What is a man? A miserable little pile of secrets.
August 29, 2006 8:51 PM   Subscribe

RelationshipFilter (sorry!): I've become entangled in a complex 'relationship', and I'm not sure what to do...

Long story:

In September 2004, I arrive at university. A few days later I meet a very attractive girl who lives in my halls of residence. Over the next week or two we become very good friends and end up spending a lot of time together, watching TV, films, chatting about other friends of ours etc. I very quickly realised I had "feelings" for this girl, oh dear. Then one night I was probably being a bit too obvious and surprisingly she said "Just go ahead and kiss me." Frankly, I hadn't expected that, I considered her well out of my league and was happy at the time to just be a good mate of hers.

So, we fool around for a few nights, but don't tell any of our mutual friends... a few nights turns into a few weeks... still not telling friends. I slept in her room many times (if it's relevant, without sex), creeping out early in the morning to avoid my other friends. I begin to get attached, uh oh. Just before the first holiday she tells me she doesn't want a relationship and we should stop doing things. I feel kinda crushed. I tell her this and end up sleeping there again...

Holiday comes and she phones me all the time, texts and tells me how she misses me and we have long conversations about 'us' on the internet.

Rinse and repeat for 2 more terms.

2nd year of university, we get closer. I still sleep with her, none of my friends know (except one), including my housemates because of our ridiculous "secrecy" thing. We've become closer, she's said she loves me, we've both shared very important things with each other and to all intents and purposes we are a couple.


The problem is, and I've told her often enough, that I'm fed up with the secrecy. I want to be able to walk around holding her hand, or kiss her in public (shock horror). Things she'll happily do when away from our friends and people who know us!

She states that she doesn't want a boyfriend and the "baggage" that goes with it. She wants people to see her as single and not part of a couple. Yet she still wants me to sleep in her bed and be there for her.

I'm being taken for a ride, right? I should probably get out of this situation, but again, problem. I don't want to. She's one of the best things in my life, I love her to bits, and yet there's this issue sitting there driving me mad.

Opinions? Constructive suggestions about talking to her might be useful.

Thanks. (oh, and for the record, we're both around 21)
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (57 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
ugh, she is totally using you. Move right along, young man.
posted by sweetkid at 9:10 PM on August 29, 2006

Yes, you're being taken for a ride. A long one down a dark country road.

If I were you I would get out of it asap. It's not healthy and you can find better. Trust me. You can. While you're busy being her emotional sponge, she's out there having the best of both worlds. You're very young. Move on and find someone who doesn't treat you like dirt.

To put it another way: If you treated someone you really loved with the secrecy she treats you, would you feel good? No, you wouldn't. And yet you are treating yourself just like that. Get out.

PS: In general this whole situation smells like a text book example of someone being cheated on.
posted by Ookseer at 9:11 PM on August 29, 2006

She is perfectly content where you guys are. If you can't take being her dirty little secret anymore, maybe it's time to find a girl that respects you. You could also leave her, this usually drives women crazy and sometimes makes them want to be with you more.

Now, are you a girl as well? If so, I have a shit ton of advice for your situation...drop me a line at the email in my profile. It all boils down to 'straight girls suck, no matter how cute they are on your pillow in the morning.'
posted by nadawi at 9:13 PM on August 29, 2006

I wish I could say something romantic and wonderful about how this might work out as long as you are honest and true, but I can't. You sound wonderful. She does not.

Cut off all ties and tell your one friend that knows that you broke it off. Whenever you feel the need to talk to her, call your friend. Cold turkey.

Do some nice things for yourself-- whatever it is you like to do. Treat yourself to a nice dinner, buy yourself some good books-- in short, remind yourself how valuable and worthwhile you are. She is not at all doing that for you, and yet you deserve it. So do it for yourself.

Good luck, and best to you.
posted by oflinkey at 9:14 PM on August 29, 2006

Yeah - what sweetkid said. And believe me, I totally understand what you're going though - I was you at one point in the not-to-distant past. It really sucks, but its true, and the sooner you can admit that to yourself and move on, the sooner you can be with someone who won't dick you around like that.

She will call you to come "back", and it'll be hard, but you really have to be stubborn about it. I understand that you love her, but two years of this? If her feelings for you aren't mutual by now, they won't ever be (regardless of what she may say).

Also, with all this secrecy, how do you know there's not someone else doing the exact same thing with her?
posted by AlisonM at 9:18 PM on August 29, 2006

First of all dude, I normally wouldn't reply, but GODDAMN that title. Unable to resist.

Look, if she doesn't want to tell people about you, either she 1) is embarassed by you or 2) has another man currently fulfilling the role of boyfriend.

Also, I don't know what's up with sleeping with her on a regular basis and not having sex. That's a punk move, to be brutally honest. If you don't want her playing with your emotions like that, you can't put yourself in situations where it's near-inevitable.

You can try to put your foot down now re: coming clean or losing you, but I think it's far too late for that to end well. I'm thinking this is just going to have to be chalked up as one of those learning experiences you pay for the hard way.

But enough talk. HAVE AT YOU!
posted by sun-el at 9:25 PM on August 29, 2006

I have to say, I love how in every thread in which some young scamp is hung up on another, or moody about love, etc, etc, so many recommendations include taking lessons, cooking, dancing, drinking, knitting, etc. It's great advice. Good to be busy to get over someone. Grab your scuba gear and meet someone new.
posted by sweetkid at 9:26 PM on August 29, 2006 [1 favorite]

Okay, so say there's this hot chick who is willing to have sex with you, sans consequences. The only catch is that you can't tell anyone you've been having sex with said chick.

Do you take the deal? Time's up. Because you have.

While I agree with the above that you need to split from this girl, you should only feel the need to do so emotionally. If you can't do that, then, yes, split completely and evenly and never go there again.

However, if you can do that, then continue to find solace there occasionally, but remember that the hot chick you once found out of your league, isn't. Use that knowledge to fill the sails of your sense of self-worth and get out there and talk to girls. What's the worst that can happen? You get shot down and go home to have sex with the hot chick again.

Seriously, go out there and meet people. Know that if you could be worthy of being used, then you have worth. You know that line "the best revenge is living well"? When you find the hot girl you now know is in your league and get to have PDAs with her, this girl will be naught but a notch on your bedpost.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:26 PM on August 29, 2006 [2 favorites]

This girl is abusing your emotions. You need to set boundaries, and keep them.

This ranges from telling her to go to hell (the no contact rule) to letting her know you still want to date her, providing that she, you know, stops being so secretive about it. I agree, this sounds like a textbook example of cheating, eg, you're that other guy her real boyfriend isn't supposed to find out about.

Good luck with all this. In all likelihood, this won't end well, and you'll have some major heartbreak to deal with. My advice to you: Get it done, get it over with. The more you string it out the more it will hurt.

And by the way, yes, you are capable of dating amazing women. This girl might have been one of them, but now it appears she won't get to have that option of being with her. That's her loss.
posted by Happydaz at 9:35 PM on August 29, 2006

What everyone else said. You won't listen, though, because you're human and you want to believe you live in a world that doesn't suck.

But you'll listen the next time around, after this thing has blown up in your face and left you bitter and jaded.

Or you could fly in the face of all human convention and listen now. It's your call.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 9:42 PM on August 29, 2006 [3 favorites]

Give her an ultimatum: Either she starts treating this like the relationship it is, or you'll bolt for someone who treats you like you deserve to be treated.

To be fair, it's may not be that she's using you on purpose, but that she's got some deep-seated issues. Either way, it's not your problem if she won't act like an adult.
posted by chrisamiller at 9:57 PM on August 29, 2006

Every time you've talked to her about this before, it sounds like you have ended up staying in this crazy relationship. She has no reason to change her ways, because you keep coming back anyway.

University is a great chance to meet lots of people and have fun. You had fun with her, now its no longer fun because she is taking you for granted. Time to move on and find someone else to have fun with. Sorry, I know that sucks. But if you really did have something together, she wouldn't treat you this way. Make it clear when you talk to her, and prepare yourself to walk away.
posted by Joh at 10:02 PM on August 29, 2006

I'm being taken for a ride, right?

You said it yourself. Listen to yourself and do what you know is best.

Teh Internets can tell you "Yes, you deserve more than that," "She's using you," and "Get out of Dodge" until they're blue in their collective faces, but it won't help unless you develop a stronger self-concept, and a greater sense of where you ultimately want to end up in your life. If you're looking for a dead-end relationship with someone who uses you at their convenience and vanishes when you actually need them, by all means, continue.

I suspect that this isn't, in fact, what you want, and that's probably why you're here, posting to Metafilter about it.

I should probably get out of this situation, but again, problem. I don't want to. She's one of the best things in my life, I love her to bits, and yet there's this issue sitting there driving me mad.

Be honest with yourself. Sit down and look in a mirror if it helps, and tell yourself the truth, as kindly but honestly as possible.

You don't have a relationship.

You can't have a relationship with someone who won't have you. And love without trust and kindness and honesty isn't really love.

All that said, you sound like an emotionally sensitive, tender-hearted, caring person. Many, many people are out there right now searching for someone just like you - and they're just waiting to give their whole hearts to claim all the benefits of being with a person like you. You deserve better. Now go out and get it.
posted by eleyna at 10:03 PM on August 29, 2006 [3 favorites]

The advice about looking for someone else while still getting a little on the side from the gal who's messing with you is dangerous. What happens when the sweet new girl finds out? Maybe not a clear-cut situation of 'cheating', but I'd hate to have to explain that to a long-term girlfriend later on.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 10:07 PM on August 29, 2006

She doesn't have another boyfriend.

What she has is plausible deniability, both to him and to you, in case she decides to get one later.

What would happen if you kissed her in public or ran up to her and lifted her up in the air? It might be interesting to find out.
posted by Sallyfur at 10:15 PM on August 29, 2006

You can find a great woman who is willing to admit your her boyfriend. You think this one is so amazing that it's worth it even given her ridiculous conditions, but she isn't. There are others who are both great and willing to have a real relationship. Find one of those.

The tricky part is -- it's damn near impossible to find someone else when you're stuck in a pseudo-relationship with selfish-girl. So you probably have to ditch her before you can move on.

If you're having trouble with ditching her, remind yourself of this: she doesn't think you're good enough for her. She's just using you as a warm body while she waits for someone she'll be proud to show off to her friends. You deserve better.
posted by callmejay at 10:31 PM on August 29, 2006

I had a couple boyfriends treat me this way, though not to the same extent. I was fairly convinced at the time that casual is OK, that I was confident enough not to need public displays of my relationships, that I was mature enough to play it cool. That's just how guys are, right?

Both guys, after breaking up with me, immediately got into extremely public relationships with long-term partners. It had nothing to do with "how they were" and everything to do with them not wanting to be in a real relationship when they were with me.

And now that I've been in relationships where the guy is proud to introduce me as his partner, I'd never go back. As cool as I'd like to think I was in the past, the effort involved in trying to oretend you don't have a relationship is better spent actually *having* a relationship.

And if this is a same-sex coming-out issue... I've still never heard anything good about secrecy. You can't force her out of the closet, but you can certainly demand that you stay out of it.
posted by occhiblu at 10:33 PM on August 29, 2006 [1 favorite]

RUN! Run away from the demon wench!
posted by ostranenie at 10:46 PM on August 29, 2006 [1 favorite]

Uh, it's not completely clear to me that the OP is, in fact, having sex with this girl. He says he would sleep in her room without sex. And later he says that she still wants him to "sleep in her bed." That phraseology isn't dispositive.

If the OP is having sex with her, he needs to either decide he is okay with having illiciit, secret sex with a hottie that may end at any time or, as seems clear, decide that he doesn't want that sort of relationship and for gods sake BREAK IT OFF IMMEDIATELY. This means NOW!

If the OP isn't having sex with her, well, ouch. Congratulations, you are a cuddle bitch

My condolences if this is the case. Worst thing ever.
posted by Justinian at 10:50 PM on August 29, 2006

What happens when the sweet new girl finds out?

Well, when you meet, date, and fall for Sweet New Girl, you drop old'n busted quicker than Pee Wee drops his pants!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:52 PM on August 29, 2006

Give her an ultimatum: Either she starts treating this like the relationship it is, or you'll bolt for someone who treats you like you deserve to be treated.

You know, even while the spirit of this kindof advice is great, if you think of it using the term ultimatum, you're not gonna do it right.

Everybody really oughta understand there's a difference between:

(a) "Do ______ or else I ______!"


(b) "If you can't help with _____, I need to _____."

Subtle, but real. Option A is a threat, and those get people's resistance up and burn bridges. Option B draws a map, orients you and the other person, and helps get everyone ready to travel. Or at least as ready they're gonna get. It's the conversation that makes what you need to do as a result of the situation so obvious that the other person can't blame you for it and might even cheer you on.

Usually, option B is the right thing, unless someone is persistent about actively making your life a living hell. Then threats are about the right speed. :)

And in this case, I don't think your gal has quite worked her way up to actively hurting you. Yeah, some other posters have said they think this situation is just bullshit, and for all I know it might be that way, but I'm gonna go a bit against the flow say you might really have a relationship with this gal. It's just that it's missing a pretty significant piece that healthy long-term relationships eventually have to have (public acknowledgment and willingness to be exclusave are pretty much key). So this relationship can't grow into what you ultimately want until you take that step. It may be good, but it's stuck.

She's told you she's not ready to take that step. Maybe she's using you. Maybe she has good reasons. It might do you some good to find out what some of those are (what does she think will happen that's undesirable if you become exclusive? What does she hope will happen if you don't?)... that might give you something to work with or go on. But it may not do you any good. You may find out that her reasons suck. Or they can't be worked around yet. Or that she doesn't really know what they are. Or that they're all her responsibility and there's nothing you can do.

Whichever one it is, the key is to be prepared to go to her and talk about what you're looking for, without acrimony, and then, if that conversation reveals that you can't get it together now, agree to look for it apart.

(And be ready for that. Really. If you're not, that means you have internal work to do thinking out and planning for the good possilities that start with you walking away -- or you have more to do to work with her. Possibly both. Getting unstuck is often kindof like that.)
posted by namespan at 11:08 PM on August 29, 2006 [1 favorite]

Yes, she is abusing you. No, I don't believe the two of you have a future. Here's my (admittedly, fairly scorched-earthy) advice:

Just go ahead and reveal the whole sordid business to all and sundry. Tell everyone about how good your relationship is. Take her hand when you are out walking. Kiss her and call her by your pet name when you are out with friends.

One of two things will happen: 1. She will flip out and your relationship will be over (hint: it most likely already is). 2. She will cope with it, decide that the negatives of being "outed" (whatever they might be) are not as bad as losing you, and your relationship may just be put on a steadier track. I really don't think she is ready for a committed relationship, but who knows.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:48 PM on August 29, 2006 [1 favorite]

Actually, I quite like Rock Steady's suggestion. Out your relationship as publically as you can and see what happens.

You win either way, really.

Of course doing that will require balls-of-steel. But good luck
posted by cornflake at 11:58 PM on August 29, 2006

Wow, evil. I love it.

Do it, man. Out your relationship!
posted by Justinian at 12:44 AM on August 30, 2006

Nefarious... but I'd say out the relationship as well.
posted by maxpower at 1:06 AM on August 30, 2006 [1 favorite]


Things she'll happily do when away from our friends and people who know us!

makes me think Sallyfur is right.
posted by knapah at 3:15 AM on August 30, 2006

Of course she's using you.

Yes, yes, nothing good or productive will come of this.

Anyway, continue fucking and loving her, but do as she is to you.

Sleep with other women. It will be much healthier (and more fun).

Upsides: sex. With other people. And a nice affirmation.

Downside: she gets pissy. Yeah, you'll have to deal with that, but she's the one who started playing games.

Potential upside: she finds you more attractive having other people want you. She might in fact out the relationship to keep you.

Potential downside: she freaks and dumps you. You lose her. Doesn't sound like a great loss, though.

Cliche: you will love again.

If everything works out, you'll have more love than you can imagine. If it doesn't, you're still up.
posted by converge at 3:36 AM on August 30, 2006

A "real" boyfriend back home, wanting to keep her options open, secretly agreeing with your assessment that she is out of your league and hence being embarassed to be seen as coupled with you, are all plausible. Nice options. The idea that the sole problem is her resistance to the "baggage" of being in a public relationship or being seen as "in a couple" spikes my bullshit meter right off the charts. Nobody here can tell you what's going on with her - but I can tell you the same thing everyone else is: it isn't acceptable and it doesn't have any future.

I think the suggestion of outing the relationship against her will is a bad, bad idea. Whether right or wrong (let's get this straight: it's wrong) the secrecy is a thing you have agreed to be complicit with as a component of your "relationship." You should have it out with her first.

There is really only one sensible option, which is to say to her something to the effect that, I want an actual relationship that is out in the open. Either we go public starting now or it's over between us. If she is not interested though you've got to eliminate intimacy with her entirely, I mean, never be alone with her period. It's clear you're not strong enough to handle it otherwise. Frankly I've got my doubts you're strong enough to take the actions you owe yourself period, but I'm hoping you'll surprise me. Last word of advice: this person is not "one of the best things" in your life. She is one of the worst things in your life, because she is keeping you from the possibility of experiencing one of the best things in life: a grown up relationship with a person who isn't full of shit.
posted by nanojath at 4:19 AM on August 30, 2006

robocop's probably got the right idea, if you can steel yourself to it. Wish I could.

BTW, Fresher's Week is gonna be starting any time now. Hundreds of vulnerable young students, away from home for the first time. Whatever you decide, decide quickly, or all the good ones will be taken.
posted by Leon at 4:38 AM on August 30, 2006

Damn. I was this girl back in college. I had a male best friend who would talk to me all night and sleep next to me in my little twin bed. There was no sex, but there was the awesome thrill of keeping a big secret from friends and sneaking around. In addition, I was on my own for the first time in an environment with lots of boys I relished the male attention. I really didn't want to give that up.

I tried my best to have it all. There is a lot of angst that comes with finding the perfect person before you are ready. Neither of us had a lot of relationship experience and neither of us knew where to draw the line. I will admit that I was oblivious to the turmoil that I caused my best friend. I didn't get an ultimatum, but he eventually let me know how miserable the situation made him. I could choose to keep my single lifestyle or continue to have a relationship with my best friend. I chose the relationship in the end, but not after months of trying to not sleep over or end just the physical part of our relationship. In the end he won because I liked him so much and I was too stupid to realize that without all the young adult drama.

Anyway, if she knows that you are unhappy and continues to want the current situation it will be up to you to break it off. If she wants to choose you she will do it. I know that I needed some time to realize what a good thing I had. If she doesn't come back wanting a non-secret relationship you have a good reason to make a clean break and find someone who will love you openly.
posted by Alison at 5:21 AM on August 30, 2006 [1 favorite]

Two things— First, go after other women. You're in a "secret" relationship, kinda, but let's face it: she's not the one. At least not now. So hey, hit on other people. If anyone asks, you are kinda seeing someone else, but you're not fucking 'em and the relationship is open. She can't complain, as exclusivity is the baggage of a relationship.
As for the secret, well, if your friends are at all perceptive, they know and think you're a dipshit for the secret. I'd stop putting any effort into protecting the secrecy, though I might do that gradually (say, stop lying about where you were, etc. but keep confirming that there isn't a relationship between you two).
You'll probably, at some point, have to have a "define the relationship" talk. But feel free to be as passive-agressive about the whole thing as you'd like, since it's all her being weird. This might not be great advice for the continued frotterism that you seem to be enjoying, but really... there are millions of girls who are happy to talk and confide in you. Fewer that will fuck you, but that's still a huge and growing pool. And of that number that will demand that you keep it secret? Well, unless you're their sibling or are some barely sapient mongoloid with a 24" cock, very few.
posted by klangklangston at 5:51 AM on August 30, 2006

I'm in the 'Out the relationship' camp, suddenly - goddamn MeFites are evil! - and lemme add a touch of (unfortunately) personal experience. I've been in something similar to what you describe. The change from secret to public was like a breath of fresh air - everything about the relationship improved a thousandfold. Then we split up - because I didn't want to be in the real relationship after all. No matter how much better it was, I wasn't kidding when I protested that things should be 'just between us.' Awful, I know, but...

This girl's fucking you over, of course. And there's a good chance that when you out the relationship she's gonna bail out or worse, because suddenly the central emotional Thing in her life is gonna get bent and twisted way out of shape, at the middle of all her social happenings. I'm disinclined to believe that things are salvageable, but if they are, they'll be salvaged out in the open. Give her an ultimatum, tell everyone what's been going on. Go BIG and let this be one of those bizarre signal events in your life. Do the upheaval dance, hell with it! You'll learn more from asserting yourself that way than you can imagine, and she'll probably pick up a little something too.

But be prepared for her to go, man. Take up a project, spend a few weekends out with friends and not her. The situation as it is will poison you, but how many people get the chance to make an Across the Board restart of things from a position of total moral superiority? ;v) Consider your proprioception and willingness to consider a change, a gift.
posted by waxbanks at 5:56 AM on August 30, 2006 [1 favorite]

To clarify: I was her in the relationship.

Hence my thirst for righteous, hilarious vengeance!
posted by waxbanks at 5:58 AM on August 30, 2006

Oh man, you are every single one of my best friend's relationships in one handy-dandy MeFi question. Whee!

I don't think she's got anyone else, but I do agree with this: secretly agreeing with your assessment that she is out of your league and hence being embarrassed to be seen as coupled with you. I also think she wants to keep her options in open in the hope that someone "better-suited" (notice I didn't say "better") comes along. If she's seen as being coupled, that hot guy in her history class can't sweep her off her feet.

Two other possibilities: she can't bear to let you down so she keeps your around and/or you're excellent for her ego. Both can tie into the statements above or be a separate reason for the behavior. Take your pick.

At first I agreed with everyone on outing it, but what will that solve? At best, you'll be coupled with someone that didn't want to be seen in public with you, and at worst, she'll deny it or dump you. Makes it pretty clear to me that she's not going to be what you want her to be. I'm really sorry. There are plenty of people out there that won't do this to you...good luck.

p.s. You may want to read "He's just not that into you" or something similar. I sent it to my best friend and it helped.
posted by ml98tu at 6:33 AM on August 30, 2006

I'm not sure she's so evil, but it sure doesn't sound like you're getting what you want. I wonder if she is?
posted by OmieWise at 6:39 AM on August 30, 2006

Another question to ask yourself: if (by some miracle of nature, my own scorched-earth notwithstanding) this actually does turn into an actual relationship, would you be able to forgive her for treating you this way for so long, or would you continue to resent her?

If you'd continue to resent her, might I suggest that even getting what you want would not lead to getting what you want.
posted by softlord at 6:54 AM on August 30, 2006

You're having sex with someone who you think is out of your league. That might not happen too often. If you can live with just that status, enjoy being a friend with privileges. And do this while you're actively looking for someone else.

Who's using whom then?
posted by plinth at 7:12 AM on August 30, 2006

Here's my advice.

If you're 21, and at University, and something seems like even remotely a pain in the ass, then get out.
posted by jon_kill at 7:25 AM on August 30, 2006 [1 favorite]

another vote for 'cuddlebitch'. it doesn't look good, but you already know that. try to let go, you're 21, this is not the end of the world
posted by matteo at 7:28 AM on August 30, 2006

I hate to totally go against popular opinion on this one, because I agree that it sounds like you're getting taken for a ride, but...

This is almost exactly how my current relationship of two+ years began. The deal: the boy had had his heart broken and wasn't ready to admit he was in a relationship yet for fear of getting his heart broken again. [If you are never her "boyfriend," you can never break up with her.]

We are now perfectly happy together, plan to marry and have ten thousand babies or whatever, yadda yadda.

However, the only thing that got me was that you said she wanted to be able to tell other people she was single. The boy in my situation, however, just wanted to keep it a secret so that it wouldn't get back to his crazy-ass ex, for whom he was still unsure of his feelings.

I guess what I am saying is, she a] may not be abusing your feelings or b] may not know she is doing it. She may really, honestly, truly be confused.
posted by starbaby at 7:46 AM on August 30, 2006

she wants to tell people she's single and doesn't want the baggage associated with a "relationship". she's afraid of something, she wants something, but she also wants the security that comes from being with someone who obviously cares for her and fills some emotional need she has. but it's tearing you up and that's not fair to you.

stop sleeping over. you can still talk to her, you can still have in your life, but stop sleeping over. you've already told her that you don't want the secrecy but you're still around. it's okay to want what you want, just stand up for it.

this girl isn't out of your league, if she was, you wouldn't be in this situation in the first place. obviously you can get someone interested in you that's of her "quality". stop believing that she's out of your league because no one really is.

you just need to believe that it's okay to want things and it's okay to try and get it. you obviously want to be in a relationship and there is nothing wrong with that. just back up what you say with actions. if you're not willing to do that, then maybe you're not really ready for a relationship with this girl either. relationships involve risk; you risk staying with her and you risk what happens if you move on. why be with someone who is unwilling to take a risk on you?
posted by Stynxno at 8:15 AM on August 30, 2006 [1 favorite]

I personally vote for the plinth solution!
posted by Mr. Gunn at 8:22 AM on August 30, 2006

Addendum to Stynxno—
I would say that he should still have sex with her, but leave right afterwards. Boyfriends spend the night. Fuckbuddies don't.
posted by klangklangston at 8:22 AM on August 30, 2006

in a nutshell: no healthy relationship leaves you feeling used like this. doesn't matter if her motivations are good, bad, or other.

outing the relationship pleases my inner mustache-twirling villain, but it's probably going to lead to some drama. if that's your thing, let the fireworks fly.

but if you want to spare the histrionics, plainly and assertively tell her you have to move on for your own sake. from the way you've posed this question, it sounds like you know what the answer is already. so trust your instincts, and the advice of total stangers on the internet, and break it off before it really does make you crazy.
posted by sonofslim at 8:25 AM on August 30, 2006

very well put klangklangston. i agree.
posted by Stynxno at 8:29 AM on August 30, 2006

One other possibility comes to mind. If the OP is of a different nationality, religion, race or class than the girlfriend it's possible the girlfriend is worried about her parents/peers not approving.

In which case publicly outing the relationship would be cruel.
posted by Mitheral at 8:53 AM on August 30, 2006

Life is too short to hang with mean people.

Do you want to be with a girl that is embarrassed to be seen with you? It sounds like this girl has a lot of growing up to do.
Do yourself a favor and gain some self-respect. Give her an ultimatum. Be nice, but play it cool and be blasé. Don't do as much as hug her until she can make up her mind if you are good enough for her.
I will bet you anything that she will look back and cringe that she was such a twit, and didn't give you the respect you deserved. If she doesn't, then you did yourself a favor, because this girl doesn't have a heart.
You sound like a great guy, and quite the catch. There are lots of girls waiting to meet you that are just as beautiful - but nicer. Good luck.
posted by LoriFLA at 9:15 AM on August 30, 2006

Pff no she thinks she's better than you. That happened to me once, then I slept with a girl who was incredibly hot and a model who didn't have all kinds of baggage (when you make your living being good looking you have nothing to prove to people). She's shallow, though I would at least have sex with her before you stop seeing her. My advice? Seeing as how she's incredibly shallow and mean, use her as a booty call. She's apparently okay with this. Actively try to get in a relationship/score or whatever with other girls. Keep her on the side. To me this looks like a great deal if you can work it out. People won't see you as a couple (since no one knows about it) meaning other girls aren't afraid to approach you (don't be a douche bag though, and drag someone else in the middle of this -- know when to cut it off). You can be quite the player if you play your cards right. Turn this around from her using you to both of you mutually using each other. To me she's already demonstrated perfect booty call material. It sounds like an asshole thing to do, but from what you describe I would not say it is immoral.
posted by geoff. at 9:23 AM on August 30, 2006

Wow that was a grammatically horrible response. Sorry for the stream of conscience style -- you get the idea though.
posted by geoff. at 9:34 AM on August 30, 2006

Here is my guess. How close am I?

You are a sensitive guy and a good listener. You are nice and considerate about the feelings of others.

Shut up. Yes you are. Enough with the "out of my league nonsense."

I am also guessing that she either:
(A) Has another guy.


(B) is holding out for one.

If it is A, I am guessing he is not the listener and friend that you are. Let's face it, you are willing and able to sleep with her without sleeping with her. That puts you into some pretty rare company as far as guys go.

I mean, really, how much more patient, understanding, and kind could you be?

You are a good guy. And there is someone out there (Hush. Yes there is). Who will be deep and not shallow and appreciate all the things about you the current woman is ignoring, and she will kiss you in the middle of the street, hold your hand everywhere you go, call you when you are away, and tell all her friends all about you so much her friends will secretly want to smack her while silently knowing how lucky it is.

And when this happens, it will be worth, many times over, every single moment of anguish you feel for telling this one good-bye. And this one someday, will realize what she missed out on with you.

In short: There is nothing better than being in a romantic relationship with your best friend, and this woman is not treating you like a friend.
posted by 4ster at 10:13 AM on August 30, 2006

I wouldn't out the relationship but I'd suggest you tell her you care about her and want to be with her but the secrecy makes you feel dirty and sad. You'll continue things but you won't continue to sneak. If she's ashamed of what's come before then you'll honor that but you're not going to go on.

Then stick to your guns. You don't have to stop being With Her - though it would hurt less, overall - but stop cuddling and mooning.

Really, it's the fair thing to do. I don't think she's doing right by you but you DID agree and play along. Retroactively changing the rules is shitty and being shitty to someone isn't excused just because they've been shitty to you.
posted by phearlez at 10:40 AM on August 30, 2006

She's holding out for better. Trust me, I had it done to me for 5 straight years by someone. Turned out that 'better' was my best friend. Consequently I don't know either of them anymore.

She's not evil but she is using you. She wants all the good stuff that is there now but not the sex and certainly not any sort of commitment.

You need to back this off now, trust me, it's win/win, either you back off and she realizes she wants to be with you for real or you back off and move on with your emotional life.
posted by Cosine at 11:26 AM on August 30, 2006

Your query reads as if English is not your native language. So there could well be something to the idea that she just would not want to be seen in public with you. That is a problem for her; it should not be for you. Drop her like a rock.
posted by megatherium at 3:12 PM on August 30, 2006

How does it strike you as sounding as though the original poster doesn't speak English natively? American English isn't the only variety, you know -- English English uses the phrase "arrive at university" the same way we'd say "get to college." ; )

As for advice, I'm just going to say from experience, never deal with any girl who isn't willing to admit in public that she's into you. It means she's looking for someone better and doesn't want to have to worry about looking bad in the eyes of her peers when she dumps you like a sack of hot potatoes for the first "better" guy to come along.
posted by DoctorFedora at 10:07 PM on August 30, 2006

Sometimes it takes years for a woman to learn how to set boundaries effectively. When I was in college, about a thousand years ago, I did something very similar to a guy. He was someone I liked very much as a friend. I wanted to go out dinner with him, and see movies with him, and gossip with him-- essentially, I wanted him to be a male galpal. Unfortunately for both of us, he had other ideas.

I kept hoping that his attraction to me would wane, or that something would happen to allow me to start feeling something back. I wound up kissing him because it felt inevitable, then I spent months wanting to want him and not really being able to. Since I still liked him as a friend, I cuddled with him and let him stay the night, figuring that he should be happy because I was at least I was giving him something. I had absolutely no idea how condescending and awful it was to think of him that way.

I wasn't playing him intentionally, and it wasn't that I thought I was better than he was-- it's just that the person he was when he was gazing moonily into my eyes felt wrong, wrong, wrong, even though the person he'd been before the crush showed up had felt pretty decently right. I'd never an experience like that before, and I didn't know how to deal. I wound up being secretive about the relationship, just like your gal is being. In part, that was because I was keeping my options open, but it mostly because I felt guilty. I was sure our friends, upon finding out, would immediately coalesce into some sort of horrible grand jury d'amore and demand to know why I didn't want him for a boyfriend. And even I didn't know, really, why I didn't want him for a boyfriend. I just didn't.

All of which is a very long way of saying, there's no way to know why she's doing this. She herself may not know. The one thing you can know with certainty is that you deserve far better than you're getting. Leave this one, and go out and find yourself a girl whose breath catches when she looks at you.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 12:58 AM on August 31, 2006

I am not anonymous. I was emailed and asked to post this update for him.

1) When I said no sex, I didn't mean no sexual contact. Up to but not including full sex would be a reasonable description. This is in part due to her beliefs by the way.
2) I think sallyfur has it right when she says it's plausible deniability, I know for a fact there's no one else (at university at least, at home, who knows)
3) I'm male. So no coming out issue unfortunately.
4) It's good to hear the other side of the story (Alison)
5) Thanks for all the responses, I'm going to back off. Still be in the picture, but cut off the sexual aspect and the sleeping together stuff and tell her (in the "if you can't ____ then i'm gonna ____" way) that I'm fed up with the situation and she has to decide what she wants
6) Megatherium: English is my native language, but it's more that I was typing in quite a stream of consciousness way. Heh.

Thanks again, I'm definitely going to try the backing off thing. If she wants me (properly) I'll be there, she just needs to get over her own issues.
posted by nadawi at 11:51 PM on August 31, 2006

Cheers! You've made the right choice.

But, you can't just "try the backing off thing."

It's going to hurt like hell, but you must stick to your guns. Good luck.
posted by spork at 11:11 AM on September 3, 2006

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