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We have unfinished business!

I’m obsessed with a family friend but she won’t talk to me. What can I do?

Our elder has some blunt advice: Drop it now before she takes out a restraining order.

Dear EWC

I have been going through this situation for nearly a year now with this family friend of mine who is my brother in law’s sister. Long story short, last year she messaged me and said she wasn’t interested and hoped we could still be friends, then whenever she was around me she would ignore me and look down at her phone. Then a few months down the line she blocked me and my father’s account on Facebook. When I honestly did nothing wrong at all, and neither did my dad. Then a month after she brings a guy friend over to my sister’s house. Her brother and I reckon it was a ploy to get me to move on and stop having feelings for her. Then her brother asked her why she couldn’t at least consider one movie dinner date with me. She said not now, not ever. She said she feels awkward around me and feels uncomfortable around my family because she thinks my family reckons that she’s not giving me a chance. My mum actually went up to her quite recently and gave her a big hug and said I don’t want you feeling uncomfortable around me.

But clearly I’ve taken this very personally and I don’t reckon I’ll ever get over it. I have a very different attitude to things in life now since all this shit occurred. I have also lost a shit ton of weight since the rejection, got a shorter haircut and started working out earlier this year and now I’m lifting over 150-pound weights. I’ve changed quite a bit since last year. I’m basically a new man. I’m more confident and, well, sorta arrogant. I’ve noticed a real change and so have my family. I never worked out ever; I was fat and had man boobs. Now I’m close to getting a six-pack! But working out from the start was what kept my mentality in check over her not liking me. I still get very upset over it and use it in my workouts. I am a persistent son of a bitch too and I still honestly reckon me and her have unfinished business! I feel I should have a talk with her one on one and get us to let things out so we understand each other at least. I mean she’ll be part of the family until I die. She’s part of the family and I can’t do anything to get her to go away for good. So I just want to ask what should I do about this situation? What would you do if you we’re in my shoes?

Nick replies

I’m going to be blunt: drop this obsession of yours now before it goes any farther.
You have added up a number of pieces all wrong. First, if I were this girl and read your email, I’d be looking to get a restraining order against you. She has made it clear, both to you and to her brother, that she has no intentions and has no interest in dating you. It’s your fantasy, not hers. Most likely she is feeling, if not a little bit creeped out, then at least disrespected. She also is feeling ganged upon. Her brother has put his nose in her personal business; your mum has told her not to feel unwelcome, etc. That’s a full-court press if ever there were one. That would make me run the opposite direction, for sure.

As much as you are lusting after her and fixated only on her, you can’t force her to reciprocate. Think of it like this: I bet you can’t explain why you are stuck on her. Crushes are like that. They are fueled by your imagination because the relationship is something you want but don’t actually have. So your imagination concocts all kinds of reasons why the two of you are meant to be together or would be perfect together. So you come up with all kinds of reasons why this simply has to happen. For instance, you say she will be part of your family until you die. Not really. Her brother is part of your family now. He chose to marry into your family. She didn’t. In reality, she’s not part of your family.

A second example is your statement that “I feel I should have a talk with her one on one and get us to let things out so we understand each other at least”. There is nothing left to understand. She understands you want her. You are failing to understand (or really, to accept) that she doesn’t want you. Forcing her to sit down and talk about any of this will only make you more obsessed with her and make her more convinced that she feels creeped out.

She first offered to be your friend when you expressed interest in something more romantic with her. She now has withdrawn that offer because she probably has realized that any friendly chit chat will only mislead you into wanting romance. So in order not to mislead you and to protect herself, she has blocked you.

I’m glad you have gotten your body in better shape and have shed all that extra weight. I applaud you for taking time for yourself and for doing so. However, all these means is that you have physically changed. When you wrote, “I’ve changed quite a bit since last year. I’m basically a new man. I’m more confident and, well, sorta arrogant,” I think you are confusing an improved physique with an improved, more mature character. They aren’t the same. For example, becoming more arrogant because you almost have a six-pack is not the mark of maturity. Not accepting that she’s not interested in dating you is not a mark of maturity.

I realize I’m being blunt but I’m not doing so to hurt you. I’m doing so because some alarm bells went off when I read your letter. You are slipping into obsession and obsessing over someone never, ever ends well. I’m not saying you will go all Fatal Attraction on her but you could do serious damage to her emotionally, make her frightened to ever be in your presence, and if she feels your mum or any other family member (like your dad) is ganging up on her, she most likely will want absolutely nothing to do with her own brother and your sister eventually. That would be ashamed. She could be driven to involve the police even if you push and push.

In addition to this becoming an unhealthy fixation for you, it also is cutting you off from noticing other young women who may be interested in a relationship with you. It is making you blind to them which is kind of sad because you may be missing out on someone who is longing for you and would love you as much as you want to be loved.

You ask what you should do about this situation and what I would do if I were in your shoes. Honestly, I would walk away. I would respect her wishes. I would heal the hurt you are feeling (losing a crush hurts, we’ve all been through it) give yourself to delete her from your life and move forward. I would not involve her brother, your mum, your dad or anyone else in pursuing her or running interference in asking her to give you a chance.
You may need some reinforcement to shake loose from thinking about her since this obsession has been going on for so long. You may want to see a counselor for a few sessions so you gain the tools to be able to move on. You may want to try a couple of reward-punishment tricks to get her out of your head. For instance, I remember one young woman trying to get over a boyfriend who didn’t want her any longer. She wore a wide rubber band on her wrist and snapped it really hard until she actually said, “Ouch,” out loud, every time she started missing him. After a few weeks, her brain was rewired, anticipated the “ouch” and shut down the thoughts before they could fully happen.

I know another young man in Australia who couldn’t get over an ex so he forced himself to drop and do ten push-ups, plus go out and walk for a mile, every time he began fantasizing about getting her back. He wrote that after several nights of having to get out of his bed at 1 am to do push-ups and walk in the dark, he began to forget about obsessing over her.
You have to let her go. I hope my bluntness has helped you understand why. I also hope I’ve given you some pointers on how you can begin to do so. I don’t want this to end badly for her or for you. You seem like a nice young man who is going through the pain and throes of a serious crush. But you need to handle it as maturely as you approached getting your body in better shape so that you don’t continue to feed this obsession and do yourself some serious harm.

I’m glad you contacted EWC. Sometimes the advice you get is not what you want to hear but I’ve found in my life that the best advice I’ve received over the years has been from two very close friends who have never been shy about telling me what I needed to hear for my own good, not what I wanted to hear at the time.

Letter #: 444303
Category: Dating/Relationship

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