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Am I being unreasonable to be falling in love in this situation?

(343 Posts)
NotDead Mon 20-May-13 17:15:07


I am a bloke asking for advice. I am confused by the signals from a woman I have always fancied, but with whom we have set our relationship up as almost friends, but with a tension in it that just doesn't fit friendship. She is 15 years younger than me and I first met her when she was about 21. I liked her very much the first time we talked, but I was always very conscious of a professional relationship between us. We chatted away and got on about things that are rare for me to share with people. She is not the type who jumps into relationships - in fact she had a 6 year relationship with someone who seemed dramatically unlike the person one would expect her to be with (she is really interesting, into alternative music and dressing differently - he was Mr straight and dull) She is the type to talk a great deal about sex with me - certain things I would like to try, she would also like to try. I, of course, am desperate to do them with her, and yet she seems more generally interested. Try as I might to be sensitive about entering into physical contact, though, she seems to give me so few signals that I can never be sure whether she wants anything from me or not, but I am crazy about her. Partly I know this is down to my tendency to only really make a move on women when I am a few glasses down - whereas I think she sees being too drunk as a less genuine state and so that situation - of mutual inhibition loss - is less likely. I worried that the age gap was too much and so was always looking for signals from her. These seem to come partially - in the sense we talk online after long gaps of not seeing or speaking to each other - but not fully - in the sense that when we meet, I am dying to make physical contact/kiss etc, but we never do. I saw her for a weekend recently and she said beforehand that she would put me up in her living room. Perhaps I was being too gentlemanly but when we got back I said I was happy with that, but in reality I wanted desperately to spend the night in her bed with her - though I know getting it together with someone you really like as opposed to just vaguely fancy is always difficult and probably more so with this age gap.

Our relationship in between these meetings got a bit distant partly because of geographical distance, and partly because of lot of negative stuff in my life that meant I found it difficult to share. With her, I felt that the last things she needed was a friend with difficulties. I have noticed though that as soon as she split up with her long term boyfriend, she contacted me - but I was deep in family bereavement and unable to really connect with anyone.

In that interim time, to my sadness and yes, jealousy, I found that she had been dating someone older than me. This made me feel so sad, as it sort of suggested a. that age wasn't the issue I thought and b that perhaps our 'thing' had opened up the possibility of older men to her.

On our last meet-up - ostensibly as friends - when I look back, she asked me how many people I have slept with, we talked about how she wants a baby before she is 30, about where her career might go and about how my being in a good relationship could help me get what I want out of life - all things that on reflection sound so much like she wants me too that the lack of signals I can trust just confuses me more. I sometimes wonder if I have been spoilt by seeing women who are more confident about approaching men.

Anyway, the thing is that after our last weekend together I was both incredibly sad to be leaving her, but also elated. I finally realised that I was falling in love with her - or at least, I was finding it hard not to want to talk to her every five minutes - I have thought about her every day since. I kinda broke discipline and confessed to her that I fantasise about her sexually - partly because I know she has particular fantasies that we discussed - but partly because I think a conventional 'love' approach might be too uncomfortable for her - but secretly I have more fantasies like this than I do sexual ones. I think that through this, and some silly self-ridiculing boasting when we first met, she thinks me not serious. I suspect also that some of her male friends have warned her off me - but with their own agenda. I don't really know what advice I am looking for, but I can't work her out and perhaps you can help me? Of course, in the state I am in, not being able to work her out makes me giddy with even more appreciation for her - I've got it bad haven't I?!smile

Any advice seriously welcome. sad

KittyVonCatsworth Mon 20-May-13 17:21:11

She's playing games with you sweets, in my opinion. If she wanted a physical relationship with you, it would have happened by now.

Just console yourself with the fact that the fantasy very seldom matches the reality.

Good luck in finding someone who deserves that love and passion you have x

NotDead Mon 20-May-13 17:38:21

Hi Kitty, Thanks. There is another bit of the jigsaw though - a recent female friend who on reflection I suppose was a little too nice on occasion, confessed that in fact she had thought we were dating - or at least had a 'thing' even though we had never kissed.

I normally think the woman holds all the cards, so perhaps it is my own fault and not showing I am interested enough, but I went through a stage of being pushy and insistent, and tbh I don't want to do that anymore - am I being too romantic to assume that things only happen if people can't resist them happening??

I have usually shown 'interest' by being interested in opinions and conversations rather than the 'you look lovely' approach because I have always associated compliments with manipulative 'players' and this had been successful in the sense I have tended to have 'things' with women who i like as equals - but unsuccessful in that none of them seem to stick around, nor did I have 'the conversation' with any apart from a girl for whom 'the conversation' was 'lets have fun but stop if it gets serious.

It seems I come across as flaky and unreliable,and I am more of a 'woman's man' in the sense I like female company, trust women more than me, and tend to easily get on with women, where I don't so much with men (yes I am sometimes mistaken for gay), but really my deeper self is actually quite conventional about real love etc. I know this is not entirely relevant to this situation - but though I have had quite a few partners, I have only really had two or three people I have been in love with - in fact one thing buzzing round my head is that if this is a serious thing - or became one - in a lot of ways this would be my first serious relationship - it certainly the first I have felt this sure about my feelings in.

Perhaps you are right, perhaps I am projecting a fantasy version onto the situation because of the dual physical and emotional attraction - but tbh I wish I wasn't thinking about this - I think that feeling through it would have been a better approach?? oh dear no wonder I haven't had many strong emotional relationships!

MrsTerryPratchett Mon 20-May-13 17:38:33

What was the professional relationship between you and does it still exist?

NotDead Mon 20-May-13 17:40:21

Also I forget that she came out of a 6 year relationship six months ago - the last time I was in a kind of committed relationship it took me three years to get back to myself really... can people bounce back quicker?
Could that be the source of confusing signals?

NotDead Mon 20-May-13 17:41:01

No professional relationship doesn't exist. She was a client at a place I worked.

Meringue33 Mon 20-May-13 17:48:16

Just ask her out. I'm sure Dan Savage could suggest some choice words, fairly direct on the lines of: "you're a terrific friend and I'd hate to lose that, but I sometimes wonder if we could be more than friends. How about we give it a whirl? If you don't like the idea or it doesn't work out I promise not to mention it again and we'll go back to mates." Then if she says yes, it's dinner, a movie and maybe a kiss...

KittyVonCatsworth Mon 20-May-13 17:53:03

Are you maybe, subconsciously, pursuing inappropriate/unsuitable relationships due to fear of failing and getting hurt. You may be in love with the idea of being in love.

Talking from personal experience, I used to bounce from one relationship to another, going after guys that were wholly unsuitable for me because when it broke down, I could tell myself it was bound to happen (I did all the breaking up). I just liked the thrill of the chase.

When I did finally find my soulmate, it terrified me (and still does sometimes) to death. Commitment is frightening.

NotDead Mon 20-May-13 17:53:11

Oh. I sort of said something like that now you mention it - but I think I messed up! I said that I would like to tell her what I fantasised about, and I was so near to saying 'you and me in a good relationship' but I said 'you and me having sex' sad I messed up didn't I (can I blame it on a few drinks?!) oh no perhaps the opportunity went sad how can I wind that back?

NotDead Mon 20-May-13 17:58:03

I think I was and that this might be the soulmate - that's why I'm terrified..

KittyVonCatsworth Mon 20-May-13 18:00:13

Whoops! Well, they'll be no danger of her not knowing your intentions now ND, fark, don't know how you come back from that one unless you make some sort of joke out of it......perhaps saying that you were practicing your German.....'you and me having sex biers zusammen irgendwann' (you and me having 6 beers together sometime)

BOF Mon 20-May-13 18:05:22

Let me get this straight- she was a client of yours? I hope you don't work as a therapist or something, because frankly, you are coming across as a bit of a creep. It's possible that she likes the attention, but I seriously doubt she will touch you with a bargepole unless she has a sackful of issues. Sorry.

Maybe keep the sex fantasy chat stuff to 0800 numbers next time.

McBalls Mon 20-May-13 18:07:17

How much older are you?
And I'm a bit confused, you've known her 15 years, since she was 21? But last time you met she talked about approaching 30? Has it been over 6 years since you saw her then?
Also, I find it odd the way you talk about her, you're falling in love yet you seem very fixated on having sex with her. Have you been in a relationship before?

NotDead Mon 20-May-13 18:09:05

sad that makes me sad, I don't want to be thought of as a creep nor do I think of myself as one sad fwiw I don't mind 'issues', nor do I think fantasy sex chat is something incompatible with a relationship. I am quite sad that I might be thought of in that way - do you really think so? sad

BOF Mon 20-May-13 18:10:53

Yes- talking about sex fantasies with a much younger woman who you aren't dating is pretty much as inappropriate as it gets, I'm afraid. Especially as it sounds like you are pretty well-oiled when you do it.

NotDead Mon 20-May-13 18:14:27

Oh yes - that's what's confusing - I kind of wish I didn't fancy her so much physically because it gets in the way and makes me a bit tongue-tied when I am talking to her. I think its because I suppose that is what I am used to - well kissing rather than sex as such - using to show I really like someone - words always feel a bit false so I steer clear of seduction language or love language etc sad i don't know, I am just a bit at sea over all this and not sure how to behave. Perhaps I never have had a relationship as such before - perhaps they have all been 'things' and not deeper. I do feel incredibly out of control here and its unnerving but sort of thrilling as well.

McBalls Mon 20-May-13 18:14:34

Sorry, just re read op, my mistake about the age/length of friendship thing

NotDead Mon 20-May-13 18:27:09

ah BOF but she started it - yes I see what you mean it might come across as 'let me tell you what I'd like to do, child' .. but it wasn't like that.. well at least I hope fact if anything it was kind of the other way around. I don't think she is entirely, if at all, a delicate flower type being sleazily bullied by an older man - in fact I am quite angry about that caricature - I am pretty sure that's what her male friends are using against me. I guess the thing is that with so many relationships being sexual first and emotional later I can't work out how to do it that way around without making an arse of myself - I suppose if she wanted a less committed relationship or friends only if I were clear I could wear it, but this is true torture!

I accept that caricature does hang around men it still hangs men more than women, but in this case I am definitely sure that its not virginal girl with evil man who knows about sex. I appreciate also that one of the strains in a relationship like this would be the ease at which vindictive people would paint it as that, but I am sure we would be over that eventually.

NotDead Mon 20-May-13 18:29:26

oh actually now I remember when I said it - I wasn't drunk and neither was she - it was in a cafe! Oh dear - I bet she thinks I am playing games by not trying to kiss her .. oh god relationships are awful! perhaps we are both just shy underneath all our front sad

BOF Mon 20-May-13 18:34:45

Well you won't find a lot of virgins on mumsnet, but I still suspect that most women would find it inappropriate.

Perhaps your best bet is to knock the creepy sex talk on the head and be honest with her, like Meringue33 said.

NotDead Mon 20-May-13 18:38:58

Yes ok I agree with that - sex talk is perhaps OK if its after you've had sex and is about turning each other on? I think the weird thing is that she is using a 'now' model of massive awareness of sex and I am flitting between the two states of being aware I need to be very open about sex to fit in with her expectations and more closed to fit in with the age gap cliche.. <sigh>

AnyFucker Mon 20-May-13 18:50:45

This all sounds like a lot of awful hard work

ImperialBlether Mon 20-May-13 18:52:36

What did she say when you mentioned you fantasised about her? And you said it in a cafe?????

arsenaltilidie Mon 20-May-13 18:57:56

A man asking women for 'dating' advice is like a woman asking men for fashion advice.
Anyway a 21 yo girl is most likely after the 'bad boy.'

If you like her then be direct with her, if she likes you back then good, if she doesn't at least you tried.

KittyVonCatsworth Mon 20-May-13 18:58:49

My head hurts now. Can you not just call her NOW and lay it on the line, something like 'I've tried all this new age shit, no, what about you familiarising yourself with my purple headed womb broom*'. FFS, stop pushing around. She's seen the sensitive side, now man up!

* you may want to use a less Roger Melly line

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