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I don't want to discuss dating with a friend, and they walk to talk more.

Justmehere

Sponsor
I'm trying so hard to figure out how to do boundaries better. TRYING.

A friend keeps reaching out to me to discuss his online dating insecurities. Been friends for a very very long time. Haven't discussed this before until the last two months. I'm tired. I value the relationship quite a bit. Very sweet, very kind, been there for me in hard times... for many many years.

Lately though, I can't do the convos about dating and romance and insecurities about it. I don't want to lose the friendship, I just want to pause on the convos on that subject. I have tried to listen, validate that online dating SUCKS, anxiety is hard, etc. I have tried to be encouraging, supportive, suggested he not be so hard on himself, normalized his battles, etc. He asks me hard questions sometimes like why don't women do this or that, and I keep saying I dunno you have to ask the people you are dating. "I can't possibly guess what they expect of me!" Well of course not dude... I certainly can't either. (Sigh.)

Yesterday he reached out again with more screenshots of another profile... He purposefully picks women who don't have signifcant jobs because he thinks they'll be less judgy of him. If it's not jobs, it's that they have a house, want to travel, like to eat out, may have partial custody of kids, like to spend time with relatives etc, etc. All of it about how he fears they will reject him faster if they have anything in their life together or anyone in their family in their life because he thinks he sucks that much. He also complains very few want to date him. He's a good guy, well liked in the community, with a good job... so the whole I need to date shitty women because then I don't have to face a fear of rejection thing? He's made increased comments about how like I can understand what it's like to not have life together. Accurate, but uh... what?

It feels like a nice guy not being so nice... and I got blunt. UGH. I told him "while a few women with careers are the aholes you fear, most are not. It is awfully hard to see you beat yourself up every day about you and the way it leads you to make judgments about women that are really harsh about women. Your student debt etc isn't unique, but low compared to most, and we have been over that and etc. You pick what works for you and maybe get to know some people. I don't have anything else to say on it. Good luck today! Off to work!"

He now wants to TALK.


He told me he couldn't possibly engage the woman online with a significant career messaging him because of my harsh words... and on and on... and how much distress and anxiety he was now feeling because of my bluntness, "which is fine but now I'm really anxious and I need to talk to restore harmony." DUDE you were not going to message them anyhow! NOPE not taking this on.

UGH. I ignored it. He kept pushing through the night to talk. Ignored it.

I messaged him today tell him it sucks he is feeling distressed. Validated that this is hard stuff to sort out. I replied further, "I can't talk about this at this time. I'm going to step out of further convos about dating and romance, not just with you, but other guys too, as I need to do that for me and my own stuff. Maybe I can revisit the subject in a week or two. I'll let you know. I'm off to work. I am pulling a double shift on 2 hours sleep so here is to hoping my coffee keeps me fueled today. Hope you have a great day!"

He sent a message again saying it's about our relationship as friends. Again asked to talk.

I am not even reading the rest (the messaging app shows when I view the whole message.)

I'm now just... MAD. I'm triggered. PISSED. It's good to not talk because I'd tell a long time friend to f*ck off a little too quickly right now...
 
I definitely understand why you would feel upset. It’s hard trying to be there for someone while also trying to work through our own stuff. I think the tone of the message came across as dismissive. You weren’t trying to come across that way. You were probably just overwhelmed and not knowing what to say. I get that way sometimes too. Plus you have a long day of work while getting a small amount of rest. It’s perfectly understandable why you would feel upset.

Maybe after you’ve calmed down you can see what the message says and if it’s still about relationships, then tell your friend to respect the boundary because you don’t want to lose him as a friend but the conversation is just too much for you to handle right now.

From personal experience, I wonder if your friend might be consuming content that is making him think these choices are right for him. I know “red pill” communities will say men do not care about women’s career or money situation, while saying that men need to be the provider and have a good job and make a lot of money to date women. Maybe you can pick his brain about where some of his insecurities are coming from when you feel up to it.
 
total empathy, justme. dating/romance would my number one peeve by which i lose friends. number two would be medical adventures. i feel like i'm drowning when either subject comes up. spare me, please! ! !

while it grieves me lightly to have lost so many friends to my inability to discuss romantic and medical drama, the exceptions are truly exceptional. my greatest friendships are forged by overcoming such obstacles. if you are taking votes, i vote that you channel that anger until it dissipates, than answer that text with a meetup in your favorite meetup spot.

if you are not taking votes, i congratulate you on your healthy self-esteem. at the end of the day, the decision is strictly personal.
 
I finally read the message. It was all about how distressed they were and the friendship requires repair and quickly. What's the issue that needs fixing right away? My message about his views on dating came across as annoyed and it's unfair to him to fail to reassure him I'm no longer annoyed.

He's self aware his views from dating come from red pilled communities he has rejected and etc. He is angry those messages exist and at first it was about every woman online that says they want a masculine man... and he feels he can't live up. He also said it's about 5 percent of dating profiles. Okay... so what about the other 95 percent... ??? I live in a very accepting community where anyone can just be what they want and find someone who digs it... so I don't know how to speak to these issues to this degree.
 
Totally get how you feel.

Him saying he needs to talk to you to help with his feelings. But, you're expressing this is too much for you and you don want the conversation. And yet he insists. Can totally see why it is triggering: you're not being heard.

Firstly, he might need to manage his own feelings.
Secondly, the more he pushes the more you're going to feel "nope".
Thirdly, it's boring having the same conversations and going round in circles. That's draining. He is complaining about this and that: but where is his selfreflection and him changing to get a different outcome? I have a friend who seems to enjoy just having these conversations and doesn't want to do anything different. And I've had enough of the conversations too!

All of that is to say: sorry you're going through this.
Maybe just be clear: I'm not in the head space to have these conversations now. Care about you as a friend, but can't do these conversations.
If he can't hear that: then I'm sorry he isn't the friend you need at this precise moment.
 
He called me one day super depressed recently stating he was on a "shame spiral" and point blank offered up that he had no interest in getting out of it. uh... okay.... I just... I don't want to be the dumping ground. He later thanked me for listening... but that might have all been the begining of the end of my being able to hold space with him on this stuff.

I don't think I quite have a handle on the difference between listening and being there for a friend... and being a person people like to just dump on...
 
I called him... Mistake. EIther way... long story short, he agreed to give me space after I fell apart telling him just back off a bit. We'll be fine as friends if you just let me do some other things and not tackle this right now... UGH. Why is this bothering me so much???
 
I called him... Mistake. EIther way... long story short, he agreed to give me space after I fell apart telling him just back off a bit. We'll be fine as friends if you just let me do some other things and not tackle this right now... UGH. Why is this bothering me so much???
I’m glad it worked out and that he’s giving you the space you need.

It’s completely understandable that you would be upset. It’s very frustrating to have your boundaries not be respected and to have to keep setting them. It’s especially troubling when we’ve had problems setting boundaries in the past. You did well continually upholding them. You can give yourself a pat on the back for it or however you choose to celebrate yourself. 🎉
 
He called me one day super depressed recently stating he was on a "shame spiral" and point blank offered up that he had no interest in getting out of it. uh... okay.... I just... I don't want to be the dumping ground. He later thanked me for listening... but that might have all been the begining of the end of my being able to hold space with him on this stuff.

I don't think I quite have a handle on the difference between listening and being there for a friend... and being a person people like to just dump on...
To be blunt: You are his friend, not his therapist. This just might be an issue he might benefit talking to a counselor or alternatively taking a break from dating for a while.
 
@Friday... so much better.

I had tried a version of that, mangled it... and he rejected it, pushed. I should have just ignored it all and talked a week later.

Instead, I called that day. I SUCK AT BOUNDARIES and need to be truer to myself on this.

I called instead... I was pissed like fighing a tiger. I should have put the phone DOWN. Instead I said k, you insist on talking now, I have about 7 minutes, I am overwhelmed and exhausted, I can't give this the time it needs but you won't let it go, so okay, what do you want to talk about. I didn't yell, I didn't swear, etc. I was TENSE.

He broke down and told me we didn't need to talk then. Ah but dude, you've been messaging me all day and won't let it go... so either we talk now or I'm ignoring all your messages and blocking you for now so I can get work done first and then address this later. He said he was very anxious our relationship wouldn't be okay. I told him it would more likely be okay if he could respect that sometimes someone needs to get something else done first before addressing feelings about messages about texts of dating and romance. But hey, you want to talk, what do you need to talk about...

It was tense. I was tense. I was holding myself back from telling him off. I also wasn't warm and fuzzy. He got upset and told me it was okay to not talk.

--

I did talk to him yesterday, about a week later. I didn't bring it up. He did. He decided to tell me he realizes he needs to ask people their schedules more often (no, I told you dude... you didn't need to ask and it's not your job to manage my schedule...)

He also said my calling him as requested was my "lashing out."

Shiiiit. If that is lashing out I'm sunk. Setting a boundary, failing to keep it, offering him what he wanted... to talk sooner... is lashing out? I mean I get I was tense, but damn it dude.... He also said he realizes I have the ability to self sabatoge and he thinks it's good he's only ever seen me do it once. He wants me to work less too because that would be so great if I was less stressed. (I work less than full time, just sometimes very long days.) He was really focused on how great it was he opened up and didn't shut down, and on and on...

This is a whole side of him I didn't know before.

--

But here's the good thing, I think...
I'm learning to listen to myself about what I need and just do it without anyone needing to agree. Okay, I'm not there yet, clearly... but I didn't even respond, because why? I don't need to prove anything to anyone. He's in his own world and I don't need to join him in it to straighten out his mess of emotions and thoughts. He can do himself. I'll just know this is how he thinks... and take the space I need. Just do the thing I need to do.

It's something I'm really not good at, because trauma taught me the wrong lessons. I'm going to call my response to not jump into his stuff with him a week later a win. A TINY win... but still a win.
 
We stayed friends, for now. If he doesn’t talk about dating… it is a great friendship. Really very wonderful. Friends put up with a quirk or three, right? I have a million quirks so…

He never stopped trying to talk to me about dating others. I’ve tried asking he stop.

I get tense every time he brings it up. It’s near always a complaint about online dating or sayi by it’s all getting to him. Other subjects I don’t feel bothered about at all. This one? I get tense for whatever reason. Since asking he stop failed and I don’t want to break off the friendship… I’m trying to just not let it get to me. Let it just be his thing he sometimes says, wish him the best in his process qnd change the subject.

It’s seriously getting to me again though. Not a clue why…

I want to be gracious and yet also not step into that space with him. Not sure if it makes sense…?
 
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