Your Turn: “WHY Doesn’t He Want a Relationship When it’s Obvious He Really, Really Likes Me??”

In a feature I call “Your Turn,” in which you, the readers, get to answer the question, I’m presenting the following letter without commentary from me:

Here is the situation. I am going to make it short and to the point. For almost a year and a half a guy whom I worked with would always ask me to hang out with him after work but it was very rare when I would hang out with him. The reason was that I had just gotten out of a relationship before starting to work for this company, and I was so upset and not ready to be around people in general.

One day my car wouldn’t crank, and this guy helped me start my car and take it to the auto repair shop. While my car was getting worked on, we went to dinner. While at dinner, I realized I really, really enjoyed talking to this guy and realized after a year and a half I was over my ex-boyfriend. After that day, we started hanging out more and more after work. We found out we had a lot in common, but we never were intimate because he claimed he had a girlfriend who lived in another state whom he had been dating for the past four years. I understood this and we kept it strictly friends hanging out and dancing, but I noticed that we were spending a lot of one-on-one time together like we were dating.

After seven months of a really close friendship, he tells me that his girlfriend from another state broke up with him and in that same moment he kissed me. I found it odd that in the two years we knew each other, he and his alleged girlfriend visited each other only a couple of times. Anyway, from that day on we started getting closer and closer. I asked him one day, “Are we together or what?” He said, “No, I am not ready for a relationship since I was in such a long term relationship.” So I said, “Then we don’t need to be kissing or being intimate with each other.” And he said OK.

Days and months went by and it seemed like our attraction for one another kept getting stronger. He even started admitting to our friends that he liked me, and all of them thought we were dating. When I started hearing him say these nice things, I thought he had changed his mind about not being in a relationship, so I asked him again, “Are we in a relationship?” He responded for the third time that we weren’t because the timing was so off for him since he was in a relationship with the same girl for so long. I proceeded to ask him was he not over her. He said he’s over her and he doesn’t want me to think that I was a rebound girl because that is not what I am–but he only wants to be my friend.

So I told him we can’t be alone with each other for a while — we can’t touch each other or kiss. He agreed and this time I am really hurting and struggling because I want to be in a relationship with him and I miss our time together. I am very angry with the whole situation because, even though he told me he didn’t want to commit to me, he still was pursuing me like he wanted to be with me. I feel like I was played. I have talked to him about all of my feelings and emotions. He still is coming to my desk at work and we are still talking to each other, but the atmosphere feels different when we are around each other now–like we are both trying to contain ourselves from jumping on each other sexually. I truly feel that he really, really likes me, but I can’t understand why he doesn’t want to commit to someone he really, really likes. — Really, Really Annoyed


You can follow me on Facebook here and sign up for my weekly newsletter here.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at


  1. LW, he doesn’t want to date you because he doesn’t want to date you. If you are interested in dating again, then MOA from this guy and find someone who wants to date you.

  2. does it matter why he doesnt want to commit? why do you need a reason? the way i see it, you dont want to act as a couple (kissing, sex, physical stuff, one on one time, ect) until you are in a committed relationship. he is then telling you he wont give you a committed relationship. case closed, yes?

    stick to your standards. if your standard is he must commit to me before we get physical, and he is telling you he wont while giving you all the physical cues he wants the physical sex stuff, MOA and find someone who lives up to your standards.

  3. I couldn’t even finish reading this.


    Not every guy wants to be in a long term, committed relationship. No matter how much someone likes, you, they might not be the “relationship type”, and you need to accept that. Some guys like your company. Some guys like the physical attention, some guys like to be seen in public with a cute girl, but that’s it.

    Please do yourself a favor, and start looking for partners who want the same things as you. If you want to get married, look for a man who would also like to get married one day.

  4. How old are LW and the guy? In some ways, this almost sounds like HS.

    “Played” seems wrong because the guy has neither pushed for physical intimacy or tried to limit the LW’s social life with others. He has respected the lines LW has drawn. She just wants him on HER side of the line, not the side he is actually on.

    MOA may be too strong, but I definitely think LW needs to de-focus on this guy. The deeper problem I get from LW is that she may be so strongly monogamous (?) in her psyche that she cannot enjoy the “present” with a guy if there is no indication of a “future.” If that is the case, then MOA may be her only option.

    1. Two people who work together in an office, one of whom has been in a relationship for seven years and is able to articulate that he is not ready for another relationship rather than jumping into one and then fucking it up sounds like high school? You must have gone to high school with the most well adjusted group of teenagers ever…

      Even if none of that was stated why does their age matter? Person A doesn’t get why person B would want to be romantic with someone they don’t want to date because that’s not how person A operates. Your last paragraph would have been a perfect answer to this problem.

      1. Yep, the LW angsting sounds JUST like HS. The LW even sounds HS, “Are we in a relationship?” C’mon, if one has to ask, then one is NOT! That is why I wondered about age. Maybe LW’s still a teen. Maybe there is an 8-year age delta.

        As for my HS, there might have been a well adjusted teen or two there. Somewhere. I don’t recall ever meeting any, though ….

      2. ““Are we in a relationship?” C’mon, if one has to ask, then one is NOT!”

        This sort of goes against a lot of common DW wisdom, though – if you’re unclear about where your relationship with someone stands, ASK THEM. And it does sound like this dude has been giving some mixed signals so asking seems appropriate.

  5. So you needed a 1.5 year waiting period to get over your ex but you get mad for a guy needing time? Seriously?

    1. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

      Oh good point, CSP.

      1. Why, Thank you AP 🙂 An Addie Pray response makes me feel famous.

      2. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        Haha, go on!

      3. one comment from you and I get 27 likes and counting. You are like Oprah’s book club. one word and it is a best seller.

      4. The AP Seal of Approval… better than Good Housekeeping anyday 🙂

      5. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        You’re up to 58 likes! Maybe I AM Oprah! OR you made a good point that is resonating well. One of the two. Ok, let’s just say both and call it even.

  6. I…I am so confused by the…tone? of this letter. Maybe it’s because I’m tired (I made the poor decision to take a dose of NyQuil at 1 am after not being able to sleep, & the effects are still with me).

    LW, the short answer is: this guy doesn’t want to date you. That’s the only thing you need to understand. If he wanted to date you, he would. There doesn’t seem to be ANY indication that he’s even considering commitment for the future. He said he wants to be your friend. Right now, he is your coworker & friend. He’s not your soon-to-be boyfriend & asking him every couple of weeks “so are you my boyfriend now?” isn’t going to steer things in the direction you’d like.

    I apologize in advance for the story hour, but this reminds me of the first “crush” I ever had, in kindergarten. It was on a girl who I’d constantly ask to sit my me on the bus going home. I would ask every single day, like some kind of annoying stalker. One day, the teacher had her walk me down to the nurse’s office for whatever reason, & we had a cool chat, & I was delighted. I totally thought she would sit next to me on the bus that day.

    Anyway, when we got back to the classroom, I burst out with my question. I couldn’t contain myself anymore. “So…are you going to sit by me today???” She rolled her eyes hard & was like “Fabellllllllle! NO.” SHUT DOWN.

    Yeah, so– to tie this in…LW, the guy has shut you down multiple times already. You are not 5 years old & you should’ve gotten the hint by now. It sucks when the person you like isn’t into you that way, but that’s the deal.

    I realize this is already an epic-length comment, but there’s one other part of your letter I don’t get. Why all the skepticism in regard to this dude’s girlfriend? “he claimed”? Are you doubting the girl’s existence, & if so, why? I mean, if he was making her up, what would that mean? To me, that would indicate EVEN MORE that he’s not interested in you. “I have a boyfriend” is what I told too-eager guy friends when I was single in order to ice the situation.

    My take on this guy is that he’s bored and lonely. You told him all your feelings, & it’s clear he doesn’t share those feelings. MOA.

  7. GatorGirl says:

    Oye this made my head hurt.

    If he says he doesn’t want to date you, he doesn’t want to date you. End of story.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      I feel like she was hoping we would just say he def does want to date you, but is obviously shy. Keep waiting.

  8. This guy doesn’t want to date you, and he doesn’t really really like you, the way you like him and I don’t know why, but that doesn’t matter. You need to forget about all of this physical attraction bs you think you two have, and let him go, it’s time to move on. It might be best to start limiting your time at work with this guy too, because this is just making things harder than they have to be.

    Stop wasting so much energy on something that you can’t have, and apply it to finding somebody new, or just hanging out with your friends you don’t kiss, and be intimate with. Once this guy finds a girl he really really likes, then he is going to put you right in the friendzone, and then fade out once he tells his new girlfriend that you are just friends, but you have a crush on him.

    1. Regina Chapman says:

      Ouch. Yeah. True.

  9. kerrycontrary says:

    Yup…agree with everyone else. This guy may like you. He may even have feelings for you. But he doesn’t want you to be his girlfriend and he’s told you that multiple times, it doesn’t really matter what the reason is. Maybe he IS still getting over his girlfriend. Maybe he wants to sow his wild oats since he’s been in a relationship for so long. Maybe he’s planning on moving to a new country and hasn’t told you. Rejection sucks, but it’s time to move on. If it’s too hard being friends with him since you like him a lot then I would limit conversations at work and not spend time together after work.

  10. Oh honey. This was me four years ago. I had ended an engagement. This guy I worked with had also ended a 10-year relationship. We were friends and super attracted to one another. I mean, the chemistry between us was UNBELIEVABLE.

    Anyway, we hung out. A lot. We had sex. A lot. I would stay at his house two or three nights during the week then Friday – Monday morning. So really, I was at my own place two nights a week.

    But you know what, as much as he liked me. And as much fun as we had together, we were never really together. He liked having someone around. So did I. We both liked the sex. We both liked just sitting at a bar and watching a game. To the outside, we seemed like we were in a relationship. His best friend would tell him he should just date me. He never would. And it wore on me and my self esteem.

    After I finally moved away – well not even then, two years after I finally moved away – I was able to see how horrible this relationship was. I wanted more. He didn’t. And he never pretended he did, but I stuck it out longer than I should because I thought he would eventually change his mind. Plus, the sex was awesome.

    LW, this guy you’re friends with likes your company. He likes the way you make him feel. But he doesn’t want a relationship. If he did, you would be in one.

    1. kerrycontrary says:

      “he never pretended he did, but I stuck it out longer than I should because I thought he would eventually change his mind. ” A lesson we all have to learn–you can never convince someone to be in a relationship with you. It’s so hard to understand and it hurts, but you usually don’t make the mistake multiple times.

      1. That is the truth. It was a learning experience that hurt at the time, but I’m better for it. I still think fondly of him because he taught me a lot about myself. I’m also stronger.

    2. Yep, great story. Same thing happened to me, on and off for about 7 years. The guy was my best friend, but we were never able to get together on the dating side of things. Either he wanted to and I didn’t, or I wanted to and he didn’t. It’s just not worth it. He’s clearly into you, but he might be looking more for a friends with benefits situation. That’s what it sounds like. And since that’s not what you’re after, you should minimize the time you spend with him and free yourself for someone who actually wants to date you.

  11. Regina Chapman says:

    I don’t know why – this might be my current mood seeping into my answer – but I wanna say ‘JUMP HIS BONES ALREADY.’ Accept it’s just going to be a fling and ENJOY. Or move on if that’s not you. Your choice. But you need to pick either one and stop acting like this guy is victimizing you.

    (JUMP HIS BONES! No, sorry guys, I’ll sod off now.)

    1. Haha, I was thinking the same thing. Might as well let something good come out of it.

    2. Sounds like she’s too into him to let it just be a fling. With the emotions she has for him, jumping his bones is probably not the best idea.

  12. ARGH! I have a girlfriend in practically the same situation. All I hear about is their chemistry and how he’s just not ready for a new relationship. I’m going to tell you LW the same thing I say to her.

    It doesn’t matter how right it feels and how he stares deep into your eyes when you’re together or how he says you aren’t just a rebound. If he isn’t calling himself your boyfriend and just having sex with you. Guess what, you’re a rebound.

    Decide what you want in a man and if he isn’t giving you that, no matter what his reasons/excuses are, KICK HIM OUT OF YOUR BED AND LIFE.

    Have some self respect.

    1. This reminds me a little bit of a situation my friend was in too.

      She had a co-worker, they were friends, they were SUPER attracted to each other and talked about sex and blah blah blah. Initially, she was content to just have a FWB type thing with him, but then she realized that she had “feelings” so she told him it was too complicated. Still, they hung out and talked all the time, and eventually he said that they would have sex when he felt “ready” for a relationship. She hung on waiting for something like 6 months while he continued to tell her all the reasons he couldn’t be in a relationship (he has PTSD and intimacy issues, blah blah blah) and she believed she could “fix” him, and stopped trying to date other men because she was in love with him.

      A month or so ago, she found out that he got his ex-girlfriend pregnant….and then MARRIED HER. Yep.

  13. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

    I feel betrayed. LW said she was going to “make it short and to the point” but she lied!

    1. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

      Ok, I’m over the betrayal and ready to help. None of the back story really matters. The question at the end, “I can’t understand why he doesn’t want to commit to someone he really, really likes” is easy to answer. The answer has nothing to do with you – it’s not because you’re not pretty enough or too pretty or not smart enough or too smart, etc. The answer is because he doesn’t want to. You can’t make someone want the same things as you, silly goose. Time to move on.

      *UNLESS* …. you could accidentally/with purpose get pregnant. Then maybe he’ll want to commit. Just one idea!

      1. No!! Bad Addie! Bad!

        Besides, wouldn’t she need to sex him first, or have things changed that much since I was out there?

      2. Even on Maury, you can’t be the baby daddy unless you’ve been there once.

      3. lets_be_honest says:

        That’s just not true. All the baby daddies on Maury say they never slept with the woman before. So it is possible.

      4. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        Sex or swimming in a public pool – both can lead to babies.

      5. When I was 4, I remember riding in the car with my pregnant mom, and- I guess the best word for it is “contemplating”- how babies were made. It seemed obvious to me that mommies and daddies could have sex (in my head this was when they went in the bedroom together) OR the stork could bring the baby. Either or. It made perfect sense to me at the time. I think the stork idea was so strong to me because my mom had a blue baby name book with pictures of storks carrying babies in little white bundles on the cover.

      6. Well we did have that one letter where a turkey baster was involved….she could steal his sperm! 😉

      7. I feel so naive…

      8. Well said AP!
        LW – listen to the part about how it isn’t about you. It always feels heartbreakingly personal when someone we like doesn’t return those feelings – especially when there’s bone-jumping chemistry involved. But, it happens, and what you can do is recognize it and move on.

  14. He’s just not that into you.

    MOA. But don’t feel too bad, though — I feel like many of us have to learn this lesson the hard way.

  15. Yeah, I feel like the dude was probably struggling to remain monogamous throughout his [what sounds like terrible] long-distance relationship, especially towards the end when he started developing feelings for the LW. Now that he’s single the last thing he wants/ needs is to be in another long-term monogamous relationship. It’s been four years, and if he’s actually been faithful during [the majority of] that time then he probably needs time to do some guilt-free ogling and flirting and wild-oat-sowing. So let him get to it, so he can figure out if he wants to settle back down. (But don’t count on it.)

    Also, seconding CSP; you claimed to have needed over a year to get over your relationship ending, and this guy seemed to respect that. Why don’t you give this dude the same courtesy?

    1. Second all of this. Sounds like he was in a LDR, you just wanted to be friends and he probably felt safe being close with you just as friends because he didn’t imagine it would go anywhere. Now he’s single and re-evaluating so either give him time to move on or move on yourself.

  16. It was selfish and low of this guy to take up your time when it was clear that you wanted a relationship and he knew he didn’t. Don’t waste any more time with someone who is okay with, basically, using you for his own ends.

    1. Avatar photo LadyinPurpleNotRed says:

      Well she chose to keep hanging around after he said no to her, so it’s not like she had NO IDEA. She was aware and chose to stay.

    2. I disagree… He was very clear that he didn’t want to be in a relationship, it’s not his fault she didn’t get the message. He never forced her to hang out with him.

    3. I won’t disagree that it’s her responsibility, but it would have been considerate of him to back off instead of boosting his ego. If a guy who liked me clearly was taking my behavior as something more, I’d at least attempt to stop stringing him along.

      1. Avatar photo LadyinPurpleNotRed says:

        I’m not entirely convinced he was. She seems to be projecting A LOT so I really don’t trust a lot of what she says so I don’t know that he was. He told her the truth and she was the one who kept pushing things. People can still be friends even if one side has an attraction for the other.

    4. I don’t know when somebody tells you they don’t want a relationship and then you keep pursuing them and allowing something to happen, *hoping* they change their mind, the other person isn’t completely at fault. You own part of that. If you want more and you realize that person is only going to give you a FWB situation, then you have to move on. Repeatedly trying to question them and hoping they change their mind isn’t going to work. It’s only going to leave you hurt. But, you are responsible for allowing them to keep using you, after they’ve told you point blank what you want isn’t going to happen.

    5. I do think it’s a bit of a red flag of shittiness that he announced to the LW after spending 7 months friendzoning her that he was done with his GF and kissed her right off the bat… that’s a mixed message especially if you are inclined to read too much into behavior and think kiss=falling in love.

      if nothing else LW – do you really want to be with a guy that can turn on/off his feelings like that? almost like (I hate to say it) you are a convenience and he may have kissed whatever girl was in front of him once he was single and out of the LDR…

      MOA – you are never going to find a happy and stable relationship while pining away for this guy, and getting caught up in reading into how many times he walks past your desk in the office.

      1. I wondered if there really was a LD girlfriend…
        points well-taken that LW had responsibility too, but the guy IS a cad.

  17. Avatar photo the_optimist says:

    “Here is the situation. I am going to make it short and to the point.”


    Ok, whatever his reasons are, he just doesn’t want to date you. He just doesn’t. Put on your headphones while you’re at work. Stare at your screen, do this to your cubicle and then marvel at its awesomeness. Do anything else but speak to this dude.

  18. It certainly sounds like you were definitely drifting into a relationship, but got derailed twice over terminology. Perhaps he is not a guy that is comfortable with labeling an incipient relationship as a relationship and you pushed to hard to insist upon that label after one kiss. If you are going on what seem like dates, getting along better and better, and drifting into more intimacy, perhaps you’d be better off going with the drift for awhile without putting up the “no kiss, no alone time, etc” without the label. I strongly believe that the strongest relationships grow out of friendships and mutual interests and world view, which are spiced by physical attraction. My wife was certainly my best friend, but I think if she had demanded that I say we were in a relationship after I kissed her the first time that I would have found that very strange and run for the hills. If what you had was working so well for both of you and moving in the direction you wanted it to move, I don’t understand why you were so willing to blow it up over terminology. It’s not as if you mention anything suggesting this guy is a player who was using you, in fact it doesn’t sound that physically you got much beyond kissing. If the flow is good, you’ve just got to go with it.

  19. What I don’t get is this line: “the atmosphere feels different when we are around each other now–like we are both trying to contain ourselves from jumping on each other sexually.”

    If we presume, LW, that you have EVER met a man before, then how can this be the case? You brushed him back repeatedly by asking if you were together and insisting that if not, you have no reason to be kissing or intimate, yet now you think he can barely contain himself? No. You brushed him back, and he said OK. If what he really wanted was sex, if he could barely contain himself, in your words, he would have either made many more direct efforts to initiate, or he would have backed off completely out of frustration. He said OK, because he is not that interested. Ask any guy you know to comment on this. You are projecting your desire onto this guy, yet you are demanding a commitment he won’t make before you will act on your desire. That’s fine if that’s your standard, but don’t expect the guy to care about this silly game. Either be just friends for real or MOA.

  20. Sorry, LW, but this guy just doesn’t want what you want.

  21. EricaSwagger says:

    “But the atmosphere feels different when we are around each other now -– like we are both trying to contain ourselves from jumping on each other sexually.”

    I love this feeling! Sexual tension rocks. If you can’t handle it then MOA. Otherwise, it sounds like this could be a pretty hot FWB situation, and I say enjoy.

  22. landygirl says:

    LW, it seems you might be projecting your feelings onto him and convincing yourself that he feels the same. Don’t do that. MOA, this isn’t going to work.

  23. I think we all need some big answer for why someone rejects us and the real answer is, some people just don’t want to date us. They don’t have to have a reason and they don’t have to give you one.

    Also, I’m wondering like landygirl said above, if this tension you’re feeling is one sided and he’s reacting to the awkwardness? It sounds like you need to just tell this guy, I can’t be friends with you. Because, it doesn’t seem like you can be friends with him without wanting more.

  24. That letter LW was not short and to the point. THIS is the quick and dirty of your letter:

    I have excellent chemistry with this guy at work who I see has great boyfriend-potential. Yet he doesn’t want to be my boyfriend. WTF?!?

    LW, does it MATTER why this guy doesn’t want to be your boyfriend?!? The fact that he doesn’t want to be your boyfriend does not translate to a complete rejection of you, as evident by the fact that he’s still hanging around your office cubicle like a puppy dog. He just doesn’t want a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship now. I’m sorry if you are angry over the feeling of being played, but a player does not be totaly honest with you over the fact that he doesn’t want a relationship right now. He’s telling you as it is, but you’re not LISTENING to him because of the amount of boyfriend-potential you have already invested in this guy that you will lose.

    LW, you have to cut your losses with this guy, as well as all the boyfriend-potential you have invested in him. If you don’t want to get intimate with him without a relationship, then don’t get intimate with him. If you’re going to stick with that decision, then stop thinking of the relationship-that-could-have-been-but-one-he-doesn’t-want. FIND OTHER MEN WITH HIGH BOYFRIEND-POTENTIAL.

    1. “you’re not LISTENING to him because of the amount of boyfriend-potential you have already invested in this guy that you will lose”

      Why does every woman (and some guys I know, but let’s be honest with the stereotype – more of a female thing) have to learn this lesson the hard way? Listening to hear what we want to hear or that reaffirms our perspective… no matter how much is hurts and causes problems to our self-esteem because HE LIKES ME SO MUCH THERE MUST BE POWERS BEYOND TWILIGHT THAT ARE KEEPING US APART BUT ONCE TOGETHER IT WILL BE MAGICAL (no he doesn’t, and it wouldn’t hurt so much if we didn’t make up emotions that aren’t there). We might as well be members of the GOP watching FoxNews to get our daily affirmation of crazy, no matter how much the actual facts are to the contrary. Why do we spend so much energy analyzing and searching for deeper meaning that isn’t there!?! Why do we acknowledge that for the most part men are not complicated, yet think they go all soap opera when there are feelings involved!?!?! There was another letter recently that was very similar, the poor LW getting all wrapped up in her head when the guy was flat out saying NO to what she wanted.

      Don’t ‘read into’ things or make assumptions/excuses… just focus on the obvious because 99 times out of 100 it will be the truth.

      1. SGMcG…MMcG… my head is spinning…

  25. LW I’m sorry your hurting right now…I do think the guy telling you he had a girlfriend in another state was totally BS…he probably uses that to keep people at arm’s length so he can control how he wants relationships to go…he then said they broke up to get closer to you but then had a change of heart and is not using the lame “I’m not over my ex” excuse to again keep you at arms length…you need to move on from this guy, not only does he lie, but he manipulates the situation to suit what he wants….that is not a real man….i know it is hard to believe now, but you will find someone better…don’t waste time on this guy any more…please keep your chin up 🙂

    1. Where do you get the lying and manipulation from? Why can’t the guy have a girlfriend in another state? The LW even says the guy and his girlfriend visited each other, although not frequent enough for the LW’s taste. He has never told her he wants a relationship with her – he has told her the opposite though – three times. The guy is not always the villain of the piece. From what I can see, he didn’t do anything wrong – at least not to the LW. The problem is that they simply don’t want the same things.

      1. He kissed her the second he announced that he was broken up, and then pulled back and is friendzoning her back and forth so that it’s now at the point where kissing has become a card to play in their back and forth… that’s manipulative even if it wasn’t done with the most evil of intentions.

      2. lets_be_honest says:

        Couldn’t you say just as bad things about her though? She thought he liked her, and she wanted attention but no boyfriend at first, but she kept stringing him along (or so she thought at least) to get the attention she needed. Sounds like she friendzoned him first, not that there is anything wrong with friendzoning, especially if you are clear and upfront about it.
        Maybe he just thought he’s see if he thought they had chemistry and kissed her to find out, realized he didn’t feel a spark and decided he wasn’t interested.

      3. That’s true LBH… there isn’t a whole lot of listening and function on either side of this one… all the more reason to MOA and start fresh. Find a new crush to admire at your local coffee house or a hot guy in the grocery store 😉

      4. I think he kissed her because he thought she’d be into sleeping with her. He clearly didn’t think it was the lead-in to a serious relationship. Kind of a sleazy move, but if he somehow thought she was into the FWB thing, then it would make sense.

      5. … he thought she’d be into sleeping with *him*, not her. 🙂

      6. Kissing someone isn’t the same as wanting a relationship with them. She put up the boundary that there should be no kissing if he don’t want to date her and he respected that and stopped kissing her. There are a lot of guys that run game and tell you what you want to hear to get in your pants – but this guy isn’t like that – he was honest and I’m not sure why she feels played or why anyone would fault him for being honest. Does he want to kiss her? Yes. Does he want to date her? No. Does he like her as a person? Sure. I see no manipulation.

        And I’ve actually been where she is. Every guy who ever tried to sleep with me wanted to be my boyfriend until in my mid twenties when I met one who wanted to sleep with me but didn’t want to be my boyfriend. He pursued me hard, he would talk to me for minimum 3 hours a day, he would call into radio stations and do ‘shout outs’ to me (until I told him to stop that. no seriously – stop that) and would even creep out of work to see me and have his friends cover, he was affectionate and acted like a boyfriend in every way – but he didn’t want to be in a committed relationship and said so. And I didn’t question that. If he said it, he must mean it. I know I mean the things I say. Maybe I’m arrogant but I just thought “his loss” and I enjoyed our relationship on those terms. We would scale back whenever I met someone and when I needed a rebound he was there. Truly it worked out really well for me even though initially I thought it odd that he didn’t want something more. Over the years he would float the idea of being together or tell me he wished he married me but I think we would never have as successful together as we were ‘not together.’ Looking back on my life I would say he is one of the top three meaningful relationships I’ve had and I’m glad to have known him (though I could have done without the declaration of affection after he married) And whatever else I can say about him, I can’t fault him for lying to me or leading me on in any way. And LW, I don’t think you can fault your guy either.

      7. *doesn’t want to date her

      8. bittergaymark says:

        Here, here. I’ve kissed many many many men and never wanted to be in a relationship with them.

      9. Kissing someone isn’t the same as wanting a relationship with them. She put up the boundary that there should be no kissing if he don’t want to date her and he respected that and stopped kissing her. There are a lot of guys that run game and tell you what you want to hear to get in your pants – but this guy isn’t like that – he was honest and I’m not sure why she feels played or why anyone would fault him for being honest. Does he want to kiss her? Yes. Does he want to date her? No. Does he like her as a person? Sure. I see no manipulation.

        And I’ve actually been where she is. Every guy who ever tried to sleep with me wanted to be my boyfriend until in my mid twenties when I met one who wanted to sleep with me but didn’t want to be my boyfriend. He pursued me hard, he would talk to me for minimum 3 hours a day (chatty – I know), he would call into radio stations and do ‘shout outs’ to me (until I told him to stop that. no seriously – stop that) and would even creep out of work to see me and have his friends cover, he was affectionate and acted like a boyfriend in every way – but he didn’t want to be in a committed relationship and said so. And I didn’t question that. If he said it, he must mean it. I know I mean the things I say. Maybe I’m arrogant but I just thought “his loss” and I enjoyed our relationship on those terms. We would scale back whenever I met someone or he met someone… and when I needed a rebound he was there. Truly it worked out really well for me even though initially I thought it odd that he didn’t want something more. Over the years he would float the idea of being together or tell me how good we could be together but I think we would never have been as successful together as we were ‘not together.’ Looking back on my life I would say he is one of the top three meaningful relationships I’ve had and I’m glad to have known him (though I could have done without the declaration of love after he married and years after we stopped contact) And whatever else I can say about him, I can’t fault him for lying to me or leading me on in any way. And LW, I don’t think you can fault your guy either. It is just not meant to be on the terms you want – so move on.

      10. no idea why it posted twice…IE is just not loving me these days…

      11. “The guy is not always the villain of the piece …” So important to remember, FireStar!

  26. New rule: When someone tells you they don’t want a relationship with you, BELIEVE THEM.

    Don’t overanalyze their behaviour looking for clues that they’re lying to you (or themselves). Don’t waste your time hanging out with them hoping they’ll change their mind. There are a million different possible explanations for what’s going on with this guy, but you know what? It doesn’t even matter. All you need to know is what he has told you in his own words: he doesn’t want to date you. Cut him off to the furthest extent that you can and move on.

    1. I’m not sure if that’s a new rule, but it is a good one.

  27. I don’t get this. Do you think he is playing hard to get? Because he isn’t playing. Or do you think that you know what is better for him (dating you) than he knows for himself (staying single)? Because that is presumptuous. And – as it turns out – wrong. As he told you. Three times. The truth is you like him more than he likes you. It happens. He didn’t play you – he was very honest with you. You just don’t like the answer he gave you. I think it is odd you are questioning the ex girlfriend’s existence. What good comes from THAT? She’s inconvenient to what you want so she doesn’t exist? His completely clear answers are inconvenient to what you want from him so then he must not mean them? You can’t will him to want you. You can’t imagine away a relationship he had and is recovering from because that is what would work best for you. It’s time to face reality my dear. And the reality is he doesn’t want you – not the way you want him. And that is great news – because accepting that means you can free yourself of your attraction to him and move on to someone who is actually interested in you.

  28. As others have said, it doesn’t matter why he doesn’t. He just doesn’t. You admit that he sounded kind of sketchy about that long-distance girlfriend. If she was real, would you really want a guy who spent all that alone time with another girl. And if she wasn’t, do you want a liar? I think you’re getting hung up on the fact that you feel rejected, but looking at his behavior — the fact that he’s OK with stringing you along — is that what you want? Or do you want a guy who clearly knows how he feels about you and wants to be with you? I’ve been in your place before, so I know how much it sucks, but it’s time to move on and look for someone worth your time.

  29. So let me get this straight*- you ignored his advances (advances he was making while in a relationship w someone else, mind you) for a year and a half because you were healing from a past relationship. And now that you’re ready, but he needs time to heal from a past relationship, you’re upset?

    Look. I get that you guys have a connection, but I think you need to MOA because I see one or both of the following scenarios at play here:

    1. The whole thing is really bad timing. That happens in life. And I wouldn’t waste my time waiting for him to “come around” if that’s the case. There’s no guarantee and you’re more than likely to get your heart even more broken than it already seems to be.
    2. It sounds to me like this guy deliberately puts himself in situations where his commitment is minimal. A four-year LTR? Pursuing another woman while in that LTR- and a woman who’s obviously got reservations?

    I would cut your losses. Stop communicating with him other than minimal cordial exchanges at work. Go on a few dates. Because you DO sound ready for a relationship, but it needs to be with someone who is as well.

    *I didn’t read the other comments yet.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      Sounded to me like she might have been seeing things that weren’t really there about this “connection.” I kinda thought it seemed like they were just friends all along, esp during the time he was in a relationship. I didn’t think he did anything wrong to his gf by being friends with this girl.

  30. LW, this letter really annoyed me. You seem so desperate for this guy’s affection and maybe, just maybe, he doesn’t want to give it to you like that (only guessing from the letter). I suggest you go and pick up this easy read called “He’s Just Not that Into You”. It’s a good little book and I think it might help explain why he is acting the way he is.

    So you guys connected on some level, but it’s A level, not THE level that you want. Maybe he does like you and finds you attractive, but you’re not what he wants. Stop pushing the guy to be official and get some self respect. It almost seems like you’re begging him without obvious begging. Move on from this guy and stop thinking there can be a relationship that you want when he’s told you 3 times that he doesn’t want it.

    1. I LOVE “He’s Just Not That Into You” for situations like this (and we’ve all been there). It helped me “aim higher”, as we like to say. The next guy I dated after I read it is now my husband.

      “I looked up ‘I don’t want to be your boyfriend’ in the Relationship Dictionary. It means ‘I don’t want to be your boyfriend.”

      1. Been there, done that, too. I read it because it was sitting on the shelf for a few years and I wasn’t in a relationship. Then I read it again just because.

  31. Moneypenny says:

    I think he could reconsider if he really, really, really likes you, but not if he only “really, really” likes you. Three “really’s” is the key.

  32. LW!! Down here!! Maybe you’ll find my comment buried down here at the bottom.

    Just wanted to say: THIS SUCKS. I’m sorry you were strung along (no matter who’s “fault” it is).

    Also, almost everyone on here has been through this. Everyone here has been hurt and has hurt someone else. That is the circle of life and we can only hope to get better with age and wisdom. Please know that people DO understand this feeling even if they may seem dismissive in their comments. The DW community is a kind and supportive one but occasionally you’ll catch us especially tough in our tough love approach. I think today is one of those days.

    But you should not feel shamed or mortified or dismissed. Rather take the blunt nature of the comments as resolve to safeguard your standards and listen to your gut in the future. We will be around to cheer you on if you send in an update. PROMISE.

    And heck, I have had this happen to me more than once and I am thirty-..(well, nevermind). We’ve all been guilty of reading into mixed messages and there are so many people out there who have those ambivalent feelings and can’t seem to figure out what/who they want. Actually most of us have been on BOTH sides. Ever met a guy super nice, friendly, smart, but not quite your type? And you kinda suspect he likes you but you figure there is no harm in enjoying his company because you’ve TOLD him you’re just friends? And you kinda DO like how he always remembers your birthday or when you had a tough work day. It’s nice having a dude around to help with stuff at the house or see a movie with. As friends, of course. He’s doing all that nice stuff because he’s a good friend, of course. And sure, you flirt sometimes but that’s just the dynamic between you. It’s all innocent. Right?

    See where I am going? Feelings are not black and white. You weren’t duped but just the victim of someone’s ambivalence. I’m sure no harm was meant. It’s an easy trap to fall into, ESPECIALLY on the rebound.

    1. Jess!!! How have you been? Feels like I haven´t seen you comment in ages. Hope everything is OK. 🙂

      1. Thanks for asking JK!!! Tis true, I have been scarce round these parts. I am ok. Work has taken over my life –like 11 hour days. But the job is awesome and they pay me well (for a CHANGE!) so I am ok with it for now. I still read DW every day while eating lunch at my desk. But don’t usually have time to comment. Today I just felt compelled. Now I better get back to work!!! ;-

    2. We can always count on you to be balanced and kind Jess… it’s so true that feelings aren’t black and white, and people aren’t usually victims of assholes so much as they are just in unfortunate situations.

    3. This was an awesome response.

  33. If someone wants to be in a relationship with you, they will be. If they aren’t, it’s because they don’t want to be, and that’s all you really need to know. It’s that simple. Relationships are hard enough even when the two people really want to be there and make it work. If you don’t even have the foundation of both people really wanting it, the most you can hope for is a very unfulfilling, forced-feeling relationship down the line. You deserve better. Hold out for someone that really wants to be with you, and makes that happen.

    There was a line in a book called “How to Be a Woman” by feminist Caitlin Moran… I’m paraphrasing here, but it was something like “in the wrong relationships, women ask a ton of questions in the beginning about whether there even is a relationship… they analyze the situation to death, won’t stop talking about it with their friends. When it’s the right relationship, the woman doesn’t need to talk about it at all… she basically just disappears for a few weeks into a cloud of hormones and love.” In my experience, that scenario tends to play out. In the beginning with someone new who is right for you, you really do just tend to know.

    1. HmC – that is a very valid point and I agree to an extent. I find it hard to get behind any feminist, really. They’re all female empowerment (which is great) but they really come off as huge bullies. Besides that, even if the guy is great or crap, the girl still talks about it non stop to the friends, the only difference is one conversation if all “But, whhhyyyy? I just don’t get it.” while the other is “He’s ssooooooo great! I just love him to bits!”

      1. That last part is so true. Also, I think the doubting might actually be healthier in the long run than being wilfully ignorant/blind to the others faults.

      2. I agree with you… healthy doubt is good. But I meant my comment above just in the specific context of doubting whether someone even likes you or not, in the beginning of a relationship. In my experience, that has never ended well.

      3. hahaha As a terribly insecure paranoid person I drove myself crazy at the beginning of my r/ship with Arturo, and we´vebeen going strong for 10 years. So now you have one that is going well despite the initial doubts. 🙂

      4. Ah, but you were IN a relationship right? He didn’t string you along doubting whether he even wanted one to begin with? That’s what I’m talking about here. I am a fellow super over analyzer and frequently drive myself insane for totally irrational reasons if I don’t watch myself, so I get that. 😉

      5. Geez, us women can be so willfully blind that it hurts some times. *Sigh*, to be so young and naive again… not really…

        I think doubting or questioning at times makes a relationship stronger. Who would want a yes man or woman all the time? That would get so boring.

      6. Elanie May says:

        Way to generalize feminism. Bullies? Because they think women are equal to men and fight for that to be realized?

      7. Elanie May, I’m not sure why you’re so defensive and if I offended you, I’m sorry. My point was that most feminist come off as bullies, even if their beliefs are that women and men are created equal. Unfortunately, men and women are not “equal” in the corporate world and it will take a very long time for anyone to realize what women have to offer. Regardless of that, many feminists DO come off as bullies because other nicer tactics have not worked in the past or they’re very Kate Chopin and wishy washy.

      8. Sorry… forgot to add the end part of a sentence… It should read “most feminists come off as bullies, as their beliefs are that women and men are created equal and they probably feel bullied themselves”.

      9. lets_be_honest says:

        One of my favorites quotes is from Kate Chopin!

        “What could love, the unsolved mystery, count for in the face of this possession of self-assertion which she now recognized as the strongest impulse of her being!”

      10. Wow. Are you for real?

        So you said most feminists are bullies. Then accused Elaine May of being defensive (LOL) and then pretended bewildered by her taking offense. Lastly, you charmingly offered an “apology” and then once again insulted feminists and called us bullies.

        I think you may want to look bully up in the dictionary. After that, look up hypocrisy. Irony is a good one too.

        Pretending to be sweet while your words drip with insults is not a “nice tactic.” It’s just obnoxious. Just because you’re smiling doesn’t mean you’re not a bully.

      11. lets_be_honest says:

        I think she was just stating her opinion based upon the feminists she has come in contact with.
        Maybe she would’ve benefited from an explanation of what you think feminists are really like, rather than a response like this which she will likely think only furthers her point.

      12. People who generalize like that are convinced of their beliefs no-matter-what. What she’s saying is obnoxious. If I went around going “all the women I’ve met- in my experience- are sluts. Just my opinion! God! Why are others offended!?” that would be absurd.

      13. lets_be_honest says:

        But maybe all the women you have met are sluts. How would I know? If you said all women are sluts, then I’d be offended. I feel like there is a real difference there. And I, maybe naively, like to think people can change opinions. I know I have many times on here. The times I have a hard time changing opinions are when the person trying t do so is basically yelling at me. Not that its your job to try and change her or anyone’s opinion, obviously.

      14. There’s a difference – I don’t go around saying all feminist are bullies. In my opinion, you are the one that is being obnoxious because you’ve formed an opinion of me personally because of a statement I’ve made on an internet site. Just because you hold your beliefs on something I don’t necessarily agree or disagree with, doesn’t mean I will pass judgement on you. And really… you’re kind of making my point. The feminists I have come across are all “Great! You’re a woman! You can get behind whatever it is that I’m saying!” and when I don’t it’s “What?!? How ignorant are you?” and “What kind of woman are you that won’t stand up for your gender?” and “All women like you and one sided and closed minded!”

        With that being said, if it were a belief or an argument, feminist or not, that I could get behind, I’d support it with everything that I could. It doesn’t mean my mind can’t be changed – I just need to see a valid argument.

      15. You do realize that the reason what you said is offensive is because you made a generalization that *most* feminists are bullies?

        This isn’t about changing your mind about whether or not you agree with feminism as a movement. Obviously, we disagree on feminism if your comments are any indication. What I’m saying is that it’s RUDE and inaccurate to generalize a group of people. And it’s hilariously trollish to then be surprised when a member of that group you just made blanket statements about raises an incredulous eyebrow.

        And now you’re pretending the only reason you disagree is because you haven’t seen a “valid argument” about what? Feminism’s tenets? Some evidence that proves feminists are not bullies?

        LOL. I should have just left it at “Are you for real?” I revert back to that stance now!

      16. I think usually those claim to believe in the ideals of feminism yet reject the label do so out of a lack of understanding about what feminism really is. Also, many people still hold onto negative stereotypes that were hoisted upon us in an attempt to discredit us.

        Do angry, hairy, man-hating feminists exist? Sure. But are they representative of the movement as a whole? I don’t think so.

        For me, feminism is about gender equality – all gender identities. I don’t like for either men or women to be boxed into traditional gender roles, or for assumptions to be made about one’s abilities, tastes, or desires based solely on gender. Gender, by definition, is socially constructed (as opposed to biological sex) and I hope for a future where our children aren’t subjected to such rigid definitions of what it means to be a “man” or a “woman.”

        I also think that feminism has done great things in helping to decrease violence against women, increase workplace equality, and advance reproductive rights. Feminism continues to evolve as we take into consideration the intersectionality of race, class, and gender, and as we continue to advocate for contraception/reproductive rights (a battle we shouldn’t even need to be fighting in 2012), the end of rape culture, sex-positivity, LGBT rights, and other workplace rights (such as equal pay and maternity/paternity leave).

        These are among the many reasons I identify as a feminist, and I’m proud to do so. I personally don’t understand how someone can advocate for gender equality yet reject the feminist label. Femimism is diverse, and so are feminists. There is no ONE set of beliefs that everyone must adhere to, other than supporting the rights and equality of women. It’s not about condemning others’ choices or bullying others into believing what I/we believe, but rather, about helping to create a world without unnecessary gender policing and negative or harmful gender stereotypes.

      17. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Great comment, Cats! I’m not so sure that LM does believe in gender equality since she hasn’t mentioned it at all, but I completely agree with you. And I guess it’s just a testament to the major successes of feminism that women can look around them and naively think they don’t need it.

      18. lets_be_honest says:

        Great comment cats!

      19. Beautiful.

      20. lets_be_honest says:

        Do you think a person can agree with all those points and not identify themselves as a feminist though? Just curious. because I imagine most, if not all, women would agree with the points you’re making, but not all of them would actually call themselves feminists. And do you think that’s wrong of them?

      21. @LBH – yes, I think a lot of people agree with all or most of what I said, but still reject the “feminist” label for whatever reason. I don’t know if that’s “wrong” per se, because there are a lot of misconceptions about feminism. We kind of have an image problem right now in addition to the belief that it’s just no longer needed.

      22. Just to be clear – I do believe in gender equality, and what I was trying to get at, but for some reason could not phrase it, was what Cats said about the hairy man-hating feminists. Those are the ones that I have come across most frequently.

        theattack – gender equality is a struggle between how I live now and how I was raised. I was raised with a completely different culture in mind that has everything against women. I don’t think we don’t need it, I think that some of the aggressiveness needs to be dialed down a bit and not so in your face and believe this or that.

        The feminist that I have run into are closer to my age, whether it be younger or older by a few years, and they are the man-hating, women are better, I’ll argue you to death and play poor suffering victim types. I’ve had them follow me a harass me about what I do and don’t believe – until they saw the law enforcement type and then ran away. There are such extremes and for whatever reason, there is not meeting in the middle.

      23. Avatar photo theattack says:

        @LM, There are extremes of everything. It’s unfortunate that you’ve had such negative experiences with feminists. I’ve heard other people say similar things, but I’ve never seen that type of feminist myself. Most of us are clean, smooth-legged, friendly people who just want to have the same opportunities that men have without the oppression (both social and systemic) that we’ve been living under. Very few feminists hate men, but sometimes men get a little antsy about feminism because in order for women to gain power and control, we have to take some of it from men. Honestly, I think most feminists are embarrassed by the few crazy ones, probably the same way that most Christians or Muslims are embarrassed by the extremists in their religions that make them all look bad. Many DWers are feminists, so I hope you can find some people around here to challenge your negative impression.

      24. Everyone is entitled to their point of view. That is my point of view. No one can be PC to every group all the time. If you are implying I’m a bully, you can’t adequately judge someone by their text on an internet site. And if you really want to get into it, the definition of bully is “the use of force or coercion to abuse or intimidate others”. I don’t see having an opinion as using “force or coercion to intimidate others”.

        Hypocrisy is “the state of promoting or administering virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that one does not actually have or is also guilty of violating”. How am I a hypocrite for having an opinion and not being a bully?

        Irony is “dissimulation or feigned ignorance”. How is it ironic when I was not “feigning ignorance” as you are implying? I didn’t intentionally try to put down feminists or argue that every single one of them are bullies. My intent was not to offend anyone – including you – just make a statement that many feminists come off as bullies or hard because they are aggressive in their tactics about how they want to promote whatever it is they are promoting at the time. Yes, I have come across feminists, yes I have studied feminism, and at times, it would appear that the motivation behind feminism has been lost.

      25. Generalizing is not an opinion. It’s obnoxious just to be obnoxious. So I responded in kind.

        Congratulations on being able to use a dictionary, though. It’s a dying skill.

      26. Avatar photo theattack says:

        How do you expect us to get anything done without being a little aggressive about it? It won’t just fall into our laps because we asked the nice powerful men for it. People are put off by women being assertive, and I tend to think that people who are bothered by feminist assertiveness are at least partially put off because we’re stepping out of our gender roles.

      27. There is a difference between being assertive and being aggressive. Honestly, for the most part I could care less about gender roles. If I can do it as good as a man or better, I will do it. That doesn’t mean I can’t go home and be wife and mommy and clean the house.

      28. Avatar photo theattack says:

        That’s what feminism is all about! We want to be able to step out of our traditional roles and do what we want to, exactly like what you said. You can hate on feminists all you want, but that doesn’t change the fact that they’re the ones who have given you that opportunity. I’m really interested in hearing an example of this aggression you speak of.

      29. amen.

      30. I think you’ve kind of missed the point of feminism if you’re not aware that the feminist movement is what gave you the right to do exactly what you just described. If it weren’t for feminism, you would not have the right to vote. Or own your own property – everything would be in your husband’s name (this actually happened to my mother in the 70s). Or serve in the military. The list is endless.

        Like it or not, your freedom to do, or not do, what you want with your life and career is the fruit of the feminist struggle. So wild generalizations that feminists are “bullies” and “too aggressive” are a bit ungracious. I don’t know how old you are, but I have heard this sort of thing quite a bit from women in their 20s. I’m not sure how people make it out of school with such a complete lack of knowledge of their country’s own history.

  34. llclarityll says:

    Why, why, WHY would anyone want to be in a relationship with someone who so clearly does not want you?

    I cannot for the life of me figure out why women (and men) do this to themselves.

    If you have to convince someone to be with you, you’re already playing a losing game.

    1. Because they’ve never read “He’s Just Not That Into You”.

      1. llclarityll says:

        Touche. Their loss.

  35. Avatar photo HuggaWugga says:

    LW, this is similar to something that happened to me 5 years ago. When I was in grad school, we got a new student in my lab who, for a period of several months, I got on famously with. And as soon as he arrived, everyone thought that we were going to date. But he dated several other first-year grad students, and THEN went back to his long-distance ex in another state instead. I suspect you’re somewhat like me, in that you’re optimistic and you expect best-case scenarios. Since there was flirtation, and that time that he told me that he thought I was attractive, it would only be a matter of time before he was single again and we would get together. And then, one day in February, he suddenly WAS single. And I decided to step up to the plate and told him how I felt. He told me that, again, he thought I was attractive, but that we worked together.

    At the time, I should have recognized it for the brush-off that it definitely was (he ended up dating another graduate student from another lab a few weeks later, and ended up marrying her a year after that). But I was just so hopeful (‘He thinks I’m attractive!’) that I overlooked the ‘but’ that followed the affirmation (“We work together” is right up there with “I don’t want to ruin our friendship”–if you think it’s worth it enough, you will be willing to take the risk). I spent the next few weeks wondering how to approach him, what to say, and what would happen next. And I was crushed when he started dating the woman who is now his wife, and then he started giving me the silent treatment and ignoring me. I thought it was because of what I’d said, and I thought that for a while.

    In hindsight, I really dodged a bullet. In the years since he’d first arrived, he’d earned a reputation for being the kind of person who trashes other people to make himself feel better, something I hadn’t realized when he first showed up. He also was incredibly disrespectful to me and to other people in the lab (once, when I finally tried to stand up for myself in a lab-wide fight, he once told me he ignored me because he saw the real person I was and didn’t like it–OUCH), to the point where he was almost thrown out of the lab for his behavior. But at the time, I was so heartbroken. I didn’t understand how I could have such great chemistry with someone who didn’t want to be with me. But that’s just the way it works sometimes–what feels like the best chemistry ever to you may not feel the same to them, and it takes two to make a relationship. I didn’t realize it at the time, and my self-esteem took a huge hit because of it. Because I was so worried that no one would ever feel the same way about me, I ended up dating a guy who was borderline emotionally abusive to me for a few months immediately following this grad student’s rejection. And believe me, I got a huge wake-up call about my boundaries and the quality of guys that I picked as a result. I’ve dated nothing but good, kind men since.

    LW, please don’t make the same mistakes that I did. I’m so sorry that you’re hurting, but take his response for what it is–a brush-off–and move on to someone who will be excited to be with you. You already seem like you’re hurting and all of that hope, while a lovely thing to have, is wasted on someone who doesn’t feel the way that you do. Use the hope you have to look towards a happy future and a guy who WILL want a relationship with you. It’s so much better spent on those things.

    1. you just said it perfectly

  36. tbrucemom says:

    He probably does like her and wants to sleep with her and even date her but he doesn’t want to be tied to one person right now after just getting out of a long term relationship. Working at the same place doesn’t help either. It’s usually a natural progression that you date first, probably have sex and then realize you don’t want to do those things with anyone else so you end up in a relationship. Maybe the LW should think about starting out dating and if there’s sexual chemistry go for it and see where it goes from there. It’s a crap shoot and she may end up getting even more hurt but you have to take a chance sometimes when it comes to finding love.

  37. Hi LW. I feel your pain. I, like many other commenters, have been there too. The way he’s acting just doesn’t make any sense – except that it makes all the sense in the world.

    Not even a week ago, the realization hit me like an Acme safe from the sky that no matter how much I like a person, if our values don’t line up, a relatioship – even a friendship – won’t work, and it won’t feel worth it to try. “Values” is a vague term, but it can mean anything from how you feel about children in the future to what you enjoy doing on the weekends to what kind of behaviour you think is ethical to what kind of a relationship you even want. That last one gets taken for granted so much but it’s really, really important.

    Like other commenters, I’d encourage you to stop de-constructing “why” (there’s an article title right there!) and just accept that he does not want a relationship. It’s hard, and it seems to not make sense, but he hasn’t contradicted himself. He doesn’t mind the physical aspect of things, maybe, but the relationship part is a no-go, and if that doesn’t match what you want, then you have no need to keep getting annoyed over this. Cut it out of your life and MOA!

  38. Trixy Minx says:

    I’ve had to learn this the hard way many times. A guy can like you. He can enjoy being your friend and being intimate but if he doesn’t want a relationship NOTHING will change his mind. So please spare yourself the pain of becoming too attached and move on even if it means taking a break from the friendship.

  39. Wendy (not Wendy) says:

    I’ve been both parties in this situation. A few months after my divorce (when I was still in the timeframe wherein I had declared I Would Not Date Anyone), a guy at my new job developed a crush on me. I liked talking to him and I was all alone in town. I told him I wasn’t interested in a relationship–I didn’t say it was because I wasn’t ready, just that I didn’t think we were right for each other–because I wasn’t interested in him as a boyfriend. But we hung out a lot and I knew he was hoping I would change my mind. After a couple of months–I’m not proud of this–but I kissed him, while at the same time telling him I still didn’t want a relationship. He had gotten more attractive to me as we spent more time together, and heck, it was flattering, and I was lonely. We spent a few months as friends-with-benefits, except that of course it was more than that because he was falling in love with me and I… well, nothing was changing for me. (We never had sex, just hookups.)

    This guy, like the LW, tried telling me once that we couldn’t be intimate anymore, and I tried to respect that, but he made another move and I went along with it. Eventually he finally accepted (more or less) that I wasn’t going to change my mind, broke things off, and after that we didn’t spend very much time together outside of work.

    I can’t really explain why I didn’t want a relationship with him other than that I knew I didn’t. To put it baldly, I liked him enough to be his close friend and I was attracted to him enough to make out with him, but that’s it. He deserved better, but for a while there he didn’t WANT “better”–he wanted me, and if he couldn’t have me, he was willing to accept whatever I could give him. If I hadn’t been so lonely and emotionally broken, maybe I could have been a better person about all this.

    Going through this definitely made me understand the time I was in the LW’s position much better. When I was the LW, I used to agonize over why this guy couldn’t love me when it was obvious to me and everyone else that we belonged together. Even after I (sort of) accepted he was never going to want to be with me, I still wanted to know WHY. I didn’t realize the reason he didn’t want to be with me was that he didn’t want to be with me. End of story.


    1. You just made this comment today so a lot of people probably won’t see it, but I just wanted to say that it is so insightful and wise. There really is nothing that teaches us more about the human experience than our own trials and tribulations. I’m sorry that you had to go through a divorce that left you temporarily emotionally broken, and hope things are better for you.

Comments are closed.