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Is She His Emotional Support Girlfriend?

Last fall, I met a man on Bumble and we dated for about three months. He spent the night once or twice a week, we made dinner together, met for drinks. Nothing serious like meeting family or friends. At the time we met, he had been divorced just shy of a year. I knew all of this because he was upfront about his status in his dating profile. Before the holidays, he explained that he "felt like he was just going along with things" and didn't feel about me the way he thought he should feel to continue the relationship. We agreed to be friends.

A couple months later, he sent me a text to check in. We had a couple Skype chats. If a few weeks went by and he didn't hear from me, he'd send a text asking if we could Skype. We kept this up throughout quarantine. A few weeks ago we agreed to watch a movie together at his place. A bottle of wine later, we were kissing. I asked if he ever saw us getting back together and he said no, because he still didn't feel what he needed to feel to proceed and didn't want to hurt me. We had sex anyway (my choice) and he walked me to the subway. We have plans to watch the next debate together, but I'm thinking maybe I should cancel. What do you think?

To me, it sounds like this guy doesn't want a relationship with you but also doesn't want to let you go quite yet. Whatever his motivation, it's selfish on his part. He can't have it both ways.

He's an adult. He knew very well what would probably happen if you went over to his place. If he didn't want to hurt you, he should have agreed to a public place where you two could catch up over some Merlot.

I've mentioned before that I side-eye the whole "let's be friends" thing, and this is just one reason why. Often times, "let's be friends" is just a way for the person breaking up with you to keep you in their life until they're ready for a relationship - be it with you or someone else. Something similar is when you meet someone online, have a great first date, then they tell you that they're not really looking for anything serious right now. The first date was a primer to get you hooked. For the rest of the time you spend with this person, you're going to be teased with what a full-blown relationship will be like with this person if you just hold on a little longer. Spoiler alert: That day is never going to happen. Second spoiler alert: you're probably one of a couple people they're casually dating.

When someone says they aren't currently looking for a relationship, take that to mean they are not and will not be in a relationship with you. Maybe ever, certainly not for the foreseeable future. No matter how many nights they spend at your place, no matter how many Netflix and Chill moments you share, what you and they have will never be a traditional committed relationship.

Quarantine has made a lot of people face the reality of their singleness. People are touch starved. It's great that you and this guy were able to stay connected during a time rife with feelings of alienation and paranoia. Just remember that you are not his Emotional Support Girlfriend. He doesn't get to have you by his side when he's feeling lonely or horny just to leave you at home when someone better (in his mind) comes along.

I suppose your next course of action is dependent on how you will feel when he tells you he's met someone else. If you know in your heart you're going to be hurt, I would try to cut things off and go no contact. The last thing you want to happen is hear that news and start wondering what was so wrong with you that he chose someone else. That's one shame spiral you want to avoid.

If he's someone you genuinely wish to keep in your life, the next time he contacts you, tell him you think some distance is best for now. If he's the good person you think he is, he'll understand and respect that boundary. Cutting someone off you've become dependent on is hard. That's why you need to keep reminding yourself of how awful you're going to feel when you learn he's decided to be with someone else. Forget about the good times you spent with him. Focus exclusively on the pain you felt when he first broke up with you and what you will experience when you find out he's moved on. That's the best way to get over someone: stop romanticizing the time you spent with them.

Good luck.

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