantic relationship with. You can have very strong, very powerful feelings of attraction and affection, but true love needs feeding from both sides for it to exist. At least, that has been my experience with unrequited love and mutual love. Unrequited love feels stronger and more romantic, but it is not the kind of love that gets married.

Listen to your female friends--it can be EXTREMELY creepy to have a guy "friend" who's really wanting to date you (or marry you!) who believes that you just haven't figured it out yet. This is the kind of thought behavior stalkers engage in--"She loves me, she just doesn't know it yet. If I can just get her alone, I know that she'll confess her feelings to me." Your female friends are warning you to back off from this, and you should listen to them, not your guy friends.

It sucks when you develop feelings for a friend who doesn't reciprocate. I think we've all been there. I've very rarely seen it work out where both parties suddenly have feelings for each other at the same time...in fact, I can't think of one case where that was true. It's possible to maintain a friendship through those hormonal times, though, as long as you don't get creepy and she doesn't take advantage of your feelings.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 6:22 AM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

Another angle that the previous commenters haven't mentioned is the potential factor of being far away from her. It is really easy to idealize someone and project your desires onto them when you are far away and only see them face-to-face once in a while.

I fell into that trap when I was studying a semester of college out of the country. It was lonely not to be able to speak the language well. I fixated on the person I wanted to be with when I got back. Once I actually returned, we only dated for a week before she backed off because I was in way too deep.
posted by umbĂș at 6:38 AM on July 21, 2009

Has no one linked to the xkcd on this one yet? Ok, I'll do it. Here you go.
posted by philotes at 7:24 AM on July 21, 2009 [2 favorites]

I have the feeling that she loves me, but does not know it yet.

This way lies madness. I know, I know - it's the one sentence that everyone has jumped on you for, and I'm sorry, but I'm going to do it too. She told you she is not interested in you romantically. The end. I know it sucks, but that is it, hoss: she is not interested in you romantically.

You are wasting your time pursuing someone who does not want to be pursued by you. You have a non-zero chance of becoming a creepy stalkery weird guy if you continue. I am sure you are a nice guy whom other women would like to date, and you do not want to become this.

the girls give me the advice to stray away, but the guy's tell me to keep pursuing and doing what I am doing

Many men waste their time pursuing women who are not interested in them. Fuck that. You don't need that. Those women certainly don't need that.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 7:25 AM on July 21, 2009

This essentially never works out even when both players desperately want it to. Sorry, but it's time to start moving on.
posted by phrontist at 7:41 AM on July 21, 2009

Read How to Break Your Addiction to a Person by Howard Halpern if you want tips about moving past your unrequited crush. It's a very helpful book.

One of the great rules of life is that you need to take people's word for what they say in things like this. "I don't want to have a romantic relationship with you" means that the person doesn't want to have a romantic relationship with you. It doesn't mean that they're playing hard to get, or that they don't understand their own feelings.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:13 AM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

I was friends with this girl in college that I had a lot of feelings for, and eventually got the guts to ask her out. She let me down gently as your friend did you... but soon revoked that for a few years of messing with my head. She said something like "if you had asked me out earlier I'd have said yes". That might be something you'd tell a guy much later when you are both in happy relationships and being all "what could have been in another life" But this was like a few weeks later and should have made me think "this girl is screwy and I should reevaluate my feelings for someone who would say something so mind-bendingly inappropriate to a guy that had just confessed to having a crush on her".

Instead, that made me think the kind of things you are thinking. What can I say? I was young. And just when I was getting used to the fact that she would never be interested in a real relationship, she would make out with me at a bar on New Years or would tell me that if she broke up with her bf she would consider dating me or if I had "tried harder" she'd have dated me. I'd have gotten over her far quicker and made less bone-headed decisions at the end of our friendship or probably the friendship would have never ended if she hadn't kept pushing my emotional buttons in such a terrible way.

Hearing about your situation I am certain that your friend was trying to let you down gently, the way good female friends do when a guy they aren't interested in 'that way' tells them they have feelings for them. Or she's going to start messing around with your head. Either way, if she wanted to be with you she'd have said so and not turned you down. Tough break, but if you're lucky she won't screw with you and you'll get over it and find someone else who does have feelings for you. Good luck.
posted by Green With You at 8:16 AM on July 21, 2009

Instead, that made me think the kind of things you are thinking. What can I say? I was young. And just when I was getting used to the fact that she would never be interested in a real relationship, she would make out with me at a bar on New Years or would tell me that if she broke up with her bf she would consider dating me or if I had "tried harder" she'd have dated me. I'd have gotten over her far quicker and made less bone-headed decisions at the end of our friendship or probably the friendship would have never ended if she hadn't kept pushing my emotional buttons in such a terrible way.

She was using you. Some people really love having a slavish admirer who would never leave or complain and can make them feel better about themselves, at the cost of a few measly winks or kisses or whatever. If the OP isn't careful, the same thing will happen to him.
posted by nasreddin at 9:36 AM on July 21, 2009

As a guy, I say be persistent. The women swear it never works. But I don't know how many women I've dated who said "I was so surprised when I started thinking of you that way."

What's the worst that can happen?
posted by Ironmouth at 10:22 AM on July 21, 2009

Ironmouth, the worst that can happen is, depending on your perspective and your tactics, the end to the friendship and/or a restraining order.
posted by restless_nomad at 10:35 AM on July 21, 2009

I completely agree with Squee. I have also been the girl in this story.

For your own sake, please try to let go of the idea that she might change her mind. She is not going to change her mind. Only in movies do women suddenly fall in love with a guy who has been badgering them for a relationship.

I don't mean to come across as harsh, but I've seen people ruin themselves pining over someone who does not return their feelings.

Think about it from her point of view. Did she really go on a date with you in March or was she seeing it as catching up with an old friend?

I have the feeling that she loves me, but does not know it yet.

She KNOWS she doesn't love you in a romantic way. If you are her friend, you should not be dismissive about her feelings. She honestly told you how she felt.

I guess I am hopelessly optimistic of marrying this girl because I know deep down it would be incredible.

Incredibly for whom? For her? For you? Would it really be "incredible" to be with someone who does not return your feelings?

Might some of your romantic feelings for her be traced back to homesickness on your part? It's brave of you to move. Concentrate on trying to make new friends in your new location.

The right person for you will KNOW that she loves you are return your love. I have friends who were in your position and have met the new love of their lives after finally giving up on people who did not love them back.
posted by parakeetdog at 10:53 AM on July 21, 2009

First, you're not in love with her. Love is something mutual and is not idolizing and projecting onto someone who does not reciprocate your feelings.

After looking at your other posts I think you need to chill out and learn how to be a normal dude. No perusing, pining away, just try to be the best person you can be to those around you.
posted by mattsweaters at 10:54 AM on July 21, 2009

Love is something mutual and is not idolizing and projecting onto someone who does not reciprocate your feelings.

To add to this, think about how much you are in contact with this person.

You haven't told us how long ago you moved, but we know it was at least before Thanksgiving. So, for at least 8 months, you have been in touch with this woman only once a month. Once a month.

No matter how well you knew her before your move, you have been mostly out of contact with her since then. You don't know the details of her life anymore, and so you don't really know her any more. Love just is NOT possible under these conditions. Attraction, sure, infatuation, definitely, but not love.

Instead of focusing your attention on getting her to realize whatever romantic love she may feel for you, you should instead focus your attention on getting yourself to realize why you're obsessing over a woman you barely even know anymore. What is it about yourself or your current life that is making you think that this person you hardly ever speak to is your perfect mate? See a therapist, perhaps, to help you figure out why you are caught up on this person. Go on a (metaphorical) journey of self-discovery.

If I am completely wrong and you do honestly love her, then trying to come to what's motivating your feelings for her will only bolster your love, not harm it. You have nothing to lose by looking inside yourself to find out the root cause of your feelings. It can only help you better understand yourself, your relation to this person, and what will make you happy.
posted by Ms. Saint at 11:12 AM on July 21, 2009

I have the feeling that she loves me, but does not know it yet.
No, no no no no no no no no no. No.
posted by beerbajay at 12:15 PM on July 21, 2009

I have the feeling that she loves me, but does not know it yet.

Honestly, if I ever found out that any guy I knew was thinking of me that way, I would be profoundly insulted. Because, honestly, where the hell do they get off telling me what I do and don't really think? Do they really, honestly think that I know my own mind so little, or that I am so clueless, to not know what I really think and feel about things?

What you're feeling is not a sixth sense that "she loves me but she doesn't know it yet." What you are feeling is denial. And denial of what she thinks, feels, and wants, is not love. It is infatuation. It is completely ignoring her own wishes, her own thoughts, and her own perspective on the situation. And it is selfish.

If you really, honestly love this woman, you will take her own thoughts and feelings into account -- and you will take her at her own word about what her thoughts and feelings are. Period.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:45 PM on July 21, 2009 [4 favorites]

....Sorry to be so harsh in that last comment. Having someone presume to tell me that I don't think something that I really do think, or dismissing a statement I make about my feelings, is a particular hot-button issue with me; however, I have a hunch that most other people don't welcome it either, even though they may not all react as strongly as I would.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:00 PM on July 21, 2009

By coincidence I think that the previous askmefi question,("Did you marry someone you felt "ok" about at first? How did it work out?"), is also potentially relevant for you. If your final goal is marriage then pursuing her to the point where she finally might finally relent and say "OK" does not (most commenters would seem to agree) bode well for 'happily ever after'.
posted by rongorongo at 4:21 PM on July 21, 2009

Response by poster: Thank you all for your comments and postings. Since hearing this positive reinforcement, it has freed my mind from the ball and chain that held it down.
posted by weh546 at 12:17 AM on July 26, 2009

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