Friends Isn't Enough

Q: I have been dating this girl for about 5 months. We never yelled or argued with each other, and we got comfortable with each other really fast. She wrote me a note in a card telling me how much she likes me, being around me, and how comfortable she is with me. She always told me that she would not introduce me to her grandmother until we told each other "I love you." But then she took me to her grandma's 85th birthday celebration. Three days after that, she tells me that the past couple of weeks we have been more friends than a couple. I figured that was it, that we were over. The next day she calls and wants me to meet her for dinner. I don't know what to do. Please help. I don't want lose her as friend, but I would rather be with her in a relationship. -- Brian, 23

Dr. Susan: Friendship is a relationship, one that often leads to something beyond friendship. But I know what you mean: You're afraid she doesn't have the same romantic feelings for you as you obviously do for her. These days, after five months of dating, strong feelings have had plenty of time to grow. It sounds as though she's used to you and wants to keep you in her life, but isn't feeling the excitement she would like to feel. Some people hang around waiting for thunderbolts to strike them. Anything less and it's "let's be friends." Feeling comfortable is wonderful, but if you and she don't at least strike sparks early on, it's likely that in a few years you'd both be longing for a little extra on the side. Meanwhile, meet her for dinner a few times and see how it goes. If she's not physically and emotionally affectionate, doesn't respond to your overtures in that area (I don't mean sex but simply heartfelt hugs and so on), then she means what she said. It's friendship or nothing. In which case, you'd do well to look elsewhere for something more intense. Let some time pass before you hang out with her, so as to give your bruised heart time to scab over.

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