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How much time do you think she'd take to be ready to date again after her previous long relationship?

Tagged as: Breaking up, Crushes, Dating<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (13 March 2019) 8 Answers - (Newest, 16 March 2019)
A male United Kingdom age 22-25, anonymous writes:

Hello folks. I'm being driven nuts by a dilemma and since I can't talk to any of my friends about it, I thought I'd ask about it anonymously instead of turning it over in my mind to no end.

So this is the situation. I'm a 25 year old, attracted terribly to someone I know. We are not super close and don't work together or anything but have had casual relations in the past, and there's a lot of attraction there still. We get along pretty well as friends too, and make an effort to stay in touch and meet up when we can. She is a wonderful person, the problem is that she's come out of a 7 year relationship with her ex boyfriend over a year ago, and they're still close. From what I know it was a clean split, nothing messy like cheating or abuse or anything, and that's made it harder for her to get over him because the were best mates. She told me up front that she's not ready for another relationship yet, and doesn't know if she will be anytime soon. Can you guys guess where this is headed yet?

Now I want to make it really clear that I respect her wishes, and where she's coming from, and I have never even entertained the desire of trying to change her mind or anything. It's not my place. But I've dated multiple women since meeting her and she's the only one I can think about. She knows I had/ have feelings, and so despite there still being a ton of chemistry between us, she hasn't pushed for a no strings attached out of respect for my feelings. So basically I can choose to try and bite down on my feelings and hope they'll go away and just enjoy the intimacy and friendship, or just stay friends. But the reason I'm asking here, and I don't want to be judged for this because it's very human, is that I'm wondering if there's some hope that we might end up together.

After all, it's going to be two years since they broke up- how long do these things last? My longest relationship was a couple of years and it took me a solid year to get over my ex, but do you ever get over someone you've been with for 7 years? At our age (mid twenties), is it possible to move on and fall in love with someone new?

Barring my long term ex, I've never felt this way about anyone. I've been with some unpleasant women since then, and some nice ones that I should have been more attracted to- but no one gives me butterflies the way she does. I will never, ever be bitter or resentful because she's made her current stance clear enough, and either way I'll be happy to have her as a friend.

But entering a casual relationship with her, hoping it'll evolve into something more- is this a fool's hope? I'll have nobody to blame for my broken heart but me, which is fair enough, but honestly I'm willing to risk it if there's a slim chance. What should I do? I've tried over and over to go out with other people, people that check all the boxes on paper but it just doesn't feel right.

I don't know whom else to ask but the people of the internet because this is the first time in years I'm dreaming of something long term with someone who's just wonderful and honest and gets me on so many levels. Older people in your late twenties and thirties, I'd really appreciate your advice in particular. I'm particularly curious about how long it takes sweet, loyal, committed women to be ready for love again after such a long relationship with someone who also sounds like a great guy.

Am I just out of my depth here? Should I just be there for her as a friend and not get into a friends with benefits thing and see where the friendship goes? Or should I do what my heart (and body) are telling me to do, and get into an arrangement with her hoping that the terms will change down the road? I'm fairly confident at this point that we like each other as people enough to want to stay in each other's lives even if we're not fooling around, but the little part of me with abandonment issues is urging me to keep the physical attraction alive.

So- advice! From men, women, everyone my age or older. Thank you in advance. Peace

View related questions: broke up, friend with benefits, her ex, move on, my ex, the internet

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A male reader, N91 United Kingdom + , writes (16 March 2019):

N91 agony auntI genuinely don’t think there is.

She has known you for a good few years now I’m assuming? So she knows what you’re like, your personality and behaviours and if after all that time she still doesn’t want to get into anything serious after being single for 2 years knowing you’re available also then I don’t think it’s ever going to happen.

I think when people get into casual situations it’s a way of at least one of the parties acknowledging that the other isn’t relationship worthy. It’s usually just a easy, quick, sexual satisfaction arrangement. I think you can agree that when you want something serious with a person you just get a feeling where you KNOW that they are the one you want to be with. You’ve got that for her, so why doesn’t she have that for you? Doesn’t that tell you all you need to know?

Do you honestly feel like you’d be okay with seeing her get into a relationship with someone else? Or are you just saying that because you don’t want to lose her company?

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (15 March 2019):

Wow. A lot of replies here assuming I'm a d*ck. 'Bullying?' 'Coercion?' 'Manipulation?' Just for the record, I have not made a single move on her since I told her I liked her. I'm not a pushy guy, I don't pester because I know how annoying it can be, having been on the receiving end myself. Every time we hang out, it's her who initiates. She's made it clear she's physically attracted to me, which answers the first (and very rude and presumptuous) answer- about how I propose to 'get into an arrangement'.

Because she is the one who suggested the arrangement in the first place. I did not take her up on it because I wanted to take some time to sort through my feelings, and told her as much. For heaven's sake, I am not looking for a 'clever way around to make her choose me'. That's beyond immature. Nor am I looking to replace her ex or anything. My mum was in love with an army guy who passed away before she met my dad. When dad heard the story he put up a picture of the guy in the drawing room. That's the sort of thinking I was raised with- you respect people's pasts, you respect people's loves, and love and accept them all the same. Heck, I had an amicable break up with my long term ex and I know how it works. Nobody will ever replace her, and nobody can ever take away the time we shared. But as human beings we do move on.

I asked here because I wondered if giving in to her casual relationship proposition would be worth it, or if it would screw me over emotionally- and how it might affect the long term prospects. And is it really so hard to believe I'm sincere when I say that I really do want her as a friend either way? Because I do. And I know it's possible because my now best mate is a gay guy who told me he had a crush on me for the first year or so of university, but he got over it and we became close friends, even flatmates. We've shared a bed and everything since then and it's honestly no big deal.

Also just for clarification- we hooked up months after she broke up with her ex, and no, she isn't seeing anybody seriously right now, and nor am I. I do not feel entitled to her, which is why I don't get jealous at the thought of her with other people. It isn't reasonable. All I wanted was insight on how people have handled this, whether this sort of complicated post break up friendship between two people has ever evolved into something more, and whether there's any point in hoping. Because I am happy to shelve my dating life for a while and just focus on my career if there IS a chance with her, and if not- I'll carry on seeing other women.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (14 March 2019):

I'm particularly interested in how you intend 'getting into an arrangement' with someone who has explicitly told you that she is not ready for a relationship (FWB whatever) and doesn't think she will be anytime soon. You have written that you are not trying to change her mind at all, so how do you propose to 'get in to an arrangement' with her?

You are talking as if she will do as you please because you wish it. She has told you no. Albeit in a nice way. Respect that. Otherwise your friendship with her will suffer. And rightly so.

You write in a very nice way as if you respect her wishes, but your intent says otherwise.

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (14 March 2019):

This should have been enough to answer your question:

"She told me up front that she's not ready for another relationship yet, and doesn't know if she will be anytime soon."

You said she told you that upfront. When it comes to females, we men have to learn to take "no" for an answer. She didn't say maybe; she was quite honest and clear that she wasn't interested. She may have been trying to be considerate of your feelings; but that was a delicate let-down...more explicitly, a kind rejection.

You're considered a friend. If we had to judge by the passion in your words, and the length of your post; it is clear you really like her. Even a tiny bit obsessed.

What you're not doing is accepting that she may not be attracted to you in the way you want her to be. You have not convinced her that she should forgo the boundaries of friendship she has laid-out.

If you've known her for this long, and she still insists she's not interested in pursuing anything romantically; you're more concerned about what you want, and not what she wants. This is more about your ego and sense of entitlement; than being respectful of the line she has drawn that placed you in the friendship-zone.

What you want from us is to offer you a clever way to make her change her mind, get-over her ex, and choose you. Her ex is a friend. He remains in her life, for whatever reasons; but that's entirely up to her. It doesn't mean she hasn't gotten over him either. They had an amicable breakup, and that usually happens to people who are mature; and realize they weren't meant to be more than friends. They have come to terms, and are happy with things as they are.

You are resisting her rejection, no matter how much you deny it in your post. If you respected her wishes, you wouldn't be here trying to find a way around them. You just need to develop the strength to distance yourself; until you can adjust your feelings to the right place. That's all.

You would never trust her with her ex. You would consider him a threat. You envy him already as it is.

You placed your disclaimer in your post that you don't want to be judged. I come from a country of free speech. I don't let people censor me. I've chosen my words carefully. I'm also being considerate of your feelings. This is an open-forum and you've asked for opinions and advice. It would serve you well to take the good, bad, and the ugly. Emotions run deep, and they can be stubborn. To become wise, you must learn to accept constructive-criticism; and be courageous enough to hear what you don't want to hear. That is, if it could save you from a broken heart, or might save your life.

Tough advice is hard to take, but the point is to be effective, and to yield good benefits or results. Speaking to someone overcome with their feelings and emotions is very hard to do. It is difficult to penetrate their emotional-barrier. You want what you want, and you feel what you feel. Been there, and done that! Also learned from my experience.

Everyone recovers from heartbreak or loss in their own time. No one has the right to judge or decide when someone should get-over an incident, breakup, or a divorce. That's personal, and you should take all the time you need.

Let me put it this way. If they're not ready, and you've pushed them; if they surrender to your will, it's possible that they did it only because they were overwhelmed, coerced, or bullied. While being in a weakened or vulnerable state. I don't want someone I forced to be with me. I don't think you do either. You may even succeed at manipulating her into changing her mind. You won't really trust or appreciate the results. Knowing in your heart what it took to get her. You'll always wonder how real it is?

I've known situations where people swung from a breakup right into a new relationship within months. Months or years is irrelevant. They still longed for their exes the whole time. They had mixed-feelings and emotional-wounds. I also know rebound-feelings are feverishly hot one-minute; and they suddenly or unexpectedly turn cold the next. Then the poor new love-interest is bewildered and brokenhearted; because they've invested so much emotionally, thinking they were in-love. Only to discover, it wasn't so.

Infatuation is a difficult state to break out of. Your mind tells you what you want to hear. Your eyes deceive you. Persistence/stubbornness and entitlement lies; and tells you the other person wants the same as you do. Deep down, you know better. Control yourself. You're an intelligent adult.

How can you be there for her as a friend, when you're craving and yearning for more? How will you feel when she does find someone she is actually romantically-attracted to? How will you contain your resentment or frustration with her? What if she decides to ask you to let-go and move on?

That's basically what she has done. Letting you save-face, in spite of your feelings. You're in the friend-zone.

I think you're torturing yourself by "biting-down" on your feelings; and "pretending" only to be friends. You're putting on a facade of friendship to deceive her, just to be close. Overruling that she may not have a romantic-interest in you. What about her ex, ever-present and beloved?

Having unrequited feelings for a person that can't be satisfied turns into bitterness. In time, you'll get angry and will somehow lash-out. You'll feel jealous and rejected when she fails to reciprocate your romantic-feelings. If she has been able to resist your signals or flirtations; it's because she isn't seeking romance from you, or anybody else. You'll compete with her ex for her feelings and attention. He'll always win!

She has the right to withhold her feelings and not seek a relationship for as long as she deems necessary. She has nothing to prove to anybody, and she has a will of her own. You have no right to impose your feelings where they are not wanted or needed. You are frustrated only because you insist on doing that.

She loves you in her own way. Unfortunately, that is as a platonic-friend. She doesn't return your kind of feelings.

If that is unacceptable, you don't stay and martyr your true feelings. You move on.

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (14 March 2019):

Honeypie agony auntYep, I will echo the other answers. She isn't into you in THAT way.

While some people take a LONG time to process and get over a break up, it's been almost two years. SHE knows you are interested and had done NOTHING to let you know she is wanting to date you.

And it might BE she just isn't ready, but my guess is she enjoys your company (as a friendly face) but she isn't going diving in her past flings for a new BF. You two had something "casual" BEFORE she dated her long term BF? Which means she and you would have been 16? If I am guessing right. And WHOM you might hook up with or crush on at 16 might not be what you want in your mid-20's. SHE moved on. You didn't.

I'm sorry I don't think she will all of a sudden realize that YOU might be a good fit for her. And I don't think you can BE her friend when you have romantic feelings towards her.

Your best bet is to keep looking to see what-else is out there.

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A male reader, N91 United Kingdom + , writes (14 March 2019):

N91 agony auntThere’s nothing here I’m afraid.

If she REALLY did like you, she would WANT to be in a relationship with you. She wouldn’t be mulling over the decision and wondering if she will ever be able to love someone again. She will know that she can do when she meets the right person and you’re not it.

I think you’re wasting your time here. These feelings won’t go away whilst you still hang out with her. I’ve experienced an unrequited ‘love’ where I ended up in a casual scenario with a girl who didn’t want anything serious and it really screwed my head up. I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone. You shouldn’t have to fight for someone’s affection, or prove to them that you’re good enough. If they can’t see it with their own eyes then you’re not meant to be.

Believe me, I’ve now been a relationship for 1.5 years that I met afterwards and it made me realise why things didn’t work out with the other girl. Forget about the whole scenario and move on.

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A female reader, CindyCares Italy + , writes (14 March 2019):

CindyCares agony aunt She is just not that much into you. The general rule is that when people say that they are not ready for a relationship, what they really mean is that they are not ready for a relationship °with you °. She is letting you know, in not so many words, that she does not see you as boyfriend material; she likes you as a friend, or as FWB is this is the relationship you have / had with her- and nothing more.

Aren'there any exceptions to the rule ? of course there are,- there are exceptions to everything. But suppose she is telling you the truth, that the only reason why she does not want you as a partner is that after two years she still is badly hung up on her ex. The perspective is not any rosier for you. Basically you are in love, or sort of, with her- and she does not reciprocate. A recipe for disaster. Lots of people start a casual, sexual thing and then they come to regret it because they caught feelings for their playmate - so it's not all play and fun anymore, but it's all jealousy and sadness and unfulfilled yearnings. If you start already knowing that you are not on an even keel emotionally- you are really asking for trouble.

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A female reader, chigirl Norway + , writes (14 March 2019):

chigirl agony auntShe is just not that into you. Its been two years since they broke up. She was over him 18 months ago already. She just doesnt see you as boyfriend material.

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