The “Friend Zone”

I’ve been away. For way too long.

You know it’s been awhile when other bloggers reach out to you in the comments section to see if you’re ok. It’s quite the testament to the blogosphere when that happens. It occurred to me that, given my readers’ familiarity with my health issues, people assumed the worst. So I am here to tell you that I am doing physically well and still the best specimen in the clinic, although that isn’t saying a hell of a lot. Emotionally…not so much.

Like most great stories, this one starts with “About a girl…”

I met her through a friend. The bestie of my buddies new wife. When I met her she had a boyfriend. With this news I kept a careful, yet smitten eye on her. As luck, fate or divine providence would have it, she broke up with her guy the night that I met her. I was cautiously excited. A few days later the friend request came in. Soon, we were talking on the phone every night. She wanted us to get to know each other. So we did.

In what I now think of as a dumb move, I asked her to have dinner. That’s where it went south. Why?, you may ask. The answer is simple, I thought it was a date and she didn’t.

We had a great time. We had a wonderful conversation over dinner. She told me a lot about herself. In particular she spoke of how she wasn’t ready for a relationship. She said it so many times that I should have listened.
I didn’t.
I must have thought that I could “turn” her with my unrelenting charm. As the evening went on, I thought I had changed her mind. What had really happened is that she drank enough wine to temporarily knock down her walls. Experiencing emotions I hadn’t experienced in years, I failed to recognize that it was the booze talking.

The next day was awkward. The one after that even more so. I quickly learned that there were two of her. The drunk one had a far more favorable opinion of me. Sober girl was pushing back. Hard.

She wasn’t ready. That’s the takeaway. We’ve seen each other several times. In this Virus crazy world, going out is difficult. I mostly went to her house and stayed in the guest room. Mostly, we texted and talked on the phone. I have to say, I lit up whenever I saw a text from her. I was smitten. Until I noticed that I was always the one initiating conversation.

I began to scrutinize her responses and her language. I noticed that any attempts at intimacy, ranging from “I miss you”, and “you’re special to me” were met with a generic “thank you”. I asked her about it finally. She wasn’t able to address such comments because she’s not ready. She knew that I was in a different place than her and asked me if we could just “hang out” and let her figure out if she wants a relationship. It wasn’t ideal but I wanted to spend time with her. So I agreed.

We hung out a bit in recent weeks. Occasionally I slipped up and treated her like a girlfriend. The pushback was incredible. And frustrating. I was firmly stuck in the “friend zone” and that’s where I think I’m going to stay.

The girl she is when she drinks loves me. She’s affectionate and lovable. Sober girl apparently feels different.

Thursday night I told her it wasn’t working for me. I don’t know where we are headed now. We haven’t talked since. I really don’t know how I feel about it. But the confusion and mixed messages have consumed my life for months.

I should have listened.

I’m crazy about her but I have to prepare for life without her.

She’s not ready.