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Liking and Relationships
I have this general question about what "liking" means in the context of a romantic relationship - as in, if a girl asks if you like her, what are you supposed to base your response off of?

It seems like some of the girls I've recently been interested in think that to "like" someone means to want to get to know them better, to date them, even to want to enter into a committed relationship with them. However, I believe that I do like them - I enjoy being around them better than most other people, I am attracted to them in that way, but sometimes, despite that liking, it's hard for me to choose them exclusively of everybody else - I believe it's very possible to like multiple girls at once, and, sometimes, a girl that I like just wouldn't be right for me--we wouldn't be compatible.

So my question is, does "liking" someone necessarily mean that you would be interested in being in a relationship with them? And if there is space between liking someone and wanting to pursue a relationship with them, what do you do with that liking? (i.e. should you just pretend it doesn't exist if the person isn't interested in non-relationship flings?) More practically speaking, there is a girl whom I like, but don't think a relationship would work with, and I don't know how to act around her (I already know that she likes me back, but doesn't think a non-relationship fling would work). I'm finding it difficult to ignore that liking as time passes - it has almost become a question of passion versus rationality, if you know what I mean.

I would be grateful for any advice you can give me.
It's a delicate question -- because you're right, many people would take a declaration of "liking" as a declaration of interest. It's mild, little butterflies in the stomach, nothing yet serious but all promise. I do think that if you told a girl (or a friend of this girl) that you like her, she'd expect that you were testing the waters for a next move. Or she might be doing the same. This doesn't necessarily mean that she thinks you'd be ready to sign up for an exclusive relationship, but she'd probably think you'd find a way to spend time alone with her.

But I have to say I find your response charming -- and if you found the right way to say it, I'd guess you could deliver it well. I'm imagining you meeting her gaze after she's asked, waiting to let the quiet settle, and explaining: You simply find her magical -- completely beautiful -- you feel it without turning around when she enters a crowded room. You don't want anything from her, and you don't promise anything, by making this statement -- you reserve the right to assume it was never said -- but nonetheless she asked, and you've answered her truthfully.
Who wouldn't be thoroughly flattered?

[Ok, ok, who's going to tell me men don't talk like this? :-) ]
As it seems I find myself in a somewhat similar (practically identical) situation I feel I should respond if only to try and capture my own feelings.

I think one result of the sexual openness we as a culture experience today is that people are more hesitant to enter a committed relationship. In the sample of my own experiences and those of my friends, it's normally the male who resents having the fling evolve into a relationship. In many cases I've seen this ruin all cases of a relationship, from fling bordering on committal back down to nothing at all. And it's all so silly because what it comes down to is only a word. But we give so much meaning to that word we hardly even know what it means anymore. (It's actually a couple words I guess: boyfriend, girlfriend, dating).  I don't have a thesis on why this occurs but I think it has something to do with the availability of a wide pool of members of the other sex to like. And because everything and everyone is open it seems that around the corner there is already someone else. But this is a dangerous game. Because if you stay in the perpetual fling then there is no opportunity to learn and gain some emotional breadth, a breadth that will continue to grow from relationship to relationship.

Your line about passion versus reality hits close to home. My personal case started exactly as yours and has developed at times steadily and times like wrestling with a thorn bush. It seems in my own circumstance I've opted for passion over reality and in the way things are going it's as if I can already anticipate every crack and looming crumble that awaits. Because right now I am sitting in the meridian and it feels terrible. I'm sitting in between the passion and the reality. And the longer I sit here the more reality will win over and the passion will erode. So I'm afraid there are only two options for you. To continue with the liking in the most polar way or to drop out completely. Warning: DO NOT SIT IN THE MIDDLE. Because it will be ruined and there will be no passion soon. It's unfair to the person who already has the confidence to move past the meridian. And in being unfair to her you're going to kill all sense of the liking.

That being said I am not entirely sure how to decide whether or not I can be in a solid relationship right now. There's my brain and reality that is giving me all these warning shots but everything else just screaming at me to get on with it, do it and be happy and not worry until you're no longer happy and you do worry and then it'll probably be time to get out.

It's different for us being young but because of that I'd say just not worry about it and not think about it and hopefully it will be natural and the decision will be obvious and hardly a decision at all. My problem is I turned all of this into a binary when really it's just a guy and a girl who make each other laugh and feel good.
Mia: I really like the scenario that you imagined; it hints at the true appreciation of beauty - pure admiration removed from any questions about the consequences implied by finding someone beautiful. Funnily enough though, this girl would likely respond with a "so what?", wanting me to tell her how that would actually impact how we interact.

Morgan: I agree with a lot of what you say. I've also noticed that the increased frequency of hook-ups and one-night-stands seem to make people more averse to entering relationships. I wonder whether only relatively younger people are encountering the problem that we're discussing. You say that I have two choices - go all the way or drop out completely, but I suspect that if I were to commit myself to a relationship, I would end up stuck in the middle because from the start I didn't truly believe the relationship could work out (this actually happened to me in the past, and I agree, it is NOT fun). I do truly wish it could just be a guy and girl who enjoy each other's company because that's all it really comes down to.
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Latest Post: July 31, 2010 at 6:31 AM
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