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Advice

On vacation, romance sparked with an old friend. Back home, it’s like nothing happened.

  • Author: Wayne and Wanda
  • Updated: July 8
  • Published July 8

Dear Wayne and Wanda,

I was recently on a trip out of town with some of my besties, including "John," who I've known for years and kind of always had a crush on. We all shared a big house on a beach in Mexico for a couple of weeks and it was amazing. Lots of sun, fun and drinks, and pretty early on, John and I spent the night together, and sort of became a "vacation couple" for the rest of the trip. We shared a room and were totally inseparable. It was amazing.

We got back to Anchorage a few weeks ago and John immediately reverted to my "just friend" John. No explanation, no conversation. I felt burned and betrayed. How could he go from sharing a bed with me every night and holding my hand as we walked along the beach and spending all day every day together to just treating me like one of the guys again? Is it possible he wants more but is afraid to ask for it? Or was he just using me?

I had thought this trip showed John what we could have but it feels like now he is done with me, which just breaks my heart. Should I say something or just let it go? I'm so disappointed.

Wanda says:

A good friend once said, "The what-ifs will drive a man insane." So stop. There is no way to know what John is thinking until you pony up to a good old-fashioned brutally honest conversation and put it on the line.

You like John, a lot, and you had a sampling during your Mexican vacay of the kinds of fun you might enjoy with him. I can only imagine the realization of the long-held fantasy in the construct of a truly fantastic location was dazzling and even overwhelming. It probably felt like a fairy tale, and an incredible one. Who wouldn't want their first delirious days of companionship to be in the shadow of Mayan ruins or on the white sand shores of Cancun? Mega swoon.

But the point is, that's all delirium and fantasy, and while all the fun and romance you had isn't to be totally discounted, it really doesn't matter a peso if you can't translate the magic to your day-to-day life in the real world. Time for a tough talk with Mr. John; was he just vacation-flinging, or was he also considering the bedrock of romantic future? You can't move on until you know, and you won't know until you talk.

Wayne says:

A freaky fiesta! Hey, what happens in Playa del Carmen stays in Playa del Carmen, right? Unless you drink the water or eat some of those awesome street hot dogs — then what happens in Playa del Carmen stays with you for about 3-4 days, but cold sweats and memories last forever!

Or unless you're creating more drama than a bad telenovela! Oh, John! How could he? What a scoundrel! Girl, remember: it takes two to tango. Or in this case, do the Mexican Hat Dance. Or, if you were partying at Senior Frog's, the macarena.

Basically, until you dial down the drama and dial up the communication, you're just as complicit in this vacation couple/real world besties dynamic as John is. But before you ambush John, get out of your head for uno momento and do some genuine inventory of the situation: Would a real-world romance really work for you two? OK, you had a crush, but why have you remained besties and not tried to take it to the next level romantically before the vacay? Sorry, but I say blame it on the tacos and the tequila.

When you go on an amazing vacation, there's always some level of big bummer hangover when it's over. Two days ago, you're happily day drunk, swimming in a warm ocean and laughing (and maybe even having sex?) with your best friends. Today, you're walking aimlessly down the aisles of Costco, your boss and mom are texting/calling, and you have two loads of laundry going at home with three piles to go. Now that's a snap back to reality!

I'm with Wanda: if this is something you want, go for it. But I recommend that before you go throwing yourself and your sudden rush of feels at John, try to keep it real with yourself and figure out if he and that is what you really want or if you're just depressed that the party is over and the real-world routine is back.

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