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Very awkward situation

(20 Posts)
ClaraRadley Wed 19-Dec-12 10:44:33

Hi there

I would just like some advice on how to deal with this please.

I have been friends with a married couple and their two children for most of my life (I am now in my 30s). Their oldest child is just a few years younger than I am. I've always been slightly closer to the husband, he's been like an Uncle to me and I have a lot of respect for him. He is a very shy man and finds it difficult to form friendships, so I have made a slightly greater effort to chat with him when I see him, and make sure he's ok (he suffers with depression).
He has told me this week that he is in love with me and that he thought I felt the same. I have recently become involved in a relationship with someone, and this has prompted my friend to tell me how he feels. I have never knowingly given him any indication that I viewed him as anything more than a friend/honourary family member. I don't flirt with him, don't spend time with him alone, don't text him unless he texts me and then it's only very basic stuff like I'm well thanks, how're you etc etc. I've always given him a quick hug hello and goodbye, which is how I greet most of my friends.
I have absolutely no romantic feelings towards him at all. I do care for him deeply, but ONLY as a friend. He wants to meet up with me on Sunday just to chat. He says he isn't going to do or say anything that makes me uncomfortable. But just seeing him will make me uncomfortable, knowing what I know now.
He is a truly lovely man, and would never deliberately hurt anyone. He hasn't suggested leaving his wife or us becoming involved. He has just said how he feels and that he thought I felt the same way.
I really don't want to hurt him any more than I have, as I have told him that I see him as a friend and nothing more. But I really don't want to meet with him. As I said, I would be very uncomfortable, but also I don't think it's a good idea for him, as if he has these feelings for me then seeing me would just make things worse, wouldn't they? But if I said I didn't want to meet him, he would be so hurt.
So, please could you give me some advice as to what you think I should do. Thank you so much!

Itwillendinsmiles Wed 19-Dec-12 10:50:48

Do not meet him on Sunday!

You've told him kindly that your feelings for him are as a friend and nothing more so what else is there to say?

If you did meet him, you'd just be encouraging and feeding his fantasy.

His feelings are not your responsibility and you must not feel guilty because of what he has chosen to tell you.

Continue to act and be with the whole family just as you've ever been and I do hope his feelings fade/he hides them well before his family notice anything amiss.

janelikesjam Wed 19-Dec-12 10:51:36

Hi Clara. I think you have done all the right things, including making it clear that you have no interest in him romantically and that you do not want to meet up alone with him for any reason. There is nothing more to say to him, stick to your guns.

By the way, I think for someone you say is "very nice" its a bit unfair of him to put you in this position when you have given him no encouragement, and he's married too.

I think its best to understand that he has problems and its nothing to do with you.

changeforthebetterforObama Wed 19-Dec-12 10:52:38

Crikey. Regardless of his shyness and depression, his advances to you are totally inappropriate. Please don't take it upon yourself to be responsible for his feelings. He has chosen to behave in this foolish manner. If he is old enough to have a child not much younger than you, then he is old enough to know better. I am afraid I would tell him I thought his behaviour was odd and creepy. Beyond that, I'm not sure what next steps. Hopefully others will be along soon. brew

funnypeculiar Wed 19-Dec-12 11:06:20

I think you've handled it well so far - don't go over your behaviour to see if you've encouraged him - you clearly haven't. I would agree that meeting won't help - he'll say things that can never be unsaid, and then you'll have those thoughts in your head every time you meet him.

I would just stand firm & say that for you, there is no value in meeting, you know how you feel & it would make things awkward in the long run. If he's truly lovely, he'll respect that, even if he's disapointed.

But bear in mind, you have everything to loose by meeting up - whereas if he believes he loves you (& that you could love him) he will feel he has everything to gain - there's always a chance..... So he may not accept easily. Broken record technique (just repeat the same reasons, do not get into any discussion or conversation) is your safest bet.

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Wed 19-Dec-12 11:08:45

Don't meet him. Turn him down very firmly and tell him he's being an old fool. Don't analyse how this happened or worry about hurthing his feelings. He's taking advantage of your friendship and that makes him a louse because you'll never feel comfortable around that family again.

dequoisagitil Wed 19-Dec-12 11:19:09

Don't meet him. No no no. He has crossed a line. You would be making a serious error to meet him.

It's far better to shut him down at this point than to give him fuel for the fantasy by meeting up with him to discuss his feelings.

Also, he's married. If you meet him for this, you'll be crossing a line with his wife, someone you presumably like. It puts you in the wrong.

You don't owe him a conversation about this - this is his problem/infatuation, not yours. You can't do anything about it, his feelings are his own to deal with. Any sympathy or time you give him, will just encourage him.

Shut him down.

BelleoftheFall Wed 19-Dec-12 11:23:04

Another one saying don't meet up with him!

I would back away from seeing him for the time being, if you can. This has obviously been building up for a long time: it sounds like infatuation to me, which isn't very logical or sensible. If you've given no indication of feeling the same way his feelings are surviving on imagination and hope, and seeing you will probably only add fuel to them.

Don't feel responsible for his feelings, be polite and maintain a distance.

MooncupGoddess Wed 19-Dec-12 11:29:26

Eeek! Definitely don't meet him. Just text him to say you can't meet him, have no feelings for him and find his behaviour very inappropriate. Probably a good idea to mention his wife by name in the text too (as in 'I find your behaviour inappropriate both towards me and towards X' or something similar) to give him a reality check.

dequoisagitil Wed 19-Dec-12 11:30:06

I'd also like to point out, at this point, you haven't done anything wrong and you haven't done anything to hurt him. So stop feeling guilty.

OK, it's not fun when you fancy someone & they don't reciprocate - but it's not a harm they are doing to you by not reciprocating - it's just unfortunate.

You have a right to your non-interest. Just cos someone wants you, doesn't mean you owe them a thing.

DewDr0p Wed 19-Dec-12 11:36:57

Oh I totally agree, definitely don't meet him.

You have handled this really well btw. I don't think you have done anything to hurt him at all. Imagine how his wife would feel if she knew you two had met up?

I'm sorry you've been put in such a tricky situation OP.

ClaraRadley Wed 19-Dec-12 11:46:02

Thank you all so much for your replies. You have all said exactly what I really knew - that I shouldn't meet him! I know there would be no benefit to it whatsoever, and as dequoisagitil says (thank you!), meeting him now would be crossing a line with his wife. I hadn't thought of that side of things.

I think it is more infatuation and mid-life crisis, as I am the only single woman he ever speaks to, and as he is unhappy with life in general, so I think he's made things more than they are.

I shall tell him that I would rather not meet, and that he should concentrate on making life more enjoyable with his wife and not think about me at all. I won't be seeing him again intentionally anyway, so that will make things a little easier.

Again, thanks everyone for your replies, they have been invaluable :-)

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Wed 19-Dec-12 11:58:37

I know you're worried about hurting this guy's feelings but you can't afford to soft-pedal this or he'll think he's still got a chance. Be very, very straight with him and don't dress it up or couch it in nice terms. 'You're an old fool and you should be ashamed of yourself. Leave me alone'

venusandmars Wed 19-Dec-12 12:05:58

If I could offer one further bit of advice.... I would keep you response to him as simple as possible - tell him you don't feel the same way, and that you'd rather not meet him. That's it. Don't get sucked into any conversation about his life, or how he can make it happier, and especially do NOT discuss (or listen to) anything about how he could make things happier with his wife.

Many years ago I had a similar situation with a work colleague who was moving jobs and declared, out of the blue, that he was in love with me, and always had been shock. I was straight with him about my feelings (or lack of), but I then got sucked into listening to him while he talked about his life, his lack of hobbies etc. I think I listened because I felt sorry for him, and somehow responsible (even thought I wasn't), and because I was a 'nice' person, I didn't want to hurt him. But by doing so I was risking prolonging, and even deepening his emotional attachment to me, because it would have been easy for him to see me as 'the only person in the world' who listened to him properly. I nipped it in the bud very quickly, but I wish I'd stopped him in his tracks at the very first mention.

OneMoreGo Wed 19-Dec-12 12:30:06

Agree with Cogito.

LessMissAbs Wed 19-Dec-12 13:39:32

Hmmn, I'm a bit sceptical about these shy men who come out with stuff like this, having recently encountered the genre (long term girlfriend and all). As with Venusandmars avoid getting sucked in. Its easy to believe he is a nice guy because he is so "shy" and "nice" but in actual fact he is not behaving like a nice guy at all. A nice guy wouldn't reveal these feelings when (a) he has a wife (b) you have a new boyfriend (c) you have never shown any interest in him.

Its probably more likely to be that he has grown used to your attention and is scared of losing it, so is getting in for a quick fling before he returns to the safety of his marriage.

MooncupGoddess Wed 19-Dec-12 13:42:59

It's true, shy men are as likely as any other type to be massive knobheads underneath. Sometimes the shyness just veils their unpleasant characteristics whereas with someone more forthright you'd have spotted them ages ago.

SirCliffRichardSucksEggsInHell Wed 19-Dec-12 13:48:52

How awkward for you!

Obviously don't meet him but also don't try to be too nice or apologetic. You have given him no indications that you see him as anything other than a friend. You've been nice to him, friendly and you've made an effort to include him. In return he's put you in an awkward position.

Why spoil it for you now that you've got a new boyfriend by telling you that he loves you? And why put you under more pressure by suggesting that you meet up? He isn't thinking of you Clara, he's thinking of himself and no doubt he'll try to tell you how unhappy he is and how he has harboured these feelings for you for years, etc etc. He'll put you on such a guilt trip that you'll feel dreadful.

You come across as a really nice, kind and thoughtful person and in a way he's taken advantage of that. He knows you won't tell his wife or anyone else, he knows you will feel bad for him and he's playing on that.

If he's unhappy then he needs to do something about it. Be firm and fair. You are not interested, you have a boyfriend and as far as you are concerned, there is nothing to discuss. The feelings are not reciprocated and you need to draw a line under it.

I hope your boyfriend knows what a wonderful person you are.

ClaraRadley Thu 20-Dec-12 09:16:08

Hi all,

Thank you for your words of wisdom, all of you who have posted since my last message.

I sent him an email in response to his 'confession' stating that having thought things over, I didn't think it would be a good idea to meet and there would be no benefit for either of us. I made it clear again that I saw him as nothing more than a friend. I also added that he needed to concentrate on his marriage and stop thinking about me and wished him all the best.
I shan't contact him again, and have not responded to his latest email. He won't keep bothering me as he's not like that, so I think I can consider the whole thing dealt with.

I hadn't really thought about it being completely out of order of him to tell me these things at all, let alone when I've just started a serious relationship of my own. Guess I have a slightly too trusting/naive nature! smile

SirCliffRichardSucksEggsInHell, I want to thank you especially for your extremely kind words. You've put a big smile on my face!! grin

In my Extremely Important opinion wink, you're all great, just for taking the time to read my post and respond with excellent advice. I really appreciate you all doing so.

Hope you all have a good day xx

SirCliffRichardSucksEggsInHell Thu 20-Dec-12 10:08:35

You did well. It's awful to have a cynical head on but sometimes you do need to question people's motives. Don't let it ruin your lovely nature though.

Have a great Christmas yourself smile

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