Love vs. in love – guy language translator?
May 3, 2011 2:54 PM   Subscribe

What is the wrong answer to the question 'are you in love with me?'

I have a guy friend who I’ve long suspected is in love with me, even though he likes to talk to me all the time about this other girl he’s ‘in love’ with. I came to the conclusion he might be in love with me based on his behavior, and because I have had multiple friends and acquaintances ask if he was in love with me after observing his behavior.

A few weeks ago, I decided to confront him and ask him if he was ‘in love’ with me, and he said that while he loved me and thought I was awesome, he was not in love with me.

Fast forward a few weeks later – he has since hooked up with other girl he’s in love with. However, he informed me of the hook up in the most peculiar way – over live chat – prefacing the more in-depth details with ‘I hope I didn’t give you the wrong answer to that question a few weeks ago.’

What would the wrong or right answer to that question?

Since I have a boyfriend I don’t want to ask him and get too deep into this, but since I’m curious I also want understand why he wrote this.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (33 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
Oh, I think you are way over thinking this.

It was his way of saying he hopes he didn't hurt your feelings/dash your hopes away. He just didn't phrase it like that. Not because he wants you, but because he cares for you enough that he doesn't wish to be the cause of emotional pain.
posted by royalsong at 2:57 PM on May 3, 2011 [8 favorites]


What would the wrong or right answer to that question?

He's asking if his answer to your question "Are you in love with me?" upset you.
posted by Jahaza at 2:57 PM on May 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


he thought you were sniffing around for your next boyfriend and is now seeing if you're jealous. i'd back up from this friendship and focus on whatever is happening in your relationship to have you entertaining and starting so many conversations about other people being in love with you.
posted by nadawi at 2:59 PM on May 3, 2011 [17 favorites]


There's no right or wrong answer to that question. I think his meaning is more "I hope I didn't hurt you with what I said/how I said it".
posted by DrGirlfriend at 3:01 PM on May 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Fast forward a few weeks later – he has since hooked up with other girl he’s in love with. However, he informed me of the hook up in the most peculiar way – over live chat – prefacing the more in-depth details with ‘I hope I didn’t give you the wrong answer to that question a few weeks ago.’

He might think you're in love with him now. I wouldn't understand why a girl with a boyfriend would be confronting me about being in love with her unless she wanted to act on it. He might be thinking you're upset because the answer was no.
posted by dflemingecon at 3:01 PM on May 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


after the other responses, i'm reading his response differently - that your friends were right to begin with and that he sort of lied in his first answer and is trying to figure out if you'd have rejected him if he had been honest about his feelings. but it's still all for naught because of your boyfriend.
posted by nadawi at 3:02 PM on May 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Since I have a boyfriend I don’t want to ask him

Wait, what?

Your guy friend is fishing for attention and boy are you giving it to him, in spades. Are you or are you not committed to your boyfriend?

Do not try to "understand" the guy friend. That way lies drama. His behavior and his answer (no he is not in love) says as much as you need to know or will make sense.
posted by griselda at 3:04 PM on May 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


He's hoping that "no" wasn't the wrong answer, IE that you were wishing that he would say "yes" IE that you were in love with him.

Also, what griselda said.
posted by muddgirl at 3:05 PM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think he's hoping that the answer he gave you was the one you wanted.
posted by marimeko at 3:06 PM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


He was indirectly asking if your question was a pointed one -- if you're in love with HIM and wanted to know if he was interested in you. The "right answer" in that scenario would have been, "Yes, anon, I am in love with you!" Thus giving you the go ahead to breakup with your boyfriend and hook up with this guy instead.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 3:06 PM on May 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


I think Narrative Priorities has the right answer.
posted by John Cohen at 3:16 PM on May 3, 2011


He's never been in love with you, and now he thinks you are in love with him.
posted by rhizome at 3:16 PM on May 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


The wrong answer to that question is usually "no". In my opinion, if you ask the question you should generally be hoping for the answer "yes". Since you didn't want to hear that answer, my thought is not that he gave the wrong answer, but that you asked the wrong question.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 3:17 PM on May 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm going to go with what seems to be consensus here - he thought you were in love with him when you asked it. He gave the traditional "wrong" answer to this, which is "no." Generally, if you ask that question, you'd prefer the answer to be "yes."

Also, seconding what griselda said.
posted by SNWidget at 3:29 PM on May 3, 2011


He's playing games. He's unsure how he feels about you and is too much of a coward to own to what extent he's interested in you until he's sure you'll react the way he wants. His comment was cryptic on purpose and was designed to get you to think about him. He likes you, but not enough not to play games and not unadulterated with a healthy dose of self-interest.
posted by Nixy at 3:34 PM on May 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


It might not suit you, but the best way I ever found for dealing with issues like this (the cryptic text messages, the ambiguous statements) was to refuse to decode them. They got, at most, about twenty seconds of my time to decipher, after which they fell into two categories:

a) things that made sense on face value, but might possibly maybe have meant something else (statements like 'no, I am not in love with you')
b) things that did not make straightforward sense.

Anything that fell into category a), I interpreted at face value. Anything that fell into category b), I filed under 'makes no sense' and disregarded.

This works really well when people are being straightforward and honest with you, since you're accepting what they say and not trying to read intentions and agendas into any of it. It also works really well when people are being all Mysterious and Elusive and want you to spend ages puzzling about what you've said, because you torpedo their whole strategy just by refusing to play along. Plus, it drastically reduced my time spent curled up on the sofa biting my nails wondering what 'nice to see you...? lol' might possibly have meant. Win-win.
posted by Catseye at 3:39 PM on May 3, 2011 [39 favorites]


Yeah, this seems fairly straightforward. He believes you asked him if he was in love with you because you are interested in him romantically. Thus, telling you "no" might have upset you and he hopes it did not. This is an understandable interpretation of the situation. In fact, I think it is the most reasonable and natural one.
posted by Justinian at 3:58 PM on May 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


It really really could be the way you wrote the question, but I'm with Nixy and nadawi.

Maybe he didn't want to make a move because you have a bf or something? But yeah, I thought he was trying to make you jealous.

If it's not the wording of your question and that is in fact what he's up to... stay far far away from this person. You don't need weird under-handed game players anywhere near you. Especially if he used the poor girl he hooked up with while creating this drama with you, that makes him... Yuck.
posted by jbenben at 4:13 PM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Your guy friend is fishing for attention and boy are you giving it to him, in spades.

I don't understand this assessment.

OP thinks Friend is in love with OP and confronted Friend about it. Friend replied that he is not in love with OP. Friend then proceeded to hook up with the other girl who he has consistently said he is in love with. Now Friend is wondering why the hell OP asked Friend if he was in love with OP. Accordingly, Friend asked OP whether OP is hurt that he hooked up with the other girl, except doing it in an indirect way, because saying, "Hey, I hope you're not in love with me" is awkward, both because it feels narcissistic and because it's a pretty blunt way to bring up a potentially tough subject.

OP, the way you introduced this subject suggests that you don't want Friend to be in love with you, and that it would be a nuisance if he was. If this is true, I think everything sounds peachy.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 4:25 PM on May 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


See, I might buy the innocent interpretation except the timing is all wrong. It took him THAT long to think, gee, maybe she likes me? Seems like it could and should have been sorted out in one conversation and dropped forever. This lingering confusion and clarification either means he's slow or he himself is conflicted.
posted by Nixy at 4:31 PM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


A few weeks ago, I decided to confront him and ask him if he was ‘in love’ with me, and he said that while he loved me and thought I was awesome, he was not in love with me.

Fast forward a few weeks later – he has since hooked up with other girl he’s in love with. However, he informed me of the hook up in the most peculiar way – over live chat – prefacing the more in-depth details with ‘I hope I didn’t give you the wrong answer to that question a few weeks ago.’


The part where he talks about hooking up with girls that he's in love with makes me think
"I hope I didn't give you the wrong answer to that question" means "I want to hook up with you, and I think I might have gotten to hook up with you if I had said "Yes I am in love with you." I still want to hook up with you, but I will only do so if you make the first move."
posted by 23skidoo at 4:31 PM on May 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


Or, since he started with the "I hope I didn't..." bit, it means "I want to tell you some really juicy sex stuff which will make you uncomfortable if you have a crush on me, but will be OK if we're just friends."
posted by muddgirl at 4:47 PM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


He's a guy. Just because you have a boyfriend and he has a girlfriend who is in love with him doesn't mean he doesn't fancy a chance at sleeping with you. It seems to me you're both reveling in the attention you're giving each other and playing games. If you don't want to get 'too deep' into this, then stop it.
posted by joannemullen at 5:12 PM on May 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


He's hoping you were relieved to learn that he's not in love with you because, presumably, you aren't in love with him. He knows it's possible that you DO want him to be in love with you because you asked him that question. So - he prefaced his talking about his hookup with "I hope I didn't give you the wrong answer" because if you want him to be in love with you, then you wouldn't want to hear all about his new relationship.
posted by moxiedoll at 5:31 PM on May 3, 2011


The part where he talks about hooking up with girls that he's in love with makes me think
"I hope I didn't give you the wrong answer to that question" means "I want to hook up with you, and I think I might have gotten to hook up with you if I had said "Yes I am in love with you." I still want to hook up with you, but I will only do so if you make the first move."


This was my first thought. I also wondered if he is worried that by hooking up with other girl he has eliminated his chances of hooking up with the OP and is wondering if he jumped in the right direction.

In any case it's all meaningless. You have a boyfriend, presumably you're happy with that relationship. If your friend isn't in love with you then there's no problem. If he is, you are the last person who can help him with that, other than being clear that you are committed to your boyfriend and not interested in him (asking him questions about his feelings for you probably didn't help much on that score). If you are by any chance considering leaving your boyfriend for him, you need to decide quickly as lingering will only make things worse for everyone (and you may have already missed that boat).
posted by *becca* at 5:35 PM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Rather than just call a large chunk of you nuts, I'm gonna take another stab at this:

"... even though he likes to talk to me all the time about this other girl he’s ‘in love’ with[,] I came to the conclusion he might be in love with me..."

He's not the one playing mind games. He's been on the up and up the whole way. "I like this other girl," then he and other-girl get together. "I hope I didn't give you the wrong answer, " because now that he's with this other girl he's wondering if he has to walk on eggshells around the OP. Why? Well, it just so happens that smack dab in the middle of the guy catching other-girl's eye and them getting together, OP chirps up with "Are you in love with me?" Please. Him being with other-girl is not some elaborate ruse. If there's anything to learn from his use of IM where he hasn't before, I he might be distancing himself from someone he's not quite so sure of anymore.

Couple that with OP's "o ya I have a boyfriend to" coda and there's really only one way to interpret this: OP, you want a new boyfriend. Go get one and stop wasting your current guy's time and going mental at your platonic friends.

What is the wrong answer to the question 'are you in love with me?'

The only answer I know is the one I use myself: you don't want to know.
posted by rhizome at 5:37 PM on May 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


I read him differently.

I think he's saying

"I'm confused about my own desires. I have feelings for both you and the girl I just hooked up with. I think that in my heart, I love the other girl, not you, which is what I told you. Given that I am now together with the other girl, I hope my assessment is correct, i.e. that the answer I gave you was the correct one."
posted by escabeche at 6:02 PM on May 3, 2011


180 degrees off topic..

There may not be a wrong answer, but I vote for my (to follow) version for best right answer:


"Of course I am. Who wouldn't be? Why do you ask?"

Ball now in your court. I am off the hook. Maximum ambiguity in my response. All discomfort transferred to you. I can now coy / toy with you at my leisure, whilst you ferret around trying to get to the real answer, which I can deny by admitting, admit by denying, seriously joke about, yada yada.

Your move.
posted by FauxScot at 7:09 PM on May 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


> A few weeks ago, I decided to confront him and ask him if he was ‘in love’ with me

Honestly, it sounds as though you're both at least mildly attracted to one another, but that neither of you yearns desperately to pursue the other.

Also, the fact that you're putting a "love" framework on attraction gives me the sense that you're trying to create a new source of drama and excitement-- probably not in the form of something to run toward, but in the form of something to run away from.
posted by darth_tedious at 8:20 PM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


This thread is awesome. Favorited for how completely all over the map these answers are. See, people, this is why dropping hints doesn't work!

Now to your actual question, my personal interpretation was that he was asking whether you were in love with him, whether "no" was the undesired answer, particularly as it was now becoming clear just how "no" that was. Another way his answer might've been wrong is if it kept you confused, leaving you shocked now to hear of this hook-up. Either way, given the timing, I think his intent was to make sure your friendship was ok despite this hookup.
posted by salvia at 1:43 AM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


There is no wrong answer. It's the question that's wrong. Don't ever ask it. You should never put another person in that awkward spot. If someone loves you, let them figure out how to show it, when they're good and ready. If they ever are.
posted by Decani at 3:19 AM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


The 'wrong' answer depends on you. If you were in love with him, then yes, he gave the 'wrong' answer - obviously the answer isn't actually wrong if he told the truth.

My reading of the situation is that he was being truthful - he isn't in love with you, he is in love with this other girl. He sees you as a really close friend but when it came to sharing details about his hook-up, it occurred to him that had he given the 'wrong' answer (meaning you are in love with him and were hoping for a yes) that sharing the intimate details of the hook-up would be rubbing salt in the wound.

Some people find it hard to accept that men and women can be good friends without either of them being gay or secretly in love with the other. It sounds like your friends are those kind of people.
posted by missmagenta at 5:23 AM on May 4, 2011


I really don't get why what this guy is thinking and feeling is so endlessly fascinating. What matters is what YOU want and what YOU feel. If you're in love with your boyfriend and committed to him, your friend's feelings are his problem and it's better if you leave him to them. If you're in the market, though (and it sounds like you are), then you should just be straight with everybody involved. If YOU want this friend and have non-friend feelings for him, you should just come out with it and break up with your boyfriend. If you're trying to have it both ways--have the security of an established relationship plus the excitement of flirting and hooking up--that's not fair to anybody involved and will only make you all miserable.
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 2:57 PM on May 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


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