DEAR DR. NERDLOVE: There’s this girl I used to like and still do have a soft spot for. She and I are very alike and we have very similar interest and a lot of people comment on how much alike we are. We also bicker a lot but can go right back to being friends the next second.
Now the reason that she didn’t want to go out with me (as my best friend overheard her say) is that she’s taller than me. I could sort of understand if I wasn’t normal height and she wasn’t taller than average but it does bother me a lot.
Now after I heard all this I tried to nuclear approach. I cut her out of my life and even got a girlfriend in the time that she wasn’t there. Then things went bad with the girlfriend and we ended up breaking up (it happens, no biggie). But then me and tall girl started talking and hanging out again. She really made me feel like the biggest asshole for not talking to her for the couple months I was with the other girl. It feels like I can’t break away from her. This wouldn’t be as confusing if she didn’t get very jealous whenever I even talk to another girl let alone flirt and she doesn’t hide it. She storms out of rooms every chance she gets. Her friends tell me she’s “territorial” of me. Which I find kind of creepy to be honest.
But now the other day she texts me just to tell me that she’s “kinda seeing” a 28 year old guy (she’s 20). And I know that she did this just to attempt to make me jealous. Her “kind of seeing” anyone doesn’t bother me. Its her trying to mess with me that pisses me off and I really don’t want to give her the time of day anymore. But I feel like she’s going to go into the guilt trip again, I’m just not sure if I’m doing the right thing anymore.
Frequent Guilt Trip Flyer
DEAR FREQUENT GUILT TRIP FLYER: You already know what you want to do, FGTF; you’re just asking me for permission to do it. Well, permission granted: quit giving her the time of day. This is a bad scene and it’s only gonna get worse.
I was almost – almost – sympathetic to her for being angry that you cut contact with her; it can be hard to be on the receiving end of that, even if you know the whys and wherefores. Nobody said that taking the Nuclear Option was easy, just that it’s occasionally necessary for your personal protection. But it seems like her issue is less “you quit talking to me without an explanation and it hurts” and more “how dare you give me less than 100% of your time and attention”.
That is, needless to say, Not Good. And the rest of her behavior is worse, which is saying something.
Here’s the thing: people are allowed to date or not date anyone they want, for any reason. If your second-hand intel is correct and she doesn’t want to date you because she’s taller than you… well, that’s her call. We can’t control who we’re attracted to and socialization is a motherf--ker; women aren’t immune from toxic ideas about masculinity, especially when those toxic ideas also penalize women for not performing their femininity in particular and accepted ways. So if she feels as though she needs a guy who’s taller than her to be the right kind of feminine, that’s her business.
But her behavior suggests that this isn’t really the case. Her behavior says that she wants all the benefits of a relationship with you – the companionship, the emotional intimacy, and so on – but without the indignity, embarrassment or whatever of dating someone who’s shorter than she is. So what we have here is someone who’s willing to throw a potentially great relationship with a great guy aside because of a height difference. Again: her call… but to my mind, that just demonstrates that she isn’t worth your time.
The problem though, is that she’s trying to have it both ways. She’s demanding access to you and intimacy from you, but also throwing tantrums if you give even the slightest indication that you’re interested in someone else. Well, it sucks to be her, then, because she doesn’t get a say in who you date. Dating isn’t a democracy; she can have all the opinions she wants, but she doesn’t get a vote and she especially doesn’t get a veto.
I don’t care how “territorial” she says she is; you’re not her territory, and you’re 100% correct, that is creepy. She doesn’t get to claim dibs because you asked her out and she turned you down, and she especially doesn’t get to keep you on the back burner until she decides what to do with you. You’re not leftovers nor are you the last slice of pizza. You’re a person, with agency. Her wishes and desires don’t dictate what your choices are.
She had her chance the first time you asked her out, and if she wants a second chance, then she can woman up and actually say that she wants you.
This possessive “I don’t want you but nobody else can have you” s--t? Her weird jealousy plotline games about “kinda” seeing this older guy? That’s toxic, that’s unwelcome and you should be telling her to knock it the f--k off even and especially if it means ending the friendship with her. If she can’t get over her damage or social programming about the height issue, that’s a her problem, not a you problem. It’s not your job to stick around until she resolves it.
There’s a point where you have to be willing to say “I may care for you, but I love me more, and I’m not going to put up with this.” Your instincts are right: cut ties again, but this time, make it stick. She can’t guilt trip you into dropping your boundaries if she can’t get ahold of you. Her access to you and your company is a privilege, not a right, and the price of that privilege is to treat you with respect.
She’s not doing that. She’s treating you like a possession, not a person. Cut her off, cut her access to you, directly and through mutual friends and move on. She can be in your life again if – and this is a mighty big if – she can act like a genuine friend and a grown-ass woman, not a child throwing a tantrum that she can’t have a toy she wants.
Please send your questions to Dr. NerdLove at his website (www.doctornerdlove.com/contact); or to his email, email@example.com