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I 'almost' had a relationship, what's going on, s he being cautious?

Tagged as: Big Questions, Breaking up, Flirting, Friends, Troubled relationships, Trust issues<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (10 September 2017) 8 Answers - (Newest, 15 September 2017)
A female United Kingdom age 26-29, anonymous writes:

I am very confused. An "almost relationship" probably best describes what we were. We were close friends prior to any feelings developing. We were not physically intimate, there was a lot of cuddling and closeness when he invited me over. But he didn't even kiss me. Our chemistry was explosive. He told me he wanted to be in a relationship with me, but when it came to it he backed off telling me he was scared that he doesn't think he is what I need in a relationship. He told me I am what he needs in a girl, however drew on his previous experience of being hurt in a relationship.

I was hurt, and I cut contact with him telling him our friendship will never recover. We didn't have any contact for a month, and during that time all I did was cry. Because I was the one that ultimately pulled the plug, I initiated contact again. He responded almost immediately saying "hi" with a winking face emoji. I asked how he was and he asked how I am. A few days later, I texted him telling him that I don't want to lose him as a friend, even though I can't change what I said about the friendship never recovering. He texted back saying "that's alright" and that he's been thinking about me. I asked him what specifically he was thinking about, and he jokingly said I shouldn't be prying. I came clean and said that I thought he might've wanted to say something. He said he did, but he won't at the moment because it's best left alone. It's been a few days and I haven't heard from him. It's driving me up the wall because I don't know what to think. I don't want to text him and be annoying, but I'm just not sure why he's not texting me as eagerly as he used to. Any thoughts? Is it because he was hurting when I cut our friendship and contact? Is he being cautious?

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A female reader, nnn2017 United States +, writes (15 September 2017):

Duuuudee... I was in a similar situation. They'll tell you all those things because they want you to make the move forward. He is trying to get you to insist that he is what you want and make yourself available to whatever he might ask you in the future. Because you did not do that and instead pulled back a little and when you came back told him you wanted to remain friends, he is most likely upset because this is not what he wanted to hear.

Guys these days don't have to do much to get a girl, so they've become mentally lazy, and when they have to put in more effort than they might have to with someone else, they pull back. I am not trying to sound negative, but I'm telling you this from personal experience. I went through an "almost relationship" or FWB sort of deal for a while, and that guy sort of did the same thing. At the time I was a little insecure and after I would cut him off I would come back because I felt bad. This only leaves room for them to disrespect you, because if they truly want you they will put in the work. If they don't they're not worth your time.

I wish you all the luck and I know you will find someone who is willing to put in the work for you.

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A male reader, ObamaPhoneHome United States +, writes (14 September 2017):

I am going to take up a somewhat contrary point of view that you should consider. Though I agree with one major point of the other advisers, namely losing a friend over a simple rejection was a mistake.

It turns out that romantic feelings are time dependent. Your friend may not be in to you now, maybe he has another love interest, but that doesn't mean he won't like you that way in the future.

Though acting out in anger at the rejection was a mistake, and probably harmed things somewhat, my advice is to try to restore the friend part of your relationship, making clear that you are content with that level of relationship.

You should then try to date other people, since time is short. At the same time, as you grow and mature as a person your friend my reconsider his position.

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A female reader, aunt honesty Ireland + , writes (13 September 2017):

aunt honesty agony auntSweetie he doesn't want to be your boyfriend, he has made that clear. I don't care what lines he uses or what he tries to blame it on, the black and white off the situation is that he does not want a relationship with you. So before getting in contact with him you need to accept that and ask yourself what do you want? Can you handle a friendship? A hook up?

If a relationship is what you want with this guy the only way to get over it is to cut all contact before you get your heart broken.

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (11 September 2017):

He really doesn't want to be your boyfriend. His heart was never really in it; but he went along with it for your sake.

He said whatever you wanted to hear; to appease your feelings. After giving it some thought; he realized it wouldn't work.

He now knows you want more than just friendship. It will always be awkward. You angling to find a way to change his mind, getting jealous when he wants to date someone else; and that thick fog of tension in the air, when he's flirting with other women in your presence. You can't switch it on and off like that. He knows better.

Go back to the original decision. Break-it-off! The friendship got hi-jacked by the wrong kind of feelings on your part. It is no longer a platonic-friendship, it's an infatuation. While he's talking out of two-sides of his face. What a dick! Now he's playing with your feelings!

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A female reader, CindyCares Italy + , writes (10 September 2017):

CindyCares agony aunt I think too I have seen this question before, from you or from another OP with a similar story.

Something about a guy who says " you would be just the right one for me, but I am afraid I am not the right one for you "- or other banal variations of " it's not you , it's me " or, worse " you deserve better ".

In short, it's bullshit. Well meaning bullshit, said to not hurt your feelings, but it still translates into " I am not that into you ".

Life is not THAT complicated , after all. When people want something, they go about getting it. Of course there are exceptions of people who suffer from crippling social anxiety, or who just came out from years of terribly abusive relationships, etc. but, all in all , when people turns down an opportunity served to them on a silver plate, it's simply because they do not want it.

I understand that you may have got confused by the closeness and the cuddles, and you may have not unreasonably thought they 'd lead to something more, but either he only liked the attention and did not like you " that " way,- or else he may have liked you, or sort of, " that " way, but not have been willing to give up the freedom , fun and ease of his single life just to be exclusive with you.

Let him be- you don't want him as a friend anyway, sonce you have feelings ( and the hots ) for him. Which is the opposite if the platonic friendship that you are SAYING you want. He knows that too, and that's why he is waru. Not because he was " hurt " or " offended " when you cit contact, but because he does not want you to get any ideas and try to take the whole arm if he offers you a finger.

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A female reader, Youcannotbeserious United Kingdom + , writes (10 September 2017):

Youcannotbeserious agony auntHaven't you asked this same question before? It all sounds very familiar, but here goes . . .

You have different agendas for your relationship: he wants you as a friend, you want him as a lover. He can phrase it any way he likes, the end result is still the same.

He feels that so strongly that he was prepared to sacrifice your friendship completely. Note that he was not prepared to be the one to get back in contact and now that you have re-established contact, he is keeping you at arm's length. He will probably carry on replying to any contact you make but not initiating any as he is worried about giving you the wrong idea.

None of us can guess at his reasons for not wanting a physical relationship with you. They could be many and varied. They are not really important. What is important is the bottom line: HE DOES NOT WANT TO BE YOUR LOVER. He is now wary of getting too close to you as you pushed for an intimate relationship which he did not want and then threw a tantrum when he refused.

In your shoes I would put your friendship on a back burner and give yourself time to get over the loss of what you thought you had. It is always painful to let go of dreams so be kind to yourself and give yourself time, just as you would if you had had a relationship. Spend time with other friends. In time you may be able to rebuild your friendship to some degree but you first need to move on from this idea that you two could be a couple, because he obviously has very different ideas and it takes TWO to tango.

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A female reader, YouWish United States + , writes (10 September 2017):

YouWish agony auntI'm going to make this simple, because it's the kindest thing I can do for you so that you can learn from this and move on.


You made a move for being a relationship, and when he rejected you, you lashed out at him. After the rejection stopped stinging for you, you want to re-establish the friendship. He is wary of you because you lashed out, plus he feels you're angling for another chance with him, so he is keeping you at arm's length.

Your EGO is going to try to soften the blow for you with the "he wants me, but he drew on his previous experience" thing you built up in your mind. I would advise you NOT to do that, because you're setting yourself up to get hurt again, and he knows that if you hold out hope, he will hurt you again.

His crime was not being direct enough in the turning down of your advances. He didn't want to hurt you, and most nice people tend to "flower" up their reason for rejection, the old "It's not you, it's me" or "I'm not looking for any relationship right now" or the one he used on you "I'm not what you need".

What all of those means is, and I want to be CLEAR with you:

"I don't feel for you what you feel for me. I am not interested in being more than friends with you, but I don't want to hurt your feelings."

You need to ACCEPT that as a fact. Your ego was bruised, and you didn't take rejection very well, which is why you lashed out at him and said what you said. You didn't have an "almost relationship". You two were platonic friends. You developed feelings and wanted more. He did not, and to his credit, he didn't do what many guys do, and that's sleep with you to use you knowing that you had feelings and he didn't.

The guy isn't hurting. He's wary of you. He doesn't want to have to go through your reaction to his rejecting you again. You haven't got it through your head that he doesn't like you like you like him, and that very likely will not change, because guys who like girls move heaven and earth to make it happen.

If you want any semblance of a friendship back, which YOU altered, BTW, you need to apologize to him for lashing out at him, and tell him it's going to be just friends from here on out. Then back off and let him see for himself that you won't either keep trying to make advances toward him, OR you won't lash out at him anymore.

However, I would suggest to you that you shouldn't re-establish the friendship now while you still have these raw feelings for him, because right now, for you the feelings are NOT platonic. Take time away from him and clear your head. Take charge of your ego and resolve not to lash out at rejection. All of us have been rejected, and it doesn't feel good! I feel bad for men, who have to deal with a lot of rejection without lashing out, and many women don't have empathy towards the rejecting of men, so they do it coldly.

Just give it time, and learn from this. Remember, show POISE in the face of rejection. Sometimes, that confidence in yourself shows in you something that maybe the person rejecting you hadn't seen in you before. Never lose your cool. Never let your ego cause you to do that. You're better than that.

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (10 September 2017):

Honeypie agony auntYou aren't looking for him to be your friend. That much is obvious.

And secondly, when you got upset that he didn't want things to go in the direction YOU wanted it to go (relationship) you cut him off, instantly regretted it and got back in touch.

My guess is you are HOPING he will change his mind about dating you and NOT because you were missing a friend.

That IS NOT going to happen. He might continue to be a little flirty and seem like he is into you but the MOMENT you want more he will turtle up and crawl back in his "I don't want a relationship shell".

LISTEN to his words. He was trying to "let you down" gently and nipping YOUR romantic feelings in the bud by saying it's not you, it's me!

If someone tells you... I don't eat pork, you don't make them a BLT sandwich and get mad when they don't want it.

He might have sent a LOT of confusing signals. Because you two BLURRED the lines of what friendship is and what a relationship is.

I'm not saying you are wrong for liking him and being baffled and a bit hurt that he WANTED to date you one minute and not the next. What I AM saying is that IF you can not keep a 100% PLATONIC friendship with him, you need to let him go and move on (for your sake).

In short, he doesn't REALLY want to date you. He DID like the attention and affections he had with you but that was the extent he wanted, nothing more. He isn't being cautious, he is extracting himself.

I think he knows you have stronger feelings for him than he has for you and thus he is backing away slowly so no one gets hurt. Why isn't he texting as much? To keep his life drama free?

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