Wednesday, September 1, 2010

4 Dreaded Words: "Let's just be friends."

On Monday night we took on Chapter 12 of Dr. Stephen W. Simpson's book, "What Women Wish You Knew About Dating." This chapter is entitled "Navigating the 'Friend Zone' and Seeing Other People." Remember that this is AFTER dating a girl or asking her out and being rejected.

As an overview, Dr. Steve sees this as a common issue, and singles often tend to go this "just friends" route to make breaking up easier, or to hang onto hopes that the girl will develop feelings for you. Probably not such a good idea.

Dr. Steve says, "Let's get this straight once and for all: though friendship is a crucial part of dating, friendship and dating are different. The goals, expectations, and rules are different. You don't treat a friend the same way you treat your girlfriend."

True to Cache' Connections' form, Dr. Steve says that you need to be honest about your intentions and have integrity in relationships. Ask yourself these five questions:

1. Do I want to be friends with her for the same reasons I would a man or a woman whom I don't find attractive?

2. Will the friendship benefit us both? Will we encourage and support each other? Will the friendship bring us closer to Christ?

3. Would I be interested in friendship with her if I'd never been interested in dating her?

4. Will I be happy for her if she starts dating another man, even one of my friends?

5. Do I feel comfortable being friends with her while dating someone else?

If you say no to any of these, think twice about a friendship, because friendship is not what you are after. You won't make a good friend right now. It would be hard to be a committed friend if she gets a boyfriend, and if she gets mad at you, you might be inclined to just drop the friendship (or break up ...?) Simply put, you can't be the type of friend she needs, and it's not fair to her.

So, simply and respectfully decline her offer of friendship. Tell her that you can't be the type of friend she needs, but that you will pray for her. Maybe after your feelings subside you can be a friend to her, but not now. Be a gentleman; don't withdraw in bitterness and anger. Be nice to her and speak well of her to others, but approach friendship with caution.

As for seeing others in lieu of a breakup, well, rarely a good idea, unless you both are very inexperienced daters.

We're taking a break next Monday for Labor Day. Join Founder/Linda on Monday, August 13th as we discuss Chapter 13, "The Romantic Third Date."

~ Linda
Cache' Connections


Jay said...

Dear Linda, I am not one of your members or a subscriber to Christian Matchmaking. We became facebook friends out of a mutual friend.
My concern is this, and I hope you can give me some guidance on this that will help me to do the right thing and to keep my head in it's right place.
I am divorced for 4 years now. A year and a half ago, I began dating this wonderful Christian woman who also divorced about the same time as me. We did not know each other until about two years ago. We've dated and there has been a lot of ups and downs and on and off's in our dating. We both love each other dearly. But she has been contemplating dating other men due in part to the fact that before her marriage to her pastor husband of 26 years, and that I was the only man she dated since that divorce she has never really dated anyone else. She says it's so that she can be honestly sire that I am the right one for her and her boys. I love her very much and prayed that God would bring a woman like her into my life before I considered dating again. I am having a really hard time with this and just being friends. Especially when she calls and asks for a "break" from our "break". I am so confused and sometimes feel really lonely and suspicious. I don't know if I can handle being friends and sitting on the bench while she chooses to date other men. But I don't want to let go completely either in the case that I would be the one she chooses. What should I do?
She is also concerned, with great validity, about marrying a man with financial baggage such as I have. I understand that and have given my own daughters that advice to be very wary of beginning a relationship with a man who does not have his financial house in order. It's going to take at least 3 years for me to get out of debt.

Should I just do the noble thing and tell her that I am backing out of our relationship to give he that freedom to date and from anxieties of an involvement with me? Or should I continue to sit along the wayside in hopes she will choose me over anyone else. I truly love her and her sons and my daughters think she is great too. I have always made myself available to help her in anyway I could at any time. I've been anxious over this for more than a month and am growing very weary and feeling more depressed over this.

Thanks , Jay

Linda said...

Hi Joe,
Thanks for the heartfelt note. The notion of "dating others" is covered in Dr. Stephen W. Simpson's book, What Women Wish You Knew About Dating, Chapter 12. In general, he does not recommend it, unless both people are inexperienced daters. Specifically he says "For couples that have been dating a while, such as a year or more, seeing other people is seldom a good idea. The desire to date others signifies a problem with the relationship. It's usually because it's too painful to breakup. Seeing other people only increased the potential for hurt and prolongs the end of the relationship. Either work out your problems or break up."

If you decide to continue "seeing other people," you need to define exactly what that means as far as time limit, physical intimacies, and communication during that period. I hope that helps!


Linda said...

Oops, sorry Jay, I called you Joe.