I often hear from women who have been given the old excuse, “I’m not ready for a relationship, but I want to be your friend,” by a man they really care about. You often wonder if that excuse is code for something else. They also wonder if they should continue the relationship or just let it go because he wants to be friends.
I heard from a woman who said, “I’ve been seeing this guy for about two months. It feels serious to me. I think I might be in love with him. I think that maybe one day I want to marry him. I started pointing this out the other night and he coldly cut me off and said he really likes me but he just isn’t ready for a relationship. He stressed that he valued me as a very close friend. I know he had a nasty fracture just before he met me. So I think he’s telling the truth. But the whole “I just want to be friends” thing makes me very sad. It would be better if he said he wanted to take our romantic relationship slowly, but he didn’t. He said he just wants to be my friend. What does that mean? And how should I proceed? Should I just keep seeing him as friends? Or do I give up and walk away?” I will try to address these concerns in the following article.
Many married couples today started out just as friends: I know things may seem dire at the moment, but there are countless happily married couples today who started their relationship as just friends. In fact, many of them were on the receiving end because one of them wasn’t ready for a relationship, and yet here they are happily married. So what he says today may not necessarily determine your future. People’s feelings and intentions change. This man told this woman that she was very important to him and that he wanted to keep seeing her. Yes, he tried to redefine the relationship, but he didn’t try to end it.
He does not ask you to leave his life: More importantly, if he wasn’t interested in a relationship with her at all, he probably wouldn’t have emphasized how important she was to his life. Men who don’t want any sort of relationship with you will often either make that clear or cut ties with you fairly quickly after the “I just want to be friends” speech. Neither was the case here. He didn’t try to ban this woman from his life. On the contrary, he emphasized how important she was to him.
If he wants to be friends, what’s stopping you from being friendly?: It’s interesting to note that most of the time when women ask me if they should just say goodbye after a guy has told them he just wants to be friends, it’s often very clear that that’s the last thing they do want. It’s often very clear that they want to stay in his life, but they’re so hurt by his words that they’re tempted to just give up. I know this can hurt. But if you really care about him, what’s the harm in pursuing a friendship to see where it goes? There’s no reason to assume he isn’t telling the truth that he’s not ready for a romantic relationship. It was common knowledge that this man had a nasty breakup. He was allowed to take some time to heal. In fact, taking time to heal ensures that the next relationship has a chance of succeeding.
So there was really no reason to doubt his statement. And since he was so important to this woman, maybe a good strategy would be to move on with a fun friendship and see where that goes. In fact, this can really be a sweet time in a relationship. And happy, healthy relationships often grow out of bonds that were first friendships. See this as an opportunity to build a foundation with this man. What harm can it do?
Only time will tell what his future intentions really are: I know you want me to tell you what he thinks. But he’s the only one with those answers. The good news, however, is that the truth often reveals itself over time. If he keeps wanting to spend time with you and is looking for you, then it’s pretty obvious that he’s warming to a relationship more and more. But you really need to keep a positive attitude and just see what his behavior will tell you. If it is as important as this young woman implied, this process would probably have been worthwhile.