Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:
Can you help me with the “Let’s just be friends.” conversation? It’s not
that I want to end a relationship, but that I don’t want to restart one. I
was in a six-month relationship last year that started with a bang and
ended with a whimper. The details don’t really matter, but we both
concluded that we could have a good long-run friendship but that we
weren’t really in love with one another and that while we were great in
bed, that wasn’t enough to build a strong relationship upon. The
break-up was mutual and has lasted five months. In the interim she
got involved with someone else briefly, that apparently made me look
like a much better prospect. In the interim I have been single, and
reconfirmed that I really like living alone and not being in a
relationship, or at least not being in one with someone with whom I’m
not really in love. We went for dinner and movie yesterday and her
subtext was laden with “Wouldn’t it be nice to get back together, at
least as lovers….” At least a half-dozen times, and more like double
that. I just let them slide off, but I know the conversation will return.
I’m not averse to the idea, but know that it’s not what I really want in
my life, though with her it could be a temporary thing again. What
should I say?
Your signing name says it all. Until you know what you want, you
won’t be able to hold a reasonable conversation on the subject of
creating some form of friendship other than dinner and movie biddies.
There’s not point stumbling through a discussion when you aren’t clear
in your own head or heart what you really do want. You seem pretty
clear about what you do not want with her, but that’s not enough to
engage another person in a serious, or even casual, relationship.
If you know you do not want to have a serious relationship, and that
you are not in love with this woman, you should have the courage to
tell her. It’s not an easy thing to say or hear, but honesty beats
exploitation every week of the year. If you do want to have a friends
with benefits relationship, you can say that. But beware the human
heart, not to mention the biology of endorphins and hormones, which
conspire to impact our emotions. It’s the rare person who can be
intimate without becoming more emotionally engaged with their lover.
One of you might be that person, but both being so is highly unlikely. I
see another break-up in your future if this goes sideways. It’s your call
if you want to risk it. Waiting and dating a while seems like a good first