Leaving the "friend zone"

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by floyde, Mar 12, 2008.

  1. floyde macrumors 6502a

    floyde

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    #1
    Hi guys, I was going to post a lengthy rant about this girl I've been having trouble with, but I concluded that I wouldn't be able to fit the entire story in one post. Instead I think I'll just ask a more general question and give you just the basic background.

    My shrink is currently recovering from surgery, so I thought that maybe I could find some peace of mind by asking a bunch of strangers on the internet :eek::D.

    So, long story short: I'm madly in love with this girl, but when I met her she was in a relationship with a married man that was just using her (she thought that he was separated and getting a divorce soon).
    I won't go into the details of that relationship, but lets just say that she was devastated after that ended, and that she's been suffering from a relatively severe depression ever since.

    That was about a year ago, and throughout this time I became very close to her. I think it's safe to say that I'm the most important person in her life after her family. Now, I've always been very open about my feelings toward her, and her reactions to these feelings have been varied, ranging from "I don't feel the same way" to "It's not the right time for me, but there's a possibility after I get better...".

    My shrink says that she clearly see's that this girl likes me, but she's probably terrified of starting a relationship with me, for fear that it might end up like the previous one or even fear that she might lose me. I am not as optimistic though :(.

    The thought of being "just friends" is unbearable, but I don't want to leave her either because she is also my friend. I'm in so much pain right now that I can't even begin to describe it. I can't understand how it is that I'm so important to her, and yet she is not romantically attracted to me... or perhaps she's just not ready :confused:

    So what do you guys think? I'm I chasing an impossible dream or is there still hope for me?

    P.S. Sorry for the lengthy, unclear post. I think I'm just losing it :(
     
  2. smokeyrabbit macrumors 6502

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    #2
    How many ways can she say "NO"?

    You'll get over her.

    I suggest Bacardi 151°.
     
  3. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #3
    If the thought of being "just friends" is unbearable to you, I would suggest that you are not as good of a friend to her as you think you are.

    A good friend would want her to be happy no matter what. The fact that you can't be happy for her as "just" her friend suggests that your romantic attraction to her is stronger than your friendship.

    And if she isn't interested, there's not much you can do about it. Move on would be my advice. Truly be her friend and stop "making your feelings known".

    Of course, once you start dating someone else, she'll likely want to be with you. People always want what they cannot have...
     
  4. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #4
    Your shrink says she might like you, and she knows the situation far better than we do, so........

    Anyway, you haven't really given us a lot to work on, so its hard to tell you anything.
     
  5. Greencardman macrumors 6502

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    #5
    Sorry pal, I think the shrink is wrong. Girls usually think they're putting out clear signals, but they don't. In this case though, in the words of singer Jack Johnson, "maybe pretty much means no."

    Maybe she'd like to think she'll end up with a nice guy eventually, but it seems clear that nothing you can do in the near future will change anything. I suggest moving on.
     
  6. heehee macrumors 68020

    heehee

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    #6
    Find someone else to date, you might end up finding someone better for you or maybe she'll be jealous and you will know how she really feels. :)
     
  7. Shackler macrumors 6502a

    Shackler

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    #7
    hmm...I'm gonna go against what everyone else says and stay just friends for now give it sometime and she will probably begin to like you romantically. A lot of friendships between a man and a woman usually end as a relationship, so overtime you may see her come around. I can appreciate how you feel so just moving on like some of these others has stated is not that simple. Stick with it, it will be worth it in the long run.

    If you find shes just not into you, so be it, as a friend you have to respect how she feels before you think of yourself, tough but thats true friendship.

    Good luck.
     
  8. floyde thread starter macrumors 6502a

    floyde

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    #8
    Well I can be happy for her, it's me I'm worried about. I guess what I can't stand is that kind of rejection; when you know you're the best candidate and you've done so much, but it's simply not enough. It makes me feel like there's something wrong with me somehow.

    Anyway, she keeps giving me this ups and downs. She even kissed me out of her own will a few times. Then she goes away, then she comes back again... over and over. I can be convinced that she's finally interested in me and then the next day she'll act completely cold.

    Also important is the fact that she's going to therapy with the same shrink.
     
  9. Gelfin macrumors 68020

    Gelfin

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    #9
    She's probably just trying to let you down gently, but if she were telling the truth, that would be better? If she's genuinely still so depressed after a year that she cannot even contemplate going out with anyone else, then as harsh as it sounds, she's probably trouble you don't need.

    Besides, you've fallen for her in her broken state. You're only imagining what her "healthy" state will be like, which means you're idealizing even more than most. Get some perspective on where you are now, not where you think you'll be once "everything is better." There's never a guarantee that people will change in the direction we would like them to, and you're taking a bigger gamble here.

    Don't be a white knight. It'll only end in tears for everyone.
     
  10. floyde thread starter macrumors 6502a

    floyde

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    #10
    Well there's so much info on the subject I couldn't possibly organize it into a coherent post.

    My shrink said I could give it a few months so she could progress on her therapy (she didn't have any professional help until now, that's why she is still depressed). She insists that the best relationships begin as friendship. After that, if there was still no progress, at least I'd have the closure I need to move on.

    She is genuinely depressed. There's a lot of evidence for that in her behaviour.
     
  11. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #11
    Well like I said, your shrink clearly knows more about this girl that we do, and if she thinks this "female friend of yours likes you, then......
     
  12. NomadicTy macrumors regular

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    Feb 11, 2007
    #12
    A year later and she's still depressed over some cheating fool? Some people like being treated like cr*p. And you being a white knight is not helping your cause.

    Go out and date other people. She might get jealous and decide to give the two of you a shot. If nothing else, you might meet someone who you might end up really liking and who would appreciate you.

    There's plenty of fish in the sea...
     
  13. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #13
    Life is full of rejection. If you can't handle being friends with her without the possibility of a romantic relationship developing, you're not really friends. Friends don't need to **** each other to stay friends.

    Unless you enjoy a life full of drama, move along. And by move along, I mean be friends with this girl, but let her know you don't expect anything beyond friendship. And mean it.

    Yeah, for some reason this rings some pretty serious alarm bells in my head.

    Personally, my advice would be to start by dating someone your therapist doesn't know.
     
  14. apsterling macrumors 6502a

    apsterling

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    #14
    I know how you feel. Though it was probably a weaker thing for me (I'm a teenager), but I get the general idea. If you keep yourself alive, things will get better. It could take weeks, months, a year (it took me 7 months) but it will get better if you want it to.

    This is what happens when you're rejected. Maybe someday she'll see it the way you do. Just stay optimistic.
     
  15. redAPPLE macrumors 68030

    redAPPLE

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    #15
    let me ask a different question.

    i guess you got friends, right? what does the guys say, about your feelings for her? what do they say about her?

    that might point you in the right direction. sometimes people on the outside sees things clearer...

    i personally would not accept the advice "move on" so quickly. and the advice that "date other girls" sound easy, but is really not.

    here is my advice, travel for a week or do sports to get your head occupied with something else. and when you get back, evaluate your situation.
     
  16. floyde thread starter macrumors 6502a

    floyde

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    #16
    mactastic, I understand why you would be so strongly against some of the things I've been saying/doing, but trust me when I tell it is not as simple or black and white as it seems.

    I've been the best of friends to her, I've helped her everytime she has needed me. But I have feelings (which I didn't choose to have nor have the means to control) which make it hard for me to be around her as much as regular friends do. Most of the time I've been convinced that there wouldn't be anything between us, and still I did things for her because I care for her as a friend. Most guys just stop talking to a girl after they find out she's not interested in them. In this time she's had a few "friends" who've done exactly that.

    I tried to move on a few times (not abandoning our friendship, just seeing her a lot less until I got my act together), but I couldn't move away too far because she has no one else to help her, and she was in dire need of help. She really needed to get out more and have fun, and I helped her do this even though it was very difficult for me to spend so much time with her, while not yet having solved my rejection issues. I sticked to her because I really care for her, and the fact that I have "unplanned" feelings which get in the way of our friendship, doesn't make me any less of a friend.

    As for the same shrink thing, I know it's "unethical". I don't mean any harm to her, and I do not wish to manipulate her. I can assure you I know nothing about what she says to my shrink, and I'm pretty sure my shrink is not trying to convince her of dating me.
    The reason she's being treated by my therapist is that she sometimes gives free therapy to people who can't afford to pay, and my friend is in a difficult financial situation right now. My therapist also suggested that she could give me better advice if she knew my friends psychological profile, and I really wanted her to get help for her depression. That is not to mean I'm getting "inside information" or anything like that, but I needed more objective advice since my friend had always been so vague about the subject of a relationship between us, and that was what was tearing me apart: the uncertainty. I really mean no harm to her, you've no idea how much I care for her.
     
  17. letsgorangers macrumors 6502

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    #17
    I hope you're not paying this therapist... Unethical? Doesn't even begin to cover it...

    While I empathize with what you are feeling, this situation has red flags going up everywhere. And while I'm sure you really do have her best interest in mind, you cannot fix her, you cannot save her, you cannot change her. Just like others have mentioned, maybe you've fallen in love with the idea of being her white knight. I wouldn't put much faith in her kissing you a few times, as you've admitted yourself that she doesn't have it all together.
     
  18. killerrobot macrumors 68020

    killerrobot

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    #18
    Gotta say there are plenty of warning signs not to get involved with the girl - hooking up with a married man, being warm then cold to you...

    From the short things you've said it sounds like she wants what she can't have (much like you). So if you really want to hook up with her, quit acting interested in what she has to offer other than friendship.

    But that's all that I see happening with this girl -just hooking up. I don't see any long term relationship out of it. Either way it doesn't sound like a healthy relationship for you.
     
  19. floyde thread starter macrumors 6502a

    floyde

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    #19
    Is it really that bad?:( My therapist is not intervening, I can assure you my friend's sessions have nothing to do with me.

    Anyway, I guess I'm just messing everything up :(. I never had any bad intentions, I don't know why it had to turn out so bad :(.
     
  20. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #20
    I'm only able to go off of what you post here...

    No, most guys stop talking to a girl they just want to **** after they find out she's not interested in them. If you are actually friends, there is no desire to stop talking to her; and in any case I'm not suggesting that you stop talking to her or stop being friends with her. I'm just suggesting that she isn't capable of meeting your romantic needs right now, and may never be. So be it. If you're a true friend you won't stop talking to her just because she won't date you.

    It sounds like you do care for her as a friend, which is fine. Personally I wouldn't be putting any pressure on someone who is having issues with depression. Be there to help her because you care for her, and for no other reason. That's friendship; and it might turn into romance at some point. Who knows? But expecting a romance to develop just because you're a nice guy, in the right place at the right time isn't healthy for you or her.

    Ok, but were you helping her out only because she "really needed" you to, or were you helping her out because she needed you to and/or because you thought it would improve your chances of a romantic relationship with her?

    I can't answer that question for you, but you need to do some thinking about that issue. If you can answer that question honestly to yourself, I think you'll know what to do from there.

    I'm in no way suggesting you mean this girl any harm. To me it just sounds like you are confused about what she wants (and she may be as well).

    Why let a romance get in the way of a perfectly good friendship? If she comes around some day, great. If not, and you truly can be happy with her just as a friend, then you'll have a life-long friendship.

    Those can be as valuable as any romantic relationship, and are not to be dismissed lightly.
     
  21. letsgorangers macrumors 6502

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    #21
    I do think it's odd that a psychiatrist would tell you that she needs to know "the psychological profile" of your friend to give you advice. I think it would be hard to stay impartial with her knowing both of you and knowing the dynamic of the situation (from your perspective). It just seems very strange to me.

    I don't think you're messing up, but your friend is extremely vulnerable (dating a married man, thinking he was going to be with her vs. his wife, end of relationship, etc.). I honestly think she needs to not be in a relationship for a good amount of time so she can figure out what makes her happy, learn to be ok with being alone/single, etc.

    I'm sure we've all been in a similar situation, so I don't think anyone thinks you've got bad intentions. The whole situation just seems very unstable.
     
  22. floyde thread starter macrumors 6502a

    floyde

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    #22
    Well she didn't exactly say "psychological profile", that's just how I described it.

    At some point before my friend went to therapy, my therapist said she wasn't sure if I was being "used" by my friend because she only knew her through my words. My therapist had recommended that I should get away from my friend because she tended to be nice to me when I was moving away from her, and then when I started getting close (emotionally), she would at times be mean to me and even say some pretty harsh things that damaged my self-esteem. When my therapist perceived my reluctance to let her go, she suspected that maybe she wasn't so bad after all, and that her conduct had to do with other issues she might be having.

    I know it's not standard procedure, but I have to say it saved our friendship. I would've moved away from her otherwise. Aside from that, I've not had any other help from my therapist, besides her regular advice, which is based on the things I tell her.
     
  23. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

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    #23
    <realitybites advisory= "on" advice level = "harsh">This has co-dependency written all over it.

    I've been there. The friend in need, financial supporter, emotional supporter, all with the hope that 'maybe she'll change her mind'

    Here's the thing. I wasn't confident enough in myself to think I could attract a "together" woman. So I 'adopted' needy women. And tried to hang on to them by cultivating their dependence on me. And hoped for a payoff in it developing into an intimate relationship. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Some of them used me, flat out. Some of them just treated me as a friendly eunuch. Both results hurt like %&#^. This belief system cost me 10 years of my life, and I don't say that jokingly.

    If you're anything like me, then the problem lies inside you, my friend, not her. You will never have anything more than dependency --- not love --- as long as you have set it up that way -- as long as you believe that's the only way you are worth it for another person to be around you. As long as you continue to behave in the ways that makes her dependent on you for support.

    It. Will. Never. Change.

    Even if she consents to an intimate relationship, it's going to be overlaid with obligation and its roots in dependency.

    I'm going to come down on the side of breaking it off. Obviously this has to be done in a way that doesn't hurt her, or her progress in recovery. But starting with breaking off any thought that this relationship will go past brother-sister level. And that has to start with you deciding to change your mind.

    Two hard questions - answer yourself honestly (and not on the forum. This is for your own soul searching only):

    1) Would you have done all that you have for this friend, if she was a guy instead of a girl?

    2) If you were abducted by aliens today and taken off the planet for 2 years, would she die? Or would she survive, finding the support she requires from others?

    As posted before -- you gotta get out with other available women. You cannot progress if you have invested all of your emotional capital on your friend. You need to prove to yourself that you are attractive to women who don't need anything from you.
     
  24. Gelfin macrumors 68020

    Gelfin

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    #24
    Dude, this is sounding worse and worse the more you write about it. I think your therapist was right the first time. She may have backed off when she "perceived your reluctance" simply because antagonizing the client probably isn't good therapy. As not-your-therapist, I don't have that problem. This situation is bad news. The pull-you-in/push-you-away cycle is a control thing, and whether it's malicious or an unintentional side effect of "issues" is not relevant. It's hurting you, you're letting it, and it's not going to change. Find a way to reduce your attachment.
     
  25. floyde thread starter macrumors 6502a

    floyde

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    #25
    #$%@... I just don't know anymore. CanadaRAM and Gelfin's posts make sense. But then again, you guys don't know the whole story, and I suck at telling it. I'm hoping my therapist had a good reason to give me that advice :confused:. Either way, she suggested I give it some time, she never said hang on to that forever. If only I didn't suck at dating, I wouldn't be having so much trouble. This thread has made me realize how messed up my emotional life is :(
     

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