I don't want to trample on her fantasy,

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Al-Bone
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24 Jan 2011, 10:31 pm

but I also don't want to live it.

Ever been in a situation where you knew you were going to break someone's heart? That's where I am right now.

There's a woman that I grew up with, that I lost touch with years ago that resurfaced a few years ago. I've known this whole time that she's had feelings for me, but to be frank I've never seen her as a mate. She is very needy and it's borderline desperation on her part. She called me earlier today, and just started pouring her heart out while I'm thinking 'Someone shoot me!'. Luckily I was at work so I was able to get her off the phone. She's going to call tomorrow, and I've been put in the position where I'm going to have to be blunt and tell her 'It's NOT going to happen!' Any ideas on how to handle this without coming across as an a-hole?



Zur-Darkstar
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24 Jan 2011, 10:36 pm

Yuck, what an awful situation. I don't envy your position. It sounds cliched but you might try the old "you're like a sister to me" line, and then talk about how strange and wrong it would feel for you to date your sister. It will reaffirm that you care about her, but clearly communicate that the feelings are not romantic. I don't know how honest that is, and how good you are at lying, but if you want to minimize the chance she'll freak out on you, that's my advice.



Bethie
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24 Jan 2011, 10:42 pm

Al-Bone wrote:
but I also don't want to live it.

Ever been in a situation where you knew you were going to break someone's heart? That's where I am right now.

There's a woman that I grew up with, that I lost touch with years ago that resurfaced a few years ago. I've known this whole time that she's had feelings for me, but to be frank I've never seen her as a mate. She is very needy and it's borderline desperation on her part. She called me earlier today, and just started pouring her heart out while I'm thinking 'Someone shoot me!'. Luckily I was at work so I was able to get her off the phone. She's going to call tomorrow, and I've been put in the position where I'm going to have to be blunt and tell her 'It's NOT going to happen!' Any ideas on how to handle this without coming across as an a-hole?


Turn it into a compliment:
tell her you aren't willing to risk your friendship trying to become more.


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arondight
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24 Jan 2011, 11:02 pm

There's no way you can tell her how you feel and totally spare her emotional trauma at the same time. Try not to come off as callous, let her know you are aware of and respect her feelings but in the same breath she needs to also be aware of and respect yours. If you wish to continue as friends let her know this. All you can do is just try your best and be straight with her, do not give her even a shred of false hope in being with you even if you think it will spare her some pain right now.


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Wombat
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25 Jan 2011, 2:17 am

Al-Bone wrote:
She is very needy and it's borderline desperation on her part. She called me earlier today, and just started pouring her heart out while I'm thinking 'Someone shoot me!'.


I know the type. Perhaps there is a name for it.

I am sure she gets her heart broken a lot. All the guys she grabs onto react like you and run for the hills leaving her feeling lost and stunned...... again.

Perhaps one of the women here might have a better idea why this happens.



Al-Bone
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25 Jan 2011, 2:56 am

Thanks for the input everyone. As someone who's been hurt and disappointed many times over the years, it's almost as bad to be on the other side. Especially when it's someone you've known for almost 30 years.

When we were teenagers, we had a 'going steady' thing for a bit, but we were different people then. She has it in her mind that we can just turn back the clock and be 14-16 again, but a lot has changed over the last 20 years. She's been married twice and has two kids, while I've no kids and never married. She told me today, that she's not asking me to be a dad to her kids, although I know good and well that it would be a package deal, something I may never be ready to take on.

She puts me on this pedestal like I am the greatest thing since sliced bread, and I hate it. I'm just afraid that she's gonna push me to the point to where I'm gonna wind up going off on her just because she doesn't get it. She was practically begging me to give her a chance on the phone today, but since I was at work, I couldn't have that conversation with her at the time. She said she'd call me tomorrow afternoon, and actually asked me what time she could call me. I just said anytime after 1pm, and she said she'd call me at 1:30 sharp.

I'll post and let you know what happens tomorrow. Thanks for humoring me tonight.



Claradoon
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25 Jan 2011, 2:57 am

Why this happens: people repeat a pattern (especially dysfunctional) until it comes out the way it should (which is never). She will not process any information to the contrary. Steer clear - you can't help her, you'll only end up on her list of people who have wronged her.



Al-Bone
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26 Jan 2011, 12:57 am

Here it goes.

I wake up and my phone has a voicemail on it from a couple hours before, and it's her. She said that she had to go to the ER last night due to an extreme anxiety attack, but that she was ok and would call me later.

She called me back, and I asked her if she was ok. She started mentioning suicidal thoughts that she was having because she felt her kids would be better off without her, and that she has had a hard time raising them due to not wanting to repeat how her parents raised her. She is currently staying with some friends of hers, and they're there to support her, so I am thankful for that. Although I'm sure that I am not their favorite person right now.

I've always known that her family was beyond dysfunctional. She has two younger siblings, one is in a psych ward, and the other is in a group home. Probably makes most of our upbringings look like 'Leave it to Beaver'. She's never gone into real detail, but I'd bet anything there was some serious abuse going on.

She stated that she wants to go out to dinner some night, and I did sincerely tell her that I would like to do that sometime, but then she got to the real issue, and told me to be blunt. So I told her (as nicely as I could) that I just don't see her that way. Of course she wanted an explanation. The only thing I could say was that she just wasn't my ideal for a lifetime mate. I did tell her that I cared for her, and that I wouldn't mind her in my life if she can accept that it's going to be strictly platonic. She meekly said that she had to go and would call me later, and that was it.

I am just concerned that I am going to get a call stating that she has committed suicide, or has tried and is in the hospital. I realize there's nothing I can really do to help her, but the alternative would eventually drive me nuts and make the situation even worse.



hale_bopp
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26 Jan 2011, 1:13 am

I'm sorry about that. You've been supportive, and want to remain supportive, and you have to be true to yourself. If you lie to her and to yourself you will both end up 10 times as miserable.

If she does do anything, it's not your fault, not at all! There really isn't anything you could have done. Just make sure she knows that the support of a friend is there if she needs it.

Life has not been easy on her and that's a shame, but sometimes we have to think about our own problems and happiness before other peoples.



Claradoon
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26 Jan 2011, 3:47 am

I think you've done everything you possibly could for her. Please don't get hooked on her suicidal thoughts, especially how awful you would feel. People like this talk suicide all the time and you can't save her. I'm sorry to say that unless you want years of phone messages about anxiety attacks and conversations about suicide, you can't help her, you might be better to end the friendship. It's not a friendship anymore, I think?

One thing - refuse to take personal calls at work. That means everybody, unless you can trust them to keep it under 30 seconds. I did this and I was greatly relieved to have work as a "safe place" from certain people.

I think I should mention - I am suicidal. I'm okay, I'm not going to do anything.



MCalavera
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26 Jan 2011, 4:29 am

Sounds like a girl with BIG issues ... too big for you to handle.

NO CONTACT is the way to go when dealing with such people. No more giving her a chance to get you trapped within her reality. You'll only get hurt eventually.



talulah
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26 Jan 2011, 5:37 am

Wow, tough story. I feel for both of you. You, because you don't deserve this kind of pressure and her because she has no idea how dysfunctional she is. (And apparently I am, as well, because @claradoon just described me - and I thought that attitude just made me a glass-half-full type...yikes.) I wouldn't say no contact, though. Ignoring someone unstable can exacerbate a situation. She cares for you and has built you up in her mind. Also, you did agree to dinner and offered friendship to her. I think you should be patient but firm if she contacts you again. Then, consider no contact if you think she won't stop after that.



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26 Jan 2011, 5:45 am

Claradoon wrote:
Why this happens: people repeat a pattern (especially dysfunctional) until it comes out the way it should (which is never). She will not process any information to the contrary. Steer clear - you can't help her, you'll only end up on her list of people who have wronged her.


I once worked with a young woman. She was pretty, she was nice. I really liked her. Her cheerful chatter in the tearoom really made my day.

I was going through a bad patch in my marriage and life. I thought "If only she was my partner"

It could have happened. She did come on to me and I was tempted. Oh, I was so tempted.

But her problem was that she only fell in love with married men even though she was only in her early 20's.

So she kept having "affairs" with men who promised her that they would tell their wives and marry her...... but they never did.

At her age there were many single men so why did she go for the married ones?



MCalavera
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26 Jan 2011, 6:09 am

Wombat wrote:
Claradoon wrote:
Why this happens: people repeat a pattern (especially dysfunctional) until it comes out the way it should (which is never). She will not process any information to the contrary. Steer clear - you can't help her, you'll only end up on her list of people who have wronged her.


I once worked with a young woman. She was pretty, she was nice. I really liked her. Her cheerful chatter in the tearoom really made my day.

I was going through a bad patch in my marriage and life. I thought "If only she was my partner"

It could have happened. She did come on to me and I was tempted. Oh, I was so tempted.

But her problem was that she only fell in love with married men even though she was only in her early 20's.

So she kept having "affairs" with men who promised her that they would tell their wives and marry her...... but they never did.

At her age there were many single men so why did she go for the married ones?


Certain personality disorders (like Borderline Personality Disorder and Histrionic Personality Disorder) could explain the inappropriate behaviors of some of the girls out there.

You said that girl was nice? It looks more like she was using you for her own emotional gratification. I mean, what kind of nice girl tries to subtly destroy marriages?

No wonder you don't see how bad Saddam Hussein was to his people ...