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I scared her away

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  September 25, 2012 06:56 AM

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Q: Meredith,

I am in a serious relationship (that is ending). Over the past several months I have grown closer to a friend. I had planned to move out of Boston and subsequently never see that friend again. Even if we did a good job of staying in touch and got together every so often, it just wasn't going to be the same. As we were getting closer to this last day, we decided to go out for dinner and spend some time together.

During dinner she told me that she likes me and that she's had a crush on me. She said some pretty significant things. She told me that she didn't expect me to have a reaction or a response. She is a respectful woman and I absolutely do not feel she was trying to make a move. I think she was just confessing something, and in a way I can appreciate and respect that.

The thing is, I feel the same way about her. I wasn't going to tell her because 1) I'm in a relationship. Yes, my relationship was ending, but I'm not a cheater. 2) I would not have expected her to feel the same way. 3) I was moving.

So there we were, two people with crushes on each other. She said that she would have asked me out if I had been available. We hung out for some time that night. I held her hand for a few moments and it felt right. When we parted ways I gave her a hug and a kiss on the cheek. She said thank you. An amazing end to a beautiful night.

The next day I saw her and she basically said "let's forget last night" and extended a hand for me to shake as friends. At that time I basically indicated to her that I liked her, whereas the night before I hadn't been so clear. I started to tell her how I felt and she basically ran away.

We live very close to each other. I didn't want the potential last time I saw her to be her running away from me feeling (confused? upset? angry? disgusted? bad?). I walked over to her place and rang her doorbell. I think I might have called first, but I honestly don't remember. The thing is, she wasn't home, but I thought she was.

Let me paint a clearer picture here, so you and the readers can relate. It was nighttime, and it was raining. Basically, I was outside her door, waiting only 15-20 seconds for what I had hoped would be a response from my doorbell ringing, when she actually walked by me (I was under a big umbrella so she didn't even know it was me). She went to go inside her building and looked over to see who this person standing outside her building was … and at that exact time I had looked up from my phone. Basically, she looked TERRIFIED. It was as if she had this concern/fear about a man outside her building (which she absolutely should), but that man was ME.

I had gone over there with a heart full of hope and happiness, but I literally watched her become confused and fearful. I stood outside stunned and trying to process what had happened for about 30 seconds and then went home. I did text on the way home. I remember texting something like, "Last night was a big deal. Please talk to me."

I called her a few times, hoping she would answer, and then later again after letting some time pass. I called one final time to leave a message to apologize for what had happened.

Then...about a month went by. I had not moved (the opportunity fell through). I saw her one morning and approached her. We talked a bit and I learned a lot about how she had been "scared" by my coming by her apartment and the calling and texting. She told me that even talking to her then made her uncomfortable.

I am not a weirdo. I am a good man. I feel like some pretty poor timing made the situation horrible, and by trying to communicate I only upset her more.

At one point, not very long ago, this wonderful person had expressed some very significant feelings for me. When I tried to talk to her about it everything fell apart in pretty much the worse possible way.

When I saw her recently I tried to explain the poor timing. I needed her to know that it wasn't like I was camped out in front of her building all night. I think that resonated with her a little bit, but she said, "I had a crush on you, and you're unavailable. Grow up." She had no idea my relationship was ending.

Can our friendship (or anything more) be saved? Any suggestions? After seeing her the other day I am absolutely resolved to respectfully giving her time and space.

– Trying to Reconnect with Friend ... or More?


A: My dear letter writer, where is your girlfriend? Do you have a significant other? Are you officially single?

You keep telling us that your relationship is "ending," but ... is it over? Because if not, there's no reason to even think about this other woman. She's not just a platonic friend. She's a woman you hope to pursue.

My guess is that your "friend" felt bad for confessing her feelings, and then decided it would be best to sever ties and keep her distance. But then you went and rang her doorbell, waited on her front porch, and hid under an umbrella like a character in a romantic comedy (or horror film). I know that wasn't your intention, but that’s how it went down.

I truly believe that she's more upset out about the girlfriend than the calling/umbrella stalking. You weren't up front with her and she got a bad vibe. That's understandable.

All you can do is leave her alone. You've tried to make this better and she told you that she's just getting more and more uncomfortable. Meanwhile, she hasn't set any understandable boundaries. She ran away (who does that?) and then expected you to read her mind. Perhaps this isn't such a big loss.

The lesson here that you must be honest (about the state of your relationship), clear (you kept pretty silent during that dinner), and respectful.

It seems that you're focusing on the wrong woman right now. Because again, I just have to ask, where is your girlfriend? The first line of your letter is upsettingly present tense.

Readers? What happened here? Where is the girlfriend? Is the friend to blame? Is she overreacting about the rain incident? Help.


– Meredith


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ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
Blogger Meredith Goldstein

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 novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.

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