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Q. First of all, I am a bit of a strange guy when it comes to relationships with women. I have always prioritized friendship over sex. I genuinely like the company of women and have a lot of fun. If something more comes up, it’s a plus. I’ve had exes and flings as friends for years; I really do appreciate good friendship and good company.
For the first time, though, I have been taken aback and left in the dark. I was friends with a woman. We had a great time when she stayed over (spare room). A lovely time, although there were some moments of sexual tension — almost reminiscent of my teenage years. She has a boyfriend and I respected that. I kept some physical distance, although I guess we “flirted” a bit with eye contact. We got along great and she wanted to make plans to visit me again.
Then I made the silly mistake of writing to her that we have a connection of sorts. I don’ t know why I said it, and I never meant to imply we’d have a romantic relationship, but then she asked me to clarify what I meant. I was taken aback and said I have no underlining meaning. She did not like that at all.
I tried to be honest — that it seemed we were connecting (honestly, I felt this more on her end), but she said it did not mean anything more to her. The conversation killed it. She stopped texting. About a month or so later I finally called, she quickly picked up, and I nervously apologized for the “misunderstanding.” She said she was not angry but asked for more clarification — again. I ended up repeating that same thing. Then she said that even though we have a special connection, I misunderstood her intentions. I could sense dread on the phone. Sometime later she replied that she was not mad, but “just busy” and that was that.
I have asked some of my female friends and they say what I had written was nice, so for the first time I truly don’t understand anything. Wonder what I did so wrong and what was so “weird.”
A. Your message to this woman addressed what you saw as special connection. Was it “weird” to acknowledge your take on the relationship? Not really. If anything, you forced a conversation about possibilities and boundaries. As it turns out, she’s not interested in a friendship with complicated or intense feelings. She does not want any kind of ambiguity, it seems.
It’s a loss, but it sounds like it’s for the best. At the very least, you want a companion who can talk about everything — with clarity. At the most, though, you want someone who is open to a relationship that might grow.
Sure, you like friendship, and you’re fine hanging out as a platonic partner, but you notice when there’s potential for more — and you’d be psyched about giving it a go.
You seem to have a great group of friends, so maybe you do want to spend time seeking out something romantic in nature. Now you have more time to pursue new options.
Do you really want to spend your energy on someone who isn’t on the same page as you? It sounds like you did your best and you’re honest about your feelings. Honesty? That’s so rare nowadays. Keep going on.
Had you made your intentions known from the start, she may have made a different choice about staying over at your place.
I think you downplay your intentions to yourself and women. So long as you never overtly express romantic feelings then you can never truly be rejected, right? The flipside of the coin is that women will take your actions and words at face value and none will pursue a relationship with you as you’ve proven to only want to be friends.
Send your own relationship and dating questions to email@example.com or fill out this form. Catch new episodes of Meredith Goldstein’s “Love Letters” podcast at loveletters.show or wherever you listen to podcasts. Column and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters.