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Thread: Uncomfortable situation.

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    Default Uncomfortable situation.

    I'm going to apologize in advance because this is such a long post.

    I'm good friends with a guy I went to college with. Unbeknownst to me, he apparently had a crush on me all four years of college. The reason why I didn't know that was because during those four years, he never once spoke to me. Even when we were in the same class, and doing group projects together. I noticed he stared at me a lot, but I didn't think much of it. Finally, about three days before graduation, he stopped me outside of my dorm and told me that, since he figured we'd never see each other again, he wanted me to know that he thought I was beautiful. I was flattered, gave him a hug, and said thank you. Since I had a boyfriend at the time, it never went farther than that.

    We didn't speak again until almost a year later, when he found me on MySpace. We messaged back and forth for awhile, graduated to talking online, and some months later met up at our alma mater for a couple of hours when I had to go up to visit an old professor about grad school and he went to visit some friends still on campus. I was never interested in dating him - while he was very funny, and a nice guy, he always struck me as a bit on the needy side. I enjoyed talking with him, but somehow I knew that a relationship with him would drive me insane. At the time (winter 2005/2006), I'd just been hurt by another guy, and had made it clear to him in casual conversation (just in case) that I wasn't looking for anybody. I figured since he was in Pennsylvania and I was in Tennessee, he wasn't interested in anything more than a friendship, either. I was wrong.

    In the summer of 2006, I'd started seeing the guy who's now my ex, and I brought him up in conversation a few times, as I was pretty crazy about him. I talked about going to visit him in D.C., how we'd hit it off, etc. Honestly, I didn't think it would bother him, since I thought there was nothing more between us than friendship. As it turns out, I was wrong about that, too.

    I'm not sure he realized that, since I was his "friend" on MySpace, I was able to read the stuff he posted up there. I'd never really looked at it much until around that summer (some posts of his I'd read before were always complaints about something in life, and usually very emo - I couldn't take much of that). However, one day, I looked at it more in depth, and discovered that this entire time, he'd thought we were starting up a relationship together. For months, he had posted (for all his friends to see) his complaints about not talking to me enough, over analyzing why I would suddenly disappear online (usually because of computer problems), fretting about whether the reason why I hadn't talked to him in a few days was because he'd done something stupid, when really it was because I had a full-time job and a life.

    He complained over and over again about how he didn't think I was putting as much effort into the relationship, how he didn't understand the mixed signals I was sending him, and then once my most recent ex came into the picture, he became angry and resentful with me, wondering why I could take the time to go see a guy who lived in D.C., but never would put forth the extra effort to go see him in Pennsylvania. Especially when he had taken the time to see me when I visited our old campus. He had never mentioned any of this to me when we talked - he'd always acted like everything was fine. And, I repeat, he had told me that he was visiting campus to see friends.

    I was shocked when I found out how much he hated that I mentioned Charlie to him, how I was so insensitive after he was so sure there was a deep connection between us. I was so angry with him. All this time, I hadn't (or so I thought) made it seem like I wanted a relationship with him - I never flirted back when he flirted with me, I never crossed the "friendship" line with sexual comments, etc., and moreover, I had made it clear right off the bat that I wasn't interested in dating. I guess I had just assumed that he wanted to be my friend, too. Nothing more. Suddenly, I was responsible for his deep bouts of depression, low self-esteem, and endless worrying about the state of "us." I felt a little used - as though he had only been pretending to be my friend because he had ulterior motives. I'd had men treat me like that before, and I hated it. Especially because I didn't think I was giving any signs that I was interested in more - I just TALKED to him! Talking is not equal to romance.

    I never told him how angry I was with him - I didn't want to make an uncomfortable situation even more uncomfortable. I talked to him less and less for awhile, until he finally started telling me about "falling in love" with a couple of other women that he could never have a relationship with - one because she was married (which caused another self-esteem downward spiral I had to help him out of), and the other because he never spoke to her, and then he was angry with her when he found out she had a boyfriend of her own.

    In the past eight or so months, I feel like we've acutally become friends without any of the misunderstandings. He admitted that he had a crush on me for awhile, and I told him how oblivious I am to things like that. I've been there to listen to him and talk him through his latest "love crisis" (he's now in love with a girl in his program who's been in a relationship for four years already - same pattern).

    However, ever since he found out that Charlie was out of the picture, he's upped the flirting and the flattery. Now that he's a theater student in Florida, he's been asking me to come down and visit and see him in a play. I'm suddenly uncomfortable again. If he were someone I trusted to be an actual, platonic friend without any ulterior motives, I'd be happy to do it. With him, though, I feel more pressured. I know that he's a good, moral guy, and he wouldn't pressure me into anything, but I would feel as though I were "leading him on" if I did go down there. I'm feeling bad because I never give him a straight answer, and try to dodge the subject. It's another very uncomfortable situation - I'd hurt his feelings if I didn't visit him, and I know I'd hurt his feelings if I did and nothing came of it. I value him as a friend, but there is absolutely no way I could ever be interested in more than that, even if I tried. I'm way too independent and he's way too needy, and the next thing I know, he'd be up posting blogs fretting about whether we were going to have sex or not, like he did with the last girl he dated.

    Have I done something wrong by being his friend? Should I have known all along how he felt, even if he never told me? I've never been good at picking up on things like this, but I feel as though I've been responsible for a lot of the downs in his life, and a lot of his low self-esteem, though I'm sure that a lot of it was well in place long before he ever knew I existed. I don't like that. I enjoy having platonic male friends, and I have several that honestly don't want any more from me, and I treat them like my brothers. I though I was doing the same with him, but now I'm wondering if I've been doing him wrong by feeling that way.

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    Kelley, how in the world were you supposed to just magically know that this guy was thinking you two were embarking on a relationship. You told him many times (whether it was just casual conversation or not) that you weren't interested in anything more than just a friendship.

    You said that in the past 8 months you feel like you've actually become JUST friends with him. Why do you feel that way? How is this time any different than the last time? If he's started to up the ante my flirting and such, I say you need to be careful. I also think he needs to be gently reminded that you two are friends and nothing more. If you go visit him in Florida, I'd probably bet that he has an ulterior motive. He speaks about other girls he's "falling in love with" to make you think he doesn't have feelings for you anymore.

    Please don't take the weight of being responsible for the downs in his life or his low self-esteem. You didn't lead him on. Whatever he thought the two of you had was created BY HIM and only him. Don't let him make you feel badly as you did nothing wrong.

    Does his friendship add anything to your life or does it bring more bad than good?
    "Some love stories aren't epic novels, some are short stories. But, that doesn't make them any less filled with love." ~ Carrie Bradshaw


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    Thanks, Jen. I was wondering how I was supposed to be a mind reader myself, but when it comes to men being interested me, I'm so oblivious to it that it's almost comic.

    I have no doubt that he legitimately has feelings for all these women he talks about - he just seems to pick the ones he can't have, but still hangs onto them with all his might even if they're married, in a relationship, etc. I think I need to stress the fact that he's a theater major. Drama - even if it's purely internal - is kind of his thing.

    His friendship has brought a lot of good to me, though, despite all of that. He was a very comforting person to talk to when my parents divorced 2 years ago, could give me a boost whenever I was feeling really nervous about something (like applying to grad school), and really can make me laugh. Since he was also an English major in college, I can talk about literature with him in-depth and not feel like I'm boring him to death like I do with a lot of my friends.

    All that being said, I'm reluctant to go down to Florida just to see him. Given his past behavior, my gut tells me he'll read WAY too much into it, and I won't feel comfortable sleeping at his place (even if it's just on the couch by myself) or anything like that. And part of me wonders if he'd like me there to make this girl he's currently secretly in love with jealous somehow. I like Florida and I like theater and all, but if I went, I'd take a friend and stay in a hotel.

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    I'm never being honest with people again. I swear, it always backfires on me when I do.

    Someone suggested that my friend go to counseling. I think it's a fabulous idea, since he's not doing so well (what with all the lovelorn-ness and such), and I had a good talk with him about whether or not he should go. I didn't want to say what I really wanted to say, which was, "FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, PLEASE GO!" But I did tell him that the decision was his to make, there's nothing to be afraid of or ashamed of if he did go, and that, regardless of what he decided to do, he should start focusing more on him to get himself in a good place. Yup! I'm spreading the Love Logic Philosophy to my friends in trouble!

    Fast forward to today. He starts making noise about me visiting him in Florida again. I'm still uncomfortable with this, as I'm terrified of being misunderstood. So, I finally decided to tell him that I was uncomfortable, and why. I told him I was afraid that my intentions would be misunderstood, and I'd end up feeling like a jerk. I said that I seem to have a habit in my life of inadvertently hurting men by wanting to be friends with them, when they apparently want something more from me. And that I knew I'd done it to him without realizing it, and felt very bad about myself for a long time. Then I just decided to get it out in the open that I'd read through his blog once, and couldn't look at it again and avoided talking to him for awhile because I'd felt so bad (and angry, but mostly guilty). The mood seemed to shift after that.

    He started telling me that he brough it on himself, hoping that - just for once - an attractive woman would be romantically interested in him, but I wasn't and that wasn't my problem. Everything he said to me seemed embittered and self-pitying. I apologized, and told him that I don't like being the bad guy with the men I befriend, and that's not what I'm trying to do here. This whole "I come off looking like a tease" thing has happened several times before, and I hate it. I enjoy being friends with men because I GENUINELY like them. I didn't realize it was unnatural for me to want to hang out with a guy and not sleep with him. I swear, with men, I'm either the bad guy or they treat me like poo. I just can't win with them.

    He went on to say that he's taking my advice and focusing on himself, and therefore cannot be someone to lean on for support anymore. He seemed to think I was irritated with him for this, but I wasn't. I was disturbed by the coldness of it, is all. I'd gotten a similar speech with the same coldness not long ago - the night my ex broke up with me.

    I told him I understood his need to focus on himself, and said that I'd leave him be so he'd be able to do that. I think he misunderstood me and thought I was angry with him, and I told him (several times) that I was not, but I didn't want to keep him from doing what he needed to do, so he could talk to me when he wanted to, but I wasn't going to bug him. He ended the conversation on a very frosty note.

    I think everyone on this forum knows that you can focus on you without becoming so cold to everyone else. But, I was that horrible woman who "teased" him and ultimately called him on his behavior, so I guess I deserve it. I'll be honest - I'm a lot more sensitive than I make myself out to be, and it hurts me when people are supposedly good friends of mine shut me out like that, as though it's all my fault - as though I've let them down. Perhaps being his friend was not a good idea in hindsight, seeing as I seem to have caused him all this pain by not giving him what he wanted me to give him. I admit I was aware that he had these feelings, but at the same time I figured he'd get over it fairly quickly, seeing as there are a zillion other women out there who are FAR more attractive than I am for him to fixate on. Perhaps part of it stemmed from me just always thinking that men never had any reason to want to be anything more than friends with me - I'm a bit socially awkward, I drink beer and belch loudly, I don't think I'm very pretty, and I'm certainly not the flirtatious type who jerks a guy around for my own entertainment only the go home with someone else at the end of the night. So why does this sort of thing happen to me so often?

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    Awwww Kelley, I'm so sorry he misunderstood your friendship. I definitely don't think it was your fault.
    Quote Originally Posted by OhManINeedCoffee View Post
    I never flirted back when he flirted with me, I never crossed the "friendship" line with sexual comments, etc., and moreover, I had made it clear right off the bat that I wasn't interested in dating.
    If it had me I would have been able to read this as you just wanting to be friends. About a year and half ago there was a girl who I sort of had a bit of a crush on. She was very cool and funny, and we got along very well. She did almost exactly what you had described there. We actually did hang on a few times but I think we both knew that there wasn't anything "more" there. We did remain friends though and even still went to movies and such every so often. I guess what I'm getting at is that while I don't think it's impossible for guys and girls to be platonic friends, it has never really worked out in all of my experiences. Anyway, I don't think all of this was your fault at all. I'm glad you aren't one of those girls that jerks us guys around. You are one one of the good ones!! You all know how much I've been jerked around so its a sore spot, lol.

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    Thanks, Joe. I know it's totally possible for men and women to be platonic friends. I have at least ONE guy friend that I have that kind of relationship with - my friend Nimish. He and I have NEVER been attracted to each other, but we talk and give each other relationship advice, and call each other to chat every so often. It's definitely a brother/sister type thing. I have one friend who had been making me uncomfortable with sexual comments for at least 10 years now, and no matter how many times I shut him down, he keeps doing it. Maybe he's just like that, I don't know. But I don't talk to him so much anymore. I'm flattered that some of these guy friends of mine think I'm attractive and all (I usually don't think I am, so I appreciate the compliments), but in the end I feel like I'm getting punished for it.

    I really like having guy friends - there's a different perspective you can get with people of the opposite sex, and I can talk to them about things I don't normally talk to women about. I have an older brother I'm really close with, so I find it easy to be friends with them. They aren't catty like women can be, and they're not as "competitive" with other people in the way that women are. Honestly, I often feel like I can relax more with them than I can with women - I know they're not "judging" me or anything like that. My closest women friends whom I CAN relax with are also the types that don't play mind games or use men to their advantage. They're also good at being "one of the guys."

    Maybe it's just from growing up hanging out with my brother all my life and having a lot of boys as friends when I was a kid, but it always shocks me when other men see no reason to be my friend if there's no sex/hope of sex in it for them. Everything changes when you get boobs, and nobody sent me the memo!

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    Yea, I see where you are coming from. It is good to have that opposite perspective. I really only have one female friend my own age at work who I can bounce things off of. She's been a great friend to me, and there's no awkward feelings between us. Its very nice actually.

    Quote Originally Posted by OhManINeedCoffee View Post
    it always shocks me when other men see no reason to be my friend if there's no sex/hope of sex in it for them.
    We're not all in it just for sex you know. Or maybe I'm just the exception to the rule. I guess I've always just appreciated the emotional closeness much more for some reason.

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    You do seem to be in the minority with liking the emotional closeness of intimate relationships, and I'm glad that you genuinely appreciate that kind of stuff. I think quite a few of my guy friends also really want that connection, too. I wonder if some of them might just be lonely, and anyone would do.

    I'm very lonely, too, but I know when something isn't right - getting "involved" with any of my platonic guy friends ISN'T right. I mean, I feel bad that I can't give them what they want, but if I did, I'd be hurting myself. And then wind up hurting them worse than I would if I just kept myself in the friend zone. As lonely as I am, I'm holding out for something real.

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    I think I'm the minority in a lot of things, lol.

    Yup I think you are right to do so too. You don't want to hurt them or yourself and you're doing the right thing there. I'm wicked lonely, and it really sucks. I guess that's why I end up missing her so much.

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    Thanks, Joe. Honestly, if I'd known it was going to cause this much resentment for him, I would've avoided a friendship with him. I feel strange that, with men, I almost always either end up being the bad guy with the ones I thought I was friends with, and I seem to end up being treated like poo from the ones I do date.

    Honestly, I don't think I'm someone who's meant to be in relationships anymore. I can't seem to love the people I "should," and I always seem to love the people I "shouldn't." This may be a sign that perhaps relationships and I are just not compatible.

    Forgive me, I've been a sad day. Mostly because of all this. I think I'm just feeling lonely, too. I'm not even missing my ex, but kind of wishing I wasn't so screwed up in this department.

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    It ok Kelley, I feel exactly the same way. I've never had good luck at all in this department. I've always said that I'm cursed or something. Maybe I did something terrible in a past life. I don't know, but I do know exactly how you feel.

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    Kelley, I'm confused ..... is your friend trying to blame you for leading him on? I just don't understand that.

    I'll wait for your response before I type more!
    "Some love stories aren't epic novels, some are short stories. But, that doesn't make them any less filled with love." ~ Carrie Bradshaw


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    Jen - I'm really not sure what he's doing. I'm getting the sense that he's got some resentment there - some of it towards me for not wanting to date him, and probably also some bitterness because NOBODY is ever interested in him (but can you see why?). A couple of years ago, it did seem as though he were mad at me for leading him on, that I was giving him mixed signals (mind you, he was overanalyzing talking to me on AIM, for heaven's sake), and then he was downright angry when I started up a long distance relationship with my most recent ex. Sort of the, "Well, why can she date some guy in Maryland when she won't date me in Pennsylvania?" type thing.

    From what I gathered from the ways in which he blasted me via online journal (lame), it seemed to be, essentially, "How can she be so insensitive not to love me back?"

    Per our most recent conversation that ended rather coldly, he was telling me it wasn't my fault for not liking him back, it's just how it is, but just once he'd like some woman to be romantically interested in him, and no woman he's ever attracted to is attracted to him...basically, it was all said in self-pity. I think he interprets any attention a woman pays him as possible romantic interest, and feels sorry for himself and resentful when that's not the case. And he won't let it go. He just adds it to his list of "reasons why I can be mopey." It's times like that when I want to grab him by the shoulders, shake him a few times, and yell, "Okay, this is why women aren't interested in you - because you act like this!"

    So, I'm not sure if he still thinks I was leading him on. I'd like to think not, but I just felt as though he was angry with me for not being romantically interested in him. As though there's something I can do to change that. Yet, he still thinks (or thought - don't know if he still does at this point) I'm a great friend and have helped him out and everything. Sometimes I think he likes putting himself through this kind of thing, and who knows why. He's a theater major - inner turmoil is kind of his thing, I guess.

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    Love is a tricky department...You have to try on like 40 different things before you find something that fits perfect and is comfortable. That is no reason to give up though my friend. As for your friend who is so far from being an Alpha male but closer to like a Delta male, problem....I say he is digging his own grave by making assumptions all the time, do not take blame for that.
    "let go of the one you HAD so you can dream of the one you'll GET"

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    Quote Originally Posted by OhManINeedCoffee View Post
    just felt as though he was angry with me for not being romantically interested in him.
    Ok, I'm with you now. I have to agree .... dude is making all kind of assumptions and by him doing that it's making you second guess your actions and your friendship with him. That's just not cool.

    I think he's just upset at the way things are unfolding for him and is unhappy with females in general at the moment and since you are a friend of his, it's easy for him to throw you under the bus with the rest of the women in his life. Does that make sense?

    I just don't want you to take this as you doing ANYTHING wrong. You've been his friend and that's it. Not only that, but you've been very upfront about him and your feelings for him. If the guy likes you, it's because you're awesome and not because you're leading him on.

    I'd say let him go focus on himself. He'll come back around.
    "Some love stories aren't epic novels, some are short stories. But, that doesn't make them any less filled with love." ~ Carrie Bradshaw


    "Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end." ~ Semisonic

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