I'm a 44-year-old doctor, unsure whether to continue a friendship with a woman, 34, with three kids.
We met at work five years ago. She was going through a rough marriage and eventually separated.
She messaged me on Facebook and just wanted to have sex. I hesitated initially as I didn’t know her that well.
Eventually we met on several occasions, and that was her main desire. Then she wanted to date, but I wasn't ready to seriously date anyone.
Things fizzled. We kept in touch: dog-walked together a few times, went to a gala together, etc. But we assumed ourselves to be “friends.”
We’ve been texting lots. I was supportive of her as she started graduate school, even prepped meals for her and her kids a couple of times as she worked and did her schooling.
Eventually she wanted to take a trip after her final exams. She hinted that she’d be going alone and didn't have much money.
I said I was a good travel buddy. We had a great time with hiking, dinners, etc. There was no intimacy other than a hug.
Later, she said she enjoyed every second with me. I tried to arrange a date but we didn't meet for another eight weeks.
I asked if she wanted to spend more time together and get to know each other more. She said she wasn't ready, and wasn't sure where her heart was with me, given that I wasn't ready to date her four years ago.
She said she’d built up walls, didn't want to get hurt, etc. (She’d been hurt a few times since her separation).
I respected that but it was never defined that we’d remain friends. We continued to text a lot, I asked again about spending more time together, she wasn't ready but thought we’d be great together, she could see me in her future, etc.
But she didn't want to end up in a bad relationship again.
She’d send subtle hints about not wanting to date, but did meet me for lunch three times.
Finally, I joined a dating app. And I found her on it looking for “a serious relationship, no hook-ups.” I was taken aback a bit.
Then I told her I’d seen her on the app and said it was unfortunate for our friendship that she wasn't clear and direct with me, and I wished her well moving forward.
The next morning she texted that I was ending years of friendship over a dating app and she was hurt/confused at my reaction.
I replied that I’d joined because she wasn’t ready to date/be in a relationship, and then was shocked to see that she did want a relationship.
I said that I felt that our friendship didn't deserve coded messages/hints or the excuse “I'm not ready.” I felt if she wanted to remain friends, just say it.
Rekindle the Friendship?
This woman has been a false friend.
She’s taken advantage of your openness, supportive help, and your obvious interest in her for a long time, without her being open/honest in return.
She knows what she wants, and other than a free trip or lunch, it’s not about being in a serious dating relationship with you.
You’ve been treated as a “fallback friend,” which isn’t the same as an honest friendship in which you would’ve long-ago known that you should be dating others, not her, if you’re looking to a future with a partner.
Move on. She already has.
Readers’ Commentary “People needing counselling can first seek guidance and referral from their family doctor:
“In my early 20’s something happened that devastated my sense of self-worth. A friend recommended her therapist.
“I made an appointment and I was then required to do some things that seemed really odd: 1)Pay cash for special vitamins packaged in plain white business envelopes counted out from a huge jar; 2) leave my work on demand to attend an unscheduled appointment; 3) give the receptionist a cash “gratuity” when leaving each appointment; 4) sit in during another patient’s telephone call which included a dressing-down of and identifying the patient by gender and surname.
“I never returned and didn’t respond to an incredibly berating letter and just toughed out my angst.
“I was too young and unsophisticated to know that my trusted general physician had a duty of confidentiality and most likely would have given me a good referral.”
Tip of the day:
A true friend doesn’t take advantage of knowing that you want more.