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Burnett's Urban Etiquette

Friday, January 05, 2007

what's a guy to do?

Sorry about the lack of posting folks. Seriously, I still have not recovered from my late nights last weekend. I don't know what to say. It wasn't a booze-soaked weekend, not even close. I think it's just me getting old. My sleep hasn't been right since then. Also, this week I've been grinding away at a couple of articles, in which a couple of necessary details are evading me. I'm gonna have hire Columbo or something to help me find the last couple of pieces to the puzzle.

Anywho, I have a scenario for you. It's real, but I'm gonna keep it as vague and general as necessary in order to protect the "innocent."

So here's the deal: Grown man is in love with grown woman. He has been in love with her for about five years. When you saw the two of them together it was like Mutt and Jeff, Laurel and Hardy, Amos 'n Andy, Method Man and Redman, Yoko and John Lennon. They were soul mates. It was painfully obvious to almost everyone who came in contact with this couple. But they never spiritually consummated the relationship. I don't know what they did physically. I assume, because of their PDA, that they did what grown folks do. But on a spiritual level, a mental level, they never made anything official. As a result, they weren't really ever a couple in her mind. She is twice divorced. She is a little shy. But she was head over heels for this man and the way he embraced her and her family. The truth is both of them just rolled with it and assumed that one day they'd end up living together as a happy reconstructed family.

But then an interesting thing happened. A few months ago at the wedding of a mutual friend of theirs, she sat in the audience watching him - he was a groomsman, I believe - and she had some sort of epiphany. She wanted things to be official. She wanted the wedding, etc. She'd wanted something official for a long time but had never done anything about it. And so when his best buddy leaned over to her and asked what was wrong she explained all of that...on the assumption that the best buddy would get the hint and pass it on to the good man. He did not get the hint or pass it on.

A month later, her relationship with the good man was the same - good and simple and unchanging. So she figured he had gotten the hint from the buddy but just didn't care. And that, my friends, broke her heart. So she began to distance herself from him. Eventually - within a few weeks - she began dating an old acquaintance. Now, she appears to be in love with the acquaintance. He wants marriage and the works.

The good man is left in a tail spin, wondering where he went wrong.

I don't think it was just him. I think they both should have been blunt and direct and told the other "Let's make this official." And if marriage scared them, they could have at least formally declared their love for one another, so there were no doubts.

But one guy to another, though this may make me sound like a chauvinist, I told him she was looking for security. She had a track record of two other guys who were mean and abusive. She wanted to know that the good man she'd finally found wasn't gonna just up and disappear one day. She wanted their bond to stick.

Anyway, the good man is so distraught that he's ready to buy her a ring, propose that they elope, argue that he should get a second chance after their long history and more consideration than a guy she's just been "officially" dating for a couple of months. I don't know if that's a good idea. He's tested the waters, and she seems reluctant to let go of the new guy, regardless of history.

Is this enough of a soap opera for you?

I feel for both parties. They both feel bad. But he stands to feel the worst if this doesn't swing back his way. Ladies, taking this scenario into consideration, does he have a snowball's chance in hell? Or is it too late - permanently too late? Guys, should he try, or give up, kick himself a couple of times and move on?

Help me help him. I'm curious for your thoughts.

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  • They should definitely talk. Especially if he had no idea what was going on!! He needs to lay it on the line, but knowing he may still lose her. It's a situation for sure. Like you said, they should have both talked about it before. She should not have assumed that the other buddy would have said anything either. Guys usually don't talk about that, do they?

    By Blogger Claudia, at 12:41 PM  

  • They need to lay their cards on the table. He was going along for the ride with the normal male assumption that if "she doesn't talk about it" everything is fine.

    They need to have their first serious relationship converstation and see what happens.

    By Blogger Hammer, at 12:53 PM  

  • Holy cow, doesn't anyone TALK TO ONE ANOTHER anymore? If you want something, tell me. Don't make it public by telling someone ELSE and letting it get back to me. or hoping it will. I'm sorry. Nobody should have to have a relationship where they have to GUESS what the other person wants. Sheesh.

    By Blogger og, at 1:18 PM  

  • Life's too short. He should sit her down and tell her EVERYTHING and let the chips fall where they may. What's that saying? "You only miss 100% of the shots you don't take?" He has nothing to lose at this point. Good luck to your friends, James.

    By Blogger Christina_the_wench, at 2:30 PM  

  • It sounds like a failure to communicate, on both parts. If HE's been in love with her for all of 5 years without explicitly stating his the extent that she did NOT know they were a couple...then he needs to be beaten with a wet noodle. If SHE could not find it in her capability to discuss with him what she was feeling at the wedding...discussing it with a friend instead of him is a bit immature...then she needs to be beaten with the same wet noodle. To have your feelings hurt for a month and STILL not say anything is also sort of inexplicable. The question is whether either of them are ready for a healthy relationship. Trust (when it comes to sharing thoughts/needs/feelings) and the ability to communicate aren't actually optional.

    If he doesn't bite the bullet now, he might regret it forever, BUT I wonder why they don't know each other better than this, after 5 years?

    By Blogger Yvette, at 2:37 PM  

  • I agree with a lot of what people are saying. There is a serious lack of communication going on this relationship. I don't even understand how relationships work like that. If he is in love with her he has to take his shot, but I don't know if I could trust the woman since she is already in another relationship.

    By Blogger captain corky, at 3:07 PM  

  • I think if they are truly meant to be together, it will happen. The reality is that even though he is ready to give her what she wants, the decision is ultimately hers if she wants to go through with it. If he really loves her, he should keep trying. If she really loves him, she should take him back. If neither happens, then they weren't meant to be and will probably have to live with "what if" for the rest of their lives.

    By Blogger Balou, at 4:16 PM  

  • "what we have here, is a failure to communicate"

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:35 PM  

  • I think I'm seeing a consensus here. And it makes sense. All it would have taken was for one of them to speak up.

    However, they both know that now. And the last thing he wants to hear is "I told you so." So now, what to do, what to do.

    Buy the ring and beg, or move on?

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 4:51 PM  

  • This is funky on so many levels, but the line that really struck me was, "...she explained all of that...on the assumption that the best buddy would get the hint and pass it on."

    It is here where I think the link broke and everything afterwards went to hell.

    Never ... I repeat NEVER assume what someone else knows or is thinking. It can be the biggest butt-biter and deal breaker ever.

    Check your facts and try to make rational decision on known, good information.

    By Anonymous The Sarcasticynic, at 5:20 PM  

  • That's sad because from experience I would surmise that he knows on some level one thing: she's not coming back.

    By Blogger Matt, at 5:27 PM  

  • I dunno. The fact that she's "officially dating" someone is kind of a pisser....

    By Blogger Matt, at 5:29 PM  

  • To hell with her. Life's too short to pine over anything as insignificant as a human relationship. Why have long soulfull talks and attempt to communicate when you can have a cuppla drinks, a good time, and get REALLY lucky? C'mon. I'm buying.

    PS Lonely? Get a cat.

    By Blogger steve, at 6:01 PM  

  • Bestow shoes upon her. Lots and lots of shoes. Even if it doesn't work out, she'll look good walking all over him.

    By Blogger mist1, at 6:51 PM  

  • How would he feel if he wins her back? Is he going to be able to forgive her? Is the obvious communication problem going to disappear overnight? How can you have a soul mate you don’t talk to? I bet he already knows the answer to these questions, right?

    By Blogger wordsonwater, at 8:32 PM  

  • he needs to give it a shot. If it doesn't work, it doesn't, but at least he would have done his bit instead of just assuming like he did before.

    By Blogger Claudia, at 9:06 PM  

  • Absolutely he's got a shot - and he should take it. All he needs to do is speak from his heart, it will be alright.

    By Anonymous Richmond, at 9:34 PM  

  • I'm no expert, but it strikes me that these are two people who should NEVER contemplate marriage to each other or probably anyone else.

    He's indifferent to the extent he was satisfied with the status quo until he got dumped; she sounds like a manipulator trying to get a third party involved in their business and possibly using someone yet again to make him jealous.

    This guy should not just walk, he should run.

    By Blogger Sam Thornton, at 9:37 PM  

  • The last thing I want to do is demonize someone, but doesn't it seem a little odd that she would leave such a momentous epiphany in the hands of rumor and chance? I'm not saying she's an evil or bad person, but if she dropped the relationship without even talking to your friend about this then there are some obvious communication problems here.

    Even if your friend doesa have a snowball's chance in hell of winning her back, I would do some serious soul-searching before attempting it. If he proceeds to pursue her, then I would encourage him to strengthen the communicative side of their relationship before saying "I do."

    ...but that's just me, and I'm not much of a romantic I'm afraid.

    By Blogger QofD, at 10:18 PM  

  • James, is your mail hosed up, or do you just not like me anymore?

    By Anonymous og, at 10:52 PM  

  • I read this at work today (where I cannot comment) and my response has now already been covered by some other commenters.

    They had a horrible communication problem.

    I think she's moved on.

    If he convinces her otherwise they better get some counseling.

    By Blogger Pamela, at 10:54 PM  

  • I'm late joining the party but I'll offer my two cents anyway. He HAS to talk to her. He needs to do it knowing that it may not turn out the way he wants it to but for his own peace of mind and for the sake of closure he MUST talk to her and BEFORE the wedding.

    By Blogger GrizzBabe, at 11:00 PM  

  • I most definitely agree that there is a monumental lack of communicating going on here. Call me crazy, BUT, if the relationship really meant THAT much to her how in the HELL does she jump right into another one AND get that attached that quickly? 5 years is only worth a couple of weeks of mourning(assuming she even did)and a few weeks later she is dating already? I think if he cares this deeply for her, then yes he HAS to try. That said if I were in his shoes I am not sure I could get over that whole 'man she moved on realllllly fast' thing.

    By Blogger briliantdonkey, at 12:38 AM  

  • He needs to go all out and try. He needs to do what I threatened to do in collge once: show up at her window one night singing 'Ain't too proud to beg.'

    She had her awakening about the relationship at a wedding and he had his after she left. The when and where's of their epiphanies shouldn't matter. What should matter is that they both realized what the other person meant to them. He needs to go all out so that she can understand how he feels and they can get a long overdue discussion about their relationship going. If he doesn't, he may just have to live with the scar of love lost for a long time.

    By Blogger Michael C, at 2:41 AM  

  • Burnett, you know me. You know my mouth. you know what i'm gonna say... and yet... you don't stop me from saying it. so ... here it goes!

    So she figured he had gotten the hint from the buddy but just didn't care. And that, my friends, broke her heart. So she began to distance herself from him.
    Samuel L Jackson said it best in the Long Kiss Goodnight when he said "You know what you get when you make an assumption? You make an ass outta you... and umption"

    simple. she screwed up. She assumed that the friend was gonna do what she was too chicken shit to do herself. Not only is she divorced twice for unknown reasons but shes gotta rely on others to express her feelings. WRONG!! Bad girl! Bad!

    Here's how i see it... they must not have loved each other enough to make it known. if you love someone but fear it... then its not enough. get me? He's waited too long and now he's just lookin like a fool.

    Now lets get down to the nitty gritty! She figures this guy who really loves her, doesnt love her because he never reacted to what she told his friend. .. sooo what does she do? she finds a man and falls in "love" with him within weeks. whats wrong with this picture?

    yeah... she's really broken up about losing her chance with the fool who didnt tell her how he feels.

    now that we got that outta the way, i can finally say that there's something rotten in Denmark with this whole situation. if someone is unwilling to let go of FALCO (the replacement), that means that she wasn't in love with your pal. she was in love with his stability, his love for her, his attention to her, etc.

    tell your friend that if he's willing to take the risk of being her next ex hubby, then by all means, buy the ring. but watch her... shes gonna lose interest and FALCO is gonna be right around the corner.

    man that whole situation bothers me.

    ps. sorry for the lateness.

    Dr. Yasamin OUT!

    By Blogger Yasamin, at 7:35 PM  

  • Dude. I think I'm in love with Dr. Yasamin in that strictly platonic and perfectly appropriate girl-girl sort of way.

    By Blogger QofD, at 10:07 PM  

  • If he doesn't open his heart to her now, he'll kick himself for a long time -- real p[ain.

    By Blogger Mickysolo, at 10:22 PM  

  • This is fascinating to me. In the bottom half of this comment string, the consensus continues that one or both of them screwed up by not making their feelings known.

    But opinions still differ on whether he should just pack it in and move on or try one last desperate time.

    And then thanks to folks like Sarc, and Dr. Yas (and the Queen who loves her) ;>), there are legitimate arguments that maybe they were never really that into one another.

    So here's what I've told him: go have a private conversation with her but don't buy a ring or hire Michael Bolton to sing outside her window or anything drastic like that. Humble yourself and tell her you took the status of your relationship for granted. Tell her you'd like a chance to make it right and that you hope she takes longevity into consideration and gives you a chance to make it right. Then lighten the conversation, ask about her family, remind her with confidence that you're there if she needs you and then leave, fully prepared to be permanently rejected and fully prepared to move on if it doesn't work. Don't do all this twice. Don't do it three times. Do it once and if it works, great. And if it doesn't, you'll know better with the next woman.

    BTW, Mist1, I believe my wife secretly agrees with you. I can't prove it, but I suddenly feel an urge to buy stock in Aldo or some place like that.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 12:13 AM  

  • That was excellent advice, James!

    By Blogger GrizzBabe, at 11:05 AM  

  • I haven't read the above comments, but man, that is a tough situation!

    First of all - what is wrong with this woman that she couldn't speak directly to the man that she wanted to marry?!? We're all afraid of rejection, but it seems a little inappropriate to expect someone she's not even dating to read her mind AND to be her messenger...

    Nevertheless - if she is who he wants, he should GO FOR IT.

    By Blogger bc, at 4:18 PM  

  • Yeah, great advice, James (I finally read the other comments). Excellent! Please keep us posted on what happens. I've got my fingers crossed for him. I don't think any of us are perfect enough when it comes to matters of the heart to expect perfection from others or from ourselves, so hopefully, they'll get through this (whether they're together or not).

    By Blogger bc, at 4:23 PM  

  • You're right. They should've been more honest with each other while they were together. That they weren't is a problem entire of itself.

    As for the situation at hand... maybe now is the time to be honest. Tell her how he feels, what he wants, and that he wishes they'd done so sooner. Even if she says "no," at least he'll get the closure inherent in trying.

    By Blogger thirdworstpoetinthegalaxy, at 6:39 PM  

  • Something has been left out of this story. It took five years and a wedding to get the idea of permanency to cross her mind? Obviously, it never crossed his. Is it possible that their relationship was not as close as it seemed? You always saw them together, but that may be because you only saw them when they were together and even though they were together, they weren't with each other--they were just together. But it since it was sort of convenient to have everyone think they were with each other, they never really explained that they weren't with each other, but just together. If they weren't humping, then they were just friends who liked each other's company, but weren't necessarily turned on by each other.

    Jerry and Elaine.

    The wedding made the woman think of homemaking and that this guy seems like a good candidate for house-man except after five years she would already know if she wanted to screw him everyday--and if she didn't, then a marriage ain't gonna fix that.

    He should make his try, but he should know if he wants to wake up next to her, too. If he wasn't able to make it happen after five years-- I mean geez, how ambivalent can you get?

    By Anonymous Big Daddy, at 12:15 AM  

  • I don't think he really wants to marry her. I think he doesn't want to lose the convenience of having her around. He had all the conveniences of a "real girlfriend" with out ever having to completely commit.

    I don't think she's going to go back to him. At least I hope she doesn't. She on some level knows that he did not love her in that way - and she can't forgive him for that.

    He should ask himself why would I date someone for five years without ever making a commitment. And what makes me so ready to make a commitment now. I think she already asked herself why she dated him for five years without the benefit of a commitment - she knows he didn't want to give her one, and she wasn't ready to leave him alone. Now she has left him alone and it's done!

    By Anonymous angie, at 11:02 AM  

  • So, what happened? Did they finally have the conversation they should have had to begin with?

    By Blogger SWF41, at 1:16 PM  

  • Swf41, they had the conversation. She didn't reject him outright. But they left their private meeting with her saying she still wasn't sure, since she's already started a new relationship.

    My take: she's moved on. His take: she just has to think it over.

    Stay tuned.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 1:25 PM  

  • oh and Q of D, Thank you. I feel pretty now. lol

    By Blogger Yasamin, at 9:03 PM  

  • Ok, they may have been married 5 years by the time I'm commenting, and I didn't have time to read every other comment, so here I go! But my thought is that we don't know all the facts and no one does except these two people within themselves and maybe not even the same facts as each other thinks they know. Anyone who understood that, call 911 immediately. It seems like she was crazy to do what she did, but there may have been many things leading up to that that we know nothing about....little hurts...big hurts....etc. Maybe her real epiphany was that she didn't want to marry him but wanted to be married, even if a subconscious ephiphany. Do they make those? Anyway, I don't have enough info and neither does anyone else except the people themselves. But no doubt, if he still wants her after this bizarre behavior, he should tell her. And if he knows something we don't that he has done wrong, he should apologize.

    By Anonymous Anna, at 11:36 AM  

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