Thursday, February 11, 2010
Ask Aunt Messy
(Photograph copyright 2010, all rights reserved.)
Hello again, Darlings! I Do Hope that you are Coping Well with this horrible Cold Weather and Snow. It is Perfectly Dreadful outside today and Even my Beloved Poodles, Edgar and Winston, are Reluctant to go Outside for anything more than Necessary. It is Sunny outside, for Which I am Most Grateful. I am Sitting in the Conservatory among the Citrus Trees and enjoying the Sun as Best I Can. Usually I Enjoy Winter, but this Weather has been So Sudden and Severe that I am quite Taken Aback by the Violence of it.
I have a New Letter for you This Week! How I do Enjoy getting Letters!
Dear Aunt Messy,
I find myself in need of advice. Not just any advice, some seriously awesome, ass-kicking, solve-the-problems-of-the-world with a side of saving-the-children advice. Ok, maybe it won't have that much of a global impact, but it would certainly help me. I need relationship advice. Pretty run of the mill, really, and yet I seem to foul it up every.single.time.
I've been friends with Matt for years now. We've known each other since elementary school, run in the same circles, and are friends with each other's siblings and parents. We've been friends - not SUPERCLOSE friends, but friends- for awhile.
Two years ago, Matt decided he liked me and wanted to begin a relationship. We started hanging out a LOT more than usual and throughout the course of it all, I realized that I didn't really like him as boyfriend material. I wasn't attracted to him physically, his personality got on my nerves, and we came from a different place with regard to how we perceive life and the world in general.
I broke it off with him. He didn't really go quietly - that last conversation was LONG - but he did go. And by "go" I mean "dropped off the face of the earth." In 2 years, I heard from him twice. Both times were on my birthday. He would text me some congratulatory note and I'd read it and ignore it. I wasn't interested in giving him anything he could misconstrue as "interest".
Last December, he came back. He began to come to my family's weekly get-togethers and since he's a family friend, we welcomed him. Each time he came, I was cordial and polite, but never had a one on one conversation with him and did my best to steer clear without being obvious. He didn't seem to be showing me any favoritism, so I was starting to think everything would be fin and he was 100% truly over whatever it was he had 2 years earlier.
This past Sunday, he texted me out of the blue, asking me if I was interested in seeing Wicked. I had considered going to see it with my best friend, but her husband is taking her. I'd go with my sister, but I would have to pay her way and I can't afford to buy two tickets. After about 30 seconds of deliberation, I said yes. I said yes because I desperately want to see this musical that I love. I later asked him what day and time, because I assumed his mother had gotten a pair of free tickets. Wrong again. He told me he bought them after I said yes and then gave me a date and time.
I talked about it to some friends of mine (both genders) and they have assured me that I am not "using" him, since I was not proactive in getting him to propose the date or buy the tickets. It may be a case of "protesting too much", but I refuse to believe that by accepting something that I want from this guy that I'm obligated to give him something in return or else I'm using him. I planned on keeping the "date" confined to the musical and then informing him that I was in no way interested in any kind of relationship. It was not meant to be. He has asked me to get together for lunch sometime this week.
Aunt Messy, I have NO DESIRE to spend loads of time with him, especially now that it's clear he's still interested in me. I have no problem being his friend and hanging out, but I want to be clear to him that I don't feel obligated to him JUST because he gives me something I really want.
Does this make me a terrible person? Oh, and what should I do?
Seriously - just friends,
(Letter has been edited for length.)
Do come in! It is so Kind of you to Visit an Old Lady in this Foul Weather. I Would Not have Blamed you for an Instant if you Had Called with your Excuses. The Drive over here Must have been Most Unpleasant and the Radio Announcer said that the Roads are Icy. Come and Join Me in the Conservatory, Dear. Would you care for a Glass of Brandy? Lovely.
I Read your Letter, and I'm Certain that you Know what my Answer will Be. However, there are a few Small Details...
Matt sounds like a Decent Young Man, and it is Common for people's Feelings to Change over the course of a Long Friendship. There's nothing More Romantic than the Realization that one's True Love has been under One's Nose all along. Unless of course, one's Feelings are Not Reciprocated. I commend you Heartily for Spending Time trying to see if You could feel as He Does. I also Assure you that you Did the Right Thing by Breaking Off with him when you Realized that you Can't. It was the Only Decent thing you could have Done.
(Another brandy? Cookie? Oh Dear, it's Snowing again!)
I also Commend you for Allowing him to Attend your family's Salons. It is Kind of you to Make Sure that such an Old Friend feel Included. He and His Family are Old Friends after all, and I'm Sure that your Parents were Glad to See Him. Polite Avoidance was Exactly the Right Course to take with him.
However, your Friends have done you a Disservice regarding the Musical, and I think you Know it, too. Your Avoiding Conversations with Matt Tells Me that you Knew of His Feelings for you. The Fact that he Asked you to go in the First Place must have been a Hint that his Feelings for you have not Abated. Your Acceptance of his Invitation can only have Given him Hope that he could Convince you to Resume your Romantic Relationship with Him. Knowing this, you Know that you are Taking Advantage of his Feelings for you, and that is Never a Kind thing to do.
(Another? I will.)
Matt Regarded this as a Date, a Romantic Occasion, and no matter How Much you Protest, you Know that what you Did to him was Cruel. He fancies himself in Love with You, and Knowing That, it is Unethical and Unkind to Take Advantage of That just to see a Show. He spent Quite a Bit of Money on those Tickets, as you Found Out after he Invited you, and He didn't Do That only in the Spirit of Friendship. Of course I Agree with you that even if you Were interested in him Romantically, a Date does not Entitle him to Anything. However, you Know that the Two of You had Different Expectations in going together.
I Understand your Desire to Keep him as a Friend. It is Laudable, and the fact that Young People today Seem Able to manage this Speaks Well of your Generation. However, this is Not always Possible. It is Apparent to Me that Matt's Feelings for you are Much Stronger than yours for him. To Give him Hope by Going out with him on Occasion is only Holding him Back from Realizing that he would be Better Served searching Elsewhere for Romance.
I'm Afraid that you Must Speak to Him. Tell him that your Friendship will Never Progress beyond that, and that you Understand, but Will Never Share his feelings towards you. Acknowledge that while it may be Unpleasant for him in the Immediate Future, you are Not Interested in Having any Contact with Him, because you Know that you can Only Hurt his feelings. If you Haven't gone to the Show yet, Tell him that you Cannot Attend, because you would be Going under False Pretenses and have no Desire to Date him.
Ask him not to Contact You and Suggest that he Stop Attending your Parents Soirees for Awhile. Make it Clear that you Know that Being in Contact with You and Knowing that you have no Feelings for him Hurts Him, but to not Budge. He will be Upset, poor lad, but Young People are Resilient, and he may find that Someone has been Admiring him From Afar who would Make a Caring Partner for him. I know You don't want to Give Up this event, but I Also think you Know that its the Right Thing to do.
And of Course you are not a Horrible Person! This is at Worst an Error in Judgment and Easily Rectified.
Oh my Goodness, look at that Snow! I'm Afraid that the Road is Impassable. I Hope you Won't Mind spending the Night? The Snow Plow will be Through Early in the Morning. Good, that's Settled. The Blue guest room is Ready for you and you will find an Assortment of Pyjamas and a Bathrobe and Slippers in the Wardrobe. The Bathroom should have Everything you Need.
Now what shall we Do this Miserable afternoon..... I know! We can Watch some Movies. My Dear Brother Osgood has converted the old Screening Room to take DVDs, and I was Thinking it Might be Fun to watch Some Old Comedies! Have you Seen Pillow Talk? It's one of my Favorites. Let's See what we have, Shall We?