Friday, December 14, 2007

Musings on Romance: ''we're just friends..."

I wasn't going to touch this with a ten-foot pole, but then I saw something in it I do have some observations on:

...See, if you think back, really hard, you might vaguely remember a Platonic guy pal who always seemed to want to spend time with you. He'd tag along with you when you went shopping, stop by your place for a movie when you were lonely but didn't feel like going out, or even sit there and hold you while you sobbed....
At the time, you probably joked with your girlfriends about how he was a little puppy dog, always following you around, trying to do things to get you to pay attention to him. They probably teased you because they thought he had a crush on you. Given that his behavior was, admittedly, a little pathetic, you vehemently denied having any romantic feelings for him, and buttressed your position by claiming that you were "just friends."
Eventually, your Platonic buddy drifted away, as your relationship with the boyfriend got more serious and spending time with this other guy was, admittedly, a little weird, if you werent dating him. More time passed, and the boyfriend eventually cheated on you, or became boring, or you realized that the things that attracted you to him weren't the kinds of things that make for a good, long-term relationship.
Let's take a look here at the part in bold: "Eventually, your Platonic buddy drifted away, as your relationship with the boyfriend got more serious and spending time with this other guy was, admittedly, a little weird, if you werent dating him."
I've found myself in that platonic buddy position a couple of times and I never understood what the lady was thinking when she said "I want to be just friends." Just how long do they think this whole "friends" thing is going to last when they go on and start dating somebody else? I am just going on personal experience here, but I just don't understand the "just friends" mentality at least after you've made it clear you're interested in more than that, and I understand it even less when one wants to go back to that after dating longer than a certain amount of time. How many times that happens I don't know, but I had it happen to me once and it sucked. Sucked REAL hard. I remember Love Interest Who Wanted to Be Just Friends (let's just call her Samantha) asking me if there was anyone I was interested in, and I answered in the affirmative. (Which, looking back on it, was probably a mistake, but that's another rant entirely.)
Samantha said, "Why don't you go talk to her, see if she needs a boyfriend?"
And I just thought, "Oh yes, and in the meantime you and I are just gonna be BFF and it's gonna be super!"
I guess it's different for everyone. Some people can hang out and be just friends with people who used to be more than that to them, but I just never had much luck with it. And the situation I speak of here already had one complication -- another female friend. Let's just call her Kim. (For you longtime readers, that is indeed the same Kim mentioned here and here.) As often happens, I caught an insane amount of shit from Samantha because she thought Kim was a threat. And of course you know they didn't get along. Kim was a huge, huge source of friction between us. Good grief, one female friend caused me enough grief, I sure as hell didn't need it to double, or even triple or quadruple as it likely would have, considering mine and Samantha's past. And back to what that linked rant was saying, how would it have felt just hanging out when Samantha started dating somebody else? I wouldn't have been able to do it. I thought not long after that I wished I'd have taken advantage of that jealousy of Samantha's...

"Are you interested in anyone?"
"Kinda, yeah."
"Why don't you go talk to her and see if she needs a boyfriend?"
"I have a better idea. I still have some personal time I need to take, so I think I'll call Kimberly. See if I can get her back down here, we'll go to the beach for a few days, spend some time together. And maybe have a nice, long talk, as the stars shine down on us on the front porch, about the past, the present and maybe even the future. See if that feeling is as strong as certain people think it might be."

Maybe if I hadn't been such a nice guy I'd have been quick enough on the draw to come up with that. And maybe it would have been wrong, but then again I think of something the peerless Bill Whittle wrote not so long ago:
You are in a relationship. You are nice, forgiving and non-envious. You may think it is loving and kind not to retaliate when you are treated unfairly, but you’d be wrong. Anybody with any self esteem knows that if you are being wronged, you cannot just continue to take it. You must punish behavior that tries to take advantage of your good nature, in order to maintain the self-respect and reputation you need in order to be treated well. Failure to retaliate will lead to more and more abuse. Failure to retaliate makes Screw the other Guy the optimal position for the other person: they can behave as selfishly and recklessly as they like with no consequences – what’s not to love?
Eventually I stopped taking it, and after it was all said and done I told her exactly how I felt about the whole thing. The only thing I held back on was the profanity, but even then that was just because I wanted the signal-to-noise ratio to be as low as it could be. One could say that in that little missive I penned to her, I made up for all the times I didn't retaliate. Of course by then it wasn't about anything more than just saying what I felt, but it felt damn good. I won't lie to you and say it didn't. "Just friends"? I think I'll pass on that one...