Please don’t think I’m complaining, when I say this. If I say, at the end of a relationship that I want to stay friends, it’s because I do. But last night, I was getting a lot of attention from my most recent ex and the grey area guy. And I don’t really get it. I kind of get it with grey area guy, because he’s tried this tactic and had some success with it— if he stays in the conversation long enough, he might catch me in a weak moment and I might let things get muddy again. I kind of get what’s in it for him— I don’t think he’s looking for long-term definitive answers from where he is, so friends with potential grey areas kind of suits him fine. But my most recent ex— I told him I wanted to be friends, and he’s not really looking for a female friend—he at least told me, back when we discussed such things, that was what he was dating to find. But there he was, chatting at me for hours last night, trying to figure out how to give me expert advice about the dog’s problems, whatever.

I’m just not used to it. In my experience, once it’s over, you might get a guy curious enough to see if you really mean the friends thing, but once they confirm that no, you’re not going to key their car, they move on. This one is kind of new to me.

Do we think that I can take at face value that either or both of these is a platonic thing? Or is this a “now she’s a challenge”/back burner/weak-moment situation in both cases? Because I’m not sure I have the energy for two weak-moment situations. It took a tremendous amount of energy to get the situations to a black and white place, and I do have weak moments— leaving crutches around for myself is kind of not in my best interest. Also, if I ever have enough energy to put myself out there again, don’t we think I’ll need to resolve these at some point? I’ve operated on the assumption that clear relationships with exes was a desirable thing (though based on what I see in the world, there are men who are more comfortable with drama than I generally assume rational people tolerate.) I don’t really want to be on anyone’s back burner, for reasons of self respect.



14 thoughts on “Boomerang-erang

  1. Perhaps you should stop trying to see circumstances from “their” perspective and simply focus on your own? Telling your potential partner exactly where you stand on various relationship issues is nothing more than laying down some ground rules in order to take some of the guesswork out of the way. Of course you have to know exactly what those rules are as changing them mid-relationship is really not on. The “bottom line”? Take the time to really work out what YOU want, and stop wasting time trying to figure out what they would want. 🙂

    • I’ve told them my ground rules. With grey area guy, I’m open to a dating relationship, but at this point, I’d need exclusivity and long-term potential from him, which he’s told me he’s not offering. So I’ve defined friendship as purely platonic, and he’s agreed, but he steers the conversation into decidedly non-platonic directions. With my most recent ex, I’ve told him I’m not open to dating again, but that I wish him the best. He’s doing the supportive thing he did while we dated, but with him, there was always an angle. It wasn’t genuine support, it was like a deposit he was going to draw on later. So I’m not entirely trusting of it in this context.

      • From a male perspective, neither of them are worth your time as they are both agreeing to your terms and then pursuing their own agendas anyway. This appears to come down to your own self esteem. Is a bad relationship better than no relationship? A “healthy” answer is a decided and determined “No!”.

      • Based on what I am understanding here, and on my understanding and expectations of friendship …. Yes. What sort of friendship can you have with people who do not respect (have no interest) in your boundaries? How can you enjoy a relationship with a man who you know is going to keep trying to expand the parameters in order to satisfy his desire for intimacy?

      • Unfortunately, you may be right. Grey area guy kind of blew up at me last night. We did friends only for a year before things got muddy, and his friendship, when I had it, meant a lot to me. He was there for me in ways I never expected, and frankly, it’s why I needed the clarity about our relationship. Falling for him was always just a step away, for me, but I’ve done unrequited and I’m not that girl anymore. And he’s said that love isn’t what he’s offering. He said he’d always have my back and be on my side. If last night sticks, I’ll miss him like crazy, but you’re right— I’ll keep missing the guy who was an actual friend, not the guy he’s been to me for the last couple of months.

  2. Hopefully some “female perspectives” will be forthcoming which may help you deal with this. Perhaps you should simply (?) determine what is important to you and give yourself the self respect of sticking to it. If you compromise your standards, you are the one that is going to regret it. I think it probably fair to say that either (or both) of them is going to severe the relationship at some point down the road when they meet someone closer to their thinking than yourself!

    • I walked away from both these guys when our relationships ended, and we’re only still connected because they keep reaching out to me by text or FB message. I suspect grey-area guy may have needed to shut the door on our connection more firmly than I did (not stay friends) last night, either because he was embarrassed that he misread the situation or for his own reasons. And I’m not sure what my most recent ex is about, but because I don’t want that relationship, I suspect that he’ll tire of trying to woo me in with the sensitive guy thing and move on. I think it’s probably best for all of us to end these things fairly definitively. It’s been hard for me to move on while I hold out hope that grey-area guy would eventually be open to more, because our connection was special enough that I had a hard time not comparing other guys to him and giving them a fair chance. I just persist in believing that I shouldn’t have to be rude once I’ve been clear, and I’ve been very clear with them both.

      • You’re right. You shouldn’t have to be rude, but there’s always going to be occasions when “the message” is simply not getting through a thick skull. Those occasions dictate a more forceful approach of communicating……….. what I prefer to call “direct communication”! Like adjusting to the passing of a loved one, there is going to be a “mourning period” but, in time, you will be able to reflect on the happier times and move onto more worthwhile and rewarding ventures.

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  5. Oh, the cost of missing my subscription email! Now I am playing a lot of catch-up! I would have liked to talk with you on the phone, but wholeheartedly like the direction your commenter took it. 🙂 love you Auntie M! PS-I believe I have rectified the subscription issue–hooray!

    • I’m glad that you’ll be able to see things as I post them these days! In fairness, I think we did talk on the phone right around this time, but also, this is post is not my proudest moment— not normally what I want to lead with, to one so dear…

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