I’m a 20-year-old student at Cosumnes River College and for the last five weeks I was seeing a guy that I liked a lot. I think I scared him away. He treated me so sweetly I thought he liked me a lot. I thought we were boyfriend and girlfriend. He says that I misunderstood; he only thinks of me as a friend and sex buddy. Do friends kiss and sleep together? Do friends hold hands and stay the night? Do friends call each other “Baby”?
I don’t know what to say or do when I see him. I feel like he betrayed me and used me for sex. I know that I should not have had sex with him on the first day I saw him, but I had feelings for him. I was so stupid that I took a cab all the way to Dixon just to see him. He later said I was easy and that made me mad. I erased his number and stopped seeing him. I half hate him and half like him a lot.
Now he has a new girlfriend, but I want him back. I don’t know how to get him. I want to hear his voice and at the same time I am so angry. I can’t sleep because I keep thinking of him. I told him I would never hurt him, but I don’t understand why he so willingly hurts me. Why can’t he give me a chance to love him? I can’t seem to forgive or forget him.
Infatuation hurts, doesn’t it? Here’s the down low: Someone who thinks of you as a “friend and sex buddy” is not equipped to be in an emotionally healthy relationship because he has no idea how to treat you with respect.
The deeper issue is that the guy you describe has intimacy problems. And so do you. Relationships that get physical fast conceal a painful reality: emotional intimacy, the real basis of relationship, did not have time to grow. In its absence, one person will project tremendous fantasies on to the other, imagining that person to be their ideal partner. Our investment in the fantasy can block our willingness to see reality for days, months, even years.
Sometimes emotional intimacy doesn’t develop because an individual’s capacity for connection is stunted. In those cases they are like actors on stage, mimicking behavior that is emblematic of love. When this behavior fails to lead to a feeling of connectedness, he or she will incite an argument, withdraw temporarily or seek another relationship altogether—anything to avoid admitting to his or her emptiness and doing something about it (like seeking counseling).
Without a deep, open emotional connection, the relationship rollercoasters. There will be a few really fun highs, then lots of times when your stomach drops and you worry about tossing your last meal. In between, you’ll wonder if it was a good idea to get on the rollercoaster or whether it will ever stop. This is no way to live.
Try these rules instead: First, never assume that you are in a committed relationship unless both of you have agreed out loud that you are. Second, if you’re chasing someone, either you or that person doesn’t have the emotional capacity to be in a healthy relationship. Stop and find someone who knows how to stand still. Third, it doesn’t count as a rejection if he wasn’t worth being with in the first place. Fourth, sleep is so sweet. Never withhold rest from yourself over the kind of situation you’ve described in your letter. And finally, value yourself. If you did, you would never betray yourself by having sex in order to solicit a boyfriend.