What is it with guys in their late-20s who don’t know what they want?
My best girlfriend’s been living with her boyfriend for 18 months.
She thought they were going to make plans for the future.
Suddenly, he texts me to get over to their place because he’s leaving her and doesn’t want her to be alone.
He told me what he’d said to her – “it’s not you, it’s me, I don’t know what I want….”
He’s probably already started up with someone else. Or, maybe he’s a boy who’s scared to be a man.
What’s your take on this?
Fed Up with Boys
Your friend will need some time to settle her own reaction (so she really does need your support).
First, there’s no gender monopoly on immaturity, indecision, or cheating. The sudden exit happens with young women, too.
It’s a hurtful way to leave with no discussion, but often there were warning signs that both sides ignored – moodiness, frequent disagreements, etc.
Age does play a part, sometimes. Being twenty something calls for major adapting to adult responsibilities and figuring out a future vision.
Not everyone’s ready when the next phase looms close.
His sudden bolt shows he’s scared to face her, yet worried about her and his intent’s unknown (whether it’s a break, or over).
She needs time to heal her hurt, and re-think what kind of relationship they actually had.
She should then be more aware of what to look for in a “man” with whom she’d consider a committed partnership.
I’m a man who’s been friends with a woman for eight years, both in our mid-30s.
We've supported each other through significant heartbreak.
Over the last year I've developed stronger feelings for her, while she often flirts. She's dated some interesting fellows over the years, who've all left her heartbroken.
We joke that if we’re each alone at 40, we’d be one another's insurance. Visualizing the future is a tricky thing.
I've thought of taking that extra step, but I fear our wonderful friendship would be lost. She’s told me the same.
Now, she’s moved away to study French until the New Year, and she constantly tells me she misses me.
I’ve tried to move on and over the past two months, started seeing someone new. She, too, is great but I can't get over my feelings for my friend.
How do I deal with this?
First World Problems
You’re lucky to be living in the “first world,” and so there’s no need to minimize that this is your problem, which matters a lot to you.
Your friend has rung the wake-up bell – she misses you. Her return date in the New Year is not far off.
Dating this other woman till then is a “muddling” tactic: You’re trying to protect yourself from being hurt if your friend and you don’t get into a romance.
So you’re complicating things, but it’s unnecessary.
Show some spark. Tell her you miss her too. Make a New Year’s plan to get together (even if it’s a day or so after the big night).
Be bold. Tell her you’d like you both to consider dating when she returns, and that it’s about feelings, not about “insurance” to not end up alone.
Be honest with this second woman. Tell her you’ve had feelings for a longtime friend and need to know whether it’s mutual.
You’ll be amazed at how clear-headed you’ll feel when you deal honestly and straightforwardly with people.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman who didn't want to attend her sister's wedding (Sept. 12):
Reader – “Advising "gentle discussion" with her sister isn’t an appropriate response to her fiancé’s drunk-driving with children in the car.
“If he kills those children because he decided beer was more important than her children, they’ll all have to live with their choice to preserve peace over responsibility and safety.
“If anyone sees him drive with those children in the car, they need to contact the police. He could kill anyone on the road, including himself. Lives are more important than hurt feelings, ALWAYS.”
Ellie – Agreed. But the bride wasn’t listening to her sister. She didn’t invite her to the wedding until her mother interfered, because her sister disapproves of the groom.
The older sister needs to get across her concern for all of them. If she’s ignored and he continues drunk driving, you’re right - she should call the police.
Tip of the day:
When a live in partner bolts, focus on healing, then on what you want in a next relationship.