Bewildered beau dumped in the friend zone

All Woman

Dear Counsellor,

I was seriously dating this girl for about four months. She sent me a text recently saying she decided that she did not want to be involved in a relationship at this time in her life.

As some background, we had not seen each for about two weeks when she sent me a WhatsApp message asking why I didn't call her. After a few days I called her and she was quite upset, saying that I'd forgotten about her. We reconnected and started hanging out again, but she is focusing on school now and can't devote enough time towards a committed relationship.

We talked about this and she said she wants us to be friends with no strings attached. I am not comfortable with this arrangement as I am ready for a serious relationship. I am considering walking away as I believe I am wasting my time. Should I remain in the friend zone and hope for the best? I really love her and don't want to lose her. I am confused.

For a relationship to develop and grow, both partners must be on the same page regarding the direction and destination. In your case, whereas you want to pursue a romantic path, she is interested in a platonic, unattached relationship.

The lady has determined that navigating school and a relationship is too much for her to efficiently apportion time and effort, and so decided to focus on one challenge at a time. A relationship, as you are aware, can be time consuming physically and mentally, and so you must be understanding, supportive and willing to accept a reduction of her attention if you want to share your life with her.

So after careful consideration she has relegated you to the friend zone, where there are no romantic strings attached. She obviously treasures the friendship and would want to keep you close. But could this be a case of having her cake and eating it? Would she be okay with you pursuing a sexual liaison with someone else? If it is that she wants to be relieved of the responsibility of a full-time dating partner, then she shouldn't expect that you will be ready and available when she requires your attention.

You need to have a conversation with your “friend” about the parameters of the friendship, establishing the rules of engagement and the expectations with this new “friendship” arrangement.

Be mindful, though, that the more time you spend with each other, the stronger the emotional bond will grow. Regarding your hope that sticking around may be to your benefit as she may change her mind, chances are she may well do so.

If you truly love this lady as you claim you do, then you may have to adjust your stance and meet her halfway. In other words, if she observes that you are supportive of her academic endeavours and are not putting any undue pressure and demands on her, she may want to reconsider her decision and realise that she can indeed manage both the relationship and school.

The advantage you have is that you both have had a romantic relationship before so it would not be difficult to go back down that road again. Play your cards right and things could go in your favour.

All the best.

Wayne Powell is a relationship counsellor. Write to agapemft@gmail.com. Check his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MFTCounselor/.

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