Ambiguity and unrequited love

Ten years ago, I met a girl. Passions flared, promises were made, and cheap trinkets were exchanged. But circumstances conspired to part us such that we have remained in contact, but barely.

Initially I carried a torch for this girl, and made quite the fool of myself. Hey, everybody’s gotta have a hobby. But where I was crystal clear in my pursuit, she was suddenly distant. But never was there anything definite, no “Leave me alone!” or “Let’s get together.” No, I was left with little feedback and simply had to go with my interpretation of events.

I interpreted events as “She’s moved on.” But I may have been wrong. See, there have been many odd statements over the years. Like the time she blurted out, totally inappropriately, “I love you.” Or the time I made a flip comment about her being unlucky and she replied “I’ve been unlucky for the last few years, haven’t I?” Those being the years we’d been apart.

And then the earring - I mean, what the hell is “She doesn’t need it anymore” supposed to mean anyway? It’d already been 8 or 9 years at that point. I thought she’d moved on. How the hell was I supposed to know?

And maybe I’m wrong. Maybe there was nothing to know and I’m just deluding myself into seeing something that isn’t there. But no one sends back an 8-year-old cheap piece of Spencers Gifts jewelry for anything other than the symbolism. I may not be objective, but I’m not stupid.

I tried openness and honesty, and it got me no where. So here I sit, ten years after the fact, still agonizing. We’ve both build comfortable, middle-class lives for ourselves. But somewhere within my primordial lizard-brain (no Icke references, please) a faint ember of that passion still burns.

I still wonder if she feels the same. I suppose I’ll never know.

What a :wally

I’m confused. You both have built up separate lives for yourselves, so what’s the harm in asking again now, at this point? I can definitely understand keeping your feelings under wraps when you’re just meeting someone, so as not to move too fast. But this is 10 years later?

Ask her what’s going on. Ask what she meant by sending the thing back. You will never know unless you do ask; there’s no “suppose” about it.

I second SolGrundy. Ask her. What have you got to lose? Besides that hollow pit in yer stomach when you think about her, I mean.

To quote Anthony Hopkins, “There are…complications.” Like spouses and children. Asking such questions couldn’t lead to anything positive.

And lets not overlook the real reason: I’m afraid of the answers. Good ole yellow-bellied cowardice.

The only thing that could potentially be worse than not knowing is knowing. It’s like junior high again. I feel the urge to pass a note or something.

I for one, think Earthworm Jim is correct in not asking. I would like to say up front that I am a woman myself so I am not saying this out of bitterness that it has been done to me. I have seen several cases like this of women I know - friends and friends of others - behave this way. Especially once you mentioned that spouses and children are involved, I knew what we were dealing with.

Jim - You, my friend, are the backup plan. Some women keep a guy on reserves, where on the surface it is just friendship, but every so often they drop a hint to keep your non-platonic feelings going. But if they wick that fire too high, all the sudden they are cool and distant. They will play this “come here, wait you’re too close, I meant go away” game, until such time that they might actually need you (which I have never seen happen in the 6 or so cases I am aware of). From what I have seen, they do have some feelings and attraction toward Mr. Back-burner, but not enough to follow through on it. Usually there is something (usually shallow) about you that is not to their liking - you are not the right height, or right ethnicity, or religion or some such nonsense. They like to keep you in their lives as an ego stroke - that they are good enough to keep someone else’s interest besides their primary interest. The idea is to keep you at the perfect orbit - close enough that she knows you want her, but no so close that there is a threat of anything actually happening on a non-platonic level.

For what it is worth, I would accept that it is never going to go anywhere, that she never wanted it to go anywhere, she just liked flirting with you. Not everyone flirts with the desire to follow through. I would say keep in touch if you like, enjoy the sexual tension, but don’t ever expect anything to come of it. She wouldn’t have kept her mouth shut for 10 years if she had wanted it any other way.

It seems to me that sometimes people on this board tend to forget that not everyone in the real world is as sensible and straightforward as the people who are members here. :slight_smile:

I didn’t realize that “comfortable middle class life” was secret code for “spouses and kids.” :slight_smile: Yeah, that changes things.

If it was me, I’d chuck the returned trinket in the dumpster, quit having any contact with her, and put the whole thing behind me. YMMV, but you’re probably better off just walking away.


Run as fast as you can.

I am just entering your situation. You can read my just-posted thread if you want.

Remember all that initial self-doubt and nebulous hate of an uncontrollable situation, and the incessant wondering whether it could have been done differntly, and the pipe-dream plans for getting her back that you spontaneously made up and semi-seriously considered executing?

Well, the shittiness you feel when you’re thinking about her every once in a while now is just a trickle through the dam you’ve erected to hold back those feelings. If you let her anywhere near you, that dam will collapse and you’ll be swimming in the psychic equivalent of stale excrement for a long damn time.

She’s moved on. You’ve moved on. If she wanted to be with you, she’d have done it by now. If you wanted to be with her, you’d have done it by now. That’s just fact.

I’m not saying you should stay in a situation that makes you unhappy. But if you want to get out of your current situation, you should probably find a better reason than a bunch of maybes, a cheap earring, and a bitch who’s still toying with you a decade later.

Oh, no - let’s be clear about that. I’m very content in my “comfortable middle-class life”. But - I don’t know, it’s difficult to articulate. It’s akin to the way a smoker feels about his cigarrettes, or an alcoholic feels about the bottle. Having been both (ish), I know of which I speak. The old “Just one more won’t kill me, right?” mentality.

Ah. Listen to Thinks2Much, not me. I too neglected to pick up on the idea of spouses and kids. You really need to move on (as you’re clearly aware).

I’ve had crushes from years past, and they did get very clearly resolved, but whenever I’m feeling low there’s still a twinge of “what would’ve happened had things been different?” or “I wonder if it could still work…” They’re usually brought on by loneliness. The cure for loneliness is finding somebody who’ll make you feel like you did when you were first discovering this other person and falling in love with her. Not somebody who’s been “in reserve” for that long.

>It’s akin to the way a smoker feels about his cigarrettes, or an alcoholic feels about the bottle. Having been both (ish), I know of which I speak.

Well, there’s your answer. Reaching out to this lady is about as good a plan as trying the bottle again.

Life’s weird this way. These old pangs. Who can imagine what purpose they serve? I think they are little age-related chronic illnesses.

Congratulations on having a family you enjoy. Think I’ll go text message my wife “I love you”.