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Safe to stay friends?

(8 Posts)
TommyJones Mon 16-May-16 22:07:09

I could do with a female perspective on this one! I got involved with a friend that I have known a few years recently that I seem to have gradually become closer to. But now she has told me she is not ready for a physical relationship with anyone because she has issues from her last relationship still and that we should go back to being friends. The confusing thing is we have met up a few times since and both times she has been physically affectionate - caressing and holding my arm when sat next to me for example. I didn't really respond because I just found this really confusing, when she is insisting we should be just friends. I think for me its doubly confusing because she knows I want more than friendship so she ought to think anything like this is off limits so as not to encourage me.

I don't want to lose the friendship we had, but I feel uncomfortable with her behaving this way because to me it crosses the just friends boundary. I am worried this might mean she is going to not stick to just friends and will want to be on/off all the time? I'd rather know we are just friends and I should see other people, or be in a proper relationship. So I would like a womans perspective on this? Is it possible she just doesn't realise her behaviour is not something most friends do? Or could she just be a manipulative person? Am I just being overly sensitive/prudish about this?! I have a few other very close female friends and I would never even consider anything except maybe an occasional hug to say goodbye.

chocshortbread Mon 16-May-16 22:21:54

Hard to say. Perhaps she just wants an ego boost? Could you ask her why she's touching your arm/flirting when she's said she wants to be friends? Maybe friends isn't right for you if you've got stronger feelings - maybe have a break from it?

TommyJones Thu 19-May-16 17:14:42

I'm not sure about asking her, because she said she felt pressured about what is going on having a "label". OTOH maybe its not fair to me to not really understand what is going on.

I thought about leaving it for a while. She got really upset when I suggested maybe that would be a good idea, and then I felt awful sad

TheNaze73 Thu 19-May-16 19:32:01

You shouldn't feel awful. I personal wouldn't go there but, I think only you can answer this. Good luck

HeddaGarbled Thu 19-May-16 22:04:24

I don't think that she is being fair to you. I don't know what she is playing at but I do think she is playing with you. I agree that the arm stroking etc is inappropriate once she has said that she doesn't want a physical relationship with you. If that is the case she should keep her hands off you apart from, as you say, a hug on greeting and leaving.

I think that you should see other people and reduce the frequency that you see her.

If you do want to keep seeing her, you need to think about how to handle the inappropriate canoodling. I would actually say something along the lines of "You are sending out very mixed messages and confusing me. You say you don't want a physical relationship but you keep touching me. What's going on?" I can understand that seems very forthright and difficult to do but it will certainly get everything out in the open and make her face up to what she is doing.

If you can't summon up the nerve for that, you could just make very obvious moves to put physical distance between you every time she touches you. That should convey the message fairly clearly.

Ultimately, I think she's probably dicking with you but I don't know either of you and could be wrong. You might need to drop her to protect yourself from her games.

TommyJones Fri 20-May-16 17:10:23

I'm not really sure if she is dicking with me. She gave very specific reasons why she felt she could not carry on towards anything serious/relationshippy. It wasn't like the generic excuse I have used or have had used on me in the past. Its almost as if she wants more than friends, but is trying to convince herself not to for some reason.

I think you are right if she carries on with the touchy-feely stuff I ought to say something. Otherwise its really going to mess with my head in the long run.

Athena314 Fri 20-May-16 17:27:55

I don't blame you for wondering how to proceed.

Have a boundary here, if she won't decide that she's all in then YOU decide that she's jsut your friend.

I have just walked away from a man who ignored all of the boundaries between friendship and a relationship. To begin with I thought we would be a romantic thing, then he didn't want a relationship (with me) ?
and then when I wasn't up for fwb he said we could be friends, except, we'd already kissed, and then, we got on very well, so we seemed unusually close for friends. Lots of communication and compatibility, I felt anyway. We flirted a bit, he joked about buying me underwear, he used to ask me what I was wearing when we were on the phone. But we were officially ''friends'' and I knew that. We eventually slept together but he reminded me that the sex was in the context of two people who weren't in a relationship. what?! oh yeh.
So the end result was that my brain and my heart ended up so confused I couldn't even measure the extent of how hurt and confused I felt until I walked away from him. I was actually fine, I felt clearer when I walked away, unsure why I'd allowed it to happen. If a friend told me that a man she really liked ignored all the boundaries between a friendship and a relationship, I'd have 'seen it' but because I was in the middle of it, i didn't see it.. I had to just cut him out completely because I felt he'd parked me in a grey area and got around that by calling me a friend. I just feel really stupid.

So brew I'd advise you to insist that she decide which camp she's in. Because even though it was the right thing to do for myy self-esteem I lost contact with somebody amazing by walking away. He was very careless with my feelings i know but at the same time, such an interesting calm person. I miss him. I miss our chats. If he'd been my friend then we'd still be friends. So I wish he'd just been my friend.

Athena314 Fri 20-May-16 17:46:15

She doesn't want to label it.

That sounds familiar.

It's really fucking hard to acknowledge when somebody doesn't want you. I know that. I spent six months being told ''i don't want a relationship'' but I seemed to delude myself that the rejection wasn't of me specifically but a general rejection of the concept of a relationship 'label'........ pass the peace pipe. Dude.

If she won't label it, you're going to have to get turned off. And then label her a friend. In fact, even that's risky when there's already been overlap imo. I'd keep her at a bit of a distance and call her an acquaintance you're friendly with.

I know men are kind of stronger about this stuff, but ............... this lesson is a harsh one, and in my case, only very recently learnt, despite my age! I honestly never had this ''let's not label it'' thing before.
Normally people are clearer. Hell yes! or hell no. Or you're my friend. You're my colleague.

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