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I (27M) stopped talking to a girl (23F) I think I regret this decision now and feel I could have handled the situation better.


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In the end of December, I met a girl. Her grandparents know my parents, and we met during a dinner at my parents' house. We didn't speak much during the dinner, but I found her on Facebook later on and reached out. We started talking, and our messages became longer and longer with each passing day. She started to open up to me, and so did I. We were talking about all sorts of personal things, and I told her things about me that I'd never shared with anyone else. After a few weeks of this communication, I naturally started to feel a deeper connection with that person.

She told me that she was going through a very painful breakup. She made it clear that she wasn't looking for any romantic relationships at the moment, or the next few months, at least. She shared about the pain and depression that she was going through. From our messages, it became clear that she is an extremely sensitive and vulnerable person. I tried to support her best I could (and sent her chocolate and books), but there's not much I could do (I should also note here that we live in different states and our communication was only on Facebook). I wish I could've done more to help her with the pain she was dealing with. She said that there's no one that can help her with this -- she was the only person that could help her get through it. Unfortunately, I think she might have been right.

Anyway, we would usually exchange only one long message a day (900-1200 words), and she would send them in the evening before going to bed. About a week or so ago, her messages started to get shorter, and it seemed like she started to lose interest. To be honest, we were also running out of topics to talk about, so I do not blame her. It was also clear through the messages that her depression might have gotten worse, and she was dealing with a lot of pain. So, I decided to be honest and told her about how I felt. I said that something along these lines:

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It's clear as day to you and me that I like you a lot, and I'm falling for you. I also understand that this situation is hopeless for me considering the circumstances. Having said that, I think it might be best if we pause our communication for a few months before I have become completely infatuated with you.

She said that she was a bit surprised that I liked her: she knew that I liked her when I reached out to her, but she thought it would subside as I got to know her. She said that I might like some aspects of her personality while overlooking others. She then asked me roughly the following:

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Are you sure you'd want someone who's into A, B, and C? I'm also always unhappy with everything. You should be wary of wearing rose-colored glasses. In any case, this sounds good to me. You have my respect for being honest with yourself and me.

I then replied to her message, mostly repeating how much I liked her and that her interests, while very different from mine, made me like her more, not less. After I wrote that, I also added:

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Having said that, I hope you'll take good care of yourself and feel better soon. If you want someone to talk to, I'm always here to listen and support you. You can also call me at xxx-xxx-xxxx. I will always answer your calls.

She only replied with "Thank you," and that was the end of it. I do not know what I'm supposed to feel. On the one hand, I was being honest, all things considered. On the other hand, it seems like I was being selfish there. She may have wanted a purely platonic relationship before it turned into anything romantic, especially considering the circumstances she was in. I do not think she'll ever call me, and I do not even have her phone number. I also feel sad that I still have no idea whether she ever viewed me as a potential partner. Did I make a mistake for choosing to pause our communication and revealing all the cards, even though it was clear to everyone involved? What could have I done differently here? I'm thinking about reaching out again in a month or so. 

I fear that she might have been offended that I chose to stop this communication just because I was getting infatuated. I hadn't considered this when I was writing that message to her. Hence, why I think that this might have been a selfish thing to do, although I was sincere there. Do you think I did the right thing here? 

Another thing is that she said she could visit the city where I currently live in a few months (she mentioned a specific date, and we talked about possible activities to do here). This is another reason why this whole thing feels so ambiguous. If she didn't like me or didn't want to talk to me, why did she write all those long messages sharing her past dating life, her childhood, and other very personal details? I don't understand this. Sorry for the long post. 

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Alpacalia
2 hours ago, key-trip said:

If she didn't like me or didn't want to talk to me, why did she write all those long messages sharing her past dating life, her childhood, and other very personal details? I don't understand this. Sorry for the long post. 

Probably because she felt you were a good friend and she needed someone to talk to and confide in during a difficult time in her life. She  enjoyed talking to you and getting to know you, but that doesn't necessarily mean she saw you as a potential romantic partner (as she mentioned).  

Overall, I don't think you did anything wrong in this situation. I do think you put yourself in a situation with listening to her a lot without putting forth some limits for yourself. You were genuinely trying to be there for her and support her through her difficult time, and that's commendable. It's natural to start catching feelings for someone you talk to a lot and share personal things with. It's not selfish to recognize that you were starting to develop deeper feelings and wanted to take a step back to protect your own emotions.

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3 hours ago, key-trip said:

If she didn't like me or didn't want to talk to me, why did she write all those long messages sharing her past dating life, her childhood, and other very personal details? I don't understand this. Sorry for the long post. 

She did like you and she did want to talk with you, but she saw you as a kind friend - not a romantic partner.   

In answer to your questions - you did not make a mistake.  And spending more time talking with her is unlikely to have changed her view about seeing you in a romantic sense.  Besides, what's the point in having a relationship when you can't easily be together in real time?

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Just now, basil67 said:

She did like you and she did want to talk with you, but she saw you as a kind friend - not a romantic partner.   

In answer to your questions - you did not make a mistake.  And spending more time talking with her is unlikely to have changed her view about seeing you in a romantic sense.  Besides, what's the point in having a relationship when you can't easily be together in real time?

Thank you for your reply!

She mentioned once that all her relationships had started with friendship, which is what gave me some hope, I suppose. We also live about three hours away from each other, which is not that bad for the US. Plus, she had mentioned having partner from Israel once, and they were in a long-distance relationship. 

Do you think it would be a good idea to reach out again in a month or two? After all, I told her that I wanted to pause our communication for a few months only, and the intention was to protect my own feelings. A few months should be enough to subside any attachment I have developed thus far. 

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37 minutes ago, Alpacalia said:

Probably because she felt you were a good friend and she needed someone to talk to and confide in during a difficult time in her life. She  enjoyed talking to you and getting to know you, but that doesn't necessarily mean she saw you as a potential romantic partner (as she mentioned).  

Overall, I don't think you did anything wrong in this situation. I do think you put yourself in a situation with listening to her a lot without putting forth some limits for yourself. You were genuinely trying to be there for her and support her through her difficult time, and that's commendable. It's natural to start catching feelings for someone you talk to a lot and share personal things with. It's not selfish to recognize that you were starting to develop deeper feelings and wanted to take a step back to protect your own emotions.

Thank you for your reply!

She mentioned once that all her relationships had started with friendship, which is what gave me some hope, I suppose. She also never mentioned directly that she never saw me as a potential romantic partner. She did say, however, that she needed some time to heal from the breakup before revisiting the topic of love again. 

Do you think it would be a good idea to reach out again in a month or two? After all, I told her that I wanted to pause our communication for a few months only, and the intention was to protect my own emotions. A few months should be enough to subside any attachment I have developed thus far. 

Edited by key-trip
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19 minutes ago, key-trip said:

Thank you for your reply!

She mentioned once that all her relationships had started with friendship, which is what gave me some hope, I suppose. We also live about three hours away from each other, which is not that bad for the US. Plus, she had mentioned having partner from Israel once, and they were in a long-distance relationship. 

Do you think it would be a good idea to reach out again in a month or two? After all, I told her that I wanted to pause our communication for a few months only, and the intention was to protect my own feelings. A few months should be enough to subside any attachment I have developed thus far. 

All her previous relationships (which didn't work out!) started with friendship.  This suggests to me starting as friends is not working for her.  

I don't see any good reason to reach out...heck, you were already bored with her when you ended it.  And don't you want a girlfriend who you can see easily and go out together and be intimate with?    But it's your life and your decision.  Do what you feel is best.

Edited by basil67
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Alpacalia
21 minutes ago, key-trip said:

Thank you for your reply!

She mentioned once that all her relationships had started with friendship, which is what gave me some hope, I suppose. She also never mentioned directly that she never saw me as a potential romantic partner. She did say, however, that she needed some time to heal from the breakup before revisiting the topic of love again. 

Do you think it would be a good idea to reach out again in a month or two? After all, I told her that I wanted to pause our communication for a few months only, and the intention was to protect my own emotions. A few months should be enough to subside any attachment I have developed thus far. 

How do you know for sure that in a few months you will have made the decision to just maintain a friendship, regardless of her response?

Her preferring to be friends first in her relationships seems to be something that's giving you hope, which isn't a definitive answer from her, so how much hope are you placing in that and do you believe that it will lead to something more serious?

Perhaps for her, the romantic feelings develop after a strong friendship has been established. But that doesn't mean that they will develop for every single person she is friends with. You also need to be prepared for the possibility that even after a few months, she may still not see you in a romantic light. 

Edited by Alpacalia
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1 minute ago, Alpacalia said:

How do you know for sure that in a few months you will have made the decision to just maintain a friendship, regardless of her response?

Her preferring to be friends first in her relationships seems to be something that's giving you hope, which isn't a definitive answer from her, so how much hope are you placing in that and do you believe that it will lead to something more serious?

Perhaps for her, the romantic feelings develop after a strong friendship has been established. But that doesn't mean that they will develop for every single person she is friends with. You also need to be prepared for the possibility that even after a few months, she may still not see you in a romantic light. 

You have good points! As for the first question, I will not have made that decision at all, nor do I plan to. In a few months, my feelings toward her should subside, and I was hoping to try again. I told her that this was a "right person, wrong time" situation for me, although she didn't respond to that statement directly. She knows that I'm forward with my feelings and intentions, and I wish that she were that way as well. I should have asked this directly, but it hadn't occurred to me at the moment: "If you were not in a relationship, would I have any chance at all?" This is a blunt but fair question. 

That's true, they will not develop for every single person she is friends with. However, it seemed to me that we had established a deep connection with each other. I never opened up like that to any of my current female friends (or male friends, for that matter). She allowed herself to be very vulnerable with me, and I thought that might have been a sign. I don't know, maybe you're right. Maybe it's normal for women to open up like that without catching any feelings, and all she wanted was to be friends with me. This might be a fundamental difference between men and women, then. Men will rarely open up to friends this way, as this is considered to be a sign of weakness. 

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Just now, basil67 said:

All her previous relationships (which didn't work out!) started with friendship.  This suggests to me starting as friends is not working for her.  

I don't see why you would reach out.  Heck, you were already bored with her when you ended it.   But it's your life and your decision.  Do what you feel is best.

Oh, I wasn't bored with her at all. Yes, we started to run out of topics to talk about, but if she was open to romantic relationships at that time, I would have asked her out or something. As I said, I thought it would be best for us to stop talking because I wanted to protect my own emotions; ideally, the hope is that she recovers from her previous relationship in a few months, and I can try again.

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You made the right decision stepping back. She's on the rebound from a breakup and really needs to look to close trusted friends and family as well as a therapist for support. 

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34 minutes ago, key-trip said:

Oh, I wasn't bored with her at all. Yes, we started to run out of topics to talk about, but if she was open to romantic relationships at that time, I would have asked her out or something. As I said, I thought it would be best for us to stop talking because I wanted to protect my own emotions; ideally, the hope is that she recovers from her previous relationship in a few months, and I can try again.

Why would you want to establish a relationship where you've already run out of topics to talk about?  

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1 hour ago, basil67 said:

Why would you want to establish a relationship where you've already run out of topics to talk about?  

Also, given that she used to write monologues and now the topics have run out, does this mean that she can only make conversation if it’s about herself?

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I think you handled the situation well, OP. Your honesty about your feelings was refreshing. Pretending to just be interested in friendship when you have an altogether different agenda would probably have been a turn-off. And it would have made your life absolutely miserable. Looking out for what's best for yourself isn't automatically selfish. When it comes to matters of the heart, you have to be considerate of yourself and other people.

Now, I think you should just let her be. Let her heal in her own time (she may ultimately need a whole year or more to heal, you know?). And when she feels ready to consider romance again, she knows where you stand. She will reach out to you if she likes you and is curious about maybe pursuing something with you. Letting her come to you is the best way to go. It allows you to know right off the bat if she is actually interested.

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@key-trip

This stuff is always tough.  Don't beat yourself up.

12 hours ago, key-trip said:

She told me that she was going through a very painful breakup. She made it clear that she wasn't looking for any romantic relationships at the moment, or the next few months, at least.

When people say this, they're implying, they don't want a relationship with YOU.   Why that is, could be anything really.  People aren't usually honest about the reasons; sometimes they don't even know the reason themselves.   I suspect it was the distance.  To get to know one another properly, you have to be around eachother more.  You have to hang out, have fun, build memories. 

Messaging, while a form of communication, is a poor method, for getting to know a person.  It should be used as a tool to supplement the conversations you two already have in-person.  It should never be a primary tool.

12 hours ago, key-trip said:

Did I make a mistake for choosing to pause our communication and revealing all the cards, even though it was clear to everyone involved? What could have I done differently here? I'm thinking about reaching out again in a month or so. 

In general though, your approach wouldn't have made a difference to someone who felt the same way as you.   There's not much you can do wrong with a person who likes you so don't kick yourself about telling her.   If you bottled your feelings inside, you would have been insincere.  Pretending to be a friend, when really you want something more is dishonest and not good for her or for you.  Also, all you would have done, was delay the inevitable result of her rejecting you.  You saved yourself the time.

The only thing I will say is the opposite sex (Straight) usually won't reach out to a stranger the way you did, if they're not curious/interested in the person.  After a dinner, most people will just move on with their lives but you didn't.  It's all in the little things.  She knew this which is why she told you she wasn't looking for a relationship.  You should have listened and withdrew.  Staying and continuing was a mistake.

Don't reach out to her again.

12 hours ago, key-trip said:

If she didn't like me or didn't want to talk to me, why did she write all those long messages sharing her past dating life, her childhood, and other very personal details?

She was grieving over her past and needed someone who'd listen.  You made yourself available.  She took the help. 

You have to be very honest with yourself.  You have to know yourself and know what you want.  When it comes to a person you are curious about who is the opposite sex, be extra careful as developing feelings are entirely possible. 

Going forward with someone new, a short a conversation on FB would suffice but move it to in-person.  If she doesn't allow this to happen and the conversations remain online,  she's not into you.  If she tells you she's not looking for a relationship, she's not into you.   If distance is a factor, I personally, would not even bother, as most often than not, distance will get in the way of the necessary requirements of properly getting to know one another.    

Stay strong

- Beach

Edited by Beachead
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d0nnivain

You did the right thing for yourself.  You needed & wanted more than some messages.  

Honestly, I don't know how deep of a connection you could have made in less than 60 days over 1 meeting & a few messages.  The fact that you got into some "deep stuff" worries me.  What kind of a person pours their heart out to a stranger?   

I have never fully understood the idea of romances developing from friendships.   I can understand wanting to get to know somebody before jumping into bed but IMO the vehicle for getting to know each other is the date:  Spending time together, talking, exploring etc.   When you are friends with somebody of the opposite sex, you are platonic friends, no cross over to romance preferred 

Maybe you can go on a date when she is next in your area but I wouldn't hold my breath.  You also need to examine how you fell so hard in such a short time with nothing but messages.  That seems like a fantasy not reality, which requires in person interactions.  

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