A few years back, me and a close friend found ourselves falling into something deeper. Naturally, we wound up in some sort of a romantic relationship that neither of us could really handle. It didn’t end well. We were both very hurt, and we didn’t speak for years. During that time, I always wished things had gone differently. I really hoped we could be friends again. I loved him, and we should be able to talk. I recently reached out and was surprised that he responded. He even surprised me further by suggesting that we get lunch sometime. My gut tells me he won’t make the effort to make it happen, but he’s just one of those people. I’ve had the impulse to text him and follow up about it a few times but I’m very nervous. What should I do? Is the ball in my court? Is having lunch with this person even a good idea?
MG in NY
The short answer
It pains The Blackbelt to not be able to provide a concrete and decisive answer when his readers face an emotional fork in the road. But eventually, only you can decide whether to push the send button on the text that’s probably already written out in your head.
What The Blackbelt can do here is add a little clarity and perspective to help you make a decision.
Choice #1: Already bruised, little to lose
Even if we humans hung around the planet around for ~500 years instead of ~80, life would still be too short to pass up opportunities for important reconnections and reconciliations like this. It’s understandable that you would have some initial apprehensions about burying the hatchet with him. There’s a lingering cloud of emotion that blurs your decision-making process in situations where he’s involved.
But from the outside looking in, this seems to be a nice opportunity to ease your mind about a matter that has troubled you for a long time. You don’t have much to lose here. Your current relationship with him is already somewhere between non-existent and rocky, so how much damage could this really do?
Don’t forget – you’ve both already been able to at least reach out to one another! The Blackbelt thinks the potential for painful wound re-opening is low.
Choice #2: Make like Rogaine and discard the flaky
We all want to be the reason that our romantic counterparts change their ways. We want a front-row seat to the person going out of their way to act in a special manner towards you. He’s a bad texter? You want him to blow up your phone incessantly. She’s a staunch conservative? You want her to sit through a full episode of Rachel Maddow without complaining.
Your sentence about this guy being one of those people who doesn’t go out of his way to make things happen says a great deal about your attraction for him. For you, he was the shiny red bicycle in a doorless toy store with impenetrable windows.
The Blackbelt may be overreading a bit here, but consider this: If your attraction toward him was primarily the product of you wanting to achieve him – as one may gather about your uneasiness about him following through on his lunch plans – then maybe he was never the right guy for you.
It’s better to love someone for who they are than for what they symbolize in your head. Perhaps you can let the lessons you learned serve as all the reconciliation you need. You’re a better, stronger person now. March forward with a smile onto the new, brighter stages of your love life that await you.
And remember – those who don’t make time for you will never be worth your time.