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Thread: I don't know how to interpret my male friend

  1. #1
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    I don't know how to interpret my male friend

    Hi, I'm looking for some insight. I am not a kid, I am well into adulthood, but I have a very difficult time reading between the lines - or even distinguishing if there are lines to be read between. I am of average attractiveness I guess, but I am very businesslike and serious. I do not typically have guys flirting with me, or if they do, I do not notice and they give up. I am serious in my personality, and my mind just does not go straight to "he's interested" when a man talks to me. I do not flirt. I do not even know how. Add to it the fact that I was in a very abusive relationship for ten years with my college boyfriend, and I am even less prone to assume someone is interested. This is where I think my problem came from: Although our relationship started out normal in college, my ex became very mean to me. We moved across country for his graduate school and he became abusive. If I showed any interest in sex or if I enjoyed myself, he would call me horrible names, and he would degrade me, my appearance, everything - The only time he got pleasure was if he forced himself on me and made me do things I didn't want to do. I developed a way of appearing neutral at all times and it minimized the abuse. Now, it has been almost ten years since we broke up and I am still very guarded. I do not have extreme reactions on the outside as a way of self-protection. I've done the therapy thing and I've gotten insight into this.
    So here I am, a white collar, well educated, quiet, introvert for the most part, just living my life and into my life comes this loud, emotional, caring, blue collar guy, who is divorced with a couple of little kids and he is just drawn to me. He says he cannot explain it but that he knew I was hurting and he has opened my life up to so many things I had never seen or done before - just going out and experiencing things. It has been almost 4 years. We talk and text all the time. We spend at least part of most weekends together. I stay at his house usually on Friday nights but sometimes both because we live an hour away from each other. I trust him completely and he trusts me. We do not kiss or hug. I sleep on the sofa, or on kids weekends I have a slumber party with his daughter and we announce there are no boys allowed (which serves as good time for him to get one on one time with his teenage son) He and I are friends. He has told me in the past that he feels he gets mixed signals from me and that i am tough to read. He asked me if I was looking for a relationship with him. He said he has to put up with a lot from family and friends who make assumptions about us because we are together so much and because I do well financially and he is pretty much paycheck to paycheck. For the record, I do not pay for anything for him, nor does he ask me to, although we are both quick to help each other when we can in any way we can (I've loaned him my car when his was in the shop, he came and installed drywall for me). I told him I felt i am too broken for a relationship. I don't want a man having that power over me. Not him, not any man. He responded that he felt, and this is a quote " I feel you would just go with it if anything were ever to happen between us" to which I responded that he is an attractive man, but we are just friends, and I am not looking for that in my life. That was this past July after we got home from a camping trip. Everything seemed fine between us. I have paid extra attention to making sure I do not send out any mixed signals - I refrain from complimenting him if he looks good in something, I do not presume I am invited over on Friday after work, I do not cook for us (apparently that is a big one on the "I want to date you" scale which I did not know!) Anyway, he has always had a potty mouth (I do not) - and one of his favorite sexual innuendos to say to me is "That's what she said" whenever something like "That's big" is said. He also likes to comment on the size of things like zucchini "If I were a woman..." Just teenager stuff that I'd roll my eyes at. But lately, and here is where I have my problem understanding between the lines - We got together the night of my birthday in January and he made me dinner. I happened to be at a store that has Christmas gift sets on sale for 90% off, so I got him two sets of meat & cheese because he loves that kind of stuff and it was like, $2 each. So we're in the kitchen and he opens the sets and starts talking about them in a sexual way. Would I use something like that? Would it be big or small for me? I told him to knock it off. Later, we're sitting at the dinner table eating, and he made some comment about sex again but I ignored it. (we were both drinking also) - later, sitting on the love seat together, he tried to teach me how to play grand theft auto (I've never played a video game) and he was laughing at my lack of skill. He told me hookers could be picked up in the game and that you don't see anything but the car moves while they do it. I said something in return that reminded him of seeing a tv star in a porno and did I want to see it? I froze. i didn't know what to say so I didn't answer him. He started looking at his phone for the movie and asked again if I wanted to see it. I jokingly said "I don't like to recognize my porn stars" because I didn't want to say no but I didn't want to seem interested (remember the horrible things my ex would do if i was interested?) I was feeling aroused by all of the sexual innuendo, but I was not taking the bait. I was sitting on my leg bent under me as I played the game, and he tucked his bare feet like under my thigh/butt of my bent leg- which was odd because he doesn't usually sit touching me. I did not turn my head when he had the scene on his phone, but he showed me a still photo of the star using something on herself, and all I said was I thought it was Photoshopped. Next day out of the blue, we were on the phone he started talking about masturbating. Not that he was doing it on the phone, but that he has a tough time sleeping if he doesn't have a couple of beers or some Zquill, and since guys fall asleep after sex, he will masturbate before trying to sleep when he feels that way. Ummmm, okaay.... Sunday of the same weekend, he followed me out to my car because we had bickered about something and he wanted to make sure I wasn't mad. He said something about sex again- can't remember what- and then he said "I know you're no angel" which I thought was strange. Then, everything seemed normal last week. But Friday night he worked late and we sat on the love seat again relaxing, and again my foot was up under me, and he tucked his feet under me again. He did not make too many sex jokes, but when he got up to go to bed he said "You can sleep in my bed" (I've slept over dozens of times over 4 years in 2 different apartments and he has NEVER outright offered me to sleep in his bed) I didn't even respond. I just looked at him standing over me until he turned to walk away. He said "OK, well I'm going to bed, let me know what you're planning to do" and I said "Probably watch some TV"
    He knows I have had a difficult past so I know he would never do anything physical to scare me. I trust him completely. He trusts me with his children who I know mean everything in the world to him. He is a good man. And I am broken. Do you think he is trying to get something to happen between us? All the sex talk doesn't seem normal - not even normal for our own friendship. If I was not hurt so badly by my ex I would show him some interest, but I just hear my ex calling me horrible names and telling me no one would ever want me etc etc. It's like I'm frozen in fear of asking him what he wants from me. There's a part of me that thinks he may be testing my boundaries to see when I'll tell him to cut it out, but the statement he made last summer about thinking I would just go with it if something were to happen between us - I just realized that in order to have made a statement like that, he must have thought about the scenario? I know I sound like a teenager, but I just don't have the normal experience of a woman and I just don't want to make a fool of myself with him.
    Thank you

  2. #2
    Platinum Member j.man's Avatar
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    I don't know how to interpret this wall of text.

  3. #3
    Platinum Member ThatwasThen's Avatar
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    I think he's making very awkward passes at you... perhaps he's being awkward and ambiguous because he's afraid that you'll bolt should he actually make a move.

    I think you'd do well to continue on in therapy to help you get that ghost of your partner past out of your head so that you're no longer afraid of affection (sexual or otherwise).

    You've been playing 'house' with this guy for a long time... what would YOU like to see happen? If you weren't afraid, would you want to advance this "friendship" to something more then that?

    How would you, in your mind be "making a fool of yourself?" What would you have to do and how would he have to respond for you to feel like a fool?

  4. #4
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    It sounds like he'd like more than friendship, but wants to keep the casual vibe.

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    J. MAn Bahaha - sorry, it's a bit much i know!

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    I also don't have much experience so sorry if this isn't much help but it sounds to me like you might be right about testing boundaries. I can't speak for you, no one can but I would suggest going back to a professional and talking all this out. It seems your past still stops you from expressing interest and is affecting your self worth. You seem like an amazing woman and your friendship already shows that you are loved and wanted. I would also suggest that if this is a person you truly trust you should be honest and talk things out with him. I know that is not an easy ask and it may be worth seeing a professional first to come up with a plan. Good luck!!! I wish you all the best.

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    What do you want to happen?

    There's a bunch of stuff here. Your boyfriend may have used the internet too often, and as a result may only be pleased by your displeasure. 10 years of this and now you don't even know if a guy would like you. So in truth a guy would like you. This guy would like you and a bunch of other guys would like you and actually want to be with you. Most guys like humans with girl parts, which you have, you add personality, good pay, an education, and other such things and they will like you even more.

    Generally guys enjoy themselves more when their girl is pleased. This is how love is supposed to work, in that you're supposed to care that the other person is happy and that in turn makes you happy. So you should go with this assumption that most guys will want to see you happy and that your last boyfriend was a fluke. Knowing this, the mannequin act is actually hurting your chances. The other part of love is feeling loved and seeing the other person happy to see you. Such is a healthy relationship, which will come easy to you, if you wish it to.

    Now as for this guy, if you're not laughing at his jokes and don't think as highly of him that may be an issue if you start a relationship with him. Are there other guys interested in you at this time? People that ask you for the time repeatedly? Or people that ask you to hang out? On the other hand, if you're happy with this guy and could see yourself with him then you could bump up the relationship. I think he'd be happy to oblige. Who wouldn't want a nice girl that earns well and does everything else well and isn't divorced with kids?

    One thing though, if he ever starts putting you down because it makes him feel more secure in you staying then you need to leave. Some people do notice that they offer less than what they get and instead of improving they bring down the other person in hopes that they will stay with them. That's what your last boyfriend did, by convincing you that no one will be with you you stayed with him for 10 years not realizing your worth. It's probable you had more to offer than he did and this was his way to ensure you'd stay and not realize it.

  9. #8
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    It sounds like he's interested in more than friendship. He's testing the waters and saying things to see how you'll react, and to see if you'll take the bait.

    Are you in therapy to deal with the past relationship that you had with your abusive ex?

    It sounds like you might take things further with this guy if your ex and past weren't on your mind.

    If you aren't in therapy, I do hope you will consider it. This relationship with your ex is influencing your thoughts, what you think of yourself, and any potential romantic relationships. Don't let your past impact your future. I hope you're able to change your mindset, and soon.

  10. #9
    Platinum Member Jibralta's Avatar
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    Yes, it sounds like he's pushing for something to happen. He may want to keep the casual vibe, as Wiseman says.

    What do you want to happen? A true friendship between you may no longer be possible.

  11. #10
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    Thank you to everyone who has responded. Yes I know I need to continue therapy. Currently I am not seeing a therapist (its been about 6 months) I just needed a break from all the introspection.
    I do care about and respect him very much. He is a stand-up guy and always pushes me to grow and challenge myself. He tries his best as a single dad and I see the sacrifices he makes for his kids.
    He is attractive and I would like to be physical with him. I sense he would be both considerate and very masculine if we were to be intimate. I just wish his teasing was more along the lines of We should do X to which I could say ok and if he was only joking, it could play out like I was calling his bluff or if he was serious we could go to the next level. Instead he is making these open-ended innuendos without suggesting anything specific which leaves the ball in my court. I guess the most direct thing he said was that I could sleep in his bed and I was so shocked I just stared at him.
    I think I have to figure out a way to have a very direct conversation with him.
    Deep breath....

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