I find myself in an interesting position. I’ve just recently graduated from college, and in the morass that is post-school bullshit, I need some advice with regard to my (admittedly near-nonexistent) love life.
See, I have a friend – let’s call them Alpha – who I got reasonably close with in my last year of school, and we have a lot of the same interests (and issues) in common – we’re both tabletop nerds with heavily self-deprecating senses of humor, we both suffer from some pretty severe anxiety/stress/upwardly fucked brain chemical stuff, and we both have a love of political-heavy sci fi (we have a decently long-running inside joke about House Atreides).
In school, I acknowledged, “hey, they’re real attractive,” but any kind of feelings on my part were muted because A. They were in a very nice relationship with a really great guy and B. any kind of romance/sexual exploration was not on my list of things to solve in school, and my weight and self-esteem issues would have made dating in general unlikely anyway.
But things kind of changed on my part after a mutual friend (and my roommate for half of college) passed away during cancer, and Alpha and I interacted quite a bit and caught up in the aftermath. They and another friend who lives close by said they would be coming to my general area over their break, so we made plans to meet up.
The two showed up, and we had a lot of fun playing tourist in my hometown. I introduced them to my friends, among them a guy we shall call Bravo. Bravo is, shall we say, the flirty type, and so is Alpha; they hit it off pretty quick on that front, and while it didn’t really go anywhere in the end, it was the kick in the nuts that said to me “Oh, shit, I’m really into Alpha. Like, a lot more than I thought.”
Things get even more complicated after the visit, when, afterwards, we start confiding in each other over text. This is my real problem; you’ve probably gotten the usual “don’t want to take The Leap and ruin the friendship” line a quadrillion times, but I think in this case it’s justified – we’ve low key become something of a shoulder to lean on for each other and a confidant, with them telling me they have an easy time talking to me and confiding. A lot of the stuff is a bit heavy, but while I’m not going to share any of it, I will say that I don’t think any of it could be considered “flirty.” It is, however, something that I really do value, and has helped my depressed ass on more than one occasion, and I like to think vice versa.
They also accepted my invitation to come hang out with me and my friends on New Years’ Eve, and when I was later in a bit of a self-loathing slump, they pointed out that they were literally blowing off their family to come see me and my friends on NYE, which kind of shocked me in hindsight.
I suppose the summary of my issue is – I’m crushing hard on a friend who I really want to keep as my friend, and whose support and affection means quite a bit to me. They’ve also had a lot of troubles at school, and have been burned before, so I don’t want to accidentally throw any further fuel on that fire and accidentally “Nice GuyTM” them or something, I just want to be there to help provide emotional support when needed. What’s a nerd to do?
Badly Conflicted Atreides
Doctor’s Note: Hey Nerdlovers! I’m in the middle of developing something really awesome, something that’s going to take both Paging Dr. NerdLove and your dating lives to the next level. Not going to give too much away yet but there’re some very cool new things that a lot of you have been asking for.
Of course, I’m a one-man show at the moment and there’re only so many hours in the day, so the columns on the blog are going to change a bit.While I’m deep in the current updates, I’ll be posting Ask Dr. NerdLove twice a week, on Mondays and Fridays (plus my Kotaku column every other week). I’ll also be re-running some of my favorite columns from the archives. The podcast will be continuing as usual and I have some really awesome things coming on that front too.
Once things ease up and I have the time and bandwidth, we’ll be returning to the usual Monday-Friday schedule.
Hey, Dr. NerdLove!
I read your article from a while back titled Cutoff Culture And the Myth of Closure, and you said in it that people don’t have the right to expect you to talk to them after a breakup under any circumstance. You also said that and that no one is obligated to give closure to another person. I can sympathize with that opinion, but I wonder if it in your opinion also extends to people having the right to end friendships with no need to explain themselves? See, I’ve been seeing this girl for like 6 years. Nothing too serious, we would go out like every 2 months or so (both lazy and not too eager to call first), but then suddenly she said she started seeing someone else, but had been hesitant to tell me. I never minded her seeing other people (which she claims she didn’t do throughout our time going out) – all that mattered to me was that she’d still be available to me. Alas, she said she no longer wanted to do stuff with me. Of course she threw in the classic line about wanting to still be friends and meet up and spend time platonically.
After careful consideration I decided I didn’t want that – I’ve gotten so used to hanging out with her for not just friendly talks but also hanky panky, that I found such a downgrade unbearable. I texted her some time afterward and she said she wasn’t seeing anyone at the moment, but that she still didn’t want to get back to doing stuff with me. She gave me several reasons, like us not seeing each other often enough (never spoke up about it earlier, I swear!), and me seeing other girls – to which she only made her dismay apparent very shortly before the “breakup”.
Of course I’m not like all those “nice guys” who feel entitled to something. She had every right to not want to do shit with me anymore. But it hurt me, it hurt me bad. I only then realized I had grown really attached to that girl. We both claimed not to want a relationship (which perplexes me all the more considering her sudden desire for exclusivity, while at the same time it not being a relationship, lol), but seeing each other for so long was bound to make at least one of us emotionally attached. Anyway, what I decided to do is to not accept her continuing friendship, but to cut off altogether. As I mentioned earlier, I find this sort of downgrade unbearably degrading, because I don’t really see any value in the relationship, unless it maintains its sexual component. Call it Friend Zone anxiety or whatever – I know many guys do reluctantly keep such friendship and torment themselves, but I just thought it would be better for me (was tempted to say “both of us” for a minute there, but I’m not that noble) to just distance myself from her and forget about her.
The thing is, this reaction was most strongly fueled by pride and dignity (rooted in insecurity, perhaps?). I realize that this rationalization of mine is probably quite misplaced, since the chick had been into me and does consider me attractive. Still, for some reason this fact doesn’t make me feel any less humiliated, and I still feel as if she wanted to Friend Zone me. I know, I know, women don’t Friend Zone men, men do it to themselves for not having the balls to just go away – which I’m trying to do. But some people would also perhaps say that through my own aloofness I’m jeopardizing a valuable friendship. Well the problem is that I don’t do male-female friendship strictly out of the conviction that if a woman sees you as a friend, you’re not good enough to be a lover. And yeah, it’s humiliating too.
So yeah, of course I’m not entitled to sex or even interest from any women, but I believe it’s therefore only fair to say that they are not entitled to my friendship, emotional support etc. I do have the right to refuse to continue a relationship that I feel drains and hurts me. Call it selfish, call it childish, but I just can’t get over the fact that I’m no longer sexually fit for a woman who used to think I was just fine not too long ago.
I just very recently had a similar experience with a long-term “friendship” that started with texting on badoo, then we met, hugged and kissed and slept in one bed (for some reason I opted not to initiate intercourse, but not sure to what degree it’s a problem in this case), and then I thought that would be the status quo – to my disappointment it turns out that after her recent breakup she doesn’t wanna do stuff with me anymore. We live in different cities so we haven’t seen each other since that last visit, and it’s been almost 2 years. She said she’s not looking for anyone at the moment, that she’s growing jaded and has been through too much. I’m not even sure whether to believe her or she’s just sayin that stuff to not have to tell me she’s not attracted to me anymore (if she ever was). But it disappoints me a lot. She also gave me those classic, humiliating lines like “i really value our friendship, you’re a great human being but I guess that’s it” – and that was my cue to leave.
So tell me – is it wrong for me to have maintained a long distance relationship working entirely on the assumption that I’d be able to fuck that chick in the future, which I totally wouldn’t have done hadn’t I thought she’d let me fuck her? I also like her as a person, but obviously I’m cutting off too, which I do feel bad about. But I don’t want a strictly platonic relationship with that girl, I couldn’t bear it. Is what I’m doing within the limits of acceptable behavior here? Or is this the behavior of a damaged person?
I don’t want a platonic relationship with any woman for that matter (except lesbians), as all I’d ever think about when I’m with them is “I wasn’t good enough to be this woman’s lover”. It would bother me even if I wasn’t really attracted to that girl in the first place, it’s more of a pride thing. I just take it as a personal affront if a girl doesn’t find me attractive. I try to handle it with class, never lashing out or saying mean things etc, just saying that in this case there’s nothing more for me here, and leaving. But it’s the principle that I’m more concerned about. Is this sort of pride normal, or is it some artifact of a deep insecurity? Please help!!
Thanks in advance!
Pride Only Hurts, Never Helps
Hey there, Doc
Recently I turned fifteen, and met this girl four months ago through mutual friends. As I talked to her I realized we shared the same taste in music, films and sense of humor. She was really nice to me and we have talked very often ever since. About two months ago I developed a pretty big crush on her. I’ve never really liked a girl in such a strong way, and I’ve never been much of ladies man either. She tells me everything about her life and I deeply care about her, and even thought I had been enjoying how things were going, I’m afraid I’m starting to get into the “Friend Zone”.
I know that this is a concept invented by guys that are too passive to seem like a potential partner to girls, but that’s my problem. I’m absolutely crazy about this girl and even thought I decided I need to tell her how I feel (it’s been starting to hurt to keep it to myself) I don’t know what to do.
I’m afraid to lose her, to be ridiculed by my friends, to be hurt even more, to find myself even more alone that I already am. I have no clue on what to do and I decided I’m going to tell her in the next month. What should I do?
(Sorry for any spelling. English isn’t my first language)
But You Say He’s Just A Friend