Long distance relationship-to college friend: Is this girl playing me?

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Also, check out our latest podcast Episode 33: Dating questions, dentist fees, pet peeves.  The Guy’s Perspective Podcast.

Here are the six relationship questions we answered on on our latest podcast:

Sarah is beginning to have a change of heart. Now that her man wants to introduce her to his family, she’s unsure how she feels about it.

Dan wonders whether or not he’s being played by the single mom he has recently started dating.

Miss Lady’s boyfriend turned down a trip to Vegas with her, but after his guy friends ask him he’s all in. Now what?

Jenny’s man cheated on her with seven to ten different women, but she still loves him. Why would he do that?

Emily has an admirer, at least that’s what her loving friends tell her. Are they right she wonders?

Riya is confused about a guy from work. They date; he decides it’s not going to work; but then he keeps texting even after she’s moved on. She is curious why he still is trying to be “friends.”

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TGP Episode 33: Dating questions, dentist fees, pet peeves

Last week’s questions:

Jealousy: Friends with the opposite sex

Break up confusion; will he come back?

Cultural Differences Part 2: Am I being used?

Is he my boyfriend or am I just booty call?

We smile; does he like me?

Hurt and Confused in a long distance relationship

This week’s questions:

Long distance guy; is he worth it?

Can this grow into something more?

Friends with benefits

Hey Guys,

I’ll be as thorough as possible because this girl is really unique. She is unlike any girl I’ve ever met. So anyway, we’ve known of each other for about 3 years. She lives about an hour away from me, but I have a close buddy that lives down there and we met through him. We only really saw each other when I’d go visit him and that was pretty rare, but I think my buddy was slightly jealous because she would talk about me a lot. So finally,  she and I found out we were going to the same school and she hits me up wanting to hang out. I agreed, I didn’t really know anyone on campus but I sure as hell wasn’t going to just sit in my dorm all semester. So I went out and we went on a walk and it was actually really fun.

This walking thing started happening 2-4 times a week. Now keep in mind, I think she’s really hot but at the time we started going on walks I didn’t have feelings for her nor was I interested. I thought she was a little immature and somewhat naive, but the conversation was still great.

So the semester started in September, and by November we became really close. I was telling her stuff I couldn’t even tell my buddies and she was telling me stuff she couldn’t even tell her best friends. So essentially we became best friends that semester. Oh by the way, in October she made a slip and said she had a boyfriend that she’s been seeing since the start of the semester, who lives at home.

Anyway, come November, she’d always tell me how shitty her boyfriend was and stuff and I’d just sit there asking her why she deals with it. She’d tell me things she does for him and that he doesn’t even appreciate her. Anyway, because of these stories and us sharing so many interests, I really started to have feelings for her.

(Note to readers: We are going to sum up Ryan’s situation)(Note to Ryan: We had to shorten your note a bit, but our comments reflect your entire question.)

We started hanging out more and more and became closer and closer. We even started holding hands and kissing. But the thing is she still had this boyfriend that she wouldn’t break up with. After a while I told her it was too difficult to hang out with her knowing she had a boyfriend. Over spring break we didn’t talk much and it was hard on both of us. When school started up again we started hanging out again and it was great. It’s almost as if she’s my girlfriend but not really. We don’t have sex, but we do hug, kiss, and hold hands. She complains about her boyfriend more and more, even crying and saying she doesn’t know what to do.

I really like this girl and I don’t want to loser, even if it means we’ll just be friends. But my heart wants so much more.

So here are my question(s).

1) Am I not seeing the big picture here?

2) She’s mentioned she’s going to break up with him but has not. This is her first relationship and I know how hard it is to break up with your first “love” so should I show sympathy or be pissed she hasn’t broken up with him yet?

3) Is there a game plan I can assemble to make her dump him? Normally I don’t play the d-bag that does that, but he’s a real scum bag and treats her like dirt. She isn’t treated the way she deserves.

4) Would everyone agree here that there’s something more than just feelings of friendship between us? Or do you see me getting played by this girl?


Dear Ryan,

Thanks for the very detailed question.

You’re definitely not getting played if you’ve described everything accurately, which we assume you have. It’s obvious from what you say that both of you have strong feelings for one another. In fact we’d go so far as to say, you both feel equally strong about one another.

We have to be honest and say that it does bother us that she is being unfaithful to her boyfriend. We’d hate the same thing to happen to you down the road if she were to leave him and be with you. We wish she were strong enough to break up with him first and then be with you, or just tell you that she can’t hang out with you and stay with her boyfriend. The fact that she has one foot in both places reflects her inability to make difficult decisions; although she is young and sometimes life just happens. We’ll just assume your assessment of her character is clearer than ours. So let’s address your questions.

Ryan, you need to ask yourself what’s stopping her from breaking up with her boyfriend? If he’s that lame, why hasn’t she broken it off yet? Sure, he’s her first “love” but this has been going on for long enough don’t you think? A lot of people are afraid to break up with someone because they don’t like being lonely. (In her case, she has someone who’s willing and waiting.) Some people don’t break up for fear of hurting the other person, but she’s already done that by starting a pseudo-relationship with you. So what gives? You need to really understand what’s going on with her. Have you asked her directly what’s stopping her? This needs to be discussed.

We don’t think you should formulate some game plan to get her to break up with her boyfriend; that’s not a good idea. If you do that and she thinks you’ve influenced her before she was ready to break it off, it will only lead to resentment down the road. She needs to figure this out herself. If she chooses you over him, you will be much happier. And if it doesn’t work out, then she’s not the right girl for you anyway.

Ryan, you’ve got a real nice thing with this girl. We think you need to tell her how you feel about her, and what you really want. Don’t pretend you’re okay with being friends with her, when you really want her to be your girlfriend. Be straightforward and honest with her, AND with yourself. It’s okay to ask for what you want. We encourage it. Sure, there are no guarantees in life, but you don’t want to look back with regret.

If nothing changes after you talk with her, it might be time to pull back a little. In some ways you’re a bit too accessible to her. Right now she gets to have your friendship, and have her boyfriend too. And sometimes people have a hard time making big decisions when there’s too much in front of them. If you make yourself a bit more scarce, she might have some room to really assess how she feels about you, and her boyfriend, and then make a decision that is right for her, and hopefully right for you as well. This doesn’t mean play hardball. Don’t remove yourself entirely and play some game with her. She needs to know that you still care for her, and that you’ll be there for her, but she also needs to know that the current situation is not working for you.

Keep your eye on the prize Ryan, but you may have to let it out of your sight before you actually get to have it.

Good luck and keep us posted. We’re rooting for you.




12 Comments on Long distance relationship-to college friend: Is this girl playing me?

  1. Hey guys,

    I’ve got a question for ya. My ex and I were together for about a year. We met while studying abroad and hit it off quickly, but once we got back we were a full time long distance couple. I recently graduated college and going through the rough “real life” transition while he is finishing up his last year at school. Staying together was never easy, since we would have to carve out weekends to go see each other, but the connection, care, respect and fun we shared made the effort worth it.

    A couple of months ago, our fighting about the same issue (his ex) escalated and put a strain on our relationship. On top of the work that is needed to keep us together and this awkward transition phase in our lives, he said that he doesn’t see it getting easier any time soon and we should separate. He is thinking of going fully active in the military after grad and that will further delay us being in the same place. I was initially pretty upset and I cried, with him reassuring me that he will always be there for me and that he still loves me. While that may sound like he is just letting me down easy, the look in his eyes and the way we were with each other even after we agreed to separate were hard to forget – we were intimate with each other right up until we had to say goodbye and part ways. This makes me believe that everything he said was sincere and that sometimes, people simply need to be on their own to figure out their priorities.

    Since then, he has been texting me everyday or every other day. I usually don’t text him first but do respond when he initiates. In the past couple of weeks, he started to make comments like “what would I do without you” and “I think about you everyday”. He had asked to videochat, which we did and I was moving along with my healing. He also sent me a couple of very long text messages, saying that he has been reflecting on our relationship and wishing that he was more understanding, more sensitive to my needs, and ultimately apologizing for being selfish. Again, he made it clear that he still has feelings for me and that he really just thinks it is bad timing because it was such a struggle to keep us together with everything going on in our lives. After all this back and forth and being in a limbo position, I told him that we should just be friends and move forward because what’s done has been done.

    He has not responded to my message about being friends…so what is he thinking? He was the one who wanted to stay close friends after separating, but with his mixed signals and silence, I dont’ really know what he wants from me and what to think of this. Would there be a chance of this working out in the future when things settle down a bit for both of us if we keep in touch? It’s hard to imagine cutting him out of my life completely. Thanks for your take on this!

  2. @Cel…..This all sounds very nebulous. What exactly do you want Cel? Are you hoping for a reconciliation sometime down the road? And how did you define this break? How did he? Was it: We should just be friends? Or was it: Let’s be friends for now, and hopefully we’ll get back together at some point? At first we thought it was the latter, but the way you responded to him made us think the opposite. So we’re confused. And maybe he feels the way we do. To us it sounded like he initially thought it was best to move on, but as he had time to reflect he realized that maybe he’d been selfish, and he was starting to reevaluate his position. And then WHAM! You hit him with, “Let’s just be friends and move forward. What’s done is done.” That sounds pretty final to us. Probably to him as well. If you don’t feel that way and were really just protecting yourself, you need to relay that message to him right away before he decides to truly move on. What do you think? Please clarify and we’ll give you more feedback.

  3. Hi guys,

    Thanks for the quick response. I guess at first I was pretty sure that it was over for good – we both are not people who believe in breaks. But with all the confusion of the emotions clashing during the breakup and then the subsequent texts of him apologizing, I just got really confused as to what he was thinking. Because even if we decide to be friends for now and get back together at some point, there is no guarantee what will happen in the future. I guess for now, I do still hope for a reconciliation sometime down the road, though I also recognize that it is not going to happen anytime soon. When we broke up and he said he just does not want to be in a relationship right now, I asked him if he would think of me when he is ready again and he said “of course.” But even if I was just trying to protect myself and let him know that I will keep him in the back of my mind…there is a chance he will move on anyway right? I just don’t want to blindly wait for someone if they will move on. In that case, I am not sure if there is a point if I relay that message to him or not because I don’t want to sound like I am desperately waiting. I am just really confused about the whole situation. My friends think maybe he is trying to keep the door open for future possibilities and if that were the case, I suppose I wouldn’t mind since I do feel that I have a lot things to work on about myself as well. I just keep thinking (and maybe he does too) that if we met each other a few years later when we are a bit older, we would probably be together for a very long time. He has certainly talked about the big picture stuff like mariage and children with me before. I am just wondering what he is thinking with all this. I hope that clarifies the situation and thanks so much – you guys are the greatest!

  4. @Cel…..When people take “breaks” from a relationship, these kind of promises often get made. Examples: Someday we’ll get back together. I need to work on myself for a while. Maybe in a few years we’ll give it another go. etc. These promises get made when losing your best friend becomes a reality. The true test will be in six months to a year. And therein lies the catch. Do you keep yourself open, and in a holding pattern, hoping that reconciliation will happen, even with no guarantee? Or do you move on, with the risk of losing the other person forever? Neither sounds very enticing, but in your case we’d say the only way to truly gauge your feelings would be to try to move on. If and when he comes back, and you decide you want to try again, you’ll know the feelings come from a place of strength, rather than a place of sadness. If that makes any sense. It’s a tough call. What are you thinking? What’s your current plan?

  5. That actually makes a lot of sense. No one wants to make an important decision just because they can’t muster the strength to move on nor would they want someone to take them back out of guilt and pity. I am thinking that even though I am very sad about it and there are many things I miss about us being together, there are a lot of things we could both work on as individuals. I didn’t notice this at the time that I was holding on to something that I wasn’t completely happy with, and I do think we both have room to grow a bit on our own. For now, I plan to stay friends with him because we both value the friendship a lot, though this doesn’t mean I won’t continue to move forward with my life. While this may not be the “conventional” thing to do for exes, I think since we do have the distance separating us, it would probably be easier. I am just hoping that I can find that line between putting him in the back burner/ waiting to see if my feelings fade over time and not letting myself let go. I know that he would probably do his part to keep in touch as well, since one of the reasons we actually fought so much while we were together was his other ex who is still good friends with him (though she still has feelings for him and they go to the same school so she at least gets to see him) – so basically he values friendship highly. I guess I was just surprised that he lingered on the memories post break-up like I did, because sometimes, we girls think boys can just get over us heartlessly with the snap of a finger. Or maybe it is easier for us to assume that.

    Anyway – really appreciate you guys’ help! I would love to hear more about what you guys think if you do have further feedback. 🙂

  6. @Cel…..It’s a tough call. If you think you can be friends with him and truly move forward in your life then all the power to you. But be careful not to unwittingly hold yourself back from new opportunities, new guys, new experiences. We think the more distance you have from him—from the relationship, not in miles—the more understanding you’ll have of what was good and what wasn’t. With each relationship you have, hopefully you’ll learn something new that you can take with you to the next relationship. It’s a process. It sounds like you’re already reflecting, and we imagine you’ll be doing more and more of that in the weeks/months to come. Take care of yourself. And try to be open to new opportunities! ps. Please share our site with friends. Thanks. We appreciate it. How is Ithaca these days? Are you still there?

  7. Thanks! And yes, I have shared this site with some of my friends…you guys bring interesting perspectives to these issues! I am not in Ithaca anymore but I imagine it is still cold and rather dreary. Have you guys been there?

  8. @Cel….Most definitely. A very cool place. Cornell, the gorges, the city. Good stuff. Please let us know how things are. And thanks for spreading the word about us.

  9. Hey guys,

    I have a bit of an update/another question. So a few days after my ex not responding to me talking about being friends and moving forward, we started texting again. Yesterday, he texted me to ask if he can come to where I am to visit me for the day- which is at least two hours for him each way. I made plans previously so I told him he can next week if he still wants to. He replied “I will see if I can.” Today, he asked if I would like to go see a concert at his school next week. I had to turn that down as well because I have work when the concert is happening and is not viable. He then told me that he was just trying to see who would be able to go because he can get free passes, which makes the whole inviting me to go see him/staying at his place seem casual and not a big deal. While he did say he wish that I can go..I wonder if I am perhaps thinking too much into him trying to get us to meet up despite its inconvenience? He makes it seem like it is nothing out of the ordinary and didnt know why I was surprised he suggested to visit. Also, he is supposed to come up to the city where I am at in another two weeks anyway for a school trip, so it seems weird that he would even bother trying to come now if he is going to come again in another week. What do you guys think this all means? Am I overanalyzing an innocent and friendly situation?

    Thanks guys!

  10. @Cel…..He felt like he reached out and you rejected him twice, so he tried to pretend it was no big deal. That’s our take. We’re not saying you did, but if we were in his shoes, that’s how we’d feel, and that’s what we’d do in response. This is exactly what we were worried about with this blurry friends thing you’ve got going. Clearly you still have strong feelings for him, and so every time he reaches out to you you’re going to wonder what it means. That mindset will definitely prevent you from moving forward and checking out other possibilities. Something to ponder.

  11. Hello, wanted to ask a question. I met this guy summer of last year, and we have an immediate connection. We would spend ages with each other, had lunch breaks together and hung out really. We met up everyday practically for around a month before i had to go back to uni which is 3 hours away from him. When i got back to uni things changed. He would still contact me almost everyday to find out how I was but I found that over time he was too busy to come and visit me. Excuses why he couldn’t come included family problems, too much uni work or too much other responsibilities with his basketball team. I felt he just kinda neglected coming to see me because he classed the other things that were happening in his life as more important. So I decided to break it off with him. About a month later he started messaging me and asked to take me out when I visited home. I agreed and when we met i found that the connection was still there. Then when I got back to uni and suggested if he wanted to come and visit, to my surprise he agreed. It felt as if my dreams had finally come true I was very excited and asked him the question of where he wanted our relationship to go. However to my surprise he said he didn’t want a long distance relationship that he would want to see me everyday and would find it hard. He suggested that if after 3 years when I finish my course and move back home if we where both single he would do want to as i am everything he wants. He stressed that he still wanted to be part of my life even if it is just as friends. This makes no sense to me. Do u think he just isn’t serious about me. I am greatly considering to stop talking to him all together because I don’t think he has a valid reason. Thanks

  12. @Debz……Long distance relationships are hard which make them a good barometer to see if a guy likes you. He’s not willing to do the work for a long distance relationship which means he’s not head over heels in love with you. Or doesn’t see that potential with you. Otherwise he’d be trying to come up with a solution with you. He wants something convenient and easy, and relationships are hardly either.

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