What's a man to do when a woman's actions are opposite from her words?

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What's a man to do when a woman's actions are opposite from her words?

Aug 13, 2007 |John Thomas
Question

My best friend on campus is in a really tough situation right now and as the only person that knows of you guys I decided to talk in his place. I searched your site and found nothing on the subject and so I turn to you directly for help.

My friend has been in a friendship with this woman for many months now. They are both highly godly and filled with integrity and have been growing closer quickly. After a while, as they spent more time together, he started feeling attracted to her. But as a Godly man, he continued to check his heart and make sure things were right before he expressed his feelings for her, which he finally did about a month and a half ago.

Once he did so, she just encouraged him for doing everything right. On the other hand, she never expressed whether she liked him in return. Finally, he decided to bring it up because she was acting like she liked him for a long time. Her answer was no, she had no feelings for him in a romantic sense.

To this answer he responded maturely and just continued to just be a good friend and was completely fine with her answer, meaning he never pushed her at all and he never started pursuing her romantically in hopes that she would change her mind. But lately he has been under a lot of stress because, more than ever before, her actions do not line up with her words.

She is constantly doing things to spend time with him, she is complimenting him more and more on his looks, there are times when she refuses to work with anybody else but him, and she has also been known to follow him around. He, on the other hand, has been giving her the benefit of the doubt and has tried hard not to read into anything she's doing.

But he has talked to many respected and Godly women, sharing what has been going on and they assure him that he is not reading into it at all. They agree that she has to have feelings for him because even from a woman's perspective, she is doing everything a woman would do if they were interested in a man. Several of them are even upset because it seems that she is leading him on.

He doesn't know what to do. He respects her answer and doesn't want to assume anything, but to all his and her friends, she is acting highly interested. The people he has talked to say that the only thing that they can think of as to why she is not telling him of her feelings is because she is afraid. That doesn't make too much sense because he has always kept things very relaxed and she has been highly trusting of him in other areas of her life.

As you can see, this is highly confusing to him and he really needs some guidance as to what to do. Please reply as soon as possible with your advice and I'm sorry about this email being so long. To sum it up, what's a man supposed to do when her actions are opposite from her words?

Answer

Whether or not she's interested in him, the guy is just torturing himself. Let's face it; his heart isn't going anywhere as long as he keeps spending the kind of time around her that he is, especially if they are as close as you say they are. His feelings are only going to get stronger, and he's going to grow more and more frustrated, and eventually his "stress," as you've put it, could very well lead to anger.

I have no idea whether she's flirting or just naively being who she is, but she is not the issue. He is the issue. There is a quick and simple way for him to get things resolved: Quit spending time with her.

If she said she's not interested, then he should take her at her word and act accordingly. His continuing to spend time with and around her is a little like someone on a diet visiting the donut shop three or four times a week and just sitting in there. Why make things more difficult? For the life of me I cannot understand this.

If he will gently but deliberately move out of her orbit, one of two things will happen. She'll be fine with it and move right along as happy as a clam, and, over time, he will come to understand this, accept it, and get on with his life. The other thing that might happen is that she might miss him, come to her senses, realize she really is interested in him and the two of them can sit down and discuss taking this thing to another level.

There is a right way and a wrong way to do this. The wrong way is to just start ignoring her without any explanation. He doesn't sound like the kind of guy who operates that way, but for the benefit of other readers I wanted to mention it.

The right way to do this is to sit down with her, go over once again his interest in taking things to another level, make sure her thoughts are still the same as they were the last time they had this conversation, and then explain that he is having a tough time keeping his heart in check and that the healthiest thing to do right now is to spend less time together, even as "friends," at least until either his heart or her heart changes.

The longer this drags on, the greater the chance of this friendship turning sour. There is nothing wrong with this guy having feelings for her, the same as there is nothing wrong with being hungry. The problem, as I mentioned above, is placing oneself in a continually frustrating environment. If you can't eat sweets, don't blame the donut; leave the shop.

It sounds like we might have a case of the girl enjoying the fruit of a quasi-relationship without any of the commitment (guys aren't the only ones guilty of this). If that's the case, she has no incentive to change. I'm not saying that she's covertly doing this via some diabolical scheme; she might not even realize what she's doing. She might not even realize that she is, in fact, attracted to him. To her, he could be like oxygen — essential, but more or less assumed. When you start running out of oxygen, however, your priorities change. If he is that to her, doing without him would help her realize it fairly quickly. If he's not, he'll know it soon enough, and he can get on with life.

Blessings,
JOHN THOMAS

Copyright 2007 John Thomas. All rights reserved.

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