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(mild) ouch. assistance?


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Hi all,


Issue: There's a man I am insane about. Ballistic. Inside and out he is absolutely and exactly my flavor/temperature/speed. He also just wants to be friends (...awesome). I'd rather be friends (no ulterior motives) than drop it totally. But I'd like advice on how to change or limit our contact to best protect myself while still being genuine and communicative with him.



Backstory: Met homeboy about 3 weeks ago (wonderful). We vibe (amazingly). A couple dates (spectacular). Thoughtful, clear communication (every single day).


We are both just out of pretty heavy-duty relationships (me: 23, he: 25). His was way longer and far more complicated than mine and he was gentleman enough to let me know before date #1 that he wanted to take things slow and I agreed. I'm also moving in a few months so not really in a rush. We both have a pattern of serial monogamy and wanted to be sure to get to know eachother and not rush it. But we both knew what we'd found was too good not to at least press play.


Last night, after (yet another) long and fun talk about everything and nothing (you know the kind) I realized that I was getting in a little over my head. I think he did as well. I got the following this morning:


With the normal situation, I'd ride on with this remaining unsaid, but I have too much respect for you to let that happen. I have to be honest and say that I can't get into a romantic relationship. I've been going back and forth on it in my head since we started talking, but I've come to the conclusion that while in many ways I want to - it's just something I can't do right now. I'm not ready to make that step. One of the reasons I broke out of the relationship with my most recent ex was to stop the cycle that I've found myself in for my entire life which is just kind of "on to the next one" or something. I just see myself falling back into that right now, and I can't let myself... as weird as that sounds.


I don't want this to stop us from having a relationship of sorts, however. I really enjoy talking to you and am always fascinated by the things you have to share. You're able to make me look at things from an angle that I previously didn't know existed, which is refreshing, and I'd prefer not to lose that. Actually, I was just looking at upcoming shows around Boston to see if there's anything that you might be interested in going to. I haven't found anything yet, as I figured Styles P isn't exactly your scene, but I'll keep looking. Hope to hear back.



My reply:


you = respected.

me = processing.


will be in touch



Yes, I understand what he said. No, not sniffing for advice on how to change his mind/why he said it/how to pretend I didn't hear it. Of course I'm disappointed. Won't pretend it doesn't sting. I'm very casually seeing a few other guys, so my world isn't asplode. More than anything, I respect his honesty (our conversations have been ridiculously ballsy/refreshing with candor from both sides. It's amazing). So, I want to figure out a way to effectively do the 'friend' thing. But I want to keep my heart safe. I really need some insight as to how to properly reset my expectations. How much less do I talk to him? I want to pull back but not shut down. I want to take him off of the stove but not toss this out, you know?


Has anyone successfully done this...or am I asking for amazing amounts of hell and chaos?


Reality check on aisle 5, please. Step by step diagrams are helpful, if available.


As always, you guys are greatly appreciated.

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Personally if I vibed very well with someone, liked them, had an awesome time with them and crushed on them and they rejected me, then I would move on. I wouldn't be able to be "friendly" with them as it would be pretending largely on my part since I know I like that person as more than a friend. It would also "set me back" because I would have to suppress how I feel and I think overtime it would get to me.


I would respectfully respond and tell the person that you're glad he was honest with you and that you had a great time with him as well, but that unfortunately you don't think you can be friends based on your overall feelings toward him and that maybe the best direction to go is to just cease communication until he is ready to be in a romantic relationship with you.


That's what I would do...

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As much as you claim you are aware of the tip he is on.......continuing a 'psuedo-friendship' with him when you KNOW you're feeling him in more ways then that, would be setting both you and him up.


Forget him for a sec. You are responsible for looking out for YOU. Not anyone else. If you're moving anyway and to protect your heart, I would back off that tip totally...with maybe the occasional email here and there.


In this case, nothing ventured, nothing gained and nothing LOST would apply, imo.

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Yea I think it would be too hard to be friends with him while you still have feelings. I would let him know that you need some time and that you guys can get back in touch when A) you feel that your feelings have faded and you can truly just be friends or B) he is ready for a relationship.

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Thanks to all for replying.


Wow. The "NC" option hadn't really crossed my mind, to be honest. It really does seem like the best way to go. I totally agree that hanging out in person is full out masochism that def needs to be avoided. The occasional email sounds like a nice way to stay in touch without putting myself in harm's way. Is it bad that I'm really hoping that my absence will make him realize he's made an idiot move?


...Yes. That's horrible. (sigh) And precisely the reason we can't talk to him. Awesome.


Now I guess the next step is ways to forget about the best man I never dated. Onward, etc. Definitely taking the advice to heart and again, appreciate the support/feedback from you guys.


Off to do something interesting and productive. Damn.



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...Yes. That's horrible. (sigh) And precisely the reason we can't talk to him. Awesome.


Now I guess the next step is ways to forget about the best man I never dated.






Yah NC is definitely the way to go. I am in the exact same boat you are about meeting the best woman ever and not being able to do anything about it. It's hard to believe that you will find someone even better then the person you have found now. When you just 'click' with someone instantly there's no logical explanation to it. It just sucks when you have to give that up for stupid reasons....


It's too bad he's not ready to date yet. Just don't write him off. Keep him on the back burner.

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Hey DG,


Gotta say, that small bison has brought me more joy than is logical, lol.


I agree its a bit fatalistic to put him on like, boyband status admiration. He really is something special, though. Thanks for the tug back toward planet earth.



...and that freaking awesome bison.



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Well...I don't agree with most comments. I know you wanna protect yourself because you might end up getting hurt but I don't see why you guys couldn't be friends. Just be realistic about it. Don't "put him on a pedestal" like someone has said. Keep enjoying his company and learning from him and appreciating him as a person. Don't give him all your time or stop doing the things you do to hang out with him. Be balanced. If this guy is such a gentleman he will appreciate you as a person too and he'll get to know you well and who knows? Maybe he needs time to heal.


What I would recommend is to keep this friendship in a place where your comfort comes first. If (hypothetically speaking) he wanted to have sex but not commit with you in a relationship, (unless you wanted to be friends with benefits) you should be clear about what YOU want. Do not give in hoping that you'll end up together. Integrity is very attractive and you should be a good friend or a good girlfriend but not something in between.


Also, give it time. First impressions are not the best way to judge someone's character.

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So, radio silence on my part since Thursday with my brief reply to his 'Thanks, but no thanks' message. He sent me a text Saturday (it was a picture. Didn't respond) and then he called me last night. I kept it short, light and superficial. Talked about movies and some art stuff related to projects going on (we're both hardcore creative types) and I took the liberty of wrapping it up just under the mark with a New York Times article I saw. He threw in that he still wanted to go with me to a concert. I politely played it off.


So difficult to do. Just in case I or others were confused...we still totally have the worst jones for this guy ever. Ever.





Just now via fcbk, I sent him a link to something funny/relevant to an issue we'd discussed earlier. Then, in a separate message, I sent the following.


Subject: The 'catching feelings is a no' addendum (brought to you by Blackstreet).

Yeah, you knew it was coming, lol.


Primary and most important: I appreciate your honesty. Not just in the 'Thanks for playing, keep drinking Sprite' sense…it's a very rare and cool thing for you to be honest enough with yourself, and then having it filter over to me, to go there. That certainly wasn't the easiest nor most convenient route to take. I truly respect and admire many (many) things about you. This is one of them.


Took a bit of time/space this weekend to recalibrate. As much as I sincerely enjoy your company, I think hanging out is no dice pour le moment. It would pretty much be setting both of us up for something irretrievably awkward if I know my appetite runs a bit deeper than 'homie' and tried to fake it.


Not to get meta or lose sight of the fact that we don't truly know eachother at this point, but something about you/the dynamic here is very, very different…even for a lady who's been around the way. It's odd in a good sense and lights up neurons/hormones I'd forgotten all about. There's something about your overall vibe that I respond to in a way I've been waiting to for a long time. Should the stars more properly align/your headspace become less disorganized somewhere down the calendar, don't think I'm too far away or --unless you see me on Perez Hilton naked on someone's yacht--that the opportune moment has passed by.


I'm just saying.


Handle your internal business, that's some real and commendable isht. Consider our dynamic free of awkward. This the last I'll have to say on the subject 'til perpetuity.


In general don't be shy about getting in touch, sharing links/stories/ideas or sparking post-CNN debate whenever the feeling hits. I also greatly value your take on things, learn a lot and have fun talking with you. We can def keep a degree of that going. You're a great guy and I'm more than proud to have you on the buddy list.





Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamn. Ugh. I feel empowered but horrible. Yet fully aware that this could've been much worse and am thankful for the maturity of everyone in the situation. To quote my favorite movie (Love Actually)


Enough. Enough now. *walk away burning*



Thanks again for the advice. I really hope that this washes out of my system sooner rather than later. It feels like that nasty twitch in your throat after swallowing water too fast.


Ugh. C'est la vie and isht, yeah?

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I think you did the right think and said it all very well. Actually, I love the way you talk. It makes me want to be your friend haha! I could totally see you as someone I would want to hangout with. If this guy knows what's good for him, he'll get his act together quickly!!


And honestly, it really was the right thing to do in my opinion. You would have spent the friendship reading into signals to see if he was ready for something more or not, and that's not fair to either one of you. And this way, if he does say he's ready for more, you know he truly is and you're not some rebound. And in the meantime you can build the foundation of a friendship. And if he never comes around in that way, you'll still have a really cool friend.

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While it does sadden me to a degree that we can't really hang, I completely understand it and respect it. You're a very wise one, which is one of the reasons I find you so fascinating. I've taken your words in and set them down gently and will hold onto them, and with that we'll leave this thread and I'll respond to your message of links.




Okay, great. Everyone is respectful and classy and clear.


...why doesn't this feel better, again?


I can't tell/don't want to know/will find out if he starts dating someone else right away if this was something legitimate or if he was finding the gentlest possible way to say no to me specifically. When you meet someone who lights you up like that, it's really hard to distract yourself from how much you wish they just wanted you, too.


There's things better left a mystery. I'm going to start the decelerated, more moseying pace of our correspondence and wait about a week to get in touch with him (about Youtube and current events only, of course). I guess the moral = no matter how civilized...rejection is kind of a pile of cold, runny


Should the need to whine further arise, I'll be back.

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I too like your creative, quirky style but get the sense that when you type to him you use it to cover up/bury your true feelings and to use multi-syllabic/complicated/too many words when a much simpler phrase would do, such as "I want to date you but you don't want to date me so I don't think it's a good idea to keep in touch right now". Your approach/style certainly has pizzaz but I think you run the danger of getting lost in the abstractions, the metaphors, in form over substance, further complicated by the fact that your'e not actually talking - just typing.

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Oh you mean hiding behind the razz-mataz to keep from being vulnerable? Yeah, that's my m.o.


...not to be confused with my intentional geographic inconsistency and workaholism (Work with orphans in Boston! Immigration reform in Arizona! Documentary in Australia!) to avoid ever looking like I even remotely want a relationship so as to minimize rejection. Uh huh, that too.


Straight to the heart, Batya...as always. I can count on you for that Thanks for the literary love, though.

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Oh you mean hiding behind the razz-mataz to keep from being vulnerable? Yeah, that's my m.o.


...not to be confused with my intentional geographic inconsistency and workaholism (Work with orphans in Boston! Immigration reform in Arizona! Documentary in Australia!) to avoid ever looking like I even remotely want a relationship so as to minimize rejection. Uh huh, that too.


Straight to the heart, Batya...as always. I can count on you for that Thanks for the literary love, though.


Oh I don't find that inconsistent in the least! Sounds like you do interesting and fulfilling work.

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Yo HardBoiled.


I've missed you (legit). Indeed. It's officially been three months since the relationship ended and two months sober (eg: NC with the ex. Not in any form. I'm proud).


Definitely agree that seeing someone who makes me feel amazing and is actually pretty cool himself after slugging so long in the marsh makes the sting of him not wanting to date me that much more acute.


I low-key acknowledged my former craziness at the very top of the thread but I do agree, it probably is part of why this is making me a little wonky.


Great to hear from you

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I know this may sound odd, but for some reason I envision two people, each standing behind their own walls that are only inches apart. It's like both of you have lobbed love grenades over the top of these walls without actually ever seeing the effects they are having on the other. I see a lot of verbage to indicate that both of you are dancing at the sound of each others voice, but neither of you can see the happiness because both of you are still hidden from each other.


I respect both of your decisions in how you have handled this, but it pains me to see such a beautiful spark fizzle out like a can of flat soda, that no one drank because no one could figure out who opened it.

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Anytime, dear! I'd been wondering how you were faring, but it sounds like aside from the misadventures in dating (which make for wonderful stories, natch), you're doing swimmingly. I'm quite familiar with glad-handing charming rebounds to massage my ego, but I generally tend to wait it out--months, years--after a painful breakup, if only to re-find my footing and commence with the important stuff in my life (and it sounds like you are certainly commencing). Painting rejection a pretty color is never easy, even for those of us who try to find the beauty and humor in everything, but your posts always make me reflect on the possibility. Hang in there!

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@ Lucidity,


Thanks for the words. Beautifully phrased and amazingly vivid/apt.


While I'll definitely cop to keeping up the concrete barricade, one of those items lobbed over the fence to him were my exact coordinates. I feel like I was as open as one can be in a relatively new situation. You've hit it on the head though, his voice sets me on fire and I literally can't sleep or sit still after our chats.


But, I'm playing defense here. All the cards that were available to me have been put into rotation and there's not much more I can do but try not to fall deeper into this connection until/unless he opens the door for more.


I agree wholeheartedly that it (really) sucks because this could be something (really) great. But the plan is to turn the burner down and take our correspondence to once per week at best...and give him the exact date that I'm leaving town. Maybe he'll pull a LoveJones and meet me at the station lol.


Realistically, I just have to keep the faith that someday I'll find something mutual and dare I dream...better. Or at least on par.


Thanks a lot for giving me some dream sauce, though. Lovely, lovely words.



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