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Mostly a messy vent bc I'm freaking out, but advice appreciated


GoblinCake
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I started talking casually with a guy a few months ago. I don't really "date" and am self aware that I have intense phobia of commitment and serious intimacy, but I would enjoy having a "friend" who occasionally wants to hang out for drinks, cuddling, movies and maybe sex. Because of how I am again I don't really "date" because it's often just too messy and complicated. 

One of my friends noticed that I had a little "crush" on this guy but that I wasn't really flirting or anything. She apparently questioned him behind my back about his dating life and then reported it to me, I think she meant well here. She told me he's the same as me and "doesn't date" either. Still I didn't go for it and this acquaintance faded away. 

Until a few months ago when he started messaging me a lot out of nowhere. The conversation was good, he wasn't very flirty, he wanted to hang out for movies and drinking, he referred to me as "buddy" or "bro" often (I'm a woman) when we talked.

So I thought he genuinely enjoyed our conversational / friendship chemistry. He wasn't the type to "date" and didn't seem very flirty. I felt safe going over and smoking weed, drinking, watching movies and just generally hanging out, "safe" as in my aversion to actual dating wasn't an issue, since this wasn't actual dating. Eventually we started cuddling while watching movies and I'd spend the night after a lot of smoking or drinking, but he never made any kind of "move" and to me we still felt like casual "buddies".

Then when we hung out recently it was sudden horror for me. First he kissed me out of nowhere with no warning, which instantly gave me that feeling where I need to just get away as fast as possible and cut someone off like they never existed. I didn't act this crazy but it's how I felt. 

Then he told me that my friend had told him I was interested, that I liked him. She never told me that she told him. So in reality he started messaging me out of nowhere because behind my back my friend told this guy I had a crush on him. 

This just sent my anxiety through the roof, because it was dawning on me right then and there that this WHOLE time this guy had the expectation that we would become a thing, which probably explains why he kissed me out of nowhere without feeling me out on it first.

After I was back at my place and alone, and ever since, I just feel nothing but numb and claustrophobic about this guy now. I'm terrified he has expectations. I'm terrified he thinks I'm his girlfriend. I'm terrified of having a frank discussion with him about it because I'm terrified of other people's feelings, especially when they blame their feelings on me.

So now I'm just sort of mentally stuck where I don't want to message him, feel a sense of dread when he messages me, but also don't want to just totally ghost him because I would feel bad, and I really did like his personality and hanging out with him, but I also don't want to speak bluntly telling him I don't date people and never gave my friend permission to tell him anything, because I'm terrified he'll get upset.

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Would it lessen your anxiety if I mentioned not to speak about anything serious over text? Try keeping it to in person meets only. There's less room for misunderstanding. Let the dust settle for awhile. 

It was wrong of your friend to go behind your back and make assumptions like that. Before you speak to either one of them, give yourself some time to clear your mind. 

I don't blame you for feeling upset as it feels like an ambush. I don't think your friend was out to harm you nor this guy so slow things down. No one can make you do anything or force you into a romantic relationship. YOU decide that. Keep telling yourself that you are the one in control here. Try finding a middle space between fight or flight, a calm quiet space where you can collect your thoughts and respond to neither impulse.

Edited by Rose Mosse
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22 minutes ago, Rose Mosse said:

Would it lessen your anxiety if I mentioned not to speak about anything serious over text? Try keeping it to in person meets only. There's less room for misunderstanding. Let the dust settle for awhile. 

It was wrong of your friend to go behind your back and make assumptions like that. Before you speak to either one of them, give yourself some time to clear your mind. 

I don't blame you for feeling upset as it feels like an ambush. I don't think your friend was out to harm you nor this guy so slow things down. No one can make you do anything or force you into a romantic relationship. YOU decide that. Keep telling yourself that you are the one in control here. Try finding a middle space between fight or flight, a calm quiet space where you can collect your thoughts and respond to neither impulse.

 

Thank you for replying. I do think control is a big issue here for sure. When he kissed me it wasn't a situation where we both leaned in and it happened naturally. He just suddenly lunged forward. I didn't have time to really process it and didn't even kiss him back.

Later he did it again and again I just felt severely awkward and confused, I didn't kiss him back and he just kept going for it. It felt like he wasn't very in tune with me at all and wasn't feeling for signs that I wanted to kiss.

Again it was like he just expected that this is something I'd want or that he's supposed to do. Then he mentioned that my friend had told him I liked him and it all came together in my mind, like oh he's assuming and has expectations. Which just so happens to be a huge phobia of mine.

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OK so it will all be in the wording..."my friend had it all wrong, I was only interested in just being friends. Sorry for the confusion. I still would like to hangout with you but without expectations."

Edited by smackie9
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4 minutes ago, melancholy123 said:

Have you considered therapy for your "terrified" feelings regarding this guy?  You need some help to get over this as you are going to miss out on a large part of your life if you stay the way you are.

I tried therapy a few times in my early twenties (early thirties now). It didn't seem to help or go anywhere and I didn't understand how it was supposed to work. The last therapist I tried told me in probably the nicest way she could that my brain doesn't really allow therapy to work because I'm traumatized from my parents. After that I just accepted it. Every other part of my life is okay. I have hobbies and pets for companionship, I have casual friends for talking, I have a job. But sometimes I wish I could cuddle with one of my friends, male or female, and I have a sex drive. I've wanted this mythical "friends with benefits" thing for quite a while but it's quite elusive.

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7 minutes ago, GoblinCake said:

 

T

 

Again it was like he just expected that this is something I'd want or that he's supposed to do. Then he mentioned that my friend had told him I liked him and it all came together in my mind, like oh he's assuming and has expectations. Which just so happens to be a huge phobia of mine.

Any guy that wants to hangout DOES have those expectations...it's part of life.

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Just now, GoblinCake said:

I've wanted this mythical "friends with benefits" thing for quite a while but it's quite elusive.

It's not elusive....you just have to ask for it, and you shall receive. A lot of guys would oblige to such an arrangement. Speak up.

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What is it you want? Take your time and don't feel forced or pressured to ever do anything you're not comfortable with. 

I think he's clueless and awkward. His behaviour, "lunging" towards you twice, suggests he was forceful and has zero clue about reading a room. Do you find him attractive?

Friends with benefits is fine in general but in your case, I think it's also enabling your tendencies to avoid deeper emotional connections.

 

Edited by Rose Mosse
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10 minutes ago, GoblinCake said:

I have a sex drive. I've wanted this mythical "friends with benefits" thing for quite a while but it's quite elusive.

It sounds like he was advancing your friendship into the "friends with benefits" category. Did your crush on him go away?

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1 minute ago, Jibralta said:

It sounds like he was advancing your friendship into the "friends with benefits" category. Did your crush on him go away?

The way he kissed me gave me that feeling of needing to run for the hills. It wasn't natural, it felt forced and like he was going through motions. Even when I didn't reciprocate and pulled away. I thought maybe he is inexperienced and awkward like me, so I laughed it off. Then a few minutes after he blurted out that my friend had told him I liked him. That's when I really felt the "oh no" feeling and slumped into that numb anxiety state. 

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19 minutes ago, Rose Mosse said:

What is it you want? Take your time and don't feel forced or pressured to ever do anything you're not comfortable with. 

I think he's clueless and awkward. His behaviour, "lunging" towards you twice, suggests he was forceful and has zero clue about reading a room. Do you find him attractive?

Friends with benefits is fine in general but in your case, I think it's also enabling your tendencies to avoid deeper emotional connections.

 

 

I guess I wanted something very casual with no expectations. It's true that he hasn't dated at all in a very long time. He never mentioned anything about wanting to date me. I figured we were similar. That was my own fault making an assumption. When he responded to me being awkward about him trying to kiss me by blurting out that my friend said I liked him that's when I freaked out. I figured if he wanted to be like a couple at any point we would have a discussion and that's when I could explain myself. I didn't realize he already thought he knew how I felt. 

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1 hour ago, GoblinCake said:

Because of how I am again I don't really "date" because it's often just too messy and complicated. 

I'm not sure it's possible to connect to other humans—as friends, as lovers, as partners, as clients, as customers, as whatevers—without it becoming "messy and complicated," to some degree.

In your shoes right now I'd reflect on that a bit, as it seems like your need to eliminate "messy and complicated" from the human experience is making this part of it all the more messy and complicated, at least emotionally. 

2 minutes ago, GoblinCake said:

I guess I wanted something very casual with no expectations.

There is an irony to this statement, in that what you're actually saying is that you wanted something/someone that conformed to your specific expectations. Which, hey, fine. But for that to happen to have to be clear with what you want, which is to say if this is still something you're interested in with him? Let him know. If not? Let him know that. Boom: the mess is cleaned up, the complications smoothed over. 

Moving forward? Make this clear from the outset, that who you are is a woman who interested in casual romance. Some will meet you there, some will not. But you won't exhaust yourself trying to control the expectations of others but will instead find a more honest sense of control by being true to your expectations. 

Big picture, though, I think you'd do yourself a gigantic favor by finding a way to think differently about "messy and complicated." Whatever it is we most fear, after all, tends to be what we cultivate.

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2 hours ago, GoblinCake said:

I don't really "date" and am self aware that I have intense phobia of commitment and serious intimacy, but I would enjoy having a "friend" who occasionally wants to hang out for drinks, cuddling, movies and maybe sex. Because of how I am again I don't really "date" because it's often just too messy and complicated. 

 

2 hours ago, GoblinCake said:

So I thought he genuinely enjoyed our conversational / friendship chemistry. He wasn't the type to "date" and didn't seem very flirty. I felt safe going over and smoking weed, drinking, watching movies and just generally hanging out, "safe" as in my aversion to actual dating wasn't an issue, since this wasn't actual dating

So, things changed, you feel because he kissed you?

Can you maybe just write all you want to say, down.. so you can work it out in your head... and then just text something simple enough, so he at least understand.. and you two can get to the bottom of this...Since, like you said, you don't feel you should ghost him.

I feel you should at least, get things straight with him, if a fwb is all you really want,

He can either accept that, or you stop 'hanging out', if he is thinking of wanting/expecting more of this...situation w/ you.

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1 hour ago, GoblinCake said:

The way he kissed me gave me that feeling of needing to run for the hills. It wasn't natural, it felt forced and like he was going through motions. Even when I didn't reciprocate and pulled away. I thought maybe he is inexperienced and awkward like me, so I laughed it off.

It sounds like you found out that he doesn't "do it" for you. There's no way to find that out until it happens. Now you know that you have to look elsewhere for your FWB. 

47 minutes ago, bluecastle said:

There is an irony to this statement, in that what you're actually saying is that you wanted something/someone that conformed to your specific expectations.

Good point.

And I also agree that relationships always have a messiness factor. There's no preventing that. 

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2 hours ago, GoblinCake said:

I would enjoy having a "friend" who occasionally wants to hang out for drinks, cuddling, movies and maybe sex.

Ok, this is just not the right guy for that if when you get what you ask for "your anxiety goes through the roof".

 Unfortunately your "well meaning" friend is making a fool of both you by playing matchmaker. Find your own cuddle buddies.

Get on Tinder/dating apps and find your own FWB on your own terms without "friends" playing cupid "behind your back."

Edited by Wiseman2
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1 hour ago, GoblinCake said:

The way he kissed me gave me that feeling of needing to run for the hills. It wasn't natural, it felt forced and like he was going through motions. Even when I didn't reciprocate and pulled away. I thought maybe he is inexperienced and awkward like me, so I laughed it off. Then a few minutes after he blurted out that my friend had told him I liked him. That's when I really felt the "oh no" feeling and slumped into that numb anxiety state. 

Unfortunately he should have checked in with you and gauged where you're at. He's kissing you not your friend so for him to listen to someone else about what you're feeling is just very silly. Sorry this is happening. Huge turn off for anyone. 

Maybe things will be a bit more natural later on and he's a bit more respectful of you as a person. I wouldn't take this seriously if you don't reciprocate overall. You can meet others to date.

Also, establish better boundaries with your friend and let her know your business is private. Avoid telling her so many details about your love life if you don't think she can be trusted to be discreet or respectful of your privacy.

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I think you express yourself very articulately here! And I think you want your cake and eat it too.  So the good thing about traditional dating -in public -is that it's really not that complicated - people have been going on dates for well over a hundred years, and there are certain norms most people follow even if the woman asks the man out or they each pay their own way -but as a foundational thing the man and woman know it is a date and therefore know the intention is to see if there is a spark, to have fun having a meal or doing an activity, to get to know each other within a known structure known as a date.  

So you don't want that.  OK fine - but if you don't then the downside is -if you go to a man's home to hang out and potentially hook up - very often you have to have an awkward/messy convo about your specific intentions, boundaries, etc -with someone you don't know very well.  So if you want casual sex and you and the guy meet up after some sexy texts or flirting in person at a bar then when you get back to the person's place you both know sex is likely to happen, you both know that it doesn't mean you'll ever go on a date much less have a relationship.  It's a casual live in the moment thing.

But with this guy he only knew you liked him, he only knew you were willing to come to his house without him even asking you out on a proper date so I don't blame him for making a pass.  He did the pass badly but what's he supposed to think given your actions and the fact that you two weren't on a date but weren't platonic friends either?  you made it messy because you didn't want to express what you wanted and did not want.  Luckily he didn't try to rape you.

As far as your friend yes she should be more discreet, of course.

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8 hours ago, GoblinCake said:

The last therapist I tried told me in probably the nicest way she could that my brain doesn't really allow therapy to work because I'm traumatized from my parents.

I would strongly advise you look for another therapist, because clearly whatever the underlying issues are, they were never addressed properly (imo). Whatever is holding you back in relationships, and which "terrify" you, all goes back to something deep rooted in your past.  Find another therapist, and if that doesn't work, look for another one, until you find one which works for you.  These issues need to be addressed if you ever want to experience healthy relationships without being "terrified".

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