Advice

I’m falling for a guy I met at a wedding but he says long-distance doesn’t work. Should I hold out hope?

Dear Wayne and Wanda,

I met “Jeff” a few years ago at a mutual friend’s destination wedding and we spent a whirlwind romantic week together. I was happily surprised when he kept texting me after we parted. We have continued to text almost daily. Sometimes it’s flirtatious, but it’s more real than that, and we’ve shared so much about our lives.

I’ve worried my growing feelings for Jeff have kept me from finding someone who’s actually here in Alaska. But why force something back home when I really like this guy? So I finally told Jeff I have real feelings for him and I want to see him again. I suggested we try dating long-distance and figure out a way to regularly spend time together.

Things did not go as I hoped. Jeff told me he isn’t sure what he wants right now and it would be unfair to ask me to wait for him. He said he’s been through a lot since his divorce and he isn’t sure he’s even ready for a relationship. He also said he can’t do long-distance. But he said he loves our friendship and thinks I’m “sweet” and “so nice” and would hate to lose me.

I think he’ll miss me and come to his senses if I back off for a while. I also can’t imagine not talking to him — he’s become my best friend and sounding board and I would miss him so much. Part of me thinks if I just wait this out, he’ll realize he does want to be with me. What do you think? What should I do?

Wanda says:

I think you should stop texting with Jeff for a while, or forever, unless he does a rapid and abrupt 180, and here’s why. Jeff is managing to occupy a stunning amount of your emotional real estate without actually being a meaningful part of your life. Yes, he may feel like a big part of your world, but don’t confuse Jeff’s texting tenacity with actual commitment: your relationship essentially consists of words exchanged on handheld devices at your own convenience.

Meanwhile the world of possibilities is passing you by. You say Jeff is your best friend, but imagine having a friend or partner who is sharing experiences and actual voice-to-voice conversations. Or how about a partner who actually wants to see you? It’s lame that when you suggested actually meeting in real life, he wouldn’t even give it a shot. You deserve better than that.

Jeff is right about one thing: it would be unfair to ask you to wait for him. And by continuing to be his on-call sounding board and chat buddy, you’re also being unfair to yourself. You deserve a whole, complete, rewarding relationship. You laid it out there for him and gave him a shot. He passed it up. It’s time to pull back from this dead-end connection and clear your plate for other opportunities.

Wayne says:

Jeff has put you in the Friend Zone, and he seems like a genuinely good friend at that. And hey, that’s awesome — we all need special people in our lives we can talk to, depend on and trust. And the sooner you shift your ambitions from wanting a relationship for Jeff to appreciating this friendship, the better for all parties.

Will you need some cool-down time between nonstop texting and coming to terms with friend status? Probably. I mean, you are holding out for a relationship that he has repeatedly told you won’t happen, and then even offered you a number of legitimate reasons why. Now that’s a good friend. During your timeout, you should take his words to heart and consider if you could just have him in your life as a friend. Might be tough, if not impossible, if you’re heartbroken. Then again, this friendship could remain a bright spot in your life for years to come.

Now, could Jeff have been lonely and enjoying your companionship? Could he be daydreaming that you two could maybe be together in some other situation? Could he maybe be a really nice guy who can’t just bring himself to cutting you off cold turkey? Could he be leading you on? Sure to all of the above. But that isn’t going to change how he feels about being in a relationship with you right now or in the near future. So, the best you can get from Jeff is a friendship and maybe a quick hookup if you’re ever in the same area code again. Accept it and advance accordingly.

Wayne and Wanda

Wanda is a wise person who has loved, lost and been to therapy. Wayne is a wise guy who has no use for therapy. Send them your questions and thoughts at wanda@alaskadispatch.com.

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