Hey y’all! Hope you’re about to have a spectacular Christmas. Or, I hope you had a swell Hanukkah.
Anyway I realized that I should check my email more often, because an intrepid young reader sent me a message with a really good question in it! Names have been changed to protect everyone involved.
I read two of your posts, Survivng the Friendzone and Nice Guy Syndrom, and was wondering if you had any advice for going from Dating to just being friends. You see, I was dating this girl for almost a year, a big milestone in my eyes, and a few days ago she broke up with me, 11 days before that 1 year anniversary. She brought up some very valid points, and after a day to mull things over I was okay with it. Thing is though, im still having a few problems it seems. The problems made themselves apperant when we went to the mall to hang, as friends, and I notices a love mark on her neck. Nothing too big, just a single one, nothing near what I’d given her on multiple occasions, yet it still brought up a good bit of jealousy mixed with depression. When we talked about it, she said its what I should expect now that we were ‘just friends’. Not in a mean way though, and it was a very valid and logical point. Yet…even after that I was still jealous of this unnamed man I didnt know. Any advice on how to deal with this would be much appreciated, even if it is just that I need to get over it and accept that she’s not mine anymore.
Treble Hoof (Jeffrey ********)”
A: First I’d like to say sorry about the breakup, but well done on handling it like a mature adult. Validating reasoning for your former ladyfriend ending your relationship is actually a pretty big step. Don’t forget, though, that it doesn’t count as validation unless you can actually for serious feel and mean what you’re thinking or saying about it. And really, this part will take some time. After you’ve for-sure come to terms with what she said, you can use those reasons to try to be a better boyfriend to the next lady who comes along.
Now, to the meat of your issue: she very obviously still means a lot to you, but she’s also apparently doing some sexytime-related things with another human being, and this can be really weird. It can feel a
little lot like she’s already found your replacement. This isn’t always the case, though, because women are actually also prone to rebound flings with people, too. I’m gonna guess that she is also hurting and that’s the way she’s dealing with it. Granted, there are other possibilities that are a lot more hurtful to think about, like “What if she was cheating on me with this dude?”
Well, the good news is the cheating part is no longer your problem and you don’t need to address it with her, because your relationship is over. The sucky part is that this could impact your friendship. If you want to remain actually friends with her, and not nice guy “maybe we can get back together” friends, then you have to actively decide to let that possibility of her having cheated on you go. I would caution against asking her outright about it, because if we’re all wrong and she wasn’t cheating, that’s going to make things awful and your friendship will definitely be weird.
The only way to deal with jealousy is to admit that you’re jealous, and that it bums you out. There’s not some magic method to getting rid of it, but if this is something that seems very difficult for you, I would encourage you find a therapist or trained professional (or trusted parent/guardian) to chat with about how you’re feeling. Since you mentioned some depression, perhaps the professional would be a better idea. What is super important with the jealousy and sadness is that you don’t try to squish them down. Give yourself room, preferably by not seeing her if you can, and let yourself feel sad about the end of your relationship and the possibility that she will be with other people.
One thing that might work well is asking her to give you a bit of time to do this. It’s a pretty rough thing to do, but if you make it clear that you do want to be her friend but need time to take her out of the “girlfriend” part of your brain, I have a feeling she will be understanding. And if she isn’t, maybe you should reconsider being friends with her in the first place.
I hope this was at least marginally helpful! And hey everybody, I can always be reached for more personalized advice at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hey look, I’m not dead and I haven’t quit on you kids just yet!
I had to take some time to figure out what I should cover here and what sort of things would actually make a good blog post. And now, here I am.
Today I want to talk about the friend zone. It’s that magically awful place you get stuck in when the friend you like doesn’t want to take your relationship to that next level. The friend zone is almost invariably the worst possible place to be, going from responses I got from friends and the representations that appear in mass media.
Let’s start with a definition. A friend zone is what one is placed in when the object of their affections says, “No thanks, but we can still be friends”. There’s really no easy way to be in the friend zone, and that seems to be the root of the problem with it. It’s not easy so we don’t want to do it ever. It would totally be way easier if that person who friend zoned us would just say “Okay” and date us, right? More on that in a minute.
I don’t know a single person who enjoys being rejected. This goes for my friends who are actors, even though they put themselves in that position an awful lot. However, there is a difference between being rejected and being put in the friend zone. Being rejected means being dumped, thrown away, told you’re not good enough at all for someone or something.
My friend Aim made a really good point – if someone puts you in the friend zone after an awkward advance, that means they want to stay friends. And that means, by extension, that they value your friendship enough to endure the awkward post-advance times with you. Isn’t that an important thing to talk about?
It’s important to remember that when you’re thinking, “UGH why won’t he (or she) just DATE ME ALREADY?” Because friendship is a valuable thing. Remember that time I talked about Nice Guy Syndrome? Nobody owes you a sexy relationship. Nobody even owes you friendship, which if you think about it that way, makes friendship seem that much more valuable.
A concept that seems to go hand-in-hand with being friend zoned is that of oneitis. This is where all you can think, talk, write, or worry about is that one person. It’s easily confused with love, and even though I’m supposed to be this big oracle on relationship things and love and advice, I’m not entirely clear what the boundaries are here. I think that, if you aren’t having feelings reciprocated, you need to take a step back and seriously think about your life and choices with regard to that particular person.
Most romantic comedies fall into this trap of romanticizing oneitis and demonizing the friend zone. It’s really not a healthy way to portray these things. First of all, your feelings may not be returned for some very good reasons, and you should probably find a friend to tell you exactly why. Second, out of the hundreds of thousands of people you see in a day, what makes that one person so special? I’m not advocating writing out any sonnets Shakespeare-style, describing your supposed heart’s desire or anything. However, I do recommend making a list of things you know about the person you want to get with, and making a list of things you like in a person.
This takes some serious honesty on your part. Don’t gloss over any flaws to make the other person seem better. They’re never going to see this list. What are the things you don’t like in a potential partner? Does this person have any of those qualities?
Curing oneitis and surviving the friend zone are two totally different things. The good part is it’s possible, but the bad part is that they require a brutal level of honesty that can usually only come from a close friend. In my experience, this gets dicey when the person friend zoning you (or who is the target of the oneitis) happens to be your best friend. Your best bet is to get down and dirty with the honesty, talk it out, and then decide if your friendship is better than any potential romantic relationship. With a little luck you’ll get through it.
Send any questions to gaygirladvice @ gmail.com, or find me on Twitter! Thanks for reading