Should I stay or should I go?

My friend was supposed to get married this year. His gf cheated; they called off wedding. He and I have been close platonic friends for years but have recently made deeper emotional connection. We almost hooked up recently logistically, due to distance, it didn’t happen but we have admitted romantic feelings are there. (There was NOTHING before wedding. EVER.) He says he definitely wants to get together but is in bad place emotionally right now. Doesn’t want me to see this side of him. Says I mean a lot to him. . . This guy is not a jerk and has never been a jerk. I know he’s depressed. I want to wait for him because he’s an honest, sincere person who is going through a rough patch. I’m trying to give him space but I’m not sure what to do. If he were just any other guy, I’d be out. I have a deep connection with him and want to wait for him. What do I do? How do I give him space but how do I respect myself in the process? I wouldn’t be writing this if he didn’t mean so much to me. Please provide honest but constructive advice. Thanx.

9 thoughts on “Should I stay or should I go?

  1. Dennis Hong says:

    [Am I to assume that you are separate from him by a considerable physical distance? If so, maybe that’s a good thing in this case….

    Going on the assumption that he is pretty far away, I’d say to be there for him emotionally (as it sounds like you have been). Call him and keep in touch with him, make sure he’s grieving in a healthy way and moving on from the relationship as best as you can. But I personally don’t recommend dropping everything and going to see him. Because if you do, I think we both know what will probably happen, right?

    If he says that he’s in a bad place emotionally right now, I think you have to respect his wishes and give him space. And I would say the best way to do that is to be there for him, but from a distance.

    On the other hand, I don’t know this guy at all, so I can’t say if his “I don’t want you to see me this way” is a subtle cry for help. Because if it is… well, maybe you *should* go see him. Only you can figure that out, though, since you’re the one who knows him, not us.

    Ultimately, this is one of those situations where there’s not going to be any clear right or wrong answer. On the one hand, you want to be his friend and support, which is big of you. But on the other hand, you both have ulterior motives. So I think only you — and he — can figure out the proper balance here.

    I hope that helps at least somewhat, and please let us know how this all goes….

    • Stella says:

      [Great advice from all and advice which I will contemplate deeply. Thank you so much for your thoughts and experiences. A few more things. We are in the same city. I’m unsure why his need to process this means it has to be away from me. I didn’t do anything wrong! Right now, he expressed how he feels but, when I reached back out to him, he didn’t reply. He says he wants to get together. He says we are friends. He says he does have feelings for me. He says he’s not avoiding me. Then, he doesn’t respond or make efforts to connect. What do I do? Is he depressed and really needs time alone? Or Is he avoiding me and trying to skirt the issue? What’s the best option?
      How much time do I give him? His need for space shouldn’t mean that he disconnects from and hurts a friend who cares. I care deeply about him but what do I do? Wait awhile and then reconnect? It makes me sad that he’s hurting me while dealing with his own pain instead of letting me help him.

    • Dennis Hong says:

      [Okay, yeah, I think you need to give him space. He’s making it perfectly clear with his actions that he’s not looking for anything right now.

      Given his response to you, I think you should focus on being his friend, not a potential love interest. It sounds to me like you’re bringing up the idea of pursuing something romantic (i.e., his responding that he does have feelings for you), and I think that’s the wrong way to go right now.

      If he were ready to pursue something romantic with you, he would admit that he has feelings for you and then actually do something about that. He’s *not* doing anything, though. And I think you need to take that as a very clear sign.

      Just to be clear, it’s not a matter of ghosting on him. That’s not what I mean by giving him space. What I mean is to give him space as far as pursuing something romantic.

      Instead, be his friend. Support him as he needs. Act towards him as you had acted when he was just a platonic friend. Shove him back into the friend zone, and remember that he needs you as a friend right now.

      And then, see what happens from there….

      Above all else, don’t turn your support into a romantic opportunity. Because at this point, the more you push for something romantic, the more I believe you’re going to push him away.

    • Dennis Hong says:

      [Just to add….

      Saying something like this is perfectly valid when dealing with a grieving friend:

      “I know you’re suffering right now, but I also know you need time and space to heal. Just know that I’m here for you if or when you need me.”

      And that leaves the ball squarely in his court.

      But then again, only you can decide if he’s the type who wouldn’t reach out even if that’s what he really wants or needs. Because yeah, some people are like that. They *need* someone to drag them out and get them wasted and dig them out of their hole. They need the friend who won’t take “leave me alone” for an answer.

      I was like that once, and I’m still grateful for my one buddy who saw through that and dragged me to Vegas kicking and screaming after a nasty breakup. Because I ended up having a great time, and ultimately, I’m glad he did that.

      But, that’s not something we can make the call on with this guy, because we don’t know him. So hopefully, you know him well enough to know if this is what he needs.

      Just keep in mind, though: everything you do, you should be doing as his FRIEND.

  2. Missy says:

    [It seems like it would be in both your best interests to not jump into anything right away (which it sounds like you agree with), but I don’t think you waiting around for him to sort himself out is a good idea either.

    Maybe make it clear that you care for him and are there to listen and be a support system as he deals with his emotions, but it might be a good thing to leave things as they were for now rather than complicate them at this point. I’m guessing that after going through something traumatic like that, he’s going to need some time to look back, contemplate, and grow. If he doesn’t get/take that time, it might cause problems later on.

    If you two are as close as it seems from your post, I think that stepping back and letting things unfold won’t be an issue for a possible romantic future between the two of you.

  3. EricaSwagger says:

    [I’ve been through this. Best friend of six years — we were both dating other people for most of our friendship and never had any interest in each other. Then my relationship ended, then a little less than a year later, his ended. We hung out with the goal of just spending time together, something we weren’t really able to fully do while we were in relationships. It was awesome to get to know him on that next level, and it evolved into a situation where we were dating.

    So my advice is to take your time. Be there for him as his friend because anything more could be a little scary at first (for both of you). Initially, I had to force him to come out and spend time with friends, so that he wouldn’t mope around, etc. Be a support system, be a friend first and let the rest of it happen if it’s going to. You can’t force someone to have feelings for you, but you can spend as much time together as possible and be open to whatever.

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