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Dating Triumphs and Tragedies
by Nicole Roberge

Just Friends?

I recently received an email from an old acquaintance asking for some relationship advice. I was a little stunned at first, seeing as I didn’t know him very well to begin with, and I hadn’t seen him for over a year. My second thought was…why is he asking me??? There must be someone else he can go to for advice! But then I took it as a compliment that he sought me out, or realized he must be in a really rough situation if he wants my opinion, which might not carry much weight. Then again, I could be his last resort.

Whatever the case may be, I never turn down a friend, acquaintance, or stranger, in crisis — especially in matters of the heart. This man, we’ll call him, Garfield, had a situation with a lady, who we’ll call…Odie? Yeah, just play along with it. The two went out and had a wonderful time. They got dressed up, went to dinner (mmm… Lasagna… Garfield’s favorite), laughed the night away, and had a nice long talk, which unraveled itself into that of a relationship, which both spoke positively of. He went up to her place, a sweet kiss and hug goodnight, and ahhhh…the lovely beginnings of a new relationship. Or was it?

It does sound like they had a great time, but then, Garfield said Odie began dodging him in a “pleasant” way. What gives? “What accounts for such drastic turns?” he wants to know. He says now they are friends, with some hugging recently, and she gave him compliments. So what’s the deal? He has every right to be confused, but what he really wants to know is how and if he can turn this around. Is it possible to comprehend how they went from an extraordinary date, to “just friends” (unbeknownst to him) to dating again, and possibly a couple?

Well Garfield, thanks for coming to me and not Jon Arbuckle. Hehehe. I just had to throw that in there. This is a confusing situation. At first glance, I could say that maybe she didn’t think of your first date as a “date,” but from your description of it, it certainly seems that way, especially when you had such intimate talks of a relationship. It could have been that she was not ready for that and it scared her. Maybe she was looking to date and she found too much of what she was looking for too soon. On a first date, when everything comes together quickly and seems magical, it might take the magic out of it. She might not have been ready to fully commit herself to something she slowly wanted to adapt to, and thought that if she went back to being buddies, maybe it would be more comfortable and she’d be more at ease with you. The thing is, maybe jumping from friends to dating just shocked her. She just wasn’t ready. Then by politely dodging you, it gave her time to think about what she wanted. Now all of a sudden, she’s hugging you and giving you compliments, so maybe she’s ready to get back in the lasagna line with you. The question is: Are you ready?

You say you want to turn this around, and I think it’s quite possible, but it’s clear that you were probably a little hurt and confused but her sudden dismissal. If she has been a friend to you, then you should be able to talk it out a little. Don’t be afraid to just ask her out somewhere, maybe casual at first. It doesn’t have to be soft lights and lasagna. Go out for lunch, coffee, or an ice cream and a walk on the beach. Somewhere to talk and laugh like you did before. Let her be comfortable and know that you don’t need to move too fast, even if you are both looking for a relationship, and are very compatible with each other. It seems that the connection is there. If she starts to break it off again, hold on to your side. She may be doing it for other reasons — not because of you.

Dating is tricky, and it’s often hard to tell why one person breaks it off. Even if you “talk” and they explain it to you, you can never be totally sure if you’re getting the whole truth. That’s what makes it hard. Even though you want that truth — do you really? Peoples’ feelings change, and sometimes they don’t even know why. But sometimes, it’s not about you. It really is about them or something going on in their lives. Or maybe they do really like you but don’t want to screw it up but falling in love on the first night. Yes, there are those who still like to take it slow. So my advice to Garfield, and to all of you out there, is if someone pulls the “just friends” card, but you had both thought there could be more, don’t give up so easily. Maybe you just need a new deck of cards.

Dating Triumphs and Tragedies is published every Sunday by Online Dating Magazine columnist Nicole Roberge. She can be reached at

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