My best friend and I have been friends for almost five years now. We were friends all of high school and got particularly close senior year. I did not date in high school and he almost always had a girlfriend, but that didn’t stop us from being friends. There was always the joke of us getting married some day, but I always laughed it off.
Come college, we’re both at the same school. I sleep over occasionally if we’ve been drinking and don’t want to drive, but nothing happens more than some innocent cuddling and spooning with me in a bra, shorts, and a t-shirt, him in boxers. This was all fine by me, but at some point the marriage jokes became more consistent and he began kissing my forehead, telling me he loves me, etc. I decided it was time for us to have the relationship talk. He basically said he “wasn’t ready *yet*” and that he “needs to mature” because he cares about me too much to risk losing our friendship. I asked if he was implying that he wanted me to wait for him to mature and he said yes.
I want this to be true, but I can’t help but feel that he’s stringing me along and will never be ready for a relationship. Should I give him time? Or talk to him now so I know what his expectations are? And if I am expected to “wait” what does that mean he is doing right now? Screwing around with other girls?
You’ve got a good handle on the situation, at least intellectually. Yes, he does love you, and yes he’s hoping at some point he’ll fall “in love” with you—there is a distinction—and yes, he’d like you to wait for him, and yes, while this percolation process is happening he will have the complete freedom to, as you say, screw other girls, and yes, he’ll probably be doing that, or doing whatever.
Now, here’s our translation. (We’re going to be very straightforward with you because we think you need to hear this. But we are trying to be supportive.)
He wants very much to be in love with you because he loves being with you, but the fact is, he’s not in love with you, and as much as he hopes maturation will change his feelings, it’s doubtful it will. Sure, he might ask you to be in a relationship six months from now, a year, five years, but if/when that does happen, whatever doubt he has had, whatever obstacle was initially there, will still be there at that time. Do you understand? Which means at some point his doubt will come back and things will fall apart.
You see Ellen, guys know right away what sort of potential they see in a woman. Girlfriend? FWB? Friend? No interest? He’s made his decision but doesn’t want to accept it. Which means, you can talk to him but you’re not going to get a straight answer because he doesn’t know what’s up or down. He’ll try his best to be honest with you but the problem is, he’s not yet ready to be honest with himself. So yes, he’s stringing you along subconsciously.
Honestly, we don’t think this situation is great for you emotionally, but we totally understand why you’re in it. Just understand that the time you’re spending with him means you’re not allowing yourself to be open to other possibilities.
We wish you the best.
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