Do I have to go through another painful DTR?

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Do I have to go through another painful DTR?

Apr 19, 2010 |John Thomas
Question

So I know that I've gone about pursuing a certain girl the wrong way. I spent way too long before even making a move that we were really good friends before I started to get up the courage to bring up the possibility of being more than friends.

She studied abroad last year, and we talked over Skype a lot (totally different subject about whether or not I should have done that) and I decided that if we were talking as much as we were that I should bring up where we stood with each other. The conversation was short, but she said that "I was a really good friend" but also said "I'm on the other side of the world." The second phrase gave me hope, so I continued to talk to her (a little less) and waited until she got home.

Over the past year that she's been home we've gotten to know each other better, and I tried to be more intentional about our relationship while still licking my wounds from our last DTR. I finally got up the courage and asked her to our school's formal banquet. She said yes! We went together, I got her some earrings to wear (again, another subject if I should have done that or not), and we had a good time. She was very unemotional when thanking me for the evening though.

She left to visit her sister for the week right after that, and I was out studying with her roommate. The subject of romantic interests came up, and I brought up this girl. I thought I should since her roommate was the only person in our friend group that I hadn't talked to about it. When I told her, there was a definite drop in the tone of her voice when she responded. I immediately started inferring what that meant. It was so painful to go through our last DTR that I really feel like maybe recognizing this as a sign that she's not interested and just going through the pain of letting her go rather than the pain of another DTR.

Am I chickening out to let her go or am I just being wise and finally seeing what I didn't want to see before?

Answer

Don't beat yourself up too much; you've done a decent job of trying to navigate your way through a bit of confusion. Her acceptance of your invitation to the banquet sent a positive signal, and you rightly took it as such. At least as far as I can tell, your intentions should be evident to her.

If she's not interested in a "more than friends" relationship, she should have declined your invitation or stated up front that the "date" would be "as friends." All this to say that she bears at least some responsibility for the confusion.

Either way, that's all water under the bridge now and there's no need to waste a bunch of time analyzing it. Your question was whether to talk with her again to clear things up and the answer is, of course, yes. I know that probably puts a pit in your stomach to read those words, but it's much worse to let it just simmer out there unattended. Call it closure or freedom or whatever you wish, but you don't want to walk away from this as it is (or isn't, as it were). Here's my advice:

First of all, make sure this discussion is face-to-face. Not e-mail. Not phone. For goodness sake not text. Face. To. Face.

If I were you I'd just tell her the truth. I'd tell her that she already knows you had feelings for her when she was out of the country. Based on her cool response when you shared those feelings with her, you tried to dial your emotions back to "just friends." But once she returned and the two of you spent time together, those feelings returned and so you took a leap and asked her on an official date.

Tell her that her acceptance was a hopeful sign that maybe she was open to exploring the idea of the two of you being "more than friends." Tell her, however, that the vibe you got on that date was not so hopeful, and so it has left you wondering where she is.

If she says her feelings haven't changed and she wants to stay "just friends," then I'd say it's time to look elsewhere for a relationship. Let another "just friend" take her to the next banquet and you go with a girl who is interested in you, appreciates the invitation and is touched by the gesture of a gift.

If you've read my stuff on Boundless much, then you know where I am on the whole "just friends" business. Close, opposite-sex friendships that have no potential for "more than friends" at best drain emotional energy that could be given to a relationship that is moving toward oneness, and at worst can actually impede romantic relationships from developing.

And quite honestly, I get the sense that you've crossed a line that will make it very, very difficult to dial back to "just friends" anyway. Your heart is all tangled up in it now and if her heart isn't budging, you need to put some space between you and her so you can get reoriented. Hanging out with her would be torture.

If, on the other hand, she says she's becoming interested, but still not sure about how serious it should be, then just start the dance. Tell her you're fine with taking time (if you are; and I assume you would be to some extent) and that you'll just take it one day at a time.

Again, don't beat yourself up. You can always look back and wish you had done things differently and second-guess yourself. You did fine. All you need to do is follow through and trust God for His outcome. His is always, always the best.

And sometimes, it's the roommate after all.

Blessings,
JOHN THOMAS

Copyright 2010 John Thomas. All rights reserved.

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