Is He Stringing Your Relationship Along? Try This
Have you ever felt like he’s just “stringing you along”?
Even though you KNOW he loves you – he even says he “loves you” and that you’re “great” – he just can’t or won’t commit?
And you’ve done everything you know to show him that this is the right relationship – that you won’t crowd him, you won’t cheat on him or hurt him, and that you’re “for” each other?
This is just one of the most frustrating things I remember ever experiencing.
Of all the men I ever dated and had unhappy experiences with, this is the one I remember most: When I was with him, it was wonderful.
We’d have fun, it felt cozy and sexy, and not only did I KNOW he liked me, he SAID so – he said he admired me, he liked me, he loved me, that I was so nice and wonderful.
And yet it felt incredibly PAINFUL to be with him.
There were so many things going on that should have warned me, but I ignored them.
I recently saw one of the women “contestants” on a reality TV show, “The Bachelor,” do exactly what I’d done.
If you’ve been watching “The Bachelor” you’ve already seen the outcome (and there’s so much to learn from that show), but I’d like to use the experience of Hillary, one of the contestants who left earlier, to talk about the “friend card.”
On the show, they filmed Hillary on her “dates” with Brad (the Bachelor), and focused on him telling her – over and over – how great she is, how highly he thinks of her, that he enjoys being with her so much, and that he really likes her.
And he uses the words “I feel comfortable with you” and “You really make me laugh” and, also, the word “friend” a lot.
And Hillary clearly heard everything he said BUT the word “friend.”
She understood everything he said as a “romantic” message from him.
And we could tell she was a nice girl.
She wasn’t “stupid” and she wasn’t silly.
And we could see that, yes, he really did like her a lot.
As a friend.
But she couldn’t see it.
And she couldn’t even FEEL it.
While she was on the show, she talked directly to the reality TV cameras, and told us all how she felt she and Brad were perfect together and how everything he said made her feel, and what a strong bond they had between them, and that she was looking forward to marrying him and being “The One.”
But we were all watching their conversations, too, and we all heard him saying loud and clear that he meant he liked her as a “friend,” only.
The night she wasn’t picked and left the show, she cried harder than any woman had in the “history” of the show.
They made a big deal about it – that it was a “breakdown.”
And then they showed clips of the conversations in which Brad was telling her his feelings for her were as a “friend,” and not his potential “wife.”
They made her look foolish and over-dramatic and pretty much DELUDED.
Then, if you watched the “special” episode where they brought all the women back, you saw how they played all the clips of her and Brad and then made fun of her.
Hillary said that she wished Brad had told her a little more clearly that what she meant to him was a “friend,” but then they showed the clips where he was doing JUST THAT, and made her look even more foolish.
They suggested that if he’d hired a skywriter to write “we’re just friends” across the sky, she would have interpreted it as a proposal!
Hillary really WAS a great woman. She was fun, she was smart, she was beautiful, she had a great sense of humor and Brad really did like her, a lot. And he was attracted to her, too.
He just didn’t have that “forever” feeling for her.
If this had all happened in real life, and away from cameras and over time, Brad likely would have dated her.
He would have wanted to “hang out” with her and be with her.
She was easy and breezy, and made him feel comfortable.
He might even have kept on dating her for a LONG TIME.
He would have kept saying how she was a “great friend,” and she would have continued to interpret it as “a serious relationship.”
On the show, he had to make a choice right there between women he was actually considering a long-term emotional commitment with, and Hillary, whose company he enjoyed, but who wasn’t lighting a fire under him to want to be with her forever.
And so he “eliminated” her from the pack of women.
In real life, Hillary might have stayed with him until he accidentally MET a woman who DID light a fire under him.
Sometimes that can take awhile.
And if we wait around – that’s how we become “stepping stones” for men.
Watching Hillary, and watching all the conversations between her and Brad being played one after the other, and watching them make fun of her “interpretations” of those conversations, I felt like crawling under the table myself.
As much as I’d like to make fun of her too, or say – “I’d never fall for that,” I was forced to remember that “Yes – I’d done EXACTLY the same thing as Hillary.”
I remember being in relationships for years with men who saw me as “friends,” and who probably TOLD me that, but I just couldn’t HEAR it.
I held out hope.
I confused sexual passion with emotional passion.
I confused SEEING so much of him for him CARING so much for ME.
I heard what I wanted to hear, and saw what I wanted to see.
I ignored the way he was just “slightly” not acting like we were a couple.
I ignored the friendships he had with his ex- girlfriends, even though he explained them as somehow similar to “our” relationship.
I know he used the word “friends” many times, and I didn’t hear it.
But mostly, I ignored what I FELT.
My brain kept telling me he was a great “catch” and a “good man” and that this would all “work out.”
My hormones were all tied up in him, and my body always wanted to move toward him, but my feelings were different.
I remember almost always feeling, well, sad.
It was as though the only feelings being lit on fire were MINE.
And, somewhere, deep inside, I knew it, but I wouldn’t let myself KNOW I knew it.
(See how crazy and upside down our minds and old patterns can make us?)
Instead – I SAT ON IT.
So I wouldn’t “scare” him, I toned down my own feelings.
I PRETENDED to be COOL.
I acted as if it didn’t MATTER to me that he didn’t introduce me as his “girlfriend,” but just as “Rori.”
I acted as if he were my ONLY OPTION in the world.
And the moment we start thinking like that, it’s downhill from there.
***Raising my self-esteem made the hugest difference in my love life, and I know it will make all the difference for you, too.
There is NOTHING that attracts a man and binds him to us faster and more permanently than CONFIDENCE.
It’s the first thing he picks up from us, and the glue that holds him, intrigues him, and makes him want to stay with us forever.
So let’s start working with the basic problem Hillary was dealing with in this artificial world of a reality show, which is the same problem I was experiencing with man after man, and perhaps it’s the same situation you’re now finding yourself in:
Hillary and I believed he was IT.
We believed that the man in front of us was the ONLY man.
Now it seems so hard to believe that we could have believed it, but when you’re in the middle of it, sometimes that’s how we’ve all been trained to believe.
We believe a man our heart is involved with is the ONLY man for us.
And that’s just a plain lie.
I know it’s a lie, because not only did I meet my wonderful husband many years later, but BETWEEN that man and my husband, there were SEVERAL men I felt even MORE strongly about than I did him.
I can laugh now, because as I write this, all those men come back to my memory and – yes – they ALL played me the “friend card.”
Clearly, that was my pattern.
And clearly, that was the way my own fear of intimacy showed itself.
I couldn’t really handle “True Love.”
I could only handle “Good Friends.”
Of course, “Good Friends With Sex,” but since I had no way, at that time, of separating “Sex” from “True Love,” the whole idea of “Friends With Sex” never even occurred to me.
If there was sex, it HAD to be a relationship.
Even though things have changed – and we realize that sex is sex and friendship is friendship and romantic love forever is romantic love forever – in all our hearts, I believe, we women feel sex and romantic love as the same thing.
In my opinion, that’s a GOOD way to feel.
That doesn’t mean we can’t make exceptions, and have sex with “good friends” of our CHOOSING, but it has to be OUR CHOICE, and to do that in a way that really serves us, we have to know the difference.
I wish I could reach out and give Hillary a huge hug for teaching us all this lesson (in fact, I likely will find a way to write to her).
If she had allowed herself to see what the Bachelor was showing her, and hear what he was telling her, she would have enjoyed herself on the show so much more, and she would have LAUGHED on the night she went home because she’d actually appreciate how long she’d stayed – or, if she stopped having fun – she might have CHOSEN to leave on her OWN!
So how can this help YOU?
The “friend card” can ONLY be played in an Imaginary Relationship.
And it can only HURT if you’ve made yourself exclusive.
And it can only make you feel foolish if you’ve let yourself get emotionally and sexually and hormonally tied up in him.
So, this is NOT about protecting yourself from the “friend card.”
This is about AVOIDING it ALTOGETHER!
So here are some basic steps:
Do NOT sleep with a man until you feel CERTAIN he sees you as a future “wife” and not a future “friend.”
So, how do you do that?
You don’t have to pepper him with questions.
You wait until he pressures or pushes for sex.
And then you think this:
“I’m not looking for a boyfriend, here, and I don’t want to be in a “friendship” with sex. Sex is important to me, and I don’t want to get all hormonally involved without knowing where a relationship is going. I feel really good with you, and I don’t want to put pressure on this to become some kind of serious, or even exclusive relationship, so I’d feel so much more comfortable waiting until you know what you have in mind, here.”
If you’re very brave, you can even SAY this!
Notice how these words don’t ASK him for anything?
They don’t ask him how he feels, they don’t ask him what he wants.
They simply express what you feel comfortable and uncomfortable with, and what you DON’T want.
Okay, now if you’re already sleeping with him, but don’t know how he feels, and are afraid he’s “stringing you along”… try this:
Next time you’re with him, notice how he behaves.
It’s entirely possible he ISN’T “stringing you along,” he just isn’t FEELING IT yet, and he likes you a lot and is hoping that there’s still a chance something might catch fire.
So, turn up the heat by saying how you feel.
“Can we talk for a minute? I’ve noticed thatsometimes I’m feeling really uncomfortable. I’m not sure if I’m misinterpreting our relationship. I’m starting to feel hormonally all attached to you, and I can’t help wondering what it is that’s going on for you. I only know that – “I’m not looking for a boyfriend, here, and I don’t want to be in a “friendship” with sex. Sex is important to me, and I don’t want to get all hormonally involved with a “friend.” I feel really good with you, and I don’t want to put pressure on this to become some kind of serious, or even exclusive relationship, so I’m not sure what to do. What do you think?
Now, these speeches are about you taking care of yourself.
He may not KNOW what he feels, but at least the conversation will get started – and, for the first time, he’ll know how YOU feel.
Knowing how you feel and hearing you speak it in a Feeling-Message way will bring him in closer no matter WHAT he’s feeling.
“Playing along” and trying not to listen to words he says and notice the things he does that make you uncomfortable, will NOT bring him CLOSER!
In fact, playing along will do the opposite of what you want.
Playing along will make you into more and more of a “friend.”So to AVOID the “Friend Card,” listen to your heart, and SPEAK from it.
Love, Rori Raye