x said: I was cool with this man since college and we briefly dated during our early 30s. He went to college in a different town and I went to school in our home city so we kind of dated long distance. We never ended up hooking up or getting in a relationship but we stayed in contact over the years as friends. He’s nice, respectful, and cool to be around but I knew there was something missing which is why I’m kind of disappointed in myself now. In my mind, he was kinda like a backup guy. A few months ago, we ended up going out and went back to my place and just talked and had sex but I got kind of awkward and I really just wasn’t into it so I asked him to stop; he was nice about it and we went to sleep and he went home the next day. I realized that I don’t like him like that anymore. I am almost positive he can sense something’s changed but men are often in denial when it comes to a woman with low interest. He’s now asking to see me and I don’t want to, so I’m not sure how to respond. How do I approach this?
Hate to say it, but once sex enters the room things do change, and if it ended up incomplete, he’s likely to be a complete pain in the ass. Or he’ll drag your name out of resentment. Your best bet is to cut him off, hate to say it. Look, I made the mistake of doing this just once with someone who had been a platonic friend who made a move on me after one too many joints, and it took him almost 10 years to figure out it was a mistake–long after I had moved on assuming he wanted me to from his own mouth because he apparently did not move on from it, as he and I are no longer friends–his choice, which I feel was and is the right decision. A reminder to me of something that I’ll say here: unless you plan to take a friendship into relationship territory with the careful, caring conversation needed for both parties, absolutely do not mix platonic situations with romance. It’s like milk and lemon juice sitting in the sun. Some friendships are platonic, some are not, just as some long term relationships are sexual and some are not. At some point, I suppose I will need to go into my own experiences, a continuation of sorts of the conversation started in my dissertation and subsequent book “How…” For now, one should avoid delaying the inevitable moment when honesty must prevail so that people can move on. Relationships do end–it’s part of life. New ones emerge as well, so know that something and at some point someone new and better comes in as others move on and move forward. Helps to recognize the significance of being thankful for those times you did enjoy being around that person, however brief, in that you learned something and exchanged something precious between you. Hope this helps.