How “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” Broke My Heart and Killed My Generation. Part 6.

“Hey, we should grab coffee sometime.” – he said.

“Uh yeah… sure. That’d be great.” – I replied.

Hours later I called my best friend-in-the-making.

“I think he asked me out? I’m not sure. He asked me to get coffee but I don’t know if it’s a date or not.” I quietly confided in her. “What should I do?”

That coffee set into motion a series of events that dramatically impacted my life. Not long after that conversation we had coffee. Coffee eventually turned into lunches, which turned into dinners, which turned into hanging out at his house, which turned into late night conversations.

We fought, we laughed, we talked politics and life philosophies, we annoyed each other, but yet we always ended up back together hanging out. People started to talk. They constantly asked me questions. I didn’t have a real answer for them so I always took the safe side and assured them we were just friends.

But in my own spirit I wasn’t so sure. I was sure, however, that I was slowly letting this man into my heart. I was letting him tear down my walls. Five months after we had that fateful coffee, I finally asked him what was going on. He wasn’t sure but told me we were just friends.

I told him that was fine but if that was the case then I needed better boundaries because my heart was involved. And he didn’t like my boundaries. And I didn’t understand why he didn’t like my boundaries. So I spent the next 6 months confused. I pushed him away and then missed him and tried to do better. We both failed miserably. We hurt each other and we hurt ourselves.

I’m not saying any of this to make him a villan and myself a victim because I was absolutely a willing participant in this. I’m using this story as a prime example of a friendationship. You guys, this is one of the worst habits our culture has developed. We know that women are crazy and men aren’t pursuing. So we do an awkward dance of non-commitment, “are we or aren’t we” conversations, and we leave a string of unresolved issues in our wake.

Talk about baggage that comes into a new relationship. Friendationships rarely have resolution. Eventually one person falls for the other and the other person falls in love with someone else. But too much has been given for it to be considered “just friends” yet there was never an intentional pursuit so it isn’t classified as a “dating relationship.” I believe at the heart of a friendationship is selfishness.

I’m too selfish to give up the comfort of being wanted and important to someone even if he isn’t dating me in order to save my heart from wreckage and wounding.
He’s too selfish to give up the comfort of intimacy without a commitment. He can sort through his issues with me, avoid the loneliness, and not have to deal with a girlfriend.

Hey everyone, do we see how this allows women to fill our ache of wanting to be loved and men an easy way to get the benefits without pursuit? It has disaster written all over it. Lines get messy and blurred and we start living lives that are reproachable and filled with questions. And I know I’m not the only one who has seen or experienced this.

So here’s a simple test to see if you’re in a friendationship:

  • Do you hang out alone often?
  • Do you have any question if you have more than platonic feelings for him or vice versa?
  • Do people ask you what is going on between the two of you and you don’t have an answer?
  • Do you talk about your hopes, dreams, secrets, wishes, childhood memories, woundings, etc, more than you would with any one else of the opposite sex?
  • Are you physical with this person?
  • Ladies: if a guy came along and tried to pursue you, would their be room in your life, but more importantly, your heart, for him?
  • Guys: If you started pursuing another woman, would she ask questions about this other girl in your life?
If you answered “yes” to some of those questions, then most likely you’re in some degree of a friendationship. My advice to you is to get out.
Men – man up and scale way back. Explain why and talk about it. Don’t turn and run, but discuss with your female friend why you need boundaries. If she comes to you and sets up boundaries, respect them. Give her space to sort through it. Don’t fight for her if you don’t want her but don’t want anyone else to have her.
And girls, if you see this happening and he’s not ending it – take a stand. Fight for your heart and keep your boundaries firm. It’s going to be incredibly painful and hard. If he really does want you, he’ll fight for you. This isn’t an excuse to play games. You need to keep your commitment and cut ties with him. It’s for the best. I promise.

This is a hard and painful blog to write because it’s my own story. One that is healing. One that (thankfully) doesn’t exist in present tense in 2012. But the story wasn’t all bad. Because the LORD used this man to redeem so much of my own past.

I learned that I fight dirty. I learned that I push people away to see if they’ll fight for me. I learned that I have a crazy side. I learned that I can find a man who is willing to let his guard down and show me his tender side. I learned that I am worthy of love. I learned that I am beautiful and valuable. I learned that I can show the good, bad, and ugly of who I am, and still be wanted. I learned to love the LORD in a way I never knew I could.

I learned that I have a heart that can forgive. I learned that in the midst of immense pain the only thing I wanted to do was leave him with sweetness. I learned that even though my heart was breaking and I was mad as hell, I would have done anything to protect him and not cause him pain.

I learned to love a city that caused so many wounds. I learned to love the outdoors. I learned that I can just sit and be still. I learned that you shouldn’t throw sand “snowballs” at someone unless you’re sure they aren’t going to turn and get sand in their eyes. I learned that it’s okay to ask for help. I learned that some day, another man will know my favorite type of cracker and that I like my water with no ice.

I am a different person because of that friendationship. I am thankful for the incredible man I got to know and how God used him to shape me into the woman I am today. God restored my heart and redeemed my friendationship, because, well He’s awesome like that.

But it taught me the lesson of just how messy things get when I act out of selfishness. It taught me that I sold myself (and him) short on the plans God had for each of us apart from our friendationship. It taught me how to be a woman and what it looks like to be pursued. It taught me that regardless of how many times I’m selfish and messy and sharp and raw and broken, I have a Lover who chases me to the ends of the earth.

Woo boy. That was a doozy. Props if you made it this far.

Next up – Porn. Yup – we’re going there.


6 thoughts on “Friendationships

  1. Pingback: What I Know. | The Heart of the Journey

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