Can Men and Women Be Friends?

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If you’ve followed along, you’ve been privy to what’s been going on with me and The Experiment — the man that I was dating yet not dating yet doing dating things with. You can read the initial post here, and the follow-up post, here. Like Harry met Sally, this was the 2000’s version of can men and women be friends.

And, while I anticipated every scenario that I thought would happen during this process — we’d fall in love, we’d fall in love with someone else, we’d drop the idea and pretend it never happened, we’d get bored and organically move on, I didn’t anticipate what actually happened.

The Experiment pulled the plug.

Done. Finished.

The reason he pulled the plug has everything to do with him and nothing to do with me or another woman, which technically tends to make these conversations easier. But while I was getting served the “It’s not you it’s me,” line, a part of me we was thinking this. And while we technically weren’t dating, it felt kind of like a break-up. And break-ups suck do-do. lets-break-up

Yet even though I knew what we were getting into from the beginning, even though we were blatantly open and honest every step of the way, even though I was uncertain at times about my actual romantic feelings for him, I was still filled with a mix of emotions vacillating between anger and sadness that had me unsure of what to do afterwards. Angry that I had been possibly fed another story, sad because I lost a comfortable intimacy that was for all intended purposes and for an indefinite amount of time, over. (Translation: I lost my non-committal booty call and that’s just grounds for tears.)

Now, I’ll admit to stepping back and asking myself if I had eluded myself this whole time with this “Experiment.” Did I really want more from him? But when I listened to the voice inside, I could admit with certainty that I wasn’t falling in love with him in the way that I needed to anticipate a real romantic transition and admittedly, I was using him. We were using each other. Could I fall in love with him? Maybe, but is maybe good enough??? I had begun, however, to fall for what we had, the physical intimacy and our growing friendship. These are moments that start to define a relationship and they are easy to fall for, even when you may not be falling for each other.

He wanted to maintain a friendship, and against my usual inclinations I have chosen to transition the relationship rather than run from it, realizing that our time together served its purpose.

Do I miss him? I did in the beginning. Now, not so much, and we are back to chatting as friends, me dishing my dating stories. As more time has passed, I realize that we were solely suited to be friends at this point in our lives, and I’m okay with that.

The Experiment became a habit and like it takes 21 days to create one, I’m hoping in theory he will take 21 days to break. So far, my theory is working out.

He Said

Here’s the key to what you just read: “I know with certainty that I wasn’t falling in love with him.”

With certainty’ and I was right there with her. There are a lot of huge positives in my relationship with Brandy: we get along great and share mutual respect; we share music with each other and bounce ideas back and forth. But, we both knew that this was a relationship that wasn’t going to end in love.

When facing that kind of clarity, the ‘break up’ was an obvious necessity. We offered each other emotional support for a good three months. And the fact of the matter is, we still share friendly affection. If we were to stay together as we were, it would only end under worse conditions, likely much worse.

I ended things because I wanted to retain her friendship. I can live fine and happy without her as a lover; this city is full of lovers. But friends, well, friends can be much harder to find.

 

She Said

While this Experiment is over, the hypothesis still stands? Can men and women be friends once the line of intimacy has crossed. Maybe, but in the laboratory of men and women, it usually tends to end up like this:

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And ain’t nobody got time for that.

PS. Do yourself a favor and read this blog.

PPS. This does not preclude me from doing another experiment. #thisiswhyimsingle #writerproblems

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