Broken friendship...?

Discussion in 'Relationships' started by karin000aoi, Feb 29, 2016.

  1. karin000aoi

    karin000aoi Member

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    Hi guys!

    I've known this girl from work for a while now and we're good friends. (Or were... I don't know) I've always felt that unresolved sexual tension between us, but I've never considered acting on it, since said girl says she is straight.

    However, in the past 6 months she has been flirty in a confusing way. Not avidly texting me in a way to keep conversation going, but when we're alone it's great. She's engaged in our conversations, interested, etc. And she always compliments me.

    Some time ago, we were at a party, she had a couple of drinks and was really touchy/flirty. Eventually, she kissed me and just said to a friend that I was her girlfriend. I was so surprised and had no reaction. She mumbled a sorry while smirking as I went away from her. Later, when we were alone, I kissed and she kissed me back twice. I left the party and she said she liked the kiss and had intention.

    As time progressed, she started pulling away. I asked about the kiss later on and she said it wouldn't happen again, but doesn't mean she doesn't want to be with me. (?) Afterwards she told me she's not gay, not interested and she's sorry. Then coldly asked about how my day was going... We haven't spoken since.

    I care about her so much, but I'm tired, my heart is broken and she won't leave my mind. I know that is hard to accept yourself / deal with sexuality so I wouldn't want for her to go through it thinking she's alone. But it's hard to help who doesn't want to help...

    Two major things: what is going on? What should I do? Should I text her "Hey, how have you been?" kind of thing...

    Thanks!
     
    #1
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2016
  2. lorienczhiu

    lorienczhiu Well-Known Member

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    Your friend is not straight, but she's not ready to be not straight. When she was drunk, she allowed herself to act on or experiment with her interests/desires. In vino veritas, but also, in vino lack of self control. This is not something she is ready or able to do while sober, so when you brought it up later she minimized it, denied the feelings behind it ("I'm straight"), and tried to move on. Even before that, she was not interested in dealing with ramifications of her actions, so she started pulling away from you and your friendship (probably hoping to avoid exactly the conversation you were trying to have when you asked her about it).

    This is standard closeted denial, by the way. I know that you are super confused and hurting, but the number of women who come here saying, "my straight friend keeps making out with me when drunk and then finding new boyfriends the next day, what's up with that?" is staggering. You're not alone.

    The difficult truth here: you cannot make anyone do anything they do not want to do (or are not ready to do, or don't think they have to do). So, when your friend tells you she is straight and not interested in you, take her at her word. Even if her word is a little muddled, what she's saying is that she is not interested in coming out, risking negative reaction, confronting her sexuality, giving up her straight privilege, etc in order to be with you. So, that's the message you should hear: "I want to be straight and I'm not interested in being something else for you." Similarly, when she changes the subject, or pulls away from you, she is telling you "nope! I don't want to process/confront/explore this anymore!" Whatever you think about this choice, it's one that she gets to make, and one that you should respect.

    So, what do you do? You hear her, and you back off. This is sad, yes; losing friends/potential flames is sad. But to continue to push is to overstep her boundaries when she has told you, pretty clearly, where they are right now - that's disrespectful and potentially manipulative/controlling, and you don't want to be that guy. You don't decide what help she needs or what would be best for her, and even if you disagree with the way she's handling this (the situation that she created), you can have compassion for her and respect for her agency.

    That leaves you with some feelings, of the uncomfortable/heartbroken kind, and I'm really sorry about that. Those feelings are in your court, though, not in hers, and reconnecting with her just to resolve them tramples all over the boundaries she's trying to enforce for herself here. If you are heartbroken because you had more-than-friendship feelings for her: those are feelings that you have to resolve and move on from, and maybe some time and distance is a good idea here. Reconnect with other friends, journal obsessively, take up a new hobby, and be kind to yourself.

    If what you want is to get your friend back, and you think that you can be friends sans sexual tension and without any possibility of more kisses - okay, I guess. If you want to get in touch, I would be very honest about what you want/are hoping will happen, and let her make a choice about whether it is something that she can do.

    Here are some options:
    "Hey, I miss you! I know that was awkward, but I'm over it and would like to be your friend again. Wanna grab coffee?"
    "Still not sure what happened, but I miss my friend! Can we talk?"
    "Been thinking about you a bunch, and missing hanging out with you. How are you doing?"
    "Hey, I just saw the trailer for the new [whatever] movie. We were gonna see it together, and I'd still like to! Let me know."

    Remember that whatever you are ready for, she might not be: she might not be able to be your friend without the undercurrent of crush, and that might just be that.
     
    #2
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  3. rainydaze

    rainydaze Well-Known Member

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    Karin000aoi - First let me say that I am sorry that you are feeling heart-broken and that you may have lost a friendship. I also understand that you feel like you want to help your friend with her struggle because you don't want her to feel alone.

    So, here are some of my thoughts (feel free to consider them or disregard them. Maybe other people can relate to your story as well and possibly could benefit from some of the responses! That's the great thing about free public advice, right?) ---

    -Most importanly, take care of yourself right now. It sounds like you are feeling hurt by the reality that this may not develop into an intimate relationship, and further, that the friendship you had with her is at risk now as well. Let yourself be sad about what might have been, and then, work hard to let it go. Get healthy, get happy, and get-over-her. That is the best thing you can do for Yourself, and it could possibly be helpful to her, too, in the future. You cannot be a good friend to her if you are feeling tired, heart-broken, and cannot get her off your mind....and, truthfully, if you are seeking her out to "help" her, but really just want to be near her because you want her, you are not being a really good friend, any way. So, get well first. Heal from your love-sickness before you try to be a friend.

    -Then, when you are well enough, strong enough, and can tolerate texting/talking/seeing her, and IF you still want a real friendship with her, you may want to offer that. Be mentally prepared for possible rejection though. Some friendships can survive that crossing-the-line-moment and others cannot. It depends upon both people deciding the friendship is worth keeping. That will be a choice that you will both have to make. By its very nature friendship is supposed to be based on free-will and should be mutually satisfying to both parties. If she says she does not want to stay friends or is superficial/not responding to texts/calls, or is cold/distant in your interactions, leave it be. You don't need to be treated like that. At that point, you have offered her friendship, and if she does not want it, you must respect that. The end.

    -Take her for her sober, stated word from here on out. Do not look for flirtations or touches or drunken kisses as signs that she secretly wants more than she is saying she does. If she says by the light of day, she is straight and does not want to be sexual with you but wants to be your friend, Believe her and follow that guideline for the basis of your friendship. Be clear with her about the boundaries for you. Some friendships can do the "friends with benefits" thing, while other friendships get confused, hurt, distrustful feelings when the lines get blurred at drunken, vulnerable moments. It sounds like the intimate stuff is bad for both of you - You get your hopes up that there is something there, and she gets scared and distant and runs away emotionally.

    -Regarding the above, if she tries to cross the line with you when she is drinking/flirty, just DON'T. You may want to, you may be very tempted, but be a good friend to Yourself and to her, and keep that boundary that you said you would when/if you mend your friendship. You have been down that road before, and it does not go well. If she decides she wants you, loves you, wants to experiment with you, let that be a decision you BOTH make together when sober and clear about what you are doing. That way there is no "victim" in the scenario: she doesn't feel like the "straight girl" whose lesbian "friend" waited until she was drunk to take advantage, and you don't feel like the lesbian who gets used (played with/experimented with/taken advantage of) by the drunken "straight" friend.

    -Remember, that her coming out process is not yours to assist, promote, advance, protect, be responsible for, or benefit from...She may or may not ever identify as gay/lesbian/queer/bi...whatever. That is her journey; she will be in charge of that. She knows that you are her gay friend (or however you identify, sorry), so if she has questions, worries, etc. she can talk to you about it if she wants to or needs to. However, if she feels like you are there, trying to "bring her out" so that you can have her, she is not going to trust you as a reliable friend who is truly there for her with no ulterior motives. (note: be very honest with yourself about this prior to re-establishing a friendship with her - see first point above!.... Ask yourself: if she never comes out, can I really just be her supportive friend? AND If she eventually comes out, and does not choose me, can I really just be her supportive friend?)

    -If you do re-establish a close friendship again, DO NOT put your life on hold for this platonic, connected friendship with someone who may or may not someday come out. She has every right to date (guys or girls) and be friends with you without jealousy from you. AND YOU have every right to date/fall in love with someone, while being friends with her. Be sure not to let yourself be held captive with the hope that she will some day wake up and choose you. Don't let her have the option to keep other girls away (ones that are out and ready to date,have sex,fall in love with you) by being the jealous friend who accompanies you to parties, flirts with you, looks like your "date", but has no intention of actually being your girlfriend in real life! You deserve to have more of real-life love and all of the joys/complications of dating and relationships! Don't settle for less than what you want AND don't idealize what this "relationship" would be over what real relationships can be. You would be missing out. REAL is always better.

    -Lastly, you know that coming out is complicated and confusing. Don't hold onto the hope that she will....but If she does someday realize she is gay or bi, and says she does want you, talk about it openly with each other. Be direct, upfront, and honest with each other. You may already be in a relationship by then or you may value the friendship more than the risk of losing that again. You have choices...and there can be more than one big love in a lifetime. Like any dating issue, it may or may not work out. We are all looking for love and want to be happy. Remember that love shouldn't be about hurt and longing, it should be healthy, happy, fun and good for you both.

    Best wishes to you! and Come back to keep us updated!
     
    #3
  4. rac

    rac Well-Known Member

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    This! I think a good percentage of people posting here will benefit from this advice.

    Just want to add - I understand the need to be friends with her again. But I don't recommend you being friends with her for as long as you still have feelings for her. You need to heal, you need time and space to effectively move on from this. And being friends with her while still yearning for her will not really help you. Because for every smile she gives you, for every remark she makes, for any kind of touch, you will be left wondering what those means. It will just mess with your head. And eventually, you're the only who's gonna get hurt... Maybe in the future you will be friends again. But until you can honestly tell yourself she does not affect you that way anymore, give yourself all the time and space you need away from her. You owe that to yourself.

    I know how hard to be in that place; I wish you well. I really hope that things will turn out the way that will make you happier.
     
    #4
  5. Bluenote

    Bluenote Well-Known Member

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    There are two possibilities. 1) That this girl is straight and she either experimented on you, or liked the attention and liked feeling attractive. Or 2) she is a closeted bi or gay girl. Here is why I say this:

    Sexual tension is sort of a subjective thing. I feel a lot of sexual tension when I watch a movie with Robin Weigert, but I seriously doubt that she would ever consider banging me. So there may actually be sexual tension between you and your friend, or you may feel something and that is clouding your judgement.

    None of that screams to me "wow, she is so crazy about you!!" She could be doing this because she likes the attention, because she is experimenting, or because she actually has some attraction to you. There is no way to tell. However, her actions are more low key - she isn't making moves on you 24-7, but when you are around she has some fun. This low key-ness to me signals a passing interest, but not a deep intense attraction.

    Again, this could be liking the attention, experimenting, or attraction. Just like plenty of lesbians kiss (or sleep with) a bunch of guys before figuring out that it is not for them, some straight girls kiss other girls before figuring out that it is not for them. Not every girl who kisses another girl is a closet case, just like not every girl who bangs a guy is straight. Figuring out one's sexuality is not always clear and linear, it can get messy. Girls, particularly, can have strong emotional connections to one another. This can lead to some 'I love her so much, but is it friendship love or romantic love?' It can also lead to 'I wish I was gay, because guys can be such jerks,' I have had plenty of straight friends joke that they wish they could marry me (in fairness, I am a very good cook, so who can blame them?)

    Yeah, this is confusing. The 'doesn't want to be with me' could be a straight girl saying 'yeah, it would be way nicer and easier to date girls, but I am straight.' Or it could be 'yeah, I am gay or bi, but nowhere near ready to come out.'

    That being said, her pattern of actions is sending out a big clear - no, I do not want to pursue this further.

    You should leave it alone, leave her alone, move on and do lots of cardio. Here is why I say this:

    Yes, it can be hard to come out. That being said, you are not in a very good position to help her. You have a vested interest in her both coming out and winding up with you. So it would be very hard for you to be objective. It would also be very emotionally difficult on you if she turned on you, yo-yoed back and forth, came out but dated a different girl, etc... It can take years and plenty of start stops for someone to come out, are you in any way ready to deal with that?

    In other words, it isn't a great idea to try and play 'therapist' to the woman you are attracted to. If she needs help, if she is ready for help, there are lots of more appropriate places she can get it - coming out support groups, friends who don't want to bang her, afterellen, meetups, lgbt groups and plain old therapy. People who are more objective, but also won't be so crushed is things go south.

    Yes, there is several reasons for this.

    She isn't treating you very well. She got close to you, she kissed you and now she is treating you like some kind of plague. And while lots of people do this, it isn't very nice to the kiss-ie. It can leave them feeling a bit like a dirty secret, or used and confused. The kisser projects their own shame / discomfort about the situation onto the kiss-ie. This can leave the kiss-ie feeling confused, powerless, like they did something wrong, like they need to fix the situation by doing something more, etc... The degree of these feeling can vary - a few kisses probably won't bring up as much emotion as having sex then getting ghosted would.

    And, of course there is the feeling crappy because your crush - well - crushed you. Heartbreak is never fun. But (and this comes from a woman who is once divorced) the pain doesn't last. She won't be on your mind forever. You won't hurt forever. You can speed up this process a little by coming to terms with things and moving on. It can also help to try and balance giving yourself space to feel your emotions and doing things to distract. So journal some (or write poetry, or post more on AE, or whatever. But balance it by connecting with friends, doing cardio, keeping up with hobbies, doing some volunteer work, reading a book a week, whatever to keep yourself occupied.

    Actually, it is impossible.

    You are not the coming out fairy.

    You can not make her come out, help her come out, coax her to come out. She may or may not be bi / gay, but she has clearly signaled to you "I am not ready to deal with this."

    People deal with things when they are ready. Frequently, that means that they are in a situation where they can face things. It also means that they have to have the emotional and life skills to face them. If she really is bi / lesbian - it could bring up way more intense feelings than she is ready to deal with (fear, shame, guilt, over the top sexual desire, vulnerability, etc...) It could also bring her close to very real fears (will my parents disown me, it would break my grandmother's heart, Catholics aren't supposed to be gay, etc...)

    To me, consent is a very important (though thorny) issue.

    She has said a clear no to you - both in words and in actions. To me, when someone says no about sex related stuff, I listen. If they give mixed signals and say no and yes, I go with the no. Because if you guess wrong and over ride a 'no,' you can do a lot of damage to people and to yourself. And if someone says no about psychological stuff 'no, I am not ready to examine my sexuality, no I am not ready to deal with my drinking problem, no I am not ready to fix my depression' it can really mess them and you up to push the issue. Plus, it usually doesn't do any good.

    So what can you do? All you can do is set boundaries for yourself. If a friend drinks too much, you can call them out on said drinking and suggest that they get help. Then protect yourself (don't let them drive you drunk, don't tell lies to cover their drinking, etc...) If their problem is too painful, you can give yourself distance so you don't have to watch them self destruct.

    No. If you send her a "hey, how are you," text - everyone knows that that really means "I miss you. I am gay, I am attracted to you and I miss you." Whatever guilt / confusion she feels about winding you up, kissing you and disappearing on you will just be brought up. A dishonest opening isn't likely to lead to an honest conversation. You can't force her to have an honest conversation. All you can do is be honest about things on your end.
     
    #5
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  6. rainydaze

    rainydaze Well-Known Member

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    @Bluenote - as usual, you are able to state more clearly and directly what I was trying to write in my response! Well done!....
    What I want to say to you is that it absolutely cracks me up when you use the term "bang" for some reason- I don't know why! It just makes me laugh! So vulgar/not vulgar!!! LOL!!! I love it! :p
     
    #6
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  7. Bluenote

    Bluenote Well-Known Member

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    You can blame @Emm for me using bang. :)
     
    #7
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  8. Emm

    Emm Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, that's my word :p
    It makes it sound so much more fun without being overly smutty... although I'm still unclear what "bang bang into the room" means....anybody?
     
    #8
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  9. karin000aoi

    karin000aoi Member

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    @lorienczhiu, @rainydaze, @Bluenote, @rac
    Thank you so so much for your advice and attentiveness!
    I needed to hear all of that. And I'll keep you updated.

    Actually... One more thing: how do I ask for my stuff back? Lol
     
    #9
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  10. Eloise

    Eloise Well-Known Member

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    Just ask for your stuff. Once you get it, dump this person as a friend.
     
    #10
  11. Bluenote

    Bluenote Well-Known Member

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    I agree with @Eloise . I think that the best approach is honest and unemotional. "Hi x, I was looking for my hoodie the other day and realized you had it. Can we meet up at coffee shop / student union / lunch place / library (or other non-threatening public place) so you can return my stuff?" Don't give into the temptation to ask how she is or try to talk to her. Just focus on the stuff.

    Once you have met her and returned your stuff, move on.

    You are, after all, in Vancouver. You should be able to find a nice, out, not confusing girl. Particularly with spring coming. Good luck!
     
    #11
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  12. karin000aoi

    karin000aoi Member

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    Done and done. Thanks guys!
     
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