Why Can't We Be Friends?

My 25-year marriage ended about two years ago. I met a wonderful, beautiful, intelligent woman. (This is the second woman I've dated since the divorce.) She is just out of an 11-year relationship. I love her.

Here is the problem: After a slow but steady increase in the passion, lots of rubbing, and even some oral sex, she suddenly closed down. I went away for a week, and when I came back she said we needed to have "a talk." She said our relationship wasn't going anywhere, that I wasn't the one to stir her soul, I didn't ring her bells, etc.

However, she calls me almost every day, we do something together almost every evening. Things like dinner, workouts, walks on the beach—all of that. But any time I try to get some type of affection, she shuts me down. "That isn't appropriate" and "Let's just be friends" are her lines.

I know she likes me, and we have become really close. She nags me about all the things that mean that she cares about me. She made me go to the doctor for a checkup. (My former wife just made sure the life insurance was paid!) What is going on? There is no one else that she has her eye on (so she says). She gets hit on by guys constantly and never goes out with anyone else. What is she doing to me?

I've tried to be cool, play hard to get; it doesn't work too well, since I really like to be with her and self-control isn't my strong point.

Is there any hope for passion in our relationship? Should I just give up and go on a big drunk, then after I sober up, lower my sights and settle for something warmer but maybe not as perfect? Should I just realize that I'm just a dull person and subscribe to satellite TV and give up on ever having a relationship?

Help. I'm crazy about this woman, and I really don't want to not be with her, but this is making me nuts.

Going Insane

My buddy Colin and I both had the same thing happen to us (simultaneously!) just last year. I've bored everyone to tears with my dreary dramas, so I'll tell you his instead.

Colin meets girl, falls in love; girl seems to fall back and then, outta nowhere, flees, claiming she only wants to be friends. Yet she still calls constantly, goes out with him all the time, and sometimes even fools around with him, only to declare "backsies" hours or days later. He was miserable and kept asking me what he should do. I really couldn't say, because I was too busy crying over that chick's male emotional doppelgänger.

End result: Colin is not with that bitch, I am not with that bastard. (Truth be told, she was not a bitch and he was not a bastard, but they broke our little hearts and so they must pay!)

This woman says she wants nothing more than a friendship from you, so you must accept that. This does not make you a dull or unattractive person. If anything, being dumped makes one more interesting. Hell, I've made a career out of it. You've been out of a 25-year marriage for two years, drama queen—you're hardly a hopeless case. And how perfect is she if she doesn't like you back? If you pulled your head out of your own ass (and, incredibly, I mean that in only the nicest way), I'll bet you could come up with a few other imperfections. (Colin's woman had a penchant for hideous one-shouldered shirts, and my man was bandy-legged.)

I could tell you exactly what you should do to make yourself feel better (cut her off—cold turkey—at least for a while), but you wouldn't listen to me. (Hell, I didn't listen to me.) Instead, you'll do what Colin and I did, which was to hang on for far too long, hoping she'll come around to your way of thinking. You'll most likely make an ass of yourself, and there's a good chance there'll be tears. Probably yours. I wish I had a magic formula for you, but if I had, I would've drunk it myself.

Don't get drunk and give up: Write Dategirl at dategirl@seattleweekly.com or c/o Seattle Weekly, 1008 Western Ave., Ste. 300, Seattle, WA 98104.

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