I’ve been reading/listening to your blog and podcast for a while now and know that you get a lot of questions about the friendzone but here I am with another question. It’s the same issue except reverse-gendered (so I guess I’m stuck in the bro-zone as opposed to the friendzone): I’ve gotten to know this guy pretty well over the past semester and have really fallen for him. We talk a lot and have an emotional connection and I think he at least used to have feelings for me (and may still do, who knows). The problem is, once I started to realize my feelings for him I also found out about his budding relationship with a mutual friend of ours. I was too stressed about all that emotional drama and decided to overcome it by confessing to him and then kind of friendzoning him… I know, it’s a pretty stupid move but I just couldn’t handle all that drama at the moment and I really needed to focus on raising my grades. So I told him I liked him, we both agreed that he wasn’t ready for a relationship (he had some religious issues to sort out), and went back to being friends. Except now I’ve become pretty much his closest confident and I’m pretty much always hearing about him and the mutual friend’s relationship (they’ve admitted to both liking each other, decided to have a probationary period of ‘friendship’ cuz of his religious issue, and now he’s stressed because he feels like she’s putting so much effort into the relationship and he still feels unsure about even going into a dating relationship). And I’m hearing about this all the time while still liking him. But trying to get over the fact that I like him. And acting like I don’t like him.
tl;dr I like this guy, I brozoned myself, he’s on the cusp of going into a relationship but is technically still single; should I try to assert my romantic interests again or simply let go?
– Hole In The Brozone Layer
People, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: quit playing “dibs” over people. Your friend liked him too, whoop de shit. I have a low tolerance for drama and getting pissy over “I LIKED HIM FIRST” is the Lord High Bitchcakes of Drama County. Let’s just say that you did ask him out – knowing full well that your friend liked him too. Worst case scenario: one of you gets a boyfriend, the other doesn’t and everybody can get over it. If it’s still “burgeoning” (which, from your description, never got past that stage) then the man’s still fair game.
Deliberately friend-zoning yourself was a bad move and doing that makes getting out harder. Hanging around someone you still had feelings for and becoming his new BFF was an even worse one – although I’m sure there will be guys who are relieved to know women make that mistake too. Continuing to pretend you don’t like him was also a mistake and it’s kind of a dickish thing to do to him and to yourself. You’re friends under false pretenses and you’re torturing yourself by trying to act like you’re all cool with his telling you everything about this girl he kinda likes but can’t quite pull the trigger on.
Now, you made your decision and opted to focus on your grades instead, but the possibility of changing this situation – of getting out of the Brozone – was always there… until suddenly it seems as though it might not and you kinda have a minr freakout about the fact that the window may be closing.
Except I’m not sure it is. Frankly, from the sounds of things, I’m not entirely sure it was ever open in the first place. While you may still like the guy… he doesn’t sound like he’s ready to date anyone right now. Unless there’s stuff you left out, the way you describe him makes it sound as though he’s nowhere near the cusp of a relationship with this other girl, he’s still trying to figure out whether he wants to be in one at all with anyone. If you think dealing with a mutual friend getting all Melrose Place1 on you would be high drama, you’ve never tried dating someone who’s still working through the conflict between what their religion says and what their junk is saying.
Cold hard truth time: the best thing you can do is let him go. He’s still trying to sort out all of his issues surrounding his religion and whether he’s allowed to (or wants to) date or not. Throwing yourself at him – when he hasn’t given you any signs that he’s been waiting for you to come around – isn’t going to make it any easier for him or you and could well be the catalyst for a full-blown freak-out.
It’s time that you quit torturing yourself. Find somebody else – someone who’s actually available – and don’t make the mistake of letting someone else pre-empt your decision to ask him out.
Not sure how to start, but here it goes. I was reading your article on “How to know when to end a relationship” as I’m in a situation right now and I’m not sure how to proceed. Here are the details (in the simplest form possible).
- I’m 29 year old male and my wife is 28
- I’ve been married for 3 years to my high-school sweetheart (together for almost 12 years)
- We have an 18 month old daughter
So, just like any other couple, our 12 year relationship has had ups and downs. However, I’m starting to wonder if there are certain parts of the relationship that have gone south and that are simply beyond repair. One of the (my) main issues is the lack of sex. Most of the articles that I’ve read feel that this is one, if not the most important sign/red flag. I understand that expectations need to be kept in check (things won’t be the same in year ten as they were in year 1). However, what I’m noticing is that the sex has gone progressively downhill for the last 4 years or so. It was never “extremely exciting” so to speak, but there was some consistency (4-5 times/week), but now it seems like it’s more of a “chore” for my wife than anything else. It puts me in a very difficult position because I want to have sex (and a lot of it) and she doesn’t really have the desire. Another factor that I feel puts additional pressure on me is the fact that she’s the only woman I’v e ever slept with. I definitely do not consider myself a stud (not even close), but there are occasions where attractive girls are legitimately interested in me, and I’m finding it increasingly difficult to say “Sorry, I’m married”.
Another issue is I feel like she’s much more negative (in general terms) than she should be. Small issues or concerns turn into problems that wake her up/keep her up. One of the by-products is that she sometimes gets upset with me over small issues. Since I consider myself a very happy person, this type of behaviors is simply exhausting and draining to me. It’s gotten to the point where I simply ignore it as I don’t want it affecting me. I should clarify that this isn’t the behavious “all the time”, just much more often than I feel it should be. We also seem to fight more than we used to. I’m not really sure why, but I’m noticing that it’s happening more.
The third (and fourth issues) are the fact that we have a child together and that I’m somewhat worried of being single (or the thought of being single). Like I mentioned, I’ve been with my spouse for my entire adulthood, and being single is like stepping into the complete unknown. Can I get another girl? Will I regret this when I do/don’t get someone else or at some other point down the road? Will it affect my daughter?, etc. I’m also very uncomfortable with having to talk/deal with her on a daily basis (since we have a child). I always preferred (or would have) a clean break with no ties (I should not that I wouldn’t trade my daughter in for the world). I know most of these issues seem a bit juvenile, but they are issues that seem to be impacting my decision nevertheless.
Having said all that, there are many postives as well. We work very well as a couple with my daughter. We are very good at “teamwork” when it comes to getting various chores and things done off of our weekly “to-do” list. We enjoy some common activities (some sports, TV shows, etc). We obviously have a certain kind of love and mutual respect after 12 years together.
As you might decipher, the lack of sex is the biggest (but not only) issues that I have. I’m very reluctant to leave the relationship for this reason (although there would be others) as it would be very negatively perceived (or at least I think it would) by our friends and family. Having said that, when I look at our relationship, I feel that it is now more of a very good friendship (which is obviously very important in any relationship) than an actual relationship. I believe that I’m having difficulty with this as I’m not only looking for a best friend but also a partner in every sense of the word.
I’m kind of at a cross-roads in this relationship right now. I refuse to simply “accept” the issues, but yet I’ve been telling myself this for the last two years or so. I’m not really sure what I should do and any advice would be greatly appreciated.
– Waiting for the End of Time To Hurry Up And Arrive
OK, let’s take things a step at a time.
First: It’s entirely normal to be interested in people outside of your relationship. Being monogamous just means that you don’t have sex with other people; it doesn’t mean that you don’t want to. The fact that you have desire for someone besides your wife isn’t a sign that anything’s wrong, it just means that you’re a human with functioning genitalia. Our culture doesn’t like to acknowledge that monogamy is hard; it is literally not our default state as animals, so it can and will be a struggle for a lot of people, especially over the long term.
Now under normal circumstances, the lack of sex would be a red flag except for one major factor: you have an 18-month old daughter.
Sexual passion in a relationship always fades, usually within a year. This is a normal part of relationships – passion ebbs, only to be replaced by a calmer but deeper emotional intimacy. The fact that it’s been going down hill over the last four years could be due to a number of issues: stress, health issues, hormone imbalance, the 7 year itch… but the fact that you have a kid is a going to be a very, very significant part of that.
Having a child, especially one who’s barely out of infancy, is going to put a damper on your sex life; the lack of sleep, the stress that comes with balancing caring for the child, taking care of the house, work and maintaining a relationship – all of this is going to make it much harder to find the time or interest in sex. If your wife is the primary caregiver – you don’t say which of you does the majority of the child-rearing – then I can see why her libido may have taken a nose-dive.
Have you talked to your wife about all of this? Because I’m willing to bet that at least part of the issue is that she’s feeling as though she’s saddling the lion’s share of the burden of handling your daughter and maintaining hearth and home and her own career – all very good reasons why she may well be more snappish and less sexual than normal. It may well be that she’s wishing for some time off, or at least more of a hand in keeping things running and if you helped out more, things could get back to where they were. If this is the case, no goddamn wonder that she’s seeing sex as a chore; it’s just one more thing piled on to the billion other items on her “to-do” list that never seems to end and that she just doesn’t have the energy for.
Then again, it could well be that her libido is out of whack, that she’s feeling the same “why didn’t I fool around more before settling down” blues that you are or that she’s just decided that she’s done with sex and therefore you are too or she’s having a hard time transitioning back to being a sexual being under the stresses of jobs and motherhood.
You’ll have to tell me; this is all information that I don’t have.
Now, for my big question: Are you looking to fix things or are you looking for me to give you permission to do what you already want to do?
Frankly, none of these issues sound like deal-breakers to me. In fact, to be perfectly honest, it sounds much more like you’re horny and frustrated and having the opportunity for sex with someone new is just highlighting how long it’s been since you’ve had your balls drained and you’re starting to get a little caught up in the appeal of some new strange.
There’s nothing like a major case of blue-balls to make little things way the fuck more annoying than they would be under normal circumstances; let that go on long enough and the idea of “God only knows what I could do right now” worms it’s way in.
If you’ve already got a foot out the door and you’re just looking for someone to back you up… well, then what I have to say isn’t really going to make a difference. None of the problems you have here are terribly insurmountable or even unusual in the course of a long-term relationship. I don’t see anything in your letter that couldn’t be addressed by some long, honest conversations with your wife – possibly even some couples therapy to help with any communication issues you two may be having.
I’m certainly not going to tell you to stay in a relationship that you’re unhappy in, but at the same time, I really don’t think that leaving – or trying to self-destruct the marriage by cheating – is the right answer for you, your wife or your daughter. Get a Fleshlight and some fresh porn, drain your balls so you can think clearly. Then go and talk with your wife – especially with some couples counseling – before you pull the trigger on the relationship and risk making a decision you’ll really regret.
- That’s still a thing, right? [↩]