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Hurting someone stinks

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traildad posted 4/28/2013 00:13 AM

I had been chatting with "Jill" for a few months now. She was a mutual friend of xWW and I, and she also works with xWW, where my kids attend school.

Anyway, a few weeks ago she started to change the nature of our friendship, and I got the sense she was going to tell me she had feelings. I gently brushed off those hints and she seemed to get it. I thought I just wasn't ready to date, but after a few weeks of soul searching I realized my heart wasn't in it for her. I like her, always have, and immediately after my D I thought she was exactly the type of person I would like to be with (trusting, honest, etc.). But I have realized now that immediately following my D I was in a very fragile place, and anyone looked better than xWW. Now with a clearer head I just don't see anything there with Jill. Add to it the complication of her being a coworker of xWW and an administrator at my kids' school...

Long story short, my "hints" a few weeks ago weren't enough. I kinda knew it, but was hoping they would be. Tonight I finally had to tell her that she was a friend, that's all. It hurt her, she had feelings. She said it was fine, but I could tell it wasn't. I know it was the right thing to do since my heart wasn't in it, but it still sucks to hurt someone you care about. Sigh.

Survivor3512 posted 4/28/2013 00:18 AM

(((Traildad))) You did the right thing by telling her. Waiting would have only made it worse.

timeforchange posted 4/28/2013 01:08 AM

You did the right thing and in fact not telling her and leaving her with hope would have hurt her more in the long run.

Often people think "I'll just ignore them until they get the message". That is a cowards approach, albeit an easier one.

Well done for minimizing her pain
and treating her with respect.

cmego posted 4/28/2013 09:01 AM

I find this the hardest thing about dating and making new "friends"...hurting someone that has feelings for you.

It is a part of dating though. I do know that I tend to cut men off fairly quickly, especially if I can tell they are more into me than I am into them, just so I don't unnecessarily hurt them.

If at all possible, try to not hang out with her for awhile. If she had feelings, it is going to take a little time for her to get over them. You can tell that it isn't "fine" yet, so give her some space. This also will prevent you from sending mixed messages. She will hopefully distance herself on her own.

She11ybeanz posted 4/28/2013 10:29 AM


Waiting would have only made it worse.


newlysingle posted 4/28/2013 12:30 PM

It's hard to do what you did, but it was the right thing to do.

kernel posted 4/28/2013 13:00 PM

Well done for minimizing her pain
and treating her with respect.

This is how a caring and ethical grown-up deals with these situations. You're a good person.

dlmos posted 4/28/2013 14:59 PM

You really did the right thing with this. Just poofing or leading someone on would show a serious lack of respect for them as a person and only made it worse.

traildad posted 4/28/2013 16:28 PM

Thanks everyone. Your support is definitely needed.

Is it normal to feel bad after doing something like this, and even second guess yourself?

I am just really down today thinking about hurting her, etc.

torn2bits posted 4/28/2013 17:21 PM


Its is normal to feel bad. This demonstrates that you have good character. A regular jerk would just blow it off and move on.

She will be fine. It is part of the process for everyone.

I would have to say that you did well by letting her know.

Keep those communication and honesty skills in your next relationship.

traildad posted 4/29/2013 04:56 AM

So now she is asking me to further explain my decision... She wants to know exactly why I think we should just be friends. Sigh.

I.will.survive posted 4/29/2013 05:06 AM

Oh, she's asking you to further explain yourself? Yikes, that must be hard to go through this AGAIN with her. I'm glad you told her you didn't see a relationship with her instead of trying to ignore it.

Is she asking because there was kissing/flirting/touching involved already? When I read your post, I assumed that NOTHING had ever happened between you 2. That she was starting to get flirty, but you didn't do anything to reciprocate.

Just seems odd she would ask for a "why?" if you had never crossed the friendship line with her. Do you think she feels like you led her on?

traildad posted 4/29/2013 05:32 AM

No, nothing ever happened between us. We have hardly even spent time together in person because of distance and my schedule with the kids. We have been texting almost daily for 6 months, and about 2 weeks ago she started to be a bit flirty with the texts, but I was careful not to reciprocate, hoping she would take that as me not interested. That didn't work which necessitated this weekend's talk.

cmego posted 4/29/2013 06:37 AM

Well, to me, it sounds like she was building a relationship in her head.

It really is very simple, tell her one last time that you do NOT have any feelings for her, you are NOT attracted to her and you are NOT interested in anything else.

When she said it was OK the other day, she probably had a million things in her mind and was trying not to panic, therefore didn't really hear what you said.

If she is self-aware, she will pull back from you to "get centered" as I call it and deal with the rejection. If she doesn't, I would suggest you pull back and give the relationship some space.

It does suck hurting someone. I still have a few...regrets...but the big picture is that I know I did the right thing by ending early relationships. I may have hurt them a little, but if it had progressed, I would have hurt them a whole lot more.

I would talk to her one last time, in very simple terms, then tell her you need some space to allow everything to settle down.

traildad posted 4/29/2013 12:00 PM

She had clearly built this up more than I realize. Even though I have spelled it out in very basic terms she keeps looking for loopholes. She now thinks it is just her job standing in the way of us.

This makes me really wonder if opposite sex friendships are really possible. I thought I had an OS friend that was clear as could be, and now I'm in this mess. The more desperate she gets about this the less I want to maintain even a friendship. It is bordering on crazy now.

Kajem posted 4/29/2013 12:17 PM


IT isn't your fault that she isn't listening to what you are saying. Especially if you have been very clear to tell her that you are not interested in anything more than a friendship with her.

It is okay to take the time and space to get yourself re-centered. It might take ignoring her... and that is ok. Some people take longer to get the message.



kernel posted 4/29/2013 18:51 PM

This makes me really wonder if opposite sex friendships are really possible. I thought I had an OS friend that was clear as could be, and now I'm in this mess. The more desperate she gets about this the less I want to maintain even a friendship. It is bordering on crazy now.

Don't let one unstable person keep you from making friends with other people. That's giving Jill way too much power over your life.

It sounds like it is time to stop being nice, and just be blunt. Not mean, but blunt, and then stop taking calls or responding to messages. This is on her, not you. You've done the right thing all along and she is not listening.

phmh posted 4/29/2013 19:55 PM

So now she is asking me to further explain my decision... She wants to know exactly why I think we should just be friends. Sigh.

Seriously? You dodged a bullet with not being ready to date her. Can you even imagine how controlling and tiresome she'd be in an actual relationship?

Just because she's asked you to explain yourself, doesn't mean you have to. In fact, this is the perfect opportunity for me to again pull out my quick guide to dealing with difficult people that I learned on another forum, years ago. Never JADE - justify, argue, defend, or explain. My life has been so much better since I've adopted this as a way of life!

To JADE is to Justify, Argue (and/or Apologize), Defend, and Explain. You never, ever, EVER want to JADE. JADEing is self-defeating behavior, because it allows the toxic individuals in your life an "in" to beating you into submission. To JADE is to hand over your power to someone else.

By "justifying" your decisions, you hand over your power by giving the other party the right to judge you. Nobody has the right to judge you for your needs.

By "arguing" with the other party, you hand over your power by making their desire to argue with you legitimate. Your needs aren't going to change no matter how much someone argues with you about them.

By "apologizing" to the other party, you hand over your power by admitting you're doing something wrong. You have every right to protect yourself and make sure your own needs are met.

By "defending" your position, you hand over your power by making the other party an authority figure. You're an adult, and fully capable of deciding what you do with your life. Nobody else has a right to tell you how to live.

By "explaining" the reasons for your boundaries, you hand over your power by giving the other party a chance to nullify your own experience. Your experience is your own. It is precious. Nobody else can know whether it's true or not.

I know it can be really really hard to learn new responses to situations, especially situations people have spent years grooming you to react to in specific ways. Fortunately, the script for avoiding a JADE moment is both brief and adaptable. It's something Nancy Regan taught us decades ago: JUST SAY NO!

"No, that won't work for me."
"No, I can't do that."
"No, thank you."

"No" is a complete sentence.

And when the "but whyyyyyyyyy?"s start, break all the grammatical rules with another one-word answer: "Because."

"Because that won't work for me."
"Because I can't do that."
"Because I said no."

The third and final step is the really brilliant one. Change the subject.

"No, I told you I won't be doing that. So how's the weather been where you are? Are the azaleas blooming yet?"

Now, there is a difference between JADEing to toxic people who don't have your best interests at heart, and exploring your own reasoning and reactions with people who are trying to help. You have to learn where that line is for yourself, from situation to situation. It takes practice--and that's okay. If you keep at it, it will become second nature, and you'll find your life is a great deal simpler.

traildad posted 4/30/2013 10:16 AM

Thanks for the feedback. I definitely could've been more direct with her. I have learned a lot from this experience. I finally had to be very blunt and say that I do not want to be more than friends. Ever. She kept interpreting my statement that I had no feelings and wanted to be friends as only temporary, that there was a window if she just waited long enough. I never expected this from her, I thought I knew her pretty well, then she gets all crazy desperate out of nowhere, which I found to be a big turn off.

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