Ask Dr Gilda-Can I get him to commit?

Her friend’s flirty overtures have got one almost-divorced woman wondering whether his feelings are genuine... or she’s being played for a fool. Dr. Gilda offers some wise advice.

By Dr. Gilda Carle, Ph.D.

ear Dr. Gilda,
I’m so confused! I have a big crush on my best friend. I was separated for 1½ years from my husband during our friendship and am now getting a divorce.

My friend flirts with me regularly, sends messages that say things such as, “You need to hang out more often, good lookin’”. Also, he is always tickling me and trying to make me laugh. On numerous occasions
I thought all the things he did showed interest.
when he has been drinking, he has stated that I need to come over, spend the night, and snuggle with him.

I recently asked him if he was interested in me, and he said, “No, because you’re not into one-night flings,” and said he wasn’t looking for anything serious though previously he’d said he was ready for a relationship. So I called him on it. He said maybe it is a little of both. The gist of the conversation was that he wasn’t interested in me (I can deal with that) but added maybe that would change. Then later that night he sent me a text message saying how highly he thinks of me and that he hopes I am not mad. Am I just crazy and misreading the signs? I thought all the things he did showed interest.
– Out-of-Touch Olivia

Dear Out-of-Touch,
Yes, yes, yes, girl, you are out of touch—but given your current “getting divorced” status, that’s as it should be! All the things this guy does do show interest in you as a “friend with benefits.” But he’s not interested in you for love. How many ways do you need to hear this? He practically told you outright that he just wants to p-l-a-y. And since you want more than a “one-night fling,” tag, you’re out! When your friend is lonely and looking for companionship, he texts you, emails you, and teases you. Don’t interpret these gestures as anything but acts of flirtatious fun for him.

So why are you misreading the signs and his words? Why are you pursuing something that doesn’t exist? The answer is simple now: You’re very vulnerable. Your divorce is still going on, and you’re in limbo. Consequently, you haven’t been out on your own as a truly single woman, ready to date available men. This guy isn’t available, but he’s the only one who pays attention to you. But you ain’t going to change this player into a partner—no matter what you do! Nor do I think you should be looking for a
A best friend would sense your current state of vulnerability.
serious relationship at this moment, given your divorce isn’t even final yet.

Now, I do have a concern regarding all this playtime. You say he’s your “best friend.” A best friend would care for you, and would not lead you on when he knows you have romantic feelings for him. A best friend would sense your current state of vulnerability, and would be careful to protect you. Finally, a best friend would set the boundaries straight instead of trying to stroke his own ego at the expense of yours. So I have my doubts about how “best” a friend this dude really is.

This is what I suggest you do now:
  1. Find other friends to hang with. For the time being, stick with the female pals so your vulnerability doesn’t set you up to misread other cues.
  2. Don’t even think of getting into a relationship until months after your divorce is final. You need time for the dust to settle and for you to fully accept and adjust to your single status.
  3. As a means of self-protection now that you know the score, cut back on the time you spend with your friend. Instead, immerse yourself in different activities. Volunteer, take a class, fix up your home—anything other than see this guy.
As my Gilda-Gram says, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always go where you’ve always gone.” You don’t want to repeat past patterns. You’re about to leave your former life and enter a new phase. Make that your focus rather than pining for a guy whose player mentality is nothing but old news.

Relationship expert Dr. Gilda Carle, Ph.D., gives Instant Advice throughout the world via Skype, email and phone. She is the 30-Second Therapist for Her best-selling books include Don’t Bet on the Prince!, 99 Prescriptions for Fidelity and How to Win When Your Mate Cheats. Please visit her website at (
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