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I wish I felt as happy and as strong as I seem

Patti wrote:

I don't really know how to sum up four and half years of time in a short letter!!

But I really need some expert advice. Because I feel that I've reached a level that I don't know how I feel any more, but at the same time I feel that I'm as weak as a feather in the wind. Everything and anything can get to me so quickly. And it's making me tensed and aggressive and such a weeper. So please try to help me?

I'm a shy kind of a girl, I'm 21 and I've never been in a relationship before, although I have guy friends. I didn't go into any relationship because I get attached to people and get hurt easily and I'm so afraid to love someone and loose him. I study abroad away from my family. And since I was a teenager I used to imagine that I'd meet a guy in university and become best friends with him (so that we'd know each other truly, because I think relationships complicate things and each one will try to appear in a way to satisfy the other unlike friendship) and then fall in love and end up getting married.

So four years and a half ago I started university, and I met this guy from my hometown and we clicked and became friends and our friendship evolved and we became best friends. I liked him from the beginning and I loved how he used to be there for me, care, and spoil me. And I did the same for him if not even more. And the thing Is that he treated me differently than any of the girls he knows, and I treated him differently than any friend of mine. that's how he knew that I liked him more than a friend. And he was ok with it but we never brought the subject up me and him, and if he did I change it. Anyways by time we started flirting from time to time, but after that sometimes it gets awkward between us. My friend tells me it's because I become awkward he does. Any ways of course we had some ups and downs in our friendship during those years but we always use to find a way to fix it, mostly it's me who try. But at the same time I hated the way he used to play with my feelings, it was like as if he was playing cold and hot. One day he is flirting and spending the whole day and night with me and the next he passes by me and act as if he doesn't know me. It was so weird and I was really depressed by that and I used to react in the same way he did. I started to ignore him and not giving him the attention I used to give him, and after that he started to spend more time with me!!!! I hated it because I knew he knows how I feel about him.

On the other hand, he gets jealous when I ask about a new guy or talk to a guy who isn't a friend of his. Once we were in one of our ignoring fazes, and I started to hang out with a new guy in university and he saw me with him a couple of times, and suddenly he started to ask me questions about the new guy and he introduced himself and became friend with the new three years younger than I am guy. So what is that… is it overprotection just because I'm his friend or does he have feelings for me and trying to keep me away from other guys but his friends? I asked both of his best friends about him, because both of them and I became close. So I asked both guys about him and each told me something different one told me that he has feelings for me but just recently (that was like a year ago) and because he knows about my no relationship rule and that he kind of agrees with it, and that he thinks about me seriously as a potential wife for the future. As for his other close friend, he says that he thinks of me as a sister who he cares about nothing more that's why he backs off every now and then, cause he doesn't want to hurt my feelings.

I swear I became even more confused!!!! But in general things were fine between the both of us to the extent that people use to think that we were dating. But last semester a new girl got in the way of our friendship!!! And during mid-semester we had a huge fight me and him because she called me and yelled at me because she thinks that I'm trying to take him away from her. Although I've stopped talking or even calling him ever since I've heard about the new girl in the guy's I love life. which was at the first week of the semester. We apologized to each other all three of us. But since then I was isolating myself from everyone I was so hurt I felt that I was replaced. He use to come sit next to me, go to the same places I go to but not say a word trying to get me to do something about it. I couldn't accept what happened! For four years I used to be the only girl he sits alone with. The only girl talks to him all night. But now she took my place.

The same two guy friends of his I asked before, came up to me and the one who told me that he likes me more than a friend said, that he and the new girl are dating. As for the one who said that he only likes me as a sister he told me that they are not dating. But to me in both ways it did hurt so badly. I failed a course, I went back to smoking (he made me quit before), I lost so much weight; in general I was a mess.

This semester I came back from vacation looking fresh, social as I used to be, trying so hard to leave what happened last semester behind and get over him. But he is trying to chat from time to time and I catch him staring at me everyday and as soon as I look into his direction he looks away. And then he comes and passes by me pretending that he doesn't see me waiting for me to go and talk to him but I didn't. But lately he is talking to me online and on the phone and even messaging me and stuff telling me that he misses me and asking me to say hi when I see him. So now each one of us passes by the other and ignores the other with a smile on our faces, each is waiting for the other to step down and begin talking… but none of us is willing to do it so far. As for that girl I see her all the time but not with him.

So tell me please… what should I do, I love him and I miss him, I miss what we had, he was my first love, my best friend… it's true I like the feeling when I see him trying to get my attention, but I'm so afraid to get hurt again. What should I do? Keep on ignoring him and let him try harder? Go back to how I used to be with him before the fight? Or just forget about him?

Also, what do you think he is doing? Do you think he has feelings for me? Am I just a friend that he cares about? Or is he playing me or something?

I need to focus on my life, it's our senior year PLEASE try to help me I'm so lost. I don't know what to do or think anymore. And please don't tell me to ask him anything about his feeling about me, because I can't. I seriously can't. Tell me the truth even if it hurts, is it love or lust?

Dear Patti

Thanks for the detail, it helps.

But the problem seems horribly simple. You complain that the guy is not showing committment to you, while admitting that you are avoiding any kind of 'serious' relationship.

He's a human being; he is young. He is not going to wait around for you, maybe in ten years time, to make a committment. Especially with you playing mind games - because be clear, if, as you admit, you have been frightened to make a committment, it is you playing with his feelings.

It's a sad fact of life that you'll get nowhere in life if you do not take risks, and every relationship is a risk. It's much less of a risk if you kniow and trust your friend, but it's always a risk; and you'll get hurt - just like everyone else - but if you are honest and straight, you are much less likely to be hurt.

Men are happy to have female friends, mostly, but such a friend will always take second place to one who may become a girlfriend, if she's around. And why not? Life isn't only about your needs, others have feelings too.

Make a choice; Be prepared to have adult one-to-one relationships, or accept that you have chosen to be number two. The choice is yours!

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