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Is he interested in friendship or something more?

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Dear Guys,

I’ve known this guy for a couple of years. Two years ago he broke up with his girlfriend of five years. (The decision was mutual). One month after the breakup I was the first girl he went on a date with. I knew it was too soon for him but he didn’t say it; I just had a feeling that proved to be right. We “lasted” for two weeks. He couldn’t do it anymore and ended it. Since then, he’s tried to date other women, but couldn’t start an emotional relationship with anyone.

We used to bump into each other every now and then. It was friendly but a bit awkward. He kept sending me mixed messages—you know the drill—and every time he saw mutual friends he asked them about me first. However, every time I tried to initiate a get-together with a friend or a group of friends he would politely decline.

The turning point happened last summer. We started seeing each other more often. First, we saw each other once a week. Then twice. Then three, even four times a week. He is the one who initiates it almost every time. (I might have participated with 10%). Sometimes we’re in a group of friends, sometimes we’re alone. There are, of course, mixed messages still coming from him. (Constantly complimenting me, showing moderate jealousy, staring at me, bumping me etc.), But mostly I ignore it.

To be honest, I really like him as a person and I’ve never had such good time with anyone. When I told him that, he admitted that he felt the same. He’s pretty anti-social and doesn’t get close to people, but we started sharing secrets, having internal jokes, and grew very close to the point of people asking us if we were a couple etc. It is very unusual for him to behave like that with anyone, be it a male or a female. We even said “I love you” to each other. He is very caring towards me, and called me his “soft spot” not long ago.
He initiated a “what-went-wrong” conversation a couple of times, and every time we would come to the same conclusion—it’s not me or any other woman, for that matter—it’s him.

A couple of months ago, he suggested we became friends with benefits, which I sharply declined. He agreed it would be a bad solution for the both of us because it would screw him up too, but that he obviously wasn’t ready for a relationship either. We’ve never talked about that since. We spend more time with each other than we do with anyone. Sometimes, I feel like I’m in a relationship with him but I know I’m not. We don’t have any physical contact, except for back/shoulder touching, occasional arm intertwining and kisses on the cheek.

I flirt with other men and I do have a life besides him. (And I believe the same goes for him.) But we don’t talk about other men/women, nor do we flirt with anyone when we’re together.

I know you guys aren’t mind-readers, but I’d like to know what do you think of the whole situation. What am I to him?

Thank you!

Myrtle

Dear Myrtle,

Thanks for your question. You’re right, we’re not mind readers but this scenario is familiar to us.

Our sense is he wants very much to be in love with you. So many pieces of a successful relationship are present. Trust. Mutual respect. Fun. Laughs. Comfort. On paper the two of you should be together, which is part of the reason all of your friends wonder aloud what’s going on, and why you are so confused about the situation. But the problem is, love is not a spreadsheet of pros and cons. There’s always that other piece. The X factor. The “I don’t know why I love her but I do” factor. Or on the flip side. The “I don’t know what’s wrong with me because she’s perfect” factor.

And the “latter” is what we suspect is going on for him, which accounts for all the mixed-messages you are getting from him. He can’t seem to figure out why he isn’t jumping into a relationship with you; but something is holding him back. Sure, it could be his own inability to connect with someone emotionally. (But we have to assume he was connected to his ex in that way.) It could be too soon after his breakup with his ex. (Some people take longer to rebound.) But it’s more likely that some piece is missing for him that he can’t quite seem to put his finger on.

So our gut tells us you are a great friend to him and that’s where it’s likely to stay. So now you have to ask yourself if you’re okay with this? Because if you’re hanging out with him hoping something is going to change we think you’re going to be frustrated. Just the fact that he suggested a FWB (Friends with Benefits) arrangement tells us the two of you are on different pages here.

We’re glad you’re keeping your other options open and are interested in other men as well. We’d hate for you to spend so much emotionally energy and time on this guy and then have it implode when he starts to date other women. So keep yourself out there, have some fun, and treat this guy as just a friend. Who knows, maybe he’ll be someone that could provide you with some insights into some of the new men in your life. We highly recommend having friends of the opposite sex. (Strictly friends, not FWB)

We’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave us a comment and/or a follow question. We’ll respond here as well. (And if something huge changes, let us know. We’d love to know we were wrong.)

Take care,

THE GUYS

ps. Let your friends know about us. Thanks!

Some other questions for THE GUYS:

Domineering when I date; I give dating advice to men

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He speaks in facts, she in emotions; should I break up or do long distance? 

Not over his ex; should I leave now, or give it a chance? 

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Is he too into me?

Three questions for guys: Dating my best friend’s boyfriend, Bumps on my butt, Dating an older guy?

Dating in my 20s as a single mother

My boyfriend is on dating sites; is he cheating?

 

3 Comments on Is he interested in friendship or something more?

  1. So my best friend of almost ten years and I have been fwb for the last 8 months. This is my first fwb inexperienced. He had been my friend through my 2 other relationships, the only ones I’ve ever had actually. He knows the physical and emotional abuse I suffered and how badly I was hurt by it all. So one night, after breaking up with my boyfriend of four years, huge fight, he grabbed me and kissed me! I never thought in a million years that he would even like me. We made out and cuddled all night. since then these last eight months have been back and forth. We never fought before we got physical, but now we do. And he only touches me when he’s hammered! We have both said we love each other, he said it first. And I know we love each other, I just don’t know what that means for us, I’m not one to get super excited by things or rush into things.I have asked him if this was fwb or anything more? His response was that he needed to get his life in order before he dated someone, and also he never ever wants to jeopardize our friendship. These are things that made me happy to hear, but does this mean I have a chance in hell with dating him? Ill say this for myself, he is the most important person to me on this planet and a life without him in it, no matter how he’s in my life, would be a cold and sad one for me! He is not perfect, by any means, but I accept him 100%. I don’t want to push him into anything, but I need to know where I stand. We’re both so shy, its stupid. And neither of us are good with emotional talking, it scares us lol. How do I ask him, and what do I ask him, if I want to know how he really feels about me?

  2. Hi guys, I recently moved in with a guy friend that I had slept with afew times because iI didn’t have a place to go and he said I could stay there till I found one. I had the front part of house but he would always text me come in his room or I just ended up in there. Atfirst we texted all the time but he would always say keep us quiet we know what we are because there was drama with baby Momma and things. But eventually we will say…meanwhile I was still looking for a place and I wasletting him know that I was makeing and effort. He started acting stand offish and I was confused I asked hi. If anything was wrong he would reply with y does something always have to be wrong or I would apologize he would say stop apologizing. We got In an argument because of some texts that were forward to me that he sent to baby Momma saying come over sex him and that I had went somewhere.I confronted him and he basically said I gave u what u wanted to see as if I went through his phone and he did it on purpose.when reaLizi g I didn’t he said it was neighbor….then brings up that he knows I’m hot shyly throw everything in his face and he was talking about me looking for a spot. He was done he didn’t want this I pushed it on him. So I said ok and he said I could still stay until I found place. He says over I the next day leave and 10 min later I get. Text that days wow ok don’t tell anyone ure leving Gnite goodbye. He’s very wishywashy one day he tells me he’s scared and once I get a divorce I will see a different him. Then the next its like I don’t exsist and when I say something grains we aren’t seeing eachother .but yet he will write .essages like wow wtf ever a d start being shitty once again. Recently I found out I nD cancer and they gave me bout yr. I was scared he told me I will be there. I didn’t want to tell him but I did. After that he was rude as hell I told him I didn’t want to think bout it lets do fun things he didn’t speakk to me and went to bed. I was beside myself so I text him how I felt and he stated wow all this because I chose to go to bed u got issues. I said yea that I was told I’m gonna die and needed my friend to help me and he said I’m tired but blame it on me if makes u feel better. I was hurt. Later that night he turned charm on 4days of the person I met until new years eve I asked him if he b my date he said yes for 2days I said that I just want to be kissed on cheek to start for new yyear great memory to think of during the battle I’m facing. It almost was midnight his friends were there it struck midnight and nothing. I had to go to my room I was in tears he came in asked what’s the matter I said nothing. Then I got text that said hmmmmm whatever that’s what’s up happy new year so I replied thY he new my wish etc and he was not going through this again god.. tomorrow is my first day of treat.ent and I’m scared I went somewhere today and he texts well f u too I asked where’s all this coming from I tttl he said no u won’t Stay gone then Iget home he’s asleep asked him if he can stay up talk to me because bout to morrow he was like I’m sleeping I said ease I need friend he was like I’m here dam. What do u want from me do t think bout it go to sleep. There are days where he flirts and I see and feel it in his eyes and he’s opened with me holding me but then there are the ones where he’s like y haven’t u left were not together that I read into it to much..am I? If we aren’t together he shouldn’t be concerned with y I’m on my phone on Fb that I have Lit if friends make me feel bad by going out make rude comments or state that I’m leaving house then lies says its in my mind he doesn’t act that way.he’s sending me mixed emotions I don’t know if he’s just being mean like that because he’s not wanting to get hurt or if he really doesn’t want to b with me…if someone doesn’t want to b with u they shouldn’t say slow down if its meant to b then it will happen or say that he really likes me but I’m not divorced that I sill see a diff person nor say they never thought they b in this spot again and that he’s scared all these things that lead u to believe diff for him to shut off compldtly don’t talk to Mr be rude stay outside I mention tells me he’s not that I’ve got problems to turning it back on again. What is up I’m freaking confused help

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