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Thread: What do I make of this? What do I do?

  1. #1
    Member FrozenMoon's Avatar
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    What do I make of this? What do I do?

    My god, everything's a mess now. I don't know if anyone remembers my previous thread (it's very long, so to put it short: I'm 99% sure I developed feelings for a friend at university, I thought one of my best female friends did too, it was very unlikely he'd reciprocate said feelings and in order to not mess up anything within our mutual group of friends -- which only had so many guaranteed weeks left to spend together, given we're nearing the end of our common study and we'll no longer be in the same place -- I deliberately didn't act).

    So last week it happened. We had our grand finale as a group, with our study taking us all outside of the country for one week of research and projects together. University had rented out a hotel for us, and we spent every day together from start to finish, sunrise to sunset. It was great. I loved it. This has quite possibly been one of the best weeks in the past five years.
    From my previous thread here I concluded I shouldn't pursue the guy (G, as I called him there) due to my own confusion plus the risks involved for relevant friendships, and instead focus on enjoying the presence of my friends, including him, without too much tension. Which I planned to do -- and to a certain extend, managed. We'd be departing by bus early morning, and a couple of hours before we were leaving, I took some time to sit down and tell myself I would let G do whatever he'd do, that I wouldn't be affected by it; I'd enjoy the present moment with everything it offered me and I would be okay.

    It was a 13 hour bus trip. I'd planned to sit down next to the aforementioned female friend and just spend the time with her. Seemed the universe disagreed with all of my plans though, for when I entered the bus, the one seat I could take was right next to G.
    Fine, okay -- casual conversation and suppressing my feelings, which I had prepared for. I could do it. Or so I thought. But as hour after hour went by with us talking, laughing, coming up with all sorts of short games to pass the time, I noticed I wasn't doing a great job. The 13 hours went by in a flash, for me but him as well, as he stated near the end of it. What I'd been unprepared for were all the small jokes for which he'd touch my arms or hands. Nothing I thought much of, because it wasn't the first time I saw him do that, but the physical contact still caught me off guard. Then there was a bunch of eye contact too. Eventually the sun began to set casting this beautiful warm light on everything, and god, I couldn't handle it.

    And that was where I made a mistake and let down my defenses -- the thought of his behaviour meaning something more making me so happy that I decided I would allow myself to believe that. For these seven days, no more, and then I'd let go of that dream again. My so carefully crafted mindset of letting my feelings go was, with that, thrown out of the window.
    Yes, I knew it would backfire horribly. I simply wasn't strong enough. And throughout the week, as we travelled the hills, meadows and forests for the project, he and I stuck together a lot. Sometimes with the two of us, sometimes with a total of four to six people. Same thing in the evenings back at the hotel. Again, there were a lot of small jokes which had him make physical contact with me, and we could honestly talk the entire day. I felt amazing, though I kept my own promise in the back of my mind. One week.
    At the end of it, for the 13 hour travel back, he suggested taking the same bus seats as on the way there, which had me sit next to him again. These 13 hours, too, went by very quickly.

    We arrived back at university last Saturday evening. The end of our last week with this group. The very last time. It felt bittersweet, returning home after an incredible week with everyone on one hand, but knowing that this was it on the other. I passingly mentioned this to one of my friends. G heard it, and suggested I could come with him for a couple more hours if I wanted to. I did, and we ended up watching a movie. When it was time for me to go home again, I couldn't find my keys at first, and he said I could stay over if I didn't have them (I found them in the end, though).
    Then Sunday came, for which he had already invited me over halfway through the week. Things sound so great when I read what I'm typing here now with him clearly enjoying my presence, but with the promise I'd made to myself, I know I've been seeing everything through rose-colored glasses.

    And Sunday, in fact, was when the end of my 'seven days' hit me so much harder than I imagined it would.
    He was the first to message me in the morning, saying he was awake and had breakfast and I could come over. But as soon as I walked in, something was off.
    He wasn't talking. Not much, anyway. Admittedly, he'd been coughing for a couple days and had now lost his voice, so he couldn't really speak properly; and I wasn't going to force him to. I asked him if he felt okay otherwise, if he'd prefer some rest or for me to talk a little less, but he said that no, everything was okay. So I stayed.
    However, throughout the day, I'm just going to say -- I have never felt so unwelcome. Partly because he barely said anything and hence I was the only one occasionally talking, which I fully understood, but that wasn't all there was to it. The way his setup works (we played a couple of games together), there are two chairs next to a table with the computer, and then one more chair facing the tv, a short distance away from the others. He consistently chose that one.
    That, too, I guess is understandable. The tv does have a much nicer screen. But again, he barely even reacted to anything I said in the slightest (and no, I wasn't talking much more than I normally would). Didn't so much as look at me in many cases. At one point, he just picked up his tablet and started doing something else entirely. Naturally feeling like he was disinterested, I asked once more if there was anything else he'd like to do or whether he'd prefer some time alone, to both of which he replied with no. It was incredibly confusing.
    He was the one who invited me over, and he wanted me to stay, but then why was he behaving like this? I might've just as well not been there, with how little he responded. Was he just being polite when I asked him these questions? He's always been a very honest guy, so I really didn't know where to go from here. But most of all, I didn't want to bother him, so when he asked -- as he usually does halfway the day -- to what time I could stay, I answered with an early time, cutting it short. I ended up leaving hours before I normally would've. I'm sure he noticed this too.

    It was the worst possible way to end this last week. I can't tell what happened. To clarify a couple of things, this guy is someone who prefers to stay indoors all day, takes life calmly and easily, spends about 90% of his time on (card)games/series/books, has never been in a relationship before and literally nobody has ever seen him interested in any sort of relationship whatsoever. I'd have a hard time believing he was e.g. messaging another girl while I was over, should people consider this a likely scenario. I mean, I've seen that he was just browsing through some internet pages, but that aside -- it's also just not him.
    It's not uncommon for him to not react every now and then. I've seen him do it to everyone. I also know that sometimes he just gets so caught up in his thoughts or what he's doing that he fails to notice he's being spoken to altogether. I've never seen it happen this much, though. I felt downright ignored at times.

    I just don't understand
    1) why he repeatedly claimed he wanted me to stay while everything about his behaviour seemed so distant and off
    2) how such a great week could lead to something like this -- feelings aside, I didn't even feel welcome as a mere friend yesterday
    3) where everything is supposed to go now, with this kind of last impression, and the guarantee of seeing each other at university gone

    I'm sorry for this again being so long.. But I'm at a loss. These seven days of allowing myself to hope are officially over now, and right off the bat I feel horrible again. I really believed I could wrap it up smoothly, but now everything just hurts once more. It's so incoherent. I didn't do anything differently than I normally did, and surely this can't just be the result of him losing his voice? We've been great friends for well over two years, but yesterday it felt like he barely even enjoyed my presence. I can't make sense of this.

  2. #2
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    Sounds like he's absolutely freaked out to me! I think he definitely likes you but he seems to be completely unaware of what to do! Maybe he needs you to take the lead and be assertive? He's never had a relationship as far as you're aware and he's got all these emotions going on, probably got really nervous when he invited you over after your week of full on flirting, thinking, 'this is it now' and then had a total freak out and completely shut down. You can't keep dancing around the issue. Take the bull by the horns and tell him how you feel and ask him if it's reciprocated. It's literally the only way you'll get to the bottom of this.
    That said, you may well be attracted to him but if you do enter into a relationship will you be happy with not going out and staying in all the time, focusing on his hobbies and interests and where he randomly shuts down on you for no apparent reason and for indefinite amounts of time? Quite often a long term crush can become more of an infatuation where we imagine this rosy relationship but then when it happens it is anything but.

  3. #3
    Platinum Member catfeeder's Avatar
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    People tend to operate differently while enjoying the rose colored vacation bubble that forms around neutral ground. We tend to feel more free and easy. Then we head home to reality, and the lackluster contrast can bum some people out. The guy set himself himself up to entertain in his home, where he's comfortable alone, but not necessarily a great host.

    I'm not clear whether you were the only guest. If so, he may have felt under a microscope and may have benefited more when he was surrounded by your group. Sorry this visit didn't work out well.

  4. #4
    Member FrozenMoon's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by JCSK
    Sounds like he's absolutely freaked out to me! I think he definitely likes you but he seems to be completely unaware of what to do! Maybe he needs you to take the lead and be assertive? He's never had a relationship as far as you're aware and he's got all these emotions going on, probably got really nervous when he invited you over after your week of full on flirting, thinking, 'this is it now' and then had a total freak out and completely shut down. You can't keep dancing around the issue. Take the bull by the horns and tell him how you feel and ask him if it's reciprocated. It's literally the only way you'll get to the bottom of this.
    That said, you may well be attracted to him but if you do enter into a relationship will you be happy with not going out and staying in all the time, focusing on his hobbies and interests and where he randomly shuts down on you for no apparent reason and for indefinite amounts of time? Quite often a long term crush can become more of an infatuation where we imagine this rosy relationship but then when it happens it is anything but.
    I've actually been thinking about this as well. I share most of his hobbies, so that should be fine -- but this shutting down (if your guess is correct) made me feel so unwanted. I believe I'd be able to work with it if I understood what it is and why it happens, but right now it's got me stuck between thinking he either wants to see me but doesn't know what to do, or doesn't want to see me but doesn't know what to do. I can only hope it's the former and your interpretation is correct.

    If it is, another concern might be (theoretically; I think it's time for me to finally decisively weigh my options here) how I should bring this if I were going to tell him the truth. I mean, if he already shuts down without me bringing up the subject.. I'm gonna have to be really careful with this.

    Originally Posted by catfeeder
    People tend to operate differently while enjoying the rose colored vacation bubble that forms around neutral ground. We tend to feel more free and easy. Then we head home to reality, and the lackluster contrast can bum some people out. The guy set himself himself up to entertain in his home, where he's comfortable alone, but not necessarily a great host.

    I'm not clear whether you were the only guest. If so, he may have felt under a microscope and may have benefited more when he was surrounded by your group. Sorry this visit didn't work out well.
    I was the only guest, yes. The strange thing though is that this wasn't the first time I've visited him over at his place; over the past two years, we've met up like this pretty much once every week. Not a single one of these times has it been like this. It's as though he forgot we were friends at all.

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  6. #5
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    You know him best so only you can decide how to approach the subject but my take is that you feel so low right now that you don't have anything to loose. To me he sounds like he'd be a lot of hard work - heck you seem exhausted already and you haven't started dating him yet! You have to have a lot of patience to live with someone who closes down... believe me I know!

    I was the only guest, yes. The strange thing though is that this wasn't the first time I've visited him over at his place; over the past two years, we've met up like this pretty much once every week. Not a single one of these times has it been like this. It's as though he forgot we were friends at all.


    The dynamic has changed now since your flirtatious vacation - you're in a grey area and he doesn't know how to handle it.

  7. #6
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    It sounds like the ground rules between you have changed, and now it looks as though there's potential for a possibility of a suggestion of a hint at a relationship - he can't cope. When you were just good friends it was all safe and fun, and when you were on vacation it was all safe and fun, and now he's completely out of his depth because it's day-to-day living with no clear boundaries which will help him feel safe.

    Over the years I've had a couple of male friends like this; luckily I didn't have romantic feelings for them but could observe how they were great platonic friends, including being quite flirtatious at times, but were either absolutely vile to girlfriends or pushed them away before the relationship really started - and the girls were left thinking ??? too. You mention that he's shown no interest in relationships before, and this fits. If I were you I wouldn't pursue this any further, or you're likely to end up feeling even more hurt and bewildered because none of his behaviour makes sense; at least not from the standpoint of wanting to build an intimate relationship.

    But you also need to realise that his behaviour is NOTHING to do with you, but is the consequence of his own emotional/mental state. There's also nothing you can do to change it. If he does have a change of heart then do welcome him back as a friend, but from what you describe here, he sounds like a very pleasant human being who is just not relationship material.


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