A Friendship That’s Not Reciprocal Is Not a Friendship

Q. Should I give up on a guy friend who’s obsessed with someone else?

I’m in a rather intense friendship with this guy I really like. He gets me. We always have things to talk about, and even when we argue, it’s still fun. He’s been obsessed for years with a much younger girl, and though he’s trying to get over it, I don’t think he’s doing very well at it. She’s not interested in him in that way, but stays in extremely regular contact with him, consulting him for almost everything and texting / calling several times a day.

I know the rational thing for me to do is walk away, but every time I try, he does or says something that makes me stay, or gives me hope. I’ve never connected this well with anyone before, and I’m reluctant to let go.I need advice, please.


A. Walk away is the overwhelming perspective. If the feelings aren’t reciprocal…it’s neither a friendship nor a relationship.

That is the general consensus. This woman gives you some wonderful insight and questions to ask yourself to help you get there yourself…

“By ‘intense friendship’, do you mean that you are more than friends and sexually involved?  When it’s convenient for him?  If so, then my suggestion to you is as follows:  if you want more from him but he’s not giving you what you need then you need to walk away (as you seem to know already).  It’s never easy but by doing so you will find out what you really mean to him. If you stay and continue to allow him to use you when he wants (which is what he’s doing), you will never be more to him than a convenience.  If you’re always there when he wants / needs you to be, but he can easily brush you aside for this other girl, then he’s not considering you as a woman, rather just as a girl he can hook up with when HE wants.


You say he ‘gets you’… but does he really?  If you have genuine feelings for him and he’s using you, does he really ‘get you’ like you think? You need to take a really hard look at what this ‘friendship’ means to you and what you’re actually getting from it.  Sounds like he’s getting a lot more from it than you.  And, when the dust settles and you’ve had a chance to realize that you’ll be just fine without him, and possibly open yourself up to find a true mate, you just might find out you’re not as interested in him as you think.


If by ‘intense friendship’ you mean you are truly friends (no romance) and you don’t like what he’s doing because you like him more than he does you, my advice is still to walk away. You’re wasting your time hoping for something more when you can be out finding a true relationship that is balanced and equal with someone who respects and cares for you the way you deserve.


Walking away doesn’t mean disappearing overnight.  Rather, you should have an honest dialogue with him and tell him what you want (not easy, but important).  Then, really listen to what he says. Don’t let him ‘give you hope’ or ‘say something that makes you stay’.  He’s not doing that. You’re interpreting it as that.  If he wants a real relationship with you (and only you) those words should be loud and clear.  If they are not, that’s your answer and you should walk.


Either way, in time, you will realize what you mean to him or not. He’ll either come to you seeking a mature, loving relationship, or you will have moved on and will not care.  There’s absolutely no guarantee he’ll ever come to you wanting a true romance, so be prepared for that.   It’s not to say you can’t find your true mate in your 20’s, but, give yourself some time and see what else is out there. You might be wonderfully surprised! – 40-something, fashion industry, married, mom, San Diego


This women agrees, talk the talk but be prepared to walk…

“If the two of you are as great of friends that you say you are, then tell him how you truly feel and be honest with him and yourself but at the same time. Give yourself a deadline as to when is the right time for you to walk away if your needs aren’t being met.   From past experiences, rarely do these obsessions subside.  If he is  “into” this girl, that scenario needs to play out. You do not want to be the #2…you want to be #1.  Life is too short.  There are many more fish in the sea and I believe that if he really wants you, he will come find you if you walk away.  Stay true to yourself.” – 40-something, divorced, PR Exec, New York City


This woman poses another interesting question to ask yourself…is he giving you reasons to stay or are you?

“I wonder if this thing he does to make you stay or give you hope is something that you have created in your mind in order to give yourself a reason to stay when you know you should just walk away.  Unfortunately, we girls are always guilty of not looking at the situation and being honest with ourselves about the truth that is very clear in front of us.  The truth is if this guy was interested in you other than a friendship then he would be with you.  My advice, be friends with him if you can handle just being friends with no expectations.  If not, then you should move on. You’re wasting your time on a guy who wants to be with someone else and potentially you are missing out on another guy who would be into you. – 40-something, business owner/event industry, divorced, New York City


And quite a few women think you don’t really have to ask yourself anything…you already know the answer…

“It would appear to me that he is not interested in anything further than what you have already. Take all of the energy you are putting towards this guy and put it toward yourself or a person that will reciprocate.” – 40-something, fashion industry, married, mom, Brooklyn, NY


“You don’t need advice – listen to yourself.  He can’t do anything to make you stay.  Only you can make yourself stay – or go. The power lies within YOU, not him.  Be strong. 40-something, psychotherapist, married, mom


“You know the answer already – NO.  Passion is something that happens right away.  The tricky thing is to find passion plus a man that “gets” you. I would put some distance between the two of you so you can be open to new relationships. Pining over someone that doesn’t reciprocate your feelings will not allow you to be open to some wonderful man that “gets” you as well as is turned on by you.” – 40-something, married, mom, Washington DC


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