The impossible question (dating advice... extremely long).

Hey kids,

Long time reader, first time poster. You ‘Dopers’ seem to be abnormally realistic with dating advice, so I am going to give it a spin with something that has been wearing me down this week.

I have a female friend. We have been friends since last fall and, as she is one of very few people I can talk to, I value her very much. She is a very flirty person, but vastly more so with me than any other guys (this is easily noticable to me and others around). Damned near everyone around us has long assumed that there is something going on and we even get improperly introduced as each other’s SO on a routine basis. But, in honesty, nothing has ever happened – it’s partially because she’s been seriously involved with a guy since I met her and partially because I was extremely busy with other things.

But, two weeks ago, my schedule cleared and the other guy dropped out of the picture. The flirting ramped up and, this past week, we got all loaded up together and she spent the night (and the entire next day). According to anyone who knows us, “it’s about fucking time.”

So, here’s my problem – I am very aware that she’s not raring to leap into another serious deal just yet, and that’s fine with me, but she has been saying a few cryptically romantic things that are emotionally heavier than a typical one-shot fling. ALL of my friends think that she and I have to talk this out, SOON, or risk souring the entire deal. We have all kinds of things in common and I would like to date her, but I really think it’s best to leave the bullshit politics of all this unsaid for awhile. I was CLEARLY the rebound guy and I don’t want to muscle in on the new freedom that she is obviously glad to have. I’ve been down the same road and know how she feels.

So, do I listen to my gut feeling and just let it sit for awhile, or the advice of literally everyone else and bring this up? I got her an apartment in my building and she moves in this week, so we will probably be seeing a lot of each other soon and I am edgy about things being awkward.

People constantly tell me that I too often base my own decisions on what I think the other person wants; am I doing that unreasonably here? Should I just march up to her and say, “You. Me. Happy. NOW!”? I really am trying to be a good guy about this for her, but I’m also trying to avoid screwing up something potentially really cool because I had no patience.

Sorry for this marathon post. Thanks for any help.

Well, it sounds like you both have a lot in common and that she knows you pretty well having been friends for awhile, but I think you’re right on target about being careful b/c she’s on the rebound.

I would suggest patience, but let her know it’s not because you’re not interested. Let her know that you’re afraid she might be suffering from an elevated expectation due to her recent breakup, and that you want to make sure she’s fully sorted out her feelings (and you as well) before jumping into anything serious. She’s probably been under a lot of emotional duress and has projected upon you all the good qualities she didn’t see in her ex-bf, and that can lead to disappointment when the situation stabilizes. That’s not to say that her feelings for you are not true, just that when you’re in the middle of such an emotional time it is not wise to trust the ebb and flow of emotional gut reaction.

The most important thing is to let her know you are interested but don’t want to get too involved until she has a chance to analyze her feelings cooly and rationally.

Be there for her, help her sort out her feelings, but try not to influence her one way or the other at this point. She may look back and realize she was in an emotionally vulnerable place and if you push too hard to make a committment she may resent you for taking advantage of that.

That said, I wish you the best of luck.

Why don’t you say something like “I know this must be a lot for you to take in right now, seeing as the nature of our relationship has changed so suddenly, but I want you to know that I’m not trying to crowd you or rush you into anything. I think we should take our time and see where we want this to go. Whether or not there’s potential for something special between us, we don’t want to ruin it by going too fast.”

Just be nonthreatening and let her know you’re not trying to swoop in like a vulture now that she’s available. I don’t know. That’s what I would do, but I’m not exactly the picture of success in relationships so don’t go by me, take it for what it’s worth.

Thanks for the advice so far you guys; I am glad to see that I am not wildly off-base by wanting to just keep this as simple as possible for now. It’s partially for her and partially for me too, as I am also trying to adjust to seeing her in this different light.

I am not very good with the type of “honest” conversations you’ve both suggested, but I guess it’s not going to get any easier if I keep delaying. I’ll just keep telling myself, “don’t use the term ‘sweet rack,’ and everything will go just fine.” Even I hope I’m kidding.

Well, you can use the phrase ‘sweet rack’, but just keep in mind that the results will either be very good or very bad.

XJETGIRLX and cuahtemhoc both gave really good advice, and I’m not sure how much I can had. I know as well as you do that honest conversations can be terrifying, especially around an emotionally charged issue like this. But it’s for the best if you talk to her, and say most of what you said in the OP. You might want to leave out the part where your friends tell you that it’s fucking time.

Just out of curiosity, how long was she involved with this other guy, and how serious was the relationship?

What cuahtemhoc said. Emphasize that you’re happy about what’s happened between you, but are OK with going really slow if that’s what she wants. Play it cool – don’t let her know (at least for now) that you’ve had the hots for her for a while.

Thanks again for the ongoing advice.

ultrafilter: She was involved with the other guy for quite a while (two years-ish), so it was obviously serious. When they split, she said it was “a long time in coming” and, having seen them together a few times since I’ve known her, I can see what she meant in hindsight. Even so, I am well aware of how these things can flare back up again, which is part of my wish to avoid any headlong rushes.

Giraffe: Maybe I misrepresented the whole thing, but I really haven’t “had the hots” for her for very long. In fact, before all this happened, I had no intention of ever trying to ‘upgrade’ our relationship. It all just clicked suddenly and here I am. I feel like I’m in a stupid 80s movie… it’s like Pretty in Pink over here.

Keep the hints coming; I need all I can get.

If it was a long time coming, then she wasn’t really happy with this guy towards the end, and it might not be so great for her to get back together with him. Could be easier for her to turn him down if she knows that you’re interested.

You are very correct, which is yet another reason why I should pony up some honesty, as difficult as it is.

My big fear is losing everything, including our friendship, but I guess life is all about taking chances. I suppose I’d rather regret the things I’ve done instead of the things I could have done.

Could you talk to her about it the way you’re talking to us here?

Tansu: Some of this stuff, probably, but I would be as awkward as a caged horse throughout the entire thing.

Frankly, I think I’m just going to wing it and see how things come out. I will update you all of the gory details.

Don’t just wing it. Have some idea of what you’re going to say to her first. Ask her to let you just talk for a while. Don’t rehearse too much, but do put some thought into it. Let her know that you’re nervous–that will make you less nervous.

I really don’t have too much to say that hasn’t already been said, but just wanted to show some support. Good luck with your conversation. If you are truly interested her and her the same, then the conversation should work itself out naturally, even though you are nervous going in. Good luck, once again.

When I met my husband (23 years ago), I had just escaped from very bad long term relationship. I had absolutely no interest in becoming serious about another man.
Mr. 'Zania never pressured me for a commitment of any sort nor did he question what I did when we weren’t together.
We never had that long boring talk about where the relationship was going.
He knew I was bound and determined to see other people and he accepted that.

What he did do was make the time we spent together so much fun that I wanted to be with him more and more. When I found myself wondering what he was doing while out dates with other guys, I knew that it was just stupid to be with other people.

Just wanted to make sure that I was clear on some details, before I dispense my LoveDoctor™ advice (I am the Love M.D., look it up).

First of all, from the big picture what will matter when you are on your deathbed perspective, I would suggest that you search your feelings about this person and (assuming that you want to be romantically involved) tell her. Naturally, you will want to be non-threatening, but there it is.

All things being equal, even though I get a slight rebound vibe from the OP, I would state that she probably did not spend the night with you lightly, as you had mentioned that you were friends before hand. That being the case, she probably has some feeling for you and will be glad to hear that she is not alone.

Finally, at the end of the day, you already know the answer here. We are, after all, social animals. We would not have gotten as far as we have if we could not read these sort of situation.

errrrrrrrr… talk to her about it. not us.

don’t assume that you what she is thinking, just by actions.

ask HER. talk it out.

ultrafilter: You’re right again. For me, it’s impossible not to rehash the conversation in my head a million times before it ever happens, but

Sorry for the double post – I hit submit early by accident. Anyhoo,

ultrafilter: You’re right again. For me, it’s impossible not to rehash the conversation in my head a million times before it ever happens, but I also agree that something overly scripted will sound stupid.

jlzania: Truly, that is a neat story. To tell the truth, this whole conversation that I am gearing up for feels like it, in itself, is “that long boring talk about where the relationship was going.” That nagging feeling, along with the fact that both of us have an extremely busy week, is why I am having such a rough time getting on with this already.

Binarydrone: No attempt to be snarky here, but exactly what answer do I know already?

MissBungle: I don’t wish to have the Dopers fight my battle for me, but it’s been incredibly helpful to hear from people who have perhaps seen this themselves before. jlzania’s story is a great example and it is difficult not to be inspired by a similar case that worked out.

Thank you again, all; it’s amazing how a bunch of strangers on the internet can actually give confidence to someone they will never meet. I will not forget your kindness.

We are in the middle of mid-terms and time is sparce, but I hope to ‘have the talk’ this week if we can both find time.

I think she flirts with you because she considers you safe to flirt with and you aren’t going to take it any further much to her relief. And she was drunk.
Rebound? You poor soul. I feel your pain.
I’ve never bought into the whole “Let’s Be Friends” between men and women unless they’re already otherwise attached or one of them is fa-la-ming.
Tell her you dig her and want her to be your snorkel forever and ever and it’s about time. I hope for the best but my gut says laughter and painful discussions where you’re compared to a brother and how that’s far more special than taking a relationship to its next level.

You could easily be right, but both of us had long sobered up by the next day and the huggy-kissy thing only increased. If everthing had cooled right off when the booze disappeared, I wouldn’t even consider any of this.

Plus, I am really sick of never sticking my neck out for fear of it getting chopped off. Necks are over rated.