Telling Him: Not as Simple As We Think?

In what is a very strange coincidence, the day before I posted this article a friend of mine decided it was time to confront the boy she had been seeing for three months.

They had been pretty solid for that time – hanging out regularly, exchanging Valentine’s Day gifts and sharing some pretty spectacular sex – but she was never quite ready to bring up the whole “relationship” issue. She and I had always debated about what to do in a situation like hers. I, obviously, was all for laying my cards on the table. Right away. Many times too soon. She was in favor of a more traditional view: do not scare the boy off. Let him take the reins; make him come after you.

But, after a while, my friend decided it was time to tell him how she was feeling. She was smitten, she enjoyed his company and she wanted to make it all official. They were basically a couple as it was – minus the title – so what did she really have to fear?

She called the next morning to inform me that she was back on the market.

I was shocked. I was angry. I couldn’t even believe what I was hearing. The boy gave her the infamous excuse: “I really don’t want to hurt you, but I am just not good in relationships.” My friend handled the entire situation with poise, dignity and grace. I, on the other hand, wanted to punch him in the face.

I understand that there are plenty of people out there who are not good at opening up or committing themselves to someone else, but what difference is there between what my friend and her man had before, and what they had now that the unmentionable had been mentioned? Did the relationship really change now that she had asked him if she was his girlfriend? I know not everyone is as open as I am, but doesn’t this boy (the one who claims he did not want to hurt my friend) have a responsibility to inform her of his intentions?

It’s probably not realistic to expect someone to be brutally honest on the first date (“I am totally only in this for the late-night sex!”), but this was not some sort of one-night-stand. He did relationship-y things! He led her to believe that this was something more without ever once pausing to make sure she was on the same page. He had plenty of time to open up. Yet he didn’t.

My friend explained to me that while the whole thing was rather upsetting, she didn’t regret a thing. She had a really fantastic three months and the not-so-relationship taught her a lot. And then I realized that maybe neither of us really had the whole “to tell, or not to tell” thing quite right. On the one hand, had she told him how she was feeling right off the bat she may never have wasted these three months. On the other, maybe these three months of companionship, fun and romance weren’t such a waste.

What do you think?

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