How do I create healthy boundaries with this crush?
October 15, 2013 4:06 PM   Subscribe

I happen to still really like a guy-- he doesn't like me back-- but I'm still managing to step over all sorts of boundaries-- any advice on how to reel myself in and act more maturely? More details inside.

Over a month ago, I asked this question.

Fast forward a month and a half later, and well, I'm still doing the thing I was expecting myself to do, read: not getting over this guy in due course.

I'd really like to do my best to nip this in the bud/start behaving in a more reasonable manner around him.

Some details.

1. We are both part of the same social group which meets semi-regularly, so even if I were to cut off all contact, I'd still probably see him in a social setting at least twice a month.

2. I'm relatively new to this town, and at the moment, he is my only somewhat close friend, here. We hang out one-on-one maybe once a week, but I'm trying to cut down on that. I'm afraid that stopping contact with him outside of said above social group may be perceived as somewhat passive-aggressive behaviour.

3. When I told him I liked him, he told me that now was not a good time because he'd recently ended a long-term relationship but that he really liked hanging out with me. As a result I'm holding out on a possibly unrealistic hope that he'd eventually like to date me.

This all came to a point the other evening when we were hanging out with above social group in a pub. I did a couple of things that I'm embarrassed about, such as sitting too close to him and then feeling frustrated and immature when he moved away. Also, as I was getting my coat to leave, he looked over at me (quite often when we go to social gatherings we leave at the same time), and I totally avoided his eye contact and offered only a perfunctory goodbye since he was making no move to leave at the same time.

I feel really immature when I'm around him (events like the one the other night have happened multiple times). I don't like the fact that I feel needy and pushy when I'm around him and like I'm trying to get *something* out of this that clearly isn't there. I'd like to be a grown up, but no matter how many pep talks I have with myself before I know I'm going to see him, I still manage to act in this way.

Any advice on how to be more grown up in this situation? and/or How to feel better about myself so I'm not trying to seek out some sense of validation through him liking me?!
posted by Ocellar to Human Relations (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: In my experience (and there have been, oh, too many of them . . .) the only thing that has helped in this sort of situation is to distance myself from the person as much as possible. May or may not be the best option for you, I don't know but it is just what I have found.

Also, I don't know if I'd think about it as being a grown up or not (although I have a tendency to put it in those terms in my head myself) but more a case where you need to acknowledge to yourself that you like him as more than a friend, that this feeling is valid and okay to have, and that the current dynamic is not working for you. Then think about what might need to change for it to work.
posted by thesnowyslaps at 4:19 PM on October 15, 2013 [5 favorites]

You really, really need to stop hanging out one-on-one with this guy for a while. It sucks that he's one of your semi-close friends in a new city, but use the time that you used to be hanging out with him to try other new things - yoga, crafts, book clubs, etc. where you can meet new people and extend your social group.

I'm afraid that stopping contact with him outside of said above social group may be perceived as somewhat passive-aggressive behaviour.

This is absolutely not passive aggressive; this is setting healthy boundaries for yourself so that you can get over him, so you can possibly be friends with him later. Healthy friendships are not based on the possibly unrealistic hope that he'd eventually like to date you.
posted by Paper rabies at 4:21 PM on October 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The bad news: if you had a chance, you've probably squandered it. Although, if it's any consolation, you probably never had a chance. "I just got out of a LTR" translates pretty much literally to "I'm not interested in dating you, but that's hard to tell someone right to their face, so I'm going to stop short of saying that explicitly."

The good news: in this way, HE is being immature, afraid of being "mean" or whatever and incorrectly thinking that this response would be BETTER for the two of you socially, when the thing that would have been REALLY helpful would have been to say, in no uncertain terms, "I am not interested in dating you. *shrug*. Sorry. I kinda feel like a dick for saying that, but it's the truth." Boom. No more uncertainty. Awkwardness averted. Life moves on. Who wants a drink?

[I know these things because I've been that guy before]

Does that help dispel any of your infatuation with him? Because he was pretty dumb in the way he shot you down. Just sayin.

Don't try to act like a person who is not hung up on this guy. Act like a person who understands that it is in their own best interest to create some distance from him.

Don't hang out with him one-on-one. Don't sit next to him. If you find that you are strongly drawn to HIM HIM HIM in these group settings, fight that impulse, and try to get more deeply involved in whatever conversation/activity is around. You can't have him. That's what you gotta tell yourself. He is not available to you.

These things aren't passive-aggressive exactly. They could be perceived as such, yes, but that doesn't make it true. The good news is, if you do it for you, your own well-being, and not to get a rise out of him, people pick up on that, and they will respect that about you.
posted by Team of Scientists at 5:18 PM on October 15, 2013 [4 favorites]

I think you just really need to accept your feelings, and I mean all of them, not just the crushy ones.

It's ok that you feel immature and weird around him. It's totallly ok, and totally normal, and he may not even notice that much ('cause he's not in your head) and feeling immature and weird is just part of liking someone a whole lot and the best way to get over that is to get over yourself, and by that I mean basically to validate yourself.

Sure, you can hang out him less, but this will happen again with someone else sooner or later. Plus, when I get to know a person a bit better, I find it helps me get over them. I may still always feel an attraction, but the frienship is more important than a whim.

I know it feels horrible to feel so vulnerable and unable to control your reactions, but I swear you - you making it worse by judging yourself!

Laugh it off. When you see him, and you avert your eyes or sit far away instead of sitting close, just think to yourself "Look at you! You're so funny when you're crushing, ha! Silly you, it's all good, just relax, it'll get better"

Ok, you so like him a lot! He does't like you back! Cool! Pretty soon you'll meet someone who likes you back and wow he'll be a lucky fellow! There's nothing wrong with liking someone a lot! It's the best compliment! Cause you totally rock! You see? There's nothing to feel awkward about!

That's the way this grown-up handles her crushes.
posted by Locochona at 6:06 PM on October 15, 2013 [3 favorites]

I bet you'd have healthy boundaries if you had some new places to focus your energies. Have you been meaning to pick up a new hobby? Have you considered trying some online dating to meet new people?
posted by mmascolino at 7:39 PM on October 15, 2013

You need to stop having any contact with him. Yes, even if he is your only "friend" and you will die of lonely without him. You won't get over him until he's gone, and you are just sitting around waiting for him to cave in and date you now. Which is uncomfortable for everyone.

* if you want to fuck him, he's not actually a friend.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:48 PM on October 15, 2013

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