The trouble with online friending ...
Q: Dear Meredith,
I am a 29-year-old single woman looking for a life partner. I joined eHarmony a year ago and have been dating people from the site since that time. I had a four-month relationship with a man I met on the site in November. This relationship went quickly -- we were sleeping together after the first month. But it also ended quickly. When it did not work out, I returned to the site and in June, I met a man online who I really like and have gotten to know very well over the past four months in a friendship capacity. We hang out three or four times a week, have dinner together at restaurants, go to museums and movies, and talk about everything (family, relationships, work stuff, etc.) I have always had hope that this would turn into an intimate relationship, especially given the context of our meeting. I have talked to him about my feelings, but he told me that he doesnít feel strong enough in himself to enter into an intimate relationship right now but would like to remain friends with me. He feels that we have a positive relationship and does not want to complicate this with sex.
Okay, Iíve read ďHeís Just Not That Into YouĒ many times over and yes, itís helpful. Iím sure the author would tell me, ďHeís just not that into you if he doesnít want to have sex with you.Ē But is there another possibility? Can men and women develop relationships over a longer period of time? Does he have to be sleeping with me to be interested in building a solid relationship?
I canít deny that I am tempted to move on in my search. I even got back on eHarmony and began looking for different men to date, however I was not excited about the prospects. I feel drawn to this man and would like to continue getting to know him to see where it goes. Do you think Iím wasting my time?
– Lost in Boston
A: LIB, you feel drawn to this man because youíve spent months getting to know him. Youíre close to him. It sounds like you have a great friendship. If only that were enough.
For whatever reason, this guy doesnít want to be an all-the-way boyfriend. Iím all for unique relationships, but this one isnít good for you. Youíre trying to figure out how to win him over. Thatís exhausting. And the physical rejection canít be doing wonders for your self-esteem.
It also doesnít help that you see him so frequently. You went on that site to meet a life partner. What you wound up with is guy who sees you three to four times a week Ė but as a pal. How can you make room for a real boyfriend if this guy is taking up all of the space?
This guy is into you, it seems. Just as a friend Ė a confusing friend.
Iím not going to tell you to cut him out of your life. But stay online Ė and look for other options. Youíve found yourself a fake boyfriend. Fake boyfriends can be great, but you want a real one.
Assume this guyís feelings wonít change and make decisions accordingly.
Readers? Whatís happening here? Will he change his mind? How did she wind up in a friendship on eHarmony? Should she cut him out? Share here.
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a new novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith here and on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.