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    love letters

    ‘She’s not sure if there’s a spark’

    Submit your question to Meredith here.

    Q. This woman and I have been friends for a decade and met in college. We have remained friends over the years, and things have never been intimate between us, although I can’t say that I haven’t wanted the relationship to go in that direction. It just never seemed like the right time.

    Last year while on a trip, I made my feelings clear, and she said she’d also had feelings for me in the past but at that moment just saw us as close friends. She also mentioned that she was having second thoughts about breaking up with an ex.

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    After that trip, she decided to get back together with said ex and felt it was best if we stopped talking out of respect to him. I respected her decision and gave her space, although I was hurt.

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    This past fall, she called me out of nowhere and said she felt awful abandoning what we had just because someone else didn’t want her to talking to me. She said she had broken up with this person, missed me, and we made plans for a ski weekend together. We had a great time, and at the end of it, she brought up the idea that we should try dating. She mentioned that she feels really close to me.

    We agreed to firm up plans and go on an actual date. Needless to say, I was ecstatic. The problem is, since then we have tried to make plans to go on a date, and every time we make plans, she is either busy or is having second guesses. She mentions that she’s not sure if there is a spark there and is unsure about the dating idea, but admits we’re also just used to the friendship. It seems as though she keeps flip-flopping from only wanting to have a friendship to admitting that there is likely more there.

    Why would she initiate the idea of giving dating a serious try and then so quickly become hesitant and want to simply be friends without even going on a date? Now that both of our feelings are out in the open, will we even be able to have a friendship after this? Am I holding out hope for something that is truly not even there?

    Friend-zoned Love Letters friend

    A.She might need more time after this breakup to evaluate her feelings and figure out what she really wants. It sounds like she brought up the dating idea way too soon. It’s frustrating, but her confusion makes sense.

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    Similarly, she might feel wishy-washy about the idea of going on a date because she’s unsure about everything, whereas you seem 100 percent confident about what’s to come. She can probably sense that you’re ready to be her boyfriend. That’s a lot of pressure.

    There’s also something a little forced about this idea of an “actual date.” It feels like an all-caps DATE – lots of stress and huge expectations. Instead, would it be possible to hang out some more? Casually? Even if it’s a little confusing?

    You need to get to know each other again. It sounds like it’s time to avoid labels and see what feels natural.

    I understand you don’t want to get stuck in a place where you’re longing for more and suffering through a friendship, but that’s not where you are right now. She’s telling you she doesn’t know how she feels, whereas you feel everything. Take a step back and maybe, for now, just ski.

    Meredith

    READERS RESPOND:

    Sounds like she’s trying to convince herself there is a spark. I’m guessing she dated some jerks and decided she should go for a “nice guy.” You might look like a good match on paper, but you don’t get her heart racing.

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    CONCERNEDCITIZENONDUTY

    I agree. She may be content to be with him for awhile, but once she gets bored and meets another bad boy, she will move on.

    HAPPYDAZED

    Yes. Besides you should have someone who is thrilled to be with you.

    EASIERSAID

    You two agreed to start dating, but she backs out every time you have a date set up? I have to disagree with Mere here. Any reasonable adult (let alone friend you’ve known for 10 years) should be able to either follow through on plans or communicate why she has changed her mind about you two dating.

    DORA79

    If I make a date with someone, and for whatever reason they tell me they have to cancel, I expect that they will suggest a rescheduling. If they don’t, then there’s no interest. Because a reasonable adult who wants to go out on a date with me should be forward-thinking enough to realize that breaking a date for any reason puts the onus on them to make up for it. So if they don’t do so, they’re not worth any further effort or interest from me.

    HARRISBLACKWOODSTONE

    My wife broke the first two dates we made, in both instances for perfectly legitimate reasons. Many years later, long after we married, I mentioned in passing that I’d decided that if she broke the third date, that was it, we were done. She looked gutted, which surprised me. She insisted that she broke the first two dates for objectively legitimate reasons, which is true, so it would hardly be fair to her to decide that three broken dates was the limit. I, on the other hand, while not taking issue with her legitimate reasons for breaking the first two dates, felt at the time that getting stood up three times in a row was beneath my dignity and that I should just take the hint and move on. We never really reached agreement on any of this, we just moved on.

    HARRYRPITTS

    If you didn’t make your move on the ski weekend, then what are you doing? SEXUAL-CHOCOLATE

    Column and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters. Send letters to meredith.goldstein@globe.com.