Just be friends
Visitor's Question from a 21-30 year old Female
I have a good friend that I ahve worked with for about four years. We are both teachers, and we teach the same subject and our classrooms are right next to each other. We have been getting much closer this year and went out on two dates. After our second date, he told me that he was "interested in me and attracted to me" but that the proximity of working together was too much. He told me we'd be dating were it not for that. He said he was afraid of what would happen if we broke up and that his behavior would change. He said he wanted to be my close friend.
Then things became very weird and awkward between us for about a month. Finally we talked, and he said to me, "Do you see what I mean about the proximity being a big issue for me?" and "Do you see what I mean about why we can't have a serious relationship?" He also revealed a lot to me about his fears about relationships. He told me that he is afraid of his "world turning upside down," and that he doesn't know if he is a "24-7 kind of guy." He's 40 and has not had many relationships, and he tends to break them off early. he also seems very set in his lifestyle. When I said that I just wanted to be friends and hang out with him, he said that he's tried that before with women but that either he wants more or the other person does, and someone always ends up hurt. I told him that I understood and accepted that. we left it that we were just friends.
But since that last conversation about three weeks ago, he has been flirting with me again, but I don't know if he sees it as flirting because he was acting the same way towards me before we went out the first time, and he told me that he didn't think he was flirting with me. But here's what he's done. He winks at me occasionally when i walk by or he'll reach out and grab my arm and rub my back when I walk by him. He'll reach out and touch the buttons on my sweater and say "I really like these. Is that why you bought this sweater?" He'll spend 45 minutes talking to me and say stuff like if "I think of it, I'll call you" but then he doesn't call. He is an affectionate person and does touch other women and compliment them, but he doesn't wink at them.
So I decided that maybe he'd changed his mind and I spontaneously called him up and asked him if he had any plans for dinner. He told me "no but I'm just planning on staying in and I'm already in my vegetative state- meaning that he was on his third beer and then he said he had already eaten his leftover Chinese food, too. He said "thanks for the offer." But he didn't say anything about I mean what I said about not wanting to see you outside of work, which I would have expected him to say.
Anyway, I can't figure him out. Is his flirting just a way of being close friends with me and nothing more? Did he say no because he really meant what he said about not doing things with me outside or work or because he really didn't want to go out that night? Why is he flirting with me if he doesn't want anything more with me? Is there any chance of moving forward with him, or should I just give up on him?
I'd appreciate any thoughts you have. Thanks.
He sounds like a character. I would take him at his word and don't expect anything more than a friendship. His flirting seems to be a habit that he enjoys and doesn't want to give up even after telling you he didn't want a stronger relationship.
My advice is to give up on him. If he wants to advance the relationship, let him do it in hiw own time. Meanwhile I would suggest looking for someone else.
-- from George
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