My ‘Ask Amy’ column as seen on the 24 Hours Newspaper.
I am 30 and I am looking for a serious partner. A male friend of mine seems to really like me. He frequently sends me texts/facebook messages, calls occasionaly, spends time with me and we’ve been intimate. I am getting mixed signals from him though. He has made it clear that he doesn’t want a girlfriend although he still expresses interest in me.
I don’t think its fair that he is getting what he wants (company and cuddles with no strings attached), meanwhile I am not getting the connection and serious relationship I want. I feel kind “used”. What I should do?
Dear Wanting Commitment,
It appears you have met a guy who likes you enough to hang out with you and get physical with you, but not enough to commit to you (whether it be a timing thing, preference or interest level thing). You have made it very clear that what you want is a committed relationship, and not a friends-with-benefits sort of deal.
If you know that is what you want, my question is, why would you settle for something less? You have stated that you feel “used” which I think stems from you not having integrity with your boundaries. You are allowing this person to cross the boundaries you have set for yourself, and that is causing an internal conflict. It doesn’t feel right, and that is something I advise you to listen to.
I understand how it feels to like someone who hangs around just enough to keep you interested, even addicted to the excitement/withdrawal of the game of push/pull. The brain’s reward center is sparked because the frequency and consistency of interaction and attention is unpredictable. Watch out for this – as it can create habits of lusting and longing for a feeling that in the bigger picture of things – is not healthy.
This guy is not worth your energy – not because he’s not a nice guy, I’m sure he is. But because he is not willing and able to give you the type of relationship you want. The more you feed this “non” relationship, the more hooked and disappointed you will be, which may lead to an eroding of your self-esteem and sense of self-worth. This can lead to a vicious cycle where you give more to try to get the love you want, investing more, and you end up liking the guy even more because of all the investing you’ve done.
As long as you expend energy with this guy, the guy out there who will want to commit to you and be proud to call you his girlfriend won’t appear. Close this door, and another one will open.
Photo credit: Rita M.