You are currently browsing all posts tagged with 'friendship'.

Weary in Westland

  • Posted on February 1, 2016 at 5:49 am

Dear Christine, 

I have a friend who has feelings for me that are unwanted by me.  I’m recently single but she even made it clear she “loved me” when I was with my last girlfriend.  She sent me her true confessions by email which my partner read and wasn’t thrilled with.  She also tried to kiss me once but I turned away just in time! I asked her to stop it then and she did sort of slow down but recently she’s been hinting at her feelings even though I’ve been bordering on cruel with my responses.  I’m getting really turned off by it.  I did value her friendship but I’m ready to tell her to just leave me alone.  Is it possible to have a friendship with someone who is in love with you when you don’t feel the same?  I don’t, and never will return her feelings but we have fun as friends and I’d like to keep that.  Is there a way to get her to stop or do I just need to end the friendship?

Thanks, Weary in Westland

Dear Weary,
How do you get anybody to do something they don’t want to do?  I haven’t figured that out.  I have 5 cats, so I get to experiment with this continuously.  If what I want happens to match  with what they want or need, it’s great!  If not, I’m usually the one disappointed.  Likewise for you.  You can’t get your friend to stop loving you.  Her feelings are there and are real and can’t be turned off like a light switch.  She didn’t hide her feelings when you were with your last girlfriend, and now that you’re single, she keeps hinting now.

She’s not getting is that you “aren’t that into her.” The more she tries to kiss you and make you fall in love with her, the further away you go.  She doesn’t get subtleties and is pushing you to be direct and blunt with her.  If there is a chance at a relationship, she’s ready and not waiting.  If there’s no chance on your part, then there’s no overlapping middle ground.  Remember the Venn Diagram?

If she wants a relationship and you don’t, there might be a friendship where there is overlap.  But since you want different things, there’s no common ground.  If she can’t be friends and you can’t be more, then you are a “disjoint” and there is no friendship.  You can only go to the lowest common denominator in a relationship, and she can’t limit herself to your lowest requirement:  friendship.
Remember what Maya Angelou said:  When people show us who they are, believe them.  This woman is NOT a friend.  She is not able to be a friend.  The kindest thing you can do is to be direct and clear and let her friendship go.

Take care,

Christine Cantrell, PhD

Psychologist

 

Freaked Out in Fenton

  • Posted on October 18, 2015 at 11:41 am

Dear Christine,   

I am dating an amazing woman.  We met just 2 months ago at the Womyn’s Music Festival.   Maybe I’m just overly sensitive to this as my family rarely showed any physical affection but I am really freaked out about my girlfriend’s odd relationship with her brother.   When we’ve been out with him people often think they are a couple and not us!  When he is at our house they seem to have no boundaries when it comes to even private bathroom time.   I’ve made some subtle remarks and she just says her whole family is that way.   I had always wished for a closer family but this stuff is way over the top.  Is this normal for some families?  We are visiting her family for Thanksgiving which will be the first time meeting them.  Perhaps I’ll see how that goes before I make a decision. 

Signed, Freaked out in Fenton

 

Dear Freaked Out,

Boundaries are critical to a successful relationship.  Understanding and accepting each other’s boundaries provides emotional and physical safety for intimacy to grow and deepen. But individual needs of boundaries can be very different.  Think of the Saturday Night Live recurring skit of Virginia and Roger Klarvin, (played by Rachel Dratch and Will Farrell) insist on being overly affectionate in social situations and dominate the conversation about sex and their expanded boundaries, making everyone else uncomfortable.  It’s great fodder for comedy, as we all have been on one side or the other!

You don’t have to have the same open boundaries as your girlfriend and her family, but you do have to be comfortable around them when you visit.  There may be ways to do that without breaking up.  You might need to stay in a hotel and be at the family house for limited times during the visit.  Think about your needs and comfort, share those with your girlfriend.  If any of your needs are non-negotiables, please make that abundantly clear, as that may be what helps you decide if this relationship is for you or not.  Non-negotiables are those things that you have to have or cannot have to be in the relationship.  Don’t compromise on your needs.

I remember working with a couple long ago.  The husband’s mother would come into their bedroom and climb into bed with them when they visited her home.  The wife found this creepy and uncomfortable, but the husband thought it was normal.  Later, this differing definitions of boundaries was one of several non-negotiables that the wife had tried to ignore to stay married.  They eventually divorced.

Your number one job is to take care of you and your needs.  Likewise, your girlfriend needs to take care of her self and her needs.  What’s left over is what you create a relationship with.  If she’s undermining your needs, it doesn’t bode well for a future together.

Happy Thanksgiving, where ever you celebrate it.

Christine Cantrell, PhD

christineccantrellphd@gmail.com