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Published on February 3, 2014 by epp

I've known this guy for 11 years - we've had an ongoing friendship with occasional sex (4 times). Recently he texted me that he loved me and I realized that I cared for him. Now he has backed off and doesn't want to discuss it. Why?

ANSWERS

It's really tough to answer this question because of what is left out. Did you tell him that you had feelings for him? If not, he could have backed off because he put himself out there and didn't get a response. It also could be that he realized he was in a vulnerable place when he reached out to you but then recognized that what he was feeling wasn't as much about wanting to change the relationship with you as just not being okay with where he is. The fact that you can't talk to him about what happened does not bode well for a deeper relationship. Without being able to talk about feelings and difficult topics, a truly intimate relationship is not really possible.

This is a great question and it happens to more FWB ("Friends with Benefits") relationships than you might think.
You didn’t make it clear if you hung out again and addressed this in person, but this isn’t a conversation to have over the phone – just saying. Before you press the matter further, however, sit down with yourself and ask a couple of questions that only you can answer:

  1. If you have that conversation and you take the next step - are you really willing to go there? If it doesn't happen to work out, can you go back to what it was?

  2. You said you realized you had feelings after he said the L-Word. Did you feel that way before - honestly? When you connected those few times, was it just sex or did you feel a real love connection?

As for him not wanting to talk about it – too bad. Have the conversation even if initially it causes a fight or disagreement - you'll both get over it. Tell him that he brought up the subject and stirred some emotions and you want to have the chance to respond and express your feelings about it. He can't just drop the L-bomb and then ignore it - how is that fair to you?

Honestly, he may love you and not be in love with you - or he might. He's confused so how does he expect you not to be confused? Be resolute and firm in your determination to have the conversation, but do it with temperance and respect for one another’s emotions.

He may have said it in a moment of vulnerability. We’ve all had our moments of vulnerability. But even if you decide to just go on as before, he needs to know you have boundaries and what they are. In other words, don’t let him get away with just blurting out a declaration like that and then try to erase it from memory.

Lastly, if he is adamant about it and says he won’t talk about it at all – either tell him “I love you too” or tell him you “[I} need a time-out.” Blurt it out – don’t let his inability to address what was said inhibit you from expressing your response to it.

Good luck with this and please let me know what happens.

Sincerely, LJ Innes, a Your Tango Expert

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