Drop that zero and get with the hero
October 15, 2005 5:22 PM   Subscribe

If the woman of my affections has been dating some other guy for a year -- a relationship she has said is "not that serious," in frequent playful e-mails to me -- what strategy is smarter? Stay in a queue until she becomes available? Ask what's up? Steal her away? Can anyone share successful or unsuccessful ploys to turn the other guy into the Baxter, when the woman involved is a pretty neat friend you'd like to avoid losing?

Background for this specific situation:

I met her a year ago, in an online dating forum. When we met, she dropped this "there's this other guy" bomb on me, yet wanted to keep in touch. I really did try to avoid the stupidity of swooning over someone who isn't single. Only she just wouldn't stop e-mailing me, so I finally relented and got back in touch. Now I've become addicted to her sweetness, just as I feared.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Whatever you do, do not miss this recent AskMe discussion "She knows I have feelings for her which she doesn't reciprocate, but she won't leave me alone." in which many people offer explanations as to why a girl who is not that into you might continue to stay in touch in a pretty relentless way. I have no idea what is up with the girl you are interested in, but people in that thread seemed to think it was a not uncommon occurence, the "I have a fella [or I am not interested] but I continue to email/call you"
posted by jessamyn at 5:37 PM on October 15, 2005

If she does it with you, she'll do it to you. Think about whether you want to be in a relationship with someone who does this sort of pseudo-cheating.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 6:10 PM on October 15, 2005

Or, more to the point, would you ever really be able to trust her, knowing what she is up to now? Sounds like you are better with her as a friend and forgetting anything else. Which is easier said than done, of course.
posted by dg at 7:01 PM on October 15, 2005

Bad premise: you must be willing to lose the friend if you want to convert her into a girlfriend. You are likely to lose the friendship if she declines to become your girlfriend -- and you almost certainly lose it if she becomes your girlfriend and you subsequently break up.

It's not necessarily stupid to swoon over someone who's not single. Some women just don't like to be single -- for them, having a boyfriend is no indicator that they wouldn't trade up if given the opportunity. As for as your own ethics, while it's dishonerable to pursue a married woman, an unmarried woman is fair game. If her boyfriend can't keep her, he doesn't deserve her.
posted by MattD at 7:28 PM on October 15, 2005

I'm sure there's a reason our society is set up the way it is, but it sure does cause alot of confusion and frustration.

Each of us, boys and girls alike (I won't say men and women, because we're talking about men and women acting like boys and girls), prefers to know where they stand with members of the pool from which they select lovers. Even those of us who've made a lifelong commitment to someone. Both boys and girls also like to have lots of friends, but sexual politics often make this somewhat of a challenge. If you form a deep friendship with someone to whom you're attracted, there is always the fear that an attempt to escalate the relationship will destroy it.

We simply don't have a framework for letting people know how we really feel. I'm guessing, though I've never tried it, that simple honesty along the lines of "I really value your friendship, but were (your|my) circumstances different, well, white-on-rice, you know?" Were we really all adults, most languages would have a word for "I enjoy your company, respect your world view, consider your opinions valuable, and I think about you when I masturbate."

In your case, it seems like you're definately receiving signals inviting you to tip your hand. Some people don't like to be single ever, and will hang out with someone until something better comes along. Some may consider that a "danger sign, " but a big part of relationships is experimentaion.

So, maybe try gentle hints, see if you get encouragement, and be more and more explicit (Though the "white-on-rice" line is mine, dig?)
posted by jimfl at 7:39 PM on October 15, 2005 [3 favorites]

Carrie Fisher, in When Harry Met Sally
posted by mecran01 at 7:50 PM on October 15, 2005

A fair number of women do this. For most of them, it's a self-esteem boost to have men wanting them. Some of them do it sort of unintentionally, not realizing the signals they are sending. But for most of them it's intentional.

Run. At best, you're wasting your time. If she wanted to be with you, she'd be with you. At worst, she's a real $#@^%%^$ who's playing you coldly. How many others is she calling right now?
posted by jellicle at 7:54 PM on October 15, 2005

Don't just stay in the queue. Match her playful tone and tell her that if Mr. Not-that-seriousever becomes Mr. No-longer-in-the-picture, you want to be the first to know. If she says "Oh, we can get together now, there's no harm in it," tell her again.... let me know whan he's a thing of the past, and then, well, ugly-on-an-ape (to borrowjimfl's charming approach).

You don't know what's going on in the background. The other guy might be crazy for a girl who's playing him. Or maybe he's kind of waiting for someone better to come along, too.
posted by wryly at 7:56 PM on October 15, 2005

The original question asked about strategies to get her, and whether it was a good idea, not if the woman was being disingenuous in pursuing a friendship. And why for that matter, is it wrong (or viewed suspiciously) to pursue friendships of the opposite sex while in a relationship? jimfl really had the most insightful stance to post. Maybe I'm wrong for not interpreting "playful" as "flirtatious" or "leading on" (though what was she doing in dating chat room?).
posted by artifarce at 8:12 PM on October 15, 2005

The key is to "be cool." Obviously she somewhat "pervades" your mind, but let it go. Women don't like guys who hunt them down. If you want to test her interest level ... lay off for a while, then you'll have a better idea of where you stand. Dig?

It's all a game kids.
posted by AllesKlar at 12:41 AM on October 16, 2005

My 2c:

Keep your friendship, and play the field. If she's really interested, it will all sort itself out in the end throught the aegis of fate. If she ain't, you haven't wasted years of your life.

Oh, I'm male,30s, married with 2 kids. Sometimes I regret past lost opportunities (from my single days), but have never sought opportunities to assuage these past regrets. Just to give you some context for my advice.

Oh, and kudos for jimfl for:
Were we really all adults, most languages would have a word for "I enjoy your company, respect your world view, consider your opinions valuable, and I think about you when I masturbate."
posted by singingfish at 1:27 AM on October 16, 2005

Are you willing to share her with this other person? I've gotten a lot more by not insisting on having everything all to myself.
posted by davy at 6:04 PM on October 16, 2005

« Older Notify my OS X computer's screen when jobs are...   |   Clothes maketh the man? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.