A girl's role in a "more-than-friendship"


#1

I have known one of my dearest friends for a few years. I am interested in him and have spent so much time in prayer over the past years discerning whether this is what I'm supposed to feel, and have come to an overwhelming peace that it is. While we have a friendship that has Christ at the centre, we don't always communicate as we should. I am struggling to feel calm about the waiting for something else to transpire and always feeling anxious. I am trying to trust God more and more and more, and praying for grace to do so. However, I often fail. Friends always look down upon the way things are with us and blame it on him leading me on. They warn me to be careful.

We don't have any sort of physical relationship, just to clarify. But he has led me on emotionally. A couple years back he knew I was interested and didn't give me closure. Since then he's mostly remained in my life, but sometimes I won't hear from him for a while (which I've come to accept as normal behaviour from him). He's very reserved and somewhat closed off (from everyone, not me--he's actually more open with me, I think).

I don't think how things are is very fair. But, I keep wrestling with whether God would have me be still and wait or initiate a conversation. It feels like over the years whenever a serious conversation has to be had I have been the initiator. I try not to harbour negative feelings about this, but I sometimes fall into resenting the fact that I have to be the vulnerable one. I know God wants me to let him lead. It is my nature to be controlling and I'm really good at planning stuff so sometimes I get frustrated when he doesn't (the curse of Genesis 3, I suppose).

I'm always wondering what's holding him back. I know the timing isn't great as we both lead busy lives, but I expect he should at least tell me that's the case and have a civil conversation about it. We are no longer in junior high.

So my question is: would I be out of line in my role as the girl in asking him a simple question of where I stand with him? Or do I need to wait?

I know I can't rely on other people's advice and have to listen to the Lord as I wrestle through this (for what feels like the thousandth time), but I would appreciate some solid Catholic advice. If nothing else, keep a couple of confused twenty-somethings in your prayers.


#2

[quote="newthoughts, post:1, topic:327685"]
I have known one of my dearest friends for a few years. I am interested in him and have spent so much time in prayer over the past years discerning whether this is what I'm supposed to feel, and have come to an overwhelming peace that it is. While we have a friendship that has Christ at the centre, we don't always communicate as we should. I am struggling to feel calm about the waiting for something else to transpire and always feeling anxious. I am trying to trust God more and more and more, and praying for grace to do so. However, I often fail. Friends always look down upon the way things are with us and blame it on him leading me on. They warn me to be careful.

We don't have any sort of physical relationship, just to clarify. But he has led me on emotionally. A couple years back he knew I was interested and didn't give me closure. Since then he's mostly remained in my life, but sometimes I won't hear from him for a while (which I've come to accept as normal behaviour from him). He's very reserved and somewhat closed off (from everyone, not me--he's actually more open with me, I think).

I don't think how things are is very fair. But, I keep wrestling with whether God would have me be still and wait or initiate a conversation. It feels like over the years whenever a serious conversation has to be had I have been the initiator. I try not to harbour negative feelings about this, but I sometimes fall into resenting the fact that I have to be the vulnerable one. I know God wants me to let him lead. It is my nature to be controlling and I'm really good at planning stuff so sometimes I get frustrated when he doesn't (the curse of Genesis 3, I suppose).

I'm always wondering what's holding him back. I know the timing isn't great as we both lead busy lives, but I expect he should at least tell me that's the case and have a civil conversation about it. We are no longer in junior high.

I know I can't rely on other people's advice and have to listen to the Lord as I wrestle through this (for what feels like the thousandth time), but I would appreciate some solid Catholic advice. If nothing else, keep a couple of confused twenty-somethings in your prayers.

[/quote]

So my question is: would I be out of line in my role as the girl in asking him a simple question of where I stand with him? Or do I need to wait?

Open, Honest, Direct Communication will always yield the best results.

If you have the ability to engage this person at any level.....preferably in person...

explain what you explained here and ask directly, do we have a future?

You should also be aware that what you describe is a personality type that won't change if you have a relationship.

Friends always look down upon the way things are with us and blame it on him leading me on. They warn me to be careful.

But he has led me on emotionally. A couple years back he knew I was interested and didn't give me closure.

Since then he's mostly remained in my life, but sometimes I won't hear from him for a while (which I've come to accept as normal behaviour from him).

He's very reserved and somewhat closed off (from everyone, not me--he's actually more open with me, I think).

It feels like over the years whenever a serious conversation has to be had I have been the initiator.

Your friends see something in this person they don't like and yet you do. He has little respect for your emotions. He failed to see the need for closure. You accept, what you do not believe to be normal behavior, normal for him. He has difficulty being open with you and you make excuses for that. You are the initiator and he is not and you accept that.

Do you really want to have a relationship with someone that your friends tell you to be careful about and that really is not meeting normal expectations?

Your choice.


#3

I do not know the social rules in whatever culture you come from, but I would have asked where he stands a long time ago. Your friends having concerns is a big warning signal and we know for a fact that some people like attention and therefore lead people on emotionally (and in worse cases, physically). You deserve to know that is not the case with your friend!

Have an honest conversation with him. If he is your future spouse, such thing should not be awkward but rather something natural!

Good luck! :thumbsup:

PS.
I think this thread should be in the family section. /DS


#4

Well, as long as his attitude towards you is somewhat ambiguous (which it seems to be, given how he hasn’t given you closure), you can ask him to narrow it down without declaring yourself either way. The simple fact of your asking would not be a giveaway; I’ve been asked just that at least twice myself by a friend or acquaintance who had wished to be no more than that.


#5

Thanks for the replies. Just to clarify a couple things:
-My friends do like him and think he's a stellar guy (he is) and most think we'd be great together. They're just about as confused as I am at the way he's treating me by being so cryptic. If there were red flags that spoke to his deeper character I would already be running the other direction.
-As for the accepting him how he is, yes, I think that's how love works. Nobody is perfect. I don't think it is a bad thing to accept that some people do not need to constantly be in touch. This is something I am maturing in and growing more secure about (not needing to be constantly affirmed).

I appreciate the advice. I think the open conversation is probably the way to go. But, no one sees an issue with me not giving him more space and time to figure stuff out without putting on ANY pressure? If this is my future spouse will I look back and regret rushing stuff? Do guys run the other direction when girls press for too much info?

I'm sorry I posted this in the wrong thread... Does anyone know how to move a post or would I have to restart it?


#6

[quote="newthoughts, post:5, topic:327685"]
Thanks for the replies. Just to clarify a couple things:
-My friends do like him and think he's a stellar guy (he is) and most think we'd be great together. They're just about as confused as I am at the way he's treating me by being so cryptic. If there were red flags that spoke to his deeper character I would already be running the other direction.

[/quote]

Well, being cryptic about something like that, while perhaps not a full-blown red flag, may well be the sign of problems with forming relationships.

Nobody is perfect.

Yeah.

But, no one sees an issue with me not giving him more space and time to figure stuff out without putting on ANY pressure?

You can't have laboratory conditions for humans making decisions in their lives. There's always some pressure this or that way. Ours is mostly to choose which pressure to act on (by choosing rather than by caving in).

Do guys run the other direction when girls press for too much info?

Some do, others are relieved. If you want any advice, don't frame the question in too big words. Don't ask a guy, 'do you love me?' in front of a bunch of people unless you want to test his social courage and have great expectations in that regard. Happened to me almost half a life ago, and I failed to live up to the challenge. Oh well, TMI.

Anyway, if you ask him to explain his behaviour, there's no undue pressure in that. You aren't asking him to make up his mind as to whether he wants to jump on a fast track to marriage. You're asking him how you should interpret his behaviour. That's similar to asking him what he meant to say in saying this or that. No problems there.


#7

And realize that if you wait for him to "make the move" and clarify his feelings on this that you may wait for a very, very long time. He may prefer the vagueness that exists now and may not be comfortable with defining your relationship. So you need to take the initiative if you ever want to know where you stand.


#8

My recommendation... stop playing games and share your feelings with him. Forgive me for being direct, but if you have something to say this man, you should say it.


#9

Open, Honest, Direct Communication will always yield the best results.

yup…


#10

I’d move on, I think he already gave you the answer…he’s not interested in you in anything else but as a friend. I had two friends that were in the exact same situation, both very good Catholics, the girl wanted more than just friendship. They both tried at one point to have something a little bit more than just friendship but the girl never could see that it wasn’t going to go any further and kept holding on to any sliver of hope for a year or so. She finally got the “hint” when the guy married someone else.

Move on. To quote a line from a movie title, he’s just not into you.


#11

If he was interested in pursuing you, he would be doing it.
Move on. He's just a plug in your life, keeping you from finding the guy who falls in love with you and wants to get married.


#12

Thanks for the thoughts, guys! I will have an honest conversation with him (not in a group haha, that wouldn't be an option...but sorry about the girl who thought that was ok!)

PennyinCanada and PatriceA, to move on or not to move on was not the issue. It's not like that. He has a place in my life in some capacity always. That was not a question posed and you do not have the requisite knowledge to make such an assertion. While I am sure you are both well-intentioned, please guide your advice to solicited areas of expertise.


#13

He may just be extremely shy, or lacks confidence in dating, so definitely talk to him.

Don’t chase him though. In a spouse, you want a man who will love you as Christ loves the Church. That is sacrificial love where he places you and your best interest above his own. I am not sure a guy you have to chase down is capable of doing that at this time.


#14

He has a place in my life in some capacity always.

Friendship like Love are reciprocal. Does he think that you will have a place in his life always? You have known one another for several years. Clear this misunderstanding up immediately. Sometimes actions speak louder than words. Maybe he doesn’t see you as a wife. Maybe he just doesn’t want to have any serious relationship at all right now. Maybe he doesn’t want to hurt your feelings. See it from his standpoint and not yours. I think that a serious relationship has to have clarity in communication.

You are obviously wanting a “more that friendship” relationship with him. As a Catholic that means matrimony. Are you both ready for that? Your posts have only mentioned how you feel. The fact that you don’t know how he feels after several years speaks volumes. There is no such thing as a one person relationship. As they say, “It takes two to tango”. You sound like you are both very young. Maybe the Lord has other plans for both of you.


#15

Hmgbrd,

You have made so many assumptions I don’t even know where to begin in reply. Ironically, you’ve responded to a message where I requested people mind their p’s and q’s when they do not know the circumstances.

Having a place in my life is not necessarily a romantic place. I recognize that. And yes, the friendship is mutual. I know as much.

As to all your “maybes” they are not healthy. If we always see things through how we think the other might be negative towards us without knowing this for a fact we self-sabotage and depress ourselves. To be overly pessimistic is an absolutely absurd suggestion. A better approach would be to try to see things objectively and clear up misunderstandings, which is what I seek to do with an open and honest conversation.

As to wanting a more-than-friendship, yes that is probably a safe assumption, but still very much an assumption. I do not want this more-than-friendship at all costs, and our friendship is first and foremost important to me. I would only want this if it was reciprocal and I do not have to chase it–as you point out relationships are reciprocal.

You are correct also in stating my posts only state how I feel–reinforcing that you do not know details. Omission does not equal non-existence of information. As I’ve stated, a friendship is established.

Next. Yes, I wouldn’t pursue a relationship without the end goal of matrimony. HOWEVER, that is more than a couple steps away. There is time to discern where we are headed, and can walk the path until we know for certain. I think you may have an unhealthy thought that you cannot be in any sort of relationship without getting married tomorrow.

As for being young, 1 Timothy could shed some light on that. It is in God’s timing that anything will happen.

Forgive me for being bold, and do not be offended. But do not jump to conclusions such as the ones you’ve come to in forum advice to anyone. It could be unnecessarily damaging on an impressionable advice seeker. God’s will be done, and I again apologize if I’ve been harsh.


#16

I would say move on. By move on I don’t mean stop being his “friend” but don’t pin any romantic hopes on him and allow other opportunities to open up. (of course practice discernment in anyone you date). I could have written your OP a couple of years ago, I reconnected with a friend I had known since high school. We were at the same professional conference and realized we were two of a small handful of students who remained in the field we started training for in school. He was kind, smart, and we had many things in common but he was still a very shy and reserved young man. We began teaching and volunteering together and even collaborated on some projects.

Long story short when I pressed about something more than friends, he felt backed into a corner and ended up stumbling through the whole “you’re beautiful but no my type” spiel. Dispite this he initaited a lot of time together, other volunteer projects and collaborations, he was having his cake and eating it too. Although we remain friends and do projects together occasionally, once I reinforced boundaries and eventually met my boyfriend (whom I’m discerning marriage to) he was uneasy, this further let me know that while he was unwilling to date/commit he was comfortable taking up my free time. I don’t want this for you.


#17

Thank you, Miss_Felicity. I appreciate your insight and it was less assuming than others :)


#18

You asked for opinions, its hard to hear the truth sometimes. I’ve seen your situation many, many times. Been in your shoes once or twice. If this young man wanted a relationship with you he would be pursuing you to the ends of the earth. You’ve waited around for him how many months now? You’re asking people to give you the green light to keep waiting. I’m trying to give you the best advice from someone that was single at one point and desperately wanted a guy to have mutual feelings for me. I wasted so much time when I could have been concentrating on other friendships and areas of my life. If you don’t want to get ALL the advice on a message board, then don’t ask for any.


#19

Are you prepared for all possible answers if you ask?

What is the worst thing that could happen if you ask?

Do you want a man whose ideas of a woman's meekness and place in a relationship is to wait for him to speak first? (I am biased against this in favor of a marriage between equals, but this is how some Christians see things - my bias is probably showing; I don't know how to phrase it more neutrally.)

I once had a girl flat out tell me she wasn't attracted to me; it hurt at the moment, but there was certainly no confusion and I respected greatly her response.

Once you are married the two of you (whomever he ends up being) are going to have to sort out your roles in the marriage for yourselves. While we are both working, my wife and I maintain separate finances and periodically discuss who has what bills to pay. It works for us. For other couples this might be a disaster; some even think we're nuts (but the good friends respect it works for us).

Have you spoken with some of the older matrons that you respect? Some of those older married women know some amazing things about relationships. :thumbsup: Don't ask the husbands though, we learn right quick that the only thing we need to know about relationships is how to mean it when we say, "Yes dear." :D ( hope the spot of humor is ok)


#20

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.