Ask Dr. Nerdlove by Harris O'Malley

My Friend Turned Me Down When I Asked for A Date. How Do I Avoid Making It Awkward?

DEAR DR. NERDLOVE: Recently, I asked out a good friend of mine (let’s call her Sara) and genuinely thought that she was interested in a relationship. We talked almost every day and related really well. She said no, and later, another friend of mine who had talked to her said, “Would you rather have her reject you now or find out in two months that she only dated you out of pity?” Sara and I don’t talk anymore because it’s too awkward, even though we had a brief conversation that we were both fine and that it wasn’t a big deal. Should I give up on being friends with her?

Caught Trying to Escape The Friend Zone

DEAR CAUGHT TRYING TO ESCAPE THE FRIEND ZONE: I’m a big believer that being turned down doesn’t automatically mean that this is the end of the friendship. Ultimately, it comes down to how you stick the landing — which requires an answer to two questions.

First: How strong is this friendship? Are the two of you willing and/or able to let this awkward moment pass without dwelling on it and letting it eventually becoming one of those fond memories you’ll laugh about years down the line? Are you willing to actually call out the awkward, so that it doesn’t become this weird thing that you both try to not talk about?

Second: Are you honestly fine with having been rejected? Can you honestly continue being friends with her without constantly moping about what you could have had?

The second one is perhaps the most critical. Guys will frequently insist that they’re fine, even when they really aren’t. It’s part of the way guys are brought up; we’re not supposed to show emotions or vulnerability, so the last thing we want to do is admit to the person who rejected us that we’re hurting.

So be honest with yourself: are you really ok with just being friends? Will you honestly be able to watch her date other guys without letting the jealousy eat away at you? Are you hoping that if you stick it out, you’ll get a second shot? The last thing any friendship needs is an agenda. If you’re thinking of sticking around in the hopes that one day either she’ll come to love you or that you’ll wear her down, then you’re not really being her friend.

If the answer is a solid, honest yes to both, then you don’t have to give up being friends. Just realize it’s gonna take some time at first to power through the initial weirdness and you’ll get back to being friends like before.

Good luck.

DEAR DR. NERDLOVE: I’ve been married for almost two years now, and my wife is great. Like most people, I have my share of “what might have been” women. During my idle moments, I think about seeing if they’re on Facebook and seeing if they want to reconnect. It’s not like I’m looking them up to hook-up with them, and maybe part of it is to show them that I’ve turned out pretty well too. I can’t figure out why this interest comes up every now and then since it doesn’t seem connected to the temperature of my marriage.

Reading The Menu

DEAR READING THE MENU: It’s entirely natural to think about the people you could’ve (in theory) dated or hooked up with and what they’re up to now. Thanks to the ubiquity of social media, it’s even easier to track them down and get a glimpse of what they’re up to.

And let’s be honest here: it’s not just to show them that you’ve turned out pretty well… it’s also about “Are they still hot?”, “Is she still single” and “Could I still hook up with them if I wanted to?” It’s all about the fantasy; yes, you love your wife, but you like imagining that if the circumstances were just right, you could get another shot at turning “the ones who got away” into “the ones I had.” It’s easier to keep the fantasy going when you know that she’s not married to some bartender, joined a multi-level marketing scheme and joined a Home Owner’s Association so she can tell people what to do with their yards in the meantime.

Why do you do it even though your wife’s awesome and your relationship’s solid? You do it because you’re a human with a sex drive. Humans are novelty-seeking creatures, and that includes sexual novelty. Everyone — guys, gals and non-binary pals — fantasize about folks who aren’t their partners. It’s harmless fantasy and occasional fodder for when you want to just get yourself off. It doesn’t mean that you don’t care about your wife or that there’s anything wrong.  

The big secret about monogamy is this: being in a monogamous relationship just means you’ve agreed to not have sex with other women. It doesn’t mean you won’t want to.

As long as this is just an occasional imagined scenario, it’s fine. It’s only a problem when it starts occupying hours of your time and you’re spending time on Facebook, Instagram and the like trying to track down your former crushes. That’s when you need to start asking yourself some pointed questions about your relationship.

Good luck.

DEAR DR. NERDLOVE: Rhere is a woman I really like, she is my roommate’s fiancee’s best friend (sounds more complicated than it is.) She and I have known each other and been good friends for over a year. I really care about her.

About a month and a half ago, we went bar hopping as part of a birthday celebration. We had fun and I wanted to ask her out, but one of our other friends introduced her to this dude at the bar. Now they’re dating, and it’s killing me. 

Waited So Long

DEAR WAITED SO LONG: Start dating other women.

It’s not going to help you get your crush, but it’ll help you get over the jealousy. Sitting around pining for her and trying to figure out how to steal her away from her boyfriend (or waiting until they break up) isn’t going to do you any good. All that means is that you’ll be missing out on the women you could be dating if you devote all your time to the one you can’t.

And next time, don’t wait to ask someone out. People can’t go on dates with you when you haven’t actually asked them FOR that date, after all.

He who waits for the perfect moment, loses. You hesitated. The dude at the bar didn’t. The dude at the bar got the date. Remember that next time.

Good luck.

DEAR DR. NERDLOVE: My girlfriend and I have been together for over 2 years now and we’re still in high-school.

Her father has hated me for the entire time, tried to bribe her out of the relationship, and just overall show disdain towards me…

What should I do?


DEAR ROADBLOCKED: Well that all depends. Just what is he offering? I mean, if it’s a car or cash money then, y’know, most high-school relationships don’t last past graduation anyway…

But once we get past the wacky CW television universe you and your girlfriend seem to be in, it all depends on what her dad’s problem is with you. You may be diametrically opposed personalities, or you may have been rude or disrespectful at some point and he hasn’t forgiven you. You may be the guy your girlfriend’s dating because it pisses her dad off, or it could be as simple as the guy doesn’t think you’re good enough to date his little princess.

And then there’s the fact that sometimes parents just plain don’t like their children’s significant others.

If you want to try to get to the root of the issue, then you can always sit down and try to talk it out with him man to man. Otherwise, you’ll just have to learn to pretend to ignore his withering scorn.

The only thing you can do to ultimately change his mind, however, is to demonstrate through your actions and your behavior that you’re a man of integrity, who treats his daughter with care and respect.

And consider telling your girlfriend to take the bribe and split it with you. You could always just continue dating behind his back.

Good luck.

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