Cancel him and let him go!
June 24, 2010 8:39 AM   Subscribe

I'm going to wash that man right out of my hair! Help me figure out how!

Over the last few months (in fact, the situation described here), I have been crushing on my classmate. Despite all of your good advice there, some of which I did take!, the crush just kept feeding itself. It was fun at first, but now it’s actually becoming toxic to me, and I have made up my mind that this needs to end.

In a more recent development he’s been visibly growing closer to a third classmate; they spend a lot of time talking exclusively to each other during the breaks and whenever we all go to lunch (as a class). In fact, that is exactly what we used to do ourselves. I have no right to feel jealous, but I am, it’s clear that he is developing feelings for her, though not clear about what she feels. It’s even more painful whenever we all have lunches together and it feels like he’s playing both of us against each other. (This comment, about intermittent rewards and being trained to pine, rings so true!)

I hate feeling so worked up, and moreover, I hate resenting my other classmate for being the object of his attention. Our super small program doesn’t need to have this kind of drama playing out on a regular basis before their eyes.

Classes have just ended for the summer. In the end, I would still like to stay friends with him (we did hang out quite a bit outside of class), and of course, with our entire class. So during the summer, I would like to not see him at all (go completely cold turkey on no contact) and just get the crush completely out of my system. My question is, should I tell him explicitly why I am not going to contact or spend time with him? At this point I am dying just to say what is already on our minds. If so, what is the best way that I could phrase this?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (19 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
You said in the question you linked to:

Our program is so small that a relationship would be fatal to our studies and perhaps to our reputations, too. ... He doesn't like me that way. He's not my type. A relationship between the two of us would never work out

So ... don't tell him. There's no reason to tell him. There's every reason not to tell him.
posted by Jaltcoh at 8:46 AM on June 24, 2010 [5 favorites]

Telling him would just increase the drama.
posted by gaspode at 8:51 AM on June 24, 2010

Don't tell him. If his behavior is intentional he'll likely get a kick out of knowing it worked.
posted by bilabial at 8:56 AM on June 24, 2010 [2 favorites]

Don't say anything.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 8:58 AM on June 24, 2010

Don't say anything to him but goodbye, have a nice summer.

In the end, I would still like to stay friends with him

I would really urge you not to try to stay friends with him. If he truly is playing you off against this other girl, he is not someone who is or will make a good friend.

And find someone else to think about this summer, even if it's only a fun little fling.
posted by orange swan at 9:00 AM on June 24, 2010 [3 favorites]

At this point I am dying just to say what is already on our minds.

You do not know what is on his mind. Moreover, if you want to be friends with him, do not deliberately create drama by confessing a crush and then explicitly insisting you two not have contact over the summer. Just fill your summer schedule with other things. Don't invite him anywhere, and if he contacts you, say you're sorry but you're just so very, very busy.
posted by Meg_Murry at 9:07 AM on June 24, 2010 [6 favorites]

My question is, should I tell him explicitly why I am not going to contact or spend time with him?

What could you possibly tell him?

"Hi, I have a massive crush on you but don't want to act on it. As a result of that, and your affection for friend three, I don't want to talk to you for the summer. I want to be friends after that, though."

It makes you sound all over the place, and furthermore, too much complication for a guy to want to be friends with.

Our super small program doesn’t need to have this kind of drama playing out on a regular basis before their eyes.

Has anyone noticed or pointed this out? The majority of what you've presented in this question and the other is all in your head. You resent the other girl, but obviously you don't act on it or you wouldn't be friends. You know he's not interested, but nowhere does it say that he actually said anything about that.

You need to stop the inner drama. You have a crush; either act on it, or accept that he's going to act on his own. If he doesn't know how you feel, bringing it up by telling him you don't want to talk to him for the summer accomplishes absolutely zero, except to make him wonder whether or not your friendship is worth the harbored drama.
posted by Hiker at 9:11 AM on June 24, 2010 [2 favorites]

Don't take the bait and feed his ego!
posted by meepmeow at 9:12 AM on June 24, 2010

Honestly, does anyone that would explicitly tell someone they "want to stay friends" actually stay friends? Isn't part of friendship the obvious, but unsaid acknowledgement that you like being around each other without expecting some explicit announcement of the desired outcome of this relationship, which is clearly just (not so) subtely announcing your intention to continue the dramatic passion play you've concocted in your head?

It sounds like you are getting a kick out of this drama. If you want it to continue, definitely keep pretending to want to be just friends. If you are ready to move on, move on.
posted by RajahKing at 9:29 AM on June 24, 2010

Make some plans to do something awesome this summer. Travel to a new country. Visit a new library. Find a great coffee shop. Look around yourself, look at the world. It's big! And full of exciting people.
The problem with academic programs is that they can become your whole world. It's a small group of people devoted to a shared goal. That's a pretty intense dynamic, and that can feed drama. If you stay in this small group, it can start to feel like these are the only people on earth who matter. Which is silly, and you know better. So meet some new people, and return to class next year knowing that this guy defines big fish in small pond.
posted by pickypicky at 9:38 AM on June 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

Don't say anything. Draw a picture of his new girl and hang it in your room. Sing Patsy Cline's "You took him off my hands" to it every morning.

you took him off my hands
now please take him off my mind

Ritual purging of crush via singing! If anything, it'll help you by making you realize your issues are universal.
posted by WeekendJen at 9:40 AM on June 24, 2010 [2 favorites]

Don't say anything other than bye, have a nice summer!

And this summer, stick with your idea of no contact - you will be happier for doing so. And don't start thinking about when you see him again in the fall and how maybe it will change, because it won't and even if it did you wouldn't want to do that to yourself.
posted by mrs. taters at 10:20 AM on June 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm guilty of having "trained someone to pine", and I'm sorry for it. It was not done intentionally, but I admit I was both selfish and ignorant of the extent of his obsession for too long. At first I liked the attention and missed his companionship, and then it became a "cruel to be kind" situation where he began to guilt me into spending time with him to maintain our friendship, but they were thinly veiled attempts to win me back which I never gave in to. Even though he always wanted to talk about this situation between us, it didn't dawn on me how much it was affecting him. It culminated to the point of him sending me a link his online blog (diary), which made me realize this obsession was consuming him - he was all over the map with emotion, and staying home from work for days on end because of depression. As soon as I read it, I broke off all contact, but (unknown to him) still check the diary and have been watching his obsessive thoughts dwindle with the passing months. I don't think we can ever be close friends again, he'd relapse for sure. I think it will be a long time before we will even talk again.

This guy doesn't really know the extent of your obsession, and isn't aware that he should be more considerate of you. If you say anything to him at all, I'd only go so far as to say you have something of an irrational crush on him and are trying to get over it, that you'd prefer if he just leaves you alone from now on. Tell him when he tries to be attentive sometime, just rebuff him and say you wish he'd just be cold to you. It sucks hard but if you truly want to get him out of your system, don't let him be nice to you. I've had to get over obsessions like this myself recently too. Something I've found that helps on the other side of the situation is also to focus on their faults, get those rose-colored glasses off and realize they're not the super-awesome person you've been building up in your head. Or literally force yourself to think of something else when you start to think of him. Prevent the cycle of obsession from propagating itself.
posted by lizbunny at 11:05 AM on June 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

I agree that the only thing you need to say to him is goodbye. Accept that getting over a crush is like quitting smoking - you will go through withdrawals and it will hurt, but in the end, you will be glad you did. I'm sorry that he has not treated your feelings kindly but hopefully, by going cold turkey, you will leave yourself open to find someone who will.
posted by melangell at 11:49 AM on June 24, 2010

Summer makes it easier not to stay in contact. Take advantage of that. You don't have to say anything to him at all.
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:11 PM on June 24, 2010

don't tell him. just stay away. if he notices and asks you about it, this is what little white lies were made for.

you think you want to stay friends with him because you secretly hope it's a back door to a deeper relationship (i know! i've been there). it isn't. in the fall, be friendly. if a friendship emerges, great. if not, well, at least you didn't waste your summer chasing him.
posted by thinkingwoman at 3:46 PM on June 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

Make a mix tape of upbeat, moving on songs!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:17 PM on June 24, 2010

Don't tell him. Don't go out of your way to talk to him (e. g. 'Have a great summer' on your way out the classroom door is fine, but responding to texts/calls/what have you is unnecessary). Just move on, and the easiest way for you to do that is going to be no contact. When you start to think of him, do something else. In fact, start a new hobby -- if you automatically go to that hobby whenever you start to think of him, you'll invest a lot of time into something awesome you're doing just for you. This will be fun and it will make you feel better. If you put this time and effort into staying friends with him, it will make you feel worse.

You don't need the drama.
posted by Put the kettle on at 9:21 PM on June 24, 2010

My question is, should I tell him explicitly why I am not going to contact or spend time with him? At this point I am dying just to say what is already on our minds. If so, what is the best way that I could phrase this?

The entirety of this affair is going on inside your head, so the "what is already on our minds" is only on YOUR mind. Don't say anything, honestly. It's not a big secret or anything, it's just the kind of stuff we carry around in our heads all day long but don't say. No drama required.
posted by davejay at 12:47 PM on June 25, 2010

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