4th March 2024

Estimated studying time: 15 minutes

Pricey Physician NerdLove, I’m reaching out in hopes that you could present readability for a scenario I immediately discover myself in.

I’ve a buddy that I’ve been speaking to actually constantly for a number of months now. Initially, issues have been very flirty. However we ultimately had a dialog the place he wished to know if I used to be thinking about him or not as a result of he was confused based mostly off my actions. I instructed him that I wasn’t actually thinking about him at the moment. I additionally stated that I benefit from the connection now we have and I used to be okay with no matter kind that took. We each stated we weren’t prepared for a relationship however could be open to one thing romantic if it ever progressed to that. Each of us had simply gotten out of long run relationships. We each agreed that we have been mates. He additionally said he wasn’t actually emotionally accessible and was making an attempt to work by his personal points, which I revered. I instructed him he was partially liable for his personal confusion as a result of he does provoke very flirtatious conversations and I simply observe his lead. He instructed me that he would attempt to tamp that down.

Just lately, I spotted that I do have emotions for him and it has been driving me nuts. I’ve tried to make it cease as a result of I really do worth his friendship above anything. To make issues worse, we actually do have a connection. We are able to speak about nothing, have actually deep conversations, or simply give one another a tough time. He’s by no means been the kind to actually open up and I additionally understood the place he was coming from. However the traces can nonetheless get blurred between us. He nonetheless sends me movies or memes which can be sexual in nature and inevitably, we begin speaking about issues of a sexual nature. We nonetheless appear to flirt typically or speak about sexual preferences. He’s at all times been just a little cold and hot however has at all times appeared thinking about me romantically to a level. He’s been greater than desirous to try to assist help me emotionally by a number of the issues which have been occurring in my life lately as nicely.

Yesterday, I lastly instructed him that I’m not fully his buddy. And that there’s in all probability part of me that can at all times hope issues will progress ultimately. I instructed him that it’s not truthful of me to be his buddy once I really feel greater than pleasant emotions in the direction of him. I additionally instructed him that I understood if I messed issues up between us. When he responded, he instructed me that he will get it and he understands how I really feel. He instructed me that I didn’t destroy something and he’s greater than okay being “good mates.” He didn’t appear to thoughts that I’ve emotions for him. I’m confused as to if that response was his manner of making an attempt let me down straightforward, or if he’s simply not able to discover these emotions. I clarified that I can cease speaking him with as a result of I don’t wish to make him really feel uncomfortable. He instructed me that there isn’t a motive to not discuss to him. And that he nonetheless desires to be there for me and to cease apologizing for what I instructed him.

I might like to nonetheless be his buddy, and I really feel higher that I received that off my chest. However, I’m nonetheless just a little upset that he didn’t actually reply in an in depth method. I don’t know whether it is in my finest curiosity to maintain being his buddy, or if I ought to simply try to maneuver on and lower off the friendship. We do work collectively, so I nonetheless must work together with him. However we work reverse shifts, so it wouldn’t be too terribly troublesome. We normally talk by social media, so after we talked, I logged out of all of my social media so as to try to give myself some house. I’m simply not likely positive the place I stand with him regardless of him saying that we’re okay. And I don’t get why he couldn’t reply in just a little extra element and simply inform me he didn’t really feel the identical manner in a clearer trend. Except, not responding in that manner was his manner of letting me down gently.

I’d be more than pleased to listen to what your recommendation is on this case.

Thanks,

Love Disconnection

Alright LD, I’m going to be sincere right here: this appears to be a “you” downside greater than a “him” downside and – based mostly on the letter – I believe the confusion and lack of readability is coming out of your finish of issues.

This all began with him having to ask you what was happening, as a result of he felt confused by the way in which you have been behaving. After the 2 of you had a dialog the place you hashed issues out, agreed that neither of you have been romantically and, in reality, that you just weren’t in a spot to have a relationship, you mainly stated “okay, so I’m simply following your lead right here,” and he agreed to dial again the flirting. Which might be truthful, besides I’m questioning if he thought he was being flirty in any respect within the first place. Which might make issues complicated typically, however hey, he agreed to attempt to dial it again. Which is, y’know, onerous to do once you’re undecided how what you’re doing is coming off as flirty, however he gave the impression to be prepared to take the time. He additionally – and I really feel that is vital – stated that he’s not emotionally accessible.

Effectively, time goes on and, you finally caught emotions for him. You instructed him how you are feeling, that you just’re fearful that you just messed issues up between the 2 of you and he stated – basically – “Don’t fear, we’re cool”.

You’re going to have to assist me out a bit right here as a result of truthfully, I’m not seeing the issue. Like… in any respect. You each agreed {that a} relationship between the 2 of you wouldn’t work and whilst you each could be open if issues moved in that course, neither of you might be there and also you wish to stay mates. After which… he’s continued to be your buddy.

Now a part of the problem is that it appears to me, based mostly on the way in which you’ve phrased issues, that you just did the factor that I hold telling folks not to do: you went to your crush and stated “hey, I’ve emotions for you”, somewhat than “hey, I’m thinking about you and I’d prefer to take you on a date” or one thing related. The issue with the straight-confession method is that there’s actually not anyplace to go after that. If all you’re doing is saying “hey, I’ve received emotions for you which can be past friendship” after which ready, then what you’ve in the end stated is “right here, do one thing with these.” That’s going to go away lots of people scratching their heads and questioning what you count on from them; are you asking for a date, or to leap straight right into a relationship or what?

This could get doubly complicated once you’ve already had a dialog about the way you don’t have emotions and aren’t able to date anybody. And, once more, he talked about that he wasn’t emotionally accessible. That doesn’t appear to have modified.

However so as to add to it: from the way in which you’ve described the dialog, this wasn’t simply “I’ve emotions” it was “I’ve emotions and I really feel unhealthy about it”, which, truthfully, doesn’t give quite a lot of room to maneuver. That sounds a like a love confession that’s placing all of the emphasis on the “confession” half – as within the “forgive me Father, for I’ve sinned” sense. That’s not likely one thing that evokes guys to say “cool, let’s seize drinks and go on a romantic stroll alongside the boardwalk”.

Should you’re telling him that you just’re feeling such as you’re being a nasty buddy as a result of you may have a crush and also you perceive if that makes him uncomfortable, that’s not precisely the form of factor that that’s going to encourage somebody to say “wow, I really feel the identical manner too”, a lot as “…I’m sorry?”.

So the primary a part of the problem you’re having is that you just mainly instructed the man “I such as you and that’s not good.”

But when I’m being actual right here, it sounds to me such as you suppose he has emotions for you that he’s simply not prepared to behave on or discover and you discover that irritating and complicated. Which, I might perceive if that have been the case, however from my finish of issues, it appears pretty clear lower: he doesn’t. You know the way I hold emphasizing the half the place he stated he wasn’t emotionally accessible? Effectively… it doesn’t sound like that’s modified. There’s actually nothing that you just’ve written to counsel that issues have been totally different for him. Contemplating how he was confused by you at first and continues to appear to not be thinking about relationship, it sounds such as you’re the one who rounded issues as much as “romance”, when to him, the 2 of you have been platonic mates.

Is it potential that you just have been studying extra into your friendship with him than was really there? Hell, is it potential that he simply wasn’t flirting with you or, on the very least, not flirting with intent? I do know there’re all the same old stereotypes about males not having the ability to separate attraction and friendship, letting intercourse get in the way in which and so forth however truthfully, it looks like perhaps this was extra one-sided than you thought. Individuals typically can have flirty friendships or friendships the place they speak about intercourse and sexual matters – even with somebody of their most popular gender – with out it being an indication that there’s attraction within the combine. And as we’ve seen: folks typically are unhealthy at choosing up on whether or not somebody is flirting or not. So, is it potential the rationale why he was confused is that you noticed flirting the place he noticed friendship?

That is why I’m nonetheless not seeing the problem. There actually doesn’t appear to be a motive to have some lengthy, in-depth dialogue about how he’s feeling or not feeling, because the case could also be. After you made your confession, it appears to me like he instructed you that he didn’t really feel the identical manner fairly clearly and he’s doing his finest to proceed being your buddy. He, from what you’ve written, instructed you, straight up, “hey, don’t stress your self out, we’re nonetheless cool, this doesn’t upset me.” It appears fairly cheap that, to his thoughts, this is able to be the tip of it.

It doesn’t sound like he’s in a spot the place he’s thinking about relationship and he could by no means have been within the first place, and it looks like you’re holding out hope that he’s going to intuit what you need, when what you stated (each instances) was actually the other of that. If what you have been hoping for was a date, then give up dancing across the subject and say “I WANT TO GO ON A DATE WITH YOU” along with your entire chest. However I believe you’re simply going to get a replay of the dialog you already had.

If that’s going to make issues too onerous for you, then yeah, you possibly can wind up this friendship. Very similar to romantic relationships, friendships and platonic relationships are double opt-in. This implies that you could unilaterally finish a friendship for any motive. They will not be good causes within the eyes of many, however they’re your causes, which is the vital half. However within the spirit of honesty, that sounds much more like wounded pleasure than anything.

If you need readability from him, you’re going to wish to begin with giving readability. As a result of I believe it’s secure to say that he’s the one who thinks all the pieces’s fairly settled and understood. Should you really feel prefer it isn’t, then you definitely’re going to must be the one to re-initiate that dialog and say “okay, I simply wish to be certain that we each perceive one another…” after which not instantly go into the way you’re being a nasty buddy to him since you caught emotions.

Good luck.


Hey Dr. NerdLove,

About 4 years in the past, I had a nasty breakup with somebody who, if I’m being sincere, I hadn’t been in a relationship very lengthy. And truthfully. it was in all probability finest for us each. We introduced out the worst in one another, and we have been actually by no means going to work, even when the connection wasn’t really abusive.

However, I’ve Borderline Persona Dysfunction, and with that comes that typically, I kind extremely intense attachments extraordinarily rapidly. And this was a kind of instances. It even contributed to the breakup! And it’s contributed to that it’s 4 years later and nonetheless cry myself to sleep over her at an everyday foundation.

I’ve tried all the pieces I might consider, and I prefer to suppose I’ve a reasonably strong perspective on that relationship: I didn’t lose the very best factor that ever occurred to me, I had quite a lot of New Relationship Vitality and received overly connected to a relationship that was by no means actually prone to work within the first place. I used to be and nonetheless am polyamorous, neither of us have been the opposite’s solely associate on the time, and I proceed to have a number of extraordinarily optimistic relationships, truthfully in all probability the very best in my life to this point.

However regardless of my finest efforts, I simply can’t recover from her. What ought to I do, to recover from an ex I simply can’t shake my emotions for?

Previous Is Current

Borderline Persona Dysfunction’s major signs are types of emotional dysregulation; that’s, one’s feelings are often uncontrolled and swinging in vast arcs. Because of this – as you point out, PiP – that you just kind intense attachments in a short time. However the reverse aspect of that spectrum  is a deep and consuming concern of rejection and abandonment. Actually, quite a lot of medical doctors suspect that the seemingly impulsive behaviors are a type of self-sabotage; an individual who pushes folks away both as a misguided type of emotional self-protection (“you’re going to desert me, so I’m going to reject you first, so you possibly can’t damage me as a lot”) or self-punishment (“I’m an terrible piece of shit who doesn’t should be beloved”).

Equally, lots of people with BPD have points with a way of identification – usually discovering that their sense of self modifications drastically. A part of this may occasionally stem from seeing oneself as being outlined by one’s relationships.

Now a part of the issue with the human situation typically, and for neurospicy of us specifically, is that simply since you perceive one thing intellectually doesn’t imply that you will cease feeling about it.

That is the problem with issues like Rejection Delicate Dysphoria; intellectually you might acknowledge it for what it’s, however that doesn’t imply that you just’re going to magically cease feeling it.

I point out this, PiP, as a result of I believe that’s a part of the problem you’re having. You could have an excellent mental understanding of what occurred along with your ex and why issues didn’t work out… however that’s not the identical as coping with the emotional aspect of it. So maybe a part of the answer could be to deal with the feelings – and particularly, the feelings that you just nonetheless really feel in the direction of her.

I’m wondering if a part of the rationale why your break up nonetheless fucks along with your head is due to what it looks like – not within the sense of “the connection didn’t work as a result of causes, and that makes me unhappy” however within the sense of the tip of the connection felt not directly like a rejection of all the pieces about you as an individual. Or maybe it’s extra of a way of getting misplaced a big a part of your self when the connection ended and ended so badly. A 3rd risk is that maybe some a part of you feels responsible – that you just fucked issues up (unwittingly or intentionally) since you’re supposedly an terrible individual?

So maybe the answer right here isn’t about understanding why the connection failed or recognizing that it wasn’t The Greatest You Ever Had. Maybe it’s to look inside and ask “what’s this making me really feel and why?” Once you’re crying your self to sleep, what, exactly, are you feeling? Once you proceed to mourn the lack of the connection, what’s the dimension, form and depth of the loss? What half isn’t there that ought to be there? What instructions are these emotions pointed in – away from you (loss) or in the direction of your self (blame, self-recrimination)?

My guess – based mostly admittedly, partly, on my specific neurodivergence combo platter coming with a free aspect of RSD – is the latter. That you just really feel such as you misplaced one thing good (even when it wasn’t The Greatest), due to one thing inherent to you. Maybe it looks like a loss resulting from an inherent flaw in your self. Maybe it feels such as you screwed it up and now you possibly can’t belief your self to not fuck up different good issues in your life. Whatever the precise form and scope of it, I’m prepared to wager that it feels prefer it’s about you greater than anything.

And therein lies the issue. You possibly can acknowledge the way you contributed to the break up occurring… however recognizing it doesn’t essentially imply that you just’re carried out blaming or punishing your self for it.

That is why I might counsel that step one in the direction of lastly getting over her could be to show inward and do one thing I’m guessing that you just haven’t carried out but: you wish to forgive your self. You wish to forgive your self for, amongst different issues, loving not correctly however too nicely. You additionally wish to forgive your self for making errors, particularly errors spurred on by your situation – a situation that’s actually outlined by self-sabotage and impulsive, self-destructive behaviors.

It’s not your fault for having BPD and having BPD doesn’t make you a nasty or unloveable individual. However between the way in which society tends to view BPD and the way in which that BPD and related circumstances can have an effect on you, it positive as shit can really feel like that. So a part of managing the aftermath – lo these a few years later – is to be prepared to forgive your self and say “I made errors then, however I used to be making the very best choices I might on the time. Now I do know otherwise, and I’ll do issues otherwise sooner or later.”

And if there’s a component that feels as if you misplaced one thing of your self when that relationship ended, then you possibly can resolve to search out it inside your self. It’s not misplaced, a lot as misplaced; you’ll discover it should return to you after you select to let your ex go.

It’s tough, to make sure. However that is why self-acceptance and self-forgiveness are vital components of self-enchancment. No person has ever shamed themselves into being a greater individual, only a sadder, angrier or extra bitter one. All it does is enable the wound to fester. Forgiving your self lances the wound, permits it to empty and to lastly totally heal, which is what in the end permits you to enhance.

So discover the form and scope of these emotions, PiP… after which forgive your self for what’s occurred prior to now. The previous is merely prologue; understanding it’s what in the end permits us to maneuver into the long run.

Good luck.

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