Want to date flatmate, she doesn’t want to lose me as a friend. Any Advice?

xPATCHESx asks: 

My flatmate moved in to my flat about 3 months ago. We’ve got along really well, enjoy the same music and interests, and make each other laugh a lot. She’s new to the city and doesn’t have many friends here yet. A few of her recent friendships/relationships haven’t ended that well either, meaning she’s been feeling a bit lonely. I’m one of the few people she hangs out with at the moment.

We started getting closer over the last 2 weeks; cuddling up on the couch etc. She also kissed me the other night after I hugged her when she was feeling down. We decided to talk about what we we’re doing. We mutually explained that we like one another, but she went on to say that she doesn’t think she is ready for anything, and so the situation is giving her anxiety. She thinks she has recently been going from boy to boy trying to find something that doesn’t exist, because really it’s something in her that she needs to fix first. She said she doesn’t want to fill a void with me, and if anything were to happen between us, she’d want it to be real. She doesn’t want to just mess it up and “lose me”, since I’m one of her main friends right now.

I really like this girl. I think I have a good understanding of where she is coming from and that makes it really hard for me. On one hand I want to disregard her preference to lock in a friendship and try to push for a more intimate relationship, but I know that if the relationship ended non mutually we likely wouldn’t be friends on the same level that we are now, leaving her in a worse position with her relationships. On the other hand, I could try to just be good friends with her, but I’m fairly certain my feelings for her would never really be gone, and I don’t want to have those feelings fucking with my emotions going forwards in our friendship. I hate having feelings for someone who is inaccessible so much that I’d probably prefer to keep my distance from her if we couldn’t have an intimate relationship to try to prevent me from continuing to like her.

Demetrius says:

Normally I approach these questions by answering the question last and providing advice first but for today, let’s flip it. We’re gonna do a bit of inverted dating advice here. So, here’s my advice for your situation.

Don’t Date Your Flatmate

The why of why you shouldn’t date her is because of some red flags I noticed in your description of her situation. Here they are (emphasis mine):

  • She’s new to the city and doesn’t have many friends
  • A few of her recent friendships/relationships haven’t ended that well either, meaning she’s been feeling a bit lonely
  • She also kissed me the other night after I hugged her when she was feeling down
  • We mutually explained that we like one another, but she went on to say that she doesn’t think she is ready for anything
  • She thinks she has recently been going from boy to boy trying to find something that doesn’t exist, because really it’s something in her that she needs to fix first
  • She doesn’t want to just mess it up and “lose me”, since I’m one of her main friends right now

I want to be clear here and say that these aren’t red flags that make her undateable, these are red flags that should make her undateable for you.

I have a proposition for you, and I hope you’ll take it to heart:  Try being her friend, because she needs that now more than a hookup or dating.

You clearly are infatuated with this woman and she sounds like a great match for you, but sometimes it’s kinder to give a person what they need, when they need it, than to act selfishly try to get what you want. I can tell you right now that the odds are good that if you pushed for a romantic type of relationship, she’d probably agree because of her fondness for you. If you have any decency, you will NOT PURSUE A ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIP. Yes she sounds great, and yes it will suck to not date her, but dating her could have a huge negative impact on her life.

For starters, lets just get the whole “she lives with you” thing out-of-the-way. Right now, you’re one of the few friends she has in a new city, and she lives with you. Put yourself in her shoes: If things go bad, she loses a friend and flatmate, or worse, keeps a flatmate but things are incredibly awkward for the duration of your time living together. Breaking up sucks, so imagine living with the person you break up with and having them be your only friend in a new city. If things go bad, her life is going to be miserable. Yes, it will suck for you because you’ll be dealing with your feelings for her, but you can meet other women. It’s clear based on what you’ve said about her that she doesn’t have the same options to replace you.

The rest of the “red flags” really just highlight her vulnerability and only make it even more clear that you should not try dating her. This is a woman who is going through some serious issues that she needs to resolve. There seems to be some level of depression, a certain level of isolation, and she’s clearly searching for a way to resolve some issues around using intimacy to replace friendship. Right now, she probably isn’t the best person to start a relationship with, besides the fact that you live with her.

What you should be doing is trying to be a good friend, and that will require some selflessness on your part. You make it sound as though seeing her will be unbearable but trust me, it will be a whole lot worse if things end poorly. I’m not saying that you should never try date this girl, but she clearly needs a lot of time to deal with some issues. Plus, you have an issue as well: The fact that not getting to be with her seems so unbearable for you. I cannot tell you how many people I’ve met who say “I will never get over them” who eventually get over them. If that means that you need to keep some distance between yourself and your flatmate, for example, not cuddling up with her on the couch, then so be it. This romantic ideal of love that you describe, that it is all-consuming and debilitating and can ruin platonic relationships sounds good in say, a Bronte sister’s novel, but always be wary of that feeling because it’s usually infatuation. You’ll get over it, and I know you will, because until you made out you hadn’t even tried to date her.

It’s tough to not go after someone you’re attracted to but this is one of those times where doing the right thing requires a bit of sacrifice. Help her grow as a person, be a good friend, and in the future, when she’s ready to date, you’ll be at the top of her list.

Good Luck Out There.

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