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Do I try to forget?

Posted: Wed Dec 10, 2014 11:28 am
by Nomad
Hi all - I'm muddling away with an issue and no one to help me air it. I know it will eventually sink away as it will have to, but I thought I would see what everyone thought.

It's a matter of being very fond of someone who has stepped in and out of my life for over 15 years and wanting so badly to see if 'we' might be an option. I think I know the answer! Get over it.

First of all I have read the very excellent article by Mark Manson entitled "F*kc yes! or No" which expresses the theory that if you don't think 'hell yes' about someone, and if they dont think the same back, then step away. I.e. if either party shows any kind of hesitance, then move on. It's very black and white and leaves no room for questioning and I can see it is a handy thing to apply. In most cases I agree with him but I am struggling to apply it here.

I've known (lets call him Jake) Jake since we met at uni through mutual friends in 1998. I've always liked him. Back then he was this unreachable prospect - surely if I thought he was gorgeous everyone else must too, plus he was quiet and thoughtful so not easy to read. This alone is unusual for me - (years later my bumpy record shows a definite tenancy towards loud entertaining types!).

We saw each other through said mutual friends at various parties and so on. Eventually my flirting must have worked (and I must have read positive signals from him in some way as i was not confident enough to go for someone with zero interest), because Jake and I snogged a couple of times in the way that students do - in the dark and after drinking a lot. For him it was always 'complicated' and he would politely leave the situation to prevent there being any sort of follow up. At the time I just thought 'oh well, the guy is missing out there' and moved on.

What I didnt predict is that after uni our mutual friends got together and it meant that we were to see each other more over the years. Through our 20s there were parties and nights out that brought us together. I was in a relationship most of those times, but there was always that tension between us, the hugging goodbye, the swapping of numbers. Perhaps I just imagined that it was a two-way thing and it's all in my head.

Then a string of events. Our friends wedding, a party and a festival over the space of a year that we were both at, and we were both single. At each event we ended the night in a passionate tryst of some kind. We never slept together (one of the things that i admire about him is how sweet and respectful he is - unlike a lot of men i meet. dont get me wrong, I love a good session, but it is seriously refreshing for that not to be the expectation, and it only ads to the meaning behind it somehow. Again, perhaps i am wrong. Either way, I am glad we have never slept together). During this time I was a fairly fiery and pushy young person. Frustrated about life and with far too high expectations of everyone and everything, and a very high sex drive. This did not match up with the easily shaken and peaceful Jake, sure enough on the last of this event trio, in a festival tent he made his unclear excuses and left the situation. I will never know what it truly was. Didn't really like me (find that hard to believe as he kept coming), I was too keen (likely) and overwhelmed him, he had to get a good nights sleep, he has some kind of serious self confidence issue. Who knows. He was still friendly putting his arm around me the following evening while we watched the bands with friends. This annoyed me at the time as I was confused about where he was coming from. And I remember thinking then - it can never be with Jake. I'm too boisterous, he is too passive. I must put this adorable mystery man out of my mind.

Over 4 years pass by. Cue 2014. During these years I am embarrassed to admit i had a string of failed relationships. Jake was with someone for 2 or 3 years. We had no contact, we got on with our lives. Like I say, I had put the idea out of my head. But then he emailed me. Completely unheard of! He has never got in touch over all the time we have known each other. Not only did he email but he was keen to 'catch up'. Again unheard of. He had brought a new place and was well and things were good.

Now, had this been any other old flame, or friend, I would have just thought 'oh, nice, a catch up with an old mate', but becasue it was Jake and he was not known for this kind of initiative between us I thought 'I wonder if he is interested in seeing if we still have that spark after all these years', but i also presumed he was lonely and perhaps saw me on facebook and figured, why not. We had a small email chat. I was about to go back overseas for my job but was due to return the the uk for good after a month or two and was single, so i agreed we should meet up.

A few months later I was settled back home and took up the reins. I arranged a get together with our old mutual friends so as to take my agenda out of it. And to theirs we traveled.

It is worth noting that I have done a lot of work on myself over the years. I am a lot more relaxed and am determined to know and love myself well before being involved with anyone else. My initial thought when Jake got in touch was that it would be nice to have some attention, but that I was not in the market for anything else anyway. So when we met it was surprising really. Somehow a gain in confidence from Jake and a more steady me meant that we resonated well off each other and it was lovely catching up. I couldnt help but still be hugely attracted to him as I always have been, especially to his lovely kind and calm nature that I so crave in someone. I have no idea what his intentions were for meeting up, if any, but it was hard to ignore that literally every time we had seen each other years before, we had been affectionate. It felt the natural thing to want to reach out to him, but as we were with friends we all chatted politely until the end of the evening. When our friends went to bed i tried to read the situation. It seemed as if we were both unsure how to play it. I did not want to be too forward and Jake is not at all forward by nature.

When we went to go to our rooms i kissed him good night on the cheek and could see he tried to make it something more, but the moment past. As soon as i went into my room i regretted it and went back down, swallowed my pride and risked suggesting that he shared my room too (he was on an airbed after all!). He kissed me but said nothing. So I went up and got ready for bed and was left wondering. After a while he came up (yeay!). We had a lovely cosy time together chatting and so on (!). But we still kept to 2nd base. That felt right. In my mind I really like this guy and would love to see where it went so am not in any hurry to sleep with him (even though i had to seriously control my hormones!). During those few hours he mentioned the idea of me visiting. I was amazed (as so unlike him) but also so pleased by this.

Everything was fine in the morning, comfortable and normal. We all had a cup of tea in the kitchen, then both he and i had to leave, him to a family do. We parted way at the station. He had to rush to the train but he kissed me, and as he jumped on turned as if he suddenly remembered 'oh, you should visit...' and he had gone. At the end of the day I had a text. Lovely to see me, would love to catch up again 'if we get the chance'. Initially positive. But vague. I replied suggesting we get our diaries out.

Now - to you guys out there.... is this a case of 'if he was keen he'd get on with it and make it happen'? Normally this would be my thought hands down but becasue he is the more timid of characters, should take the initiative? I mean its not like he is using me for sex! But also perhaps i should listen to mark manson and walk away. Someone has to make moves! We are both in our late 30s though, so this is when you really know who might work for you. I'd so love to see if we have any potential. He lives far away, but if we still have this thing after all these years surely we would be mad not to at least entertain the idea.

The only thing missing is my knowing how he feels about it/me. What do you guys think. Forget it and spare the heart ache? Or be patient and see where it goes?

Re: Do I try to forget?

Posted: Wed Dec 10, 2014 4:46 pm
by Bel Bel
I would ask him outright
You have danced around for far too long.
One way or the other you will get an answer that finally allows you to move on
I don't think he has the confidence to ask you and he knows you are the more outgoing one.
You can arrange a meet up and then start the conversation off saying something like "I am surprised we never ended up together ..." and see how he responds.
Ultimately I think you need to do something or nothing will ever really happen and you are always going to think WHAT IF

What's the worse that happens he tells you he just liked a fumble. You won't have lost anything except the doubt of what it could/couldn't be

Re: Do I try to forget?

Posted: Wed Dec 10, 2014 5:08 pm
by Nomad
Thanks Bel Bel. Yes, it seems this is what my gut wants to do. I guess I just thought I would see if everyone said:
"No, don't go there, get out of it, have some self respect" and so on, in which case I would presume I am trying to make something from nothing just not seeing it.

I sort of started the 'conversation' you are suggesting by pointing out during our last get together that we always seemed to end up in the same place. He took that on board and later repeated 'yes, here we are again'. But I guess if I never really thought of the idea that he might 'just like a fumble'. Seems pretty pointless to me, but we are all different I suppose!

Re: Do I try to forget?

Posted: Wed Dec 10, 2014 5:09 pm
by ILoveChristmas
I agree with Bel Bel that you shouldn't allow the faffing around to go on any longer, but I'm concerned your characters are too different to work together. I know he initially came across as a more confident person when he got back in touch but it's easy to do that over email, I think he showed you he's still very much the same person when you actually saw each other. I have to admit my initial reaction when I read about the way he's acted in the past wasn't so much that his intentions were entirely good, but that he messed you around to the extent to which he was happy and left it at that. I say that because that behaviour is, I'm ashamed to admit, quite familiar to me. Not every man always wants sex.

I guess I'm saying there is another view point to weigh up, which is he's actually just messing you around and not that he's just shy (which he may be too), but the way to tell which it is, is to do as Bel Bel suggests and speak to him directly about it.

Re: Do I try to forget?

Posted: Thu Dec 11, 2014 4:33 pm
by Nomad
Thanks you Christmas, that is helpful.

So do you think he could just be thinking "here's someone who will oblige me with a bit of attention when i want it, but I'm not really fussed about them"? It seems like so much effort (ie months to organise a meet up and long way to go to actually meet up) for a bit of a fumble.

I guess due to past experience I'm surprised to hear that not all men want sex. Naive of me I guess. But also I guess it has always been easy to justify being used for sex, I kind of get why one would do that, but why would you use someone to just achieve a great connection and a cuddle, it seems so pointless. Like teasing yourself! Dangling the carrot and taking it away, but you are the one dangling the carrot at yourself.

I feel I am learning something new, is it possible to enjoy that sort of connection with someone and have no desire to do anything with it? To someone in their late 30s who finds it hard to meet new people, and certainly potential partners (and I know he has the same trouble), it seems incredible to me that anyone wouldn't be wise enough follow up something with so much potential.

But I'm answering all my own questions by writing on here - if it was meant to be, it would happen. No amount of my thinking how I would like it to be is going to change that.

One last question to you Christmas - if I am direct and ask him outright if he is interested in me, but it turns out he has just been messing me around as you say (still find it hard to understand why) then he will mumble his excuses, be awkward and I'll stay away. Or he will say yes so that he can keep mucking me around. And I will be none the wiser what yes means

Or if I ask him outright and he is in fact just very shy about relationships and (as his best friend told me) doesn't react well to being pressured, then he will also mumble his excuses, be awkward and I will stay away. And we both miss out becasue i have been impatient.

Can you see how my own thinking does not help in in life!!! I'm a nightmare. Thanks for your input.

Re: Do I try to forget?

Posted: Thu Dec 11, 2014 5:27 pm
by ILoveChristmas
Hi Nomad,

I understand your point about him teasing himself, like he's dangling a carrot in front of his own nose, but that analogy works from your point of view because you're interested in something happening between the two of you, it may not work from his point of view though. It's possible he's getting everything he wants right now and there's no further temptation there for him. I don't know, I merely raise it as an alternative theory, but one that fits with my own (fairly) recent past.

Although it doesn't fit the usual stereotype, or, I would admit, the 'norm', not all men do want sex all the time, but for lots of different reasons, for example, does he just have a very low sex-drive, is he inexperienced, paranoid, or is there a possibility he's getting all the sex he wants elsewhere, however unlikely it seems.

I for one am confident in saying some people definitely do get everything they're looking for in terms of a connection without feeling any desire to take it somewhere official. I'm confident because it's exactly how I felt for a long time. Like most people I enjoyed the company and emotional connection I can have with someone, and sometimes that connection, which for me wasn't viewed as a pathway to a relationship, did spill over into something physical. I think that's where Jake is. Unfortunately the raw truth of it is I was using those I treated that way and ultimately confusing and hurting them. Jake's doing that to you, but I don't think he fully understands that, which is why I think you need to perfectly blunt and ask him the question directly.

In response to your question, paraphrased as "how do I tell if yes means yes or yes means no but I don't want to tell you that", actions speak louder than words. If he says yes because he means it, your frank conversation with him will give him a kick up the backside and remind him you're both serious and confused. Hopefully he'll then start arranging meet-ups and taking things further. The second options is that yes may mean yes, but he's too shy to take it further, in which case I still think you should walk away because you're too different, you'd end up frustrated all the time with his lack of action. Lastly, if yes means no then he'll do nothing about arranging to meet up, he'll speak to you every now and then but ultimately he'll stay as he is right now.

In the end it should be quite easy to tell which answer he's really giving you, if you can keep your own feelings out it. Read his response in isolation from what you want to happen.

Re: Do I try to forget?

Posted: Thu Dec 11, 2014 9:35 pm
by Nomad
Thank you - very wise words and really helpful. I truly appreciate your time and thoughts. It has certainly been an education (at 36 years old!) that sex is not always the preferred outcome. I feel silly saying that now becasue of course that is the case, but it also makes me realise the sort of men I have mostly been around - other than Jake.

Yup. It is clearer than ever that I ultimately need to stop indulging my thinking mind, detach myself and look at the 'reality' rather than the things I might like to see. So scarily easy to get stuck doing that. Practice practice.

Thank you.

Re: Do I try to forget?

Posted: Thu Dec 25, 2014 6:47 am
by David020549
Either he is gay or is afraid of disappointing you by a poor performance, you are frustrated that you cannot seduce him and that bugs you. Some guys just don't respond.

Re: Do I try to forget?

Posted: Wed Jan 07, 2015 10:24 am
by Nomad
Again I really appreciate everyone's thoughts - it helped me clear up where I was with this one. He did get in touch unprompted to plan a meet up, which means a lot as I know that was probably hard for him. I am going to visit soon for the weekend with a very open mind and be very clear in my head about what i need from him, and very clear with him too if it looks like we have potential. If it turns out he continues to be a poor communicator I will be sensible and walk away.

David20549 thanks - but it isn't about the sex, that bit is simple! But it is helpful to be reminded that people are not black and white. I think I spent a lot of my youth just presuming all guys wanted sex and nothing else!