The Root: What Can I Do to Make Him Upgrade Me?

What should I do about a guy friend I really love and care about -- and I know he cares for me -- who has said he doesn't see me as his life partner? I am heartbroken and at a loss for words. Other folks see what I see whenever we are together. Should I say something again or wait on him? --H.B. I'm sorry to hear that you are in pain, but don't allow your grief to cloud your judgment. The person you care so much about has made it clear that he is not interested in pursuing a relationship with you, much less marriage. He has been up-front and, so it seems, upstanding. And he has made a decision about what he wants. What "other folks" think or see, and even what you think, doesn't matter. No means no. Respect his candor and his feelings, and also keep a little of your pride by not pushing this issue any further.

You seem to have invested a lot of emotional energy into this friendship and have become a bit deluded about what was occurring between you and him. You note that you love and care about him but describe how he "cares" for you -- no mention of love. This points to an imbalance in the feelings between the two of you.

You are also "at a loss for words" over a man telling you he doesn't want to spend his life with you. I'm curious why you even thought he would. He was "only" a friend, not even a boyfriend. If he had not committed to the foreseeable future and did not love you, as you implicitly acknowledge, what made you think that he was remotely interested in forever-ever?

The options you suggest for dealing with this issue won't only strain the existing friendship; they will also embarrass you and leave you further depleted in the long run. Often how this scenario plays out is the guy flat out rejects you again, which means he's actually doing you a favor. Or, worse, he occupies his downtime with you despite not wanting a full-blown relationship, and you continue to pursue his affections. This is a mistake that many women make while dating, one that can lead to bitter spirits and broken hearts.

You're painting yourself into a gray area. He's not entirely right for accepting your ego-stroking attention or bed-warming affection, but he's not exactly wrong, either. After all, he's done his part by telling you what the situation is -- that it's nothing serious and going nowhere -- and as you continue to pursue him, you're tacitly accepting that you're OK with that arrangement.


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