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We text, email and flirt daily - but is this anything? Add to ...

The question

I'm a 33-year -old woman, and I am smitten with a man. The problem is, he told mutual friends a month ago that he wasn't interested in a relationship - but we email, text and flirt almost daily. We have so much in common and I feel challenged. Am I an idiot to let this go on - or will he come around?

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The answer

Being smitten with a man and engaging in flirtation with him in no way makes you an idiot! It is all part of being human and being attracted to someone. I think the subtext of your question however is more along the lines of “am I thinking our flirtation means more than he thinks it does”. This of course is a valid (and protective) question to ask yourself as it can potentially save you from feeling disappointed or hurt down the road.

I have one question for you - and be brutally honest when you answer it: what do you really expect from him and the relationship?

You say you have much in common and you feel challenged. I’m certainly not disputing that you may have things in common; clearly there is some level of friendship and attraction that is leading to almost daily contact.

But I wonder about your perception of feeling challenged by him. Ask yourself if you feeling challenged by him is simply an artifact of him being unavailable for a relationship.

You indicate that he has made it clear that he is not interested in a relationship. His behaviour seems to be inconsistent with what he has said, so I can appreciate this may be confusing. Did he indicate to mutual friends he doesn’t want to be in a relationship at all? That he doesn’t want a relationship with you specifically? Rather than trying to play a guessing game about where he is currently at based on hearsay from others, you may want to simply ask him directly.

You have frequent enough contact that you probably can safely interject this question at some point in your communications. Then, take what he says at face value. All too often women tend to hold onto beliefs or hopes that they can somehow change a man and make him want to settle down, even when the complete opposite has been verbalized. (Men do this as well - but in my experience women do this more frequently.)

Feeling “smitten” with him and hoping he will “come around” makes me think that you are already starting to feel invested emotionally in the hope that things will develop into something more than they have.

It’s okay to continue to email, text and flirt daily if you are able to do so while keeping yourself emotionally distant, and if you are okay with the relationship never developing into anything more than it currently is.

But, if you are secretly hoping that somehow he will change, I would suggest you curb the amount of contact and invest energy into someone who is wanting to pursue an actual relationship.

Send psychologist Joti Samra your questions at psychologist@globeandmail.com. She will answer select questions, which could appear in The Globe and Mail and/or on The Globe and Mail web site. Your name will not be published if your question is chosen.

Read more Q&As from Dr. Samra.

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The content provided in The Globe and Mail's Ask a Health Expert centre is for information purposes only and is neither intended to be relied upon nor to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

 

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