How to respond to my male crush "best-friend-zoning" me?

Reply Wed 8 Mar, 2017 10:51 am
I have had a crush on a man for a year. I work behind the front desk of a gym, and we have had casual talk several times a week this entire time, getting to know each other slowly. He has been in a relationship, so we were never able to develop a real friendship, up until 6 weeks ago, he broke up with her. I got to know her a little bit, too, and the girl is diagnosed as borderline.. it was an abusive relationship for him, and to make matters worse, he took on the role of "daddy" for her little girl for almost 2 years. Immediately after he broke up with her, he has been texting me all day, every day, asking to hang out nearly every day, we work out together about 5 mornings a week, and then he wants to come over in the evenings after we both get out of work. He has been sending a lot of mixed messages.. such as texting "I miss you" as soon as we part, even if we had just spent the whole day together, cuddling while watching TV, calling me "my dear, babe, sweetheart", grilling the hell out of any guy who looks in my direction at the gym, cooking me dinner, holding me while I sobbed my eyes out over family problems, while also he has broken down and cried to me about the pain of leaving his girlfriend (claiming he mostly misses the little girl). I thought for sure he liked me, he kept hinting he can never tell when a girl likes him, said he's so happy we finally have the opportunity to get to know each other and he has always wanted to know me more. So I confessed I had feelings for him. He told me he is very attracted to me, has been tempted to act on it, has a very deep love for me, but ultimately as friends. I know he is still grieving his breakup. I have 2 children, and he says he can't risk becoming so attached to anyone with children again. He said I am his best friend and doesn't want anything to change. Today while working out, he was on tinder and sending snapchat videos talking about sex to some random tinder hoe.. it really hurt me. Advice? I'm so confused!
Reply Wed 8 Mar, 2017 03:57 pm
Whoa, whoa, back up there.

How the hell do you know who he was texting while he was working out? Either he told you (so you are definitely friends and nothing more, sorry), or you're spying on him.

Neither one bodes well for a relationship.

He has been using you as a crutch to talk to. And now that you've revealed that it affected you, he's put on the brakes and created conditions you cannot fulfill, such as 'no more women with kids'.

He has probably never seen you as a serious love interest, I'm sorry to say. More likely, he basically crafted you into his therapist surrogate. And he needs therapy, BTW (I am no doctor, but I can see this one from miles away). Getting over an abusive relationship and figuring out how to prevent that from happening again is something a person works out with an impartial professional.

As for you, you've gotten way too invested in him, and now, unfortunately, that has hurt you.

So! You need to push him back. I'm sorry if you don't like this idea, but he's not having any of it in terms of a relationship with you, and he really needs to pay a therapist instead of getting advice and mixed message cuddles from you. Next time he wants to spill his guts over his ex or her kid or whatever, call a time out and strongly suggest he talk to a professional. He has issues which go above and beyond the standard friend relationship and you, personally, need to step back because it is affecting you.

He may think you're being unreasonable. Let him - and that should tell you a lot about how he really sees you. Or maybe he'll be understanding, and will realize he's been leading you on and denying himself healing all at the same time.

And - I know it can be tough to meet people, but maybe stop trying to do that at work, okay? Because what happens if it doesn't work out, or it works out just like this? If the guy stays with the gym, then you have a bad day when you see him, and if he doesn't, then he quits and the gym loses money (which could potentially directly affect whether you stay employed at all). Surely there are other ways for you to meet men, whether through Meetup groups or online dating or taking a class.
Reply Wed 8 Mar, 2017 04:48 pm
He was having conversation back and forth with a female that he told me he met off Tinder, sending snapchat videos back and forth to communicate... I was not purposely eavesdropping, but we were working out together and I overheard it. He tried to take a few steps away, but.. unfortunately, yeah I heard him talking about sex with her, and it hurt me.

I think you're right that he has been using me as a crutch for female companionship while he heals from his ex-girlfriend. It's just been very confusing because he told a co-worker that he "really liked me" about a week before he broke up with his ex, and then made it seem like he was pursuing me. He told me things such as he has always wanted to get to know me more, and he's happy that we finally have the opportunity. Maybe he realized something about me that he doesn't like, or legitimately just wants me as a friend and doesn't want to ruin anything by becoming intimate, who knows. I just feel like maybe I ruined our friendship by putting pressure on him and admitting my feelings for him. Nevertheless he is continuing trying to flirt with me, and asked me to give him a bed bath this morning because he wasn't feeling well (I'm a nurse.) I told him to please be sensitive with me and he said he was only joking. He keeps asking me to hang out and work out every day, keeps touching me and commenting how good I look, took pictures of me when I wasn't looking, literally snarls at guys that look at me.. even if they're like 80 and obese. Does he think he can friend-zone me and then string me along scaring away other guys? He is an extremely intimidating guy, ex-Marine and martial arts instructor, so hanging with him at the gym isn't exactly going to allow me the opportunity to talk to anyone else.. I guess I will have to distance myself a bit for now and see what ends up happening. I am flattered he admitted to being very attracted to me back, at least I know that wasn't in my head, even if he isn't ready for a relationship again, especially with someone with kids... Ugh.

Also, in my own defense, I work behind the front desk, so I can't exactly do much about the guys that hang around the counter to talk to me, lol.
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