Background: Greg is 26 and Amber is 25, and they met at a wedding brunch hosted by mutual friends. They were seated beside one another, chatted amiably enough, discovering that they shared a passion for fine art and culture. Greg mentioned a museum show he’d just gotten word about and they agreed to go together after work the next week. They paid for their own tickets, enjoyed the show, liked the conversation and agreed to keep in touch. After a few casual, public get togethers thereafter, sometimes with or without other friends along, Amber decided she was ready to establish physical contact. Greg had not made any moves in this regard and Amber knew she had not let on that she was smitten. So, she invited Greg to her home after a movie they attended with several mutual friends. Greg made a plausible excuse why he could not go, but invited her to a live art installation the following week. He made no move to kiss her good night, not even a hug was offered, and he left. They enjoy talking to one another, but the conversation never becomes flirty or intimate. Greg is straight as far as Amber can tell and so are his friends.
The Problem: They continue to date, but he always politely declines private invitations that could lead to intimacy and never extends one. Neither of them has initiated physical contact of any kind. Amber is physically attracted to Greg and has developed affectionate feelings for him and is desiring a romantic relationship. She does not want to scare him off by making a move or broaching the subject because she enjoys and values the friendship.
The Question: How can Amber find out whether she is wasting her time with a man who is not ‘into’ her romantically?
Dr. Vaune’s Advice: An indirect approach will be best in this situation. Amber could first ask someone who will be discrete if Greg is romantically interested in her. If that is not possible, then she could ask Greg if he is currently seeing anyone romantically. His response will signal whether or not she should inquire further. By that I mean, if he is, then she has her answer as to why he has kept her at arm’s length. The upside here is that his behaviour suggests he is not a player; that he respects himself, his romantic partner, and Amber. On the other hand if he is not otherwise involved, she could follow up with light hearted questions about his romantic past like, “Have you ever been in love?”, “What was your favorite romantic relationship like?”, or “Do you keep in touch with any of your old girlfriends?”, etc. His answers might give clues as to his nature and availability without her having to dive right in with, “Are you attracted to me?”, or similar. If it makes sense after he answers those example questions, Amber could ask, “When was your last romantic relationship?” Maybe Greg is still getting over a bad or heart breaking relationship and is simply not ready to get emotionally involved with anyone yet. If Amber is genuinely interested in Greg, it is worth asking the questions that can perhaps help him talk about the subject or at least get some answers for her to work with. It could be that Greg just likes her as a friend. Though that would be disappointing, at least she has a friend who enjoys her company and is not abusing her heart or taking advantage of her sexual vulnerability. Not every man is a ‘hoe’ and some of them make excellent friends!
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