I’m completely in love with my roommate and have been for some time. I moved in with him believing that he would never feel the same way about me and that was okay since I knew that going in. Lately, he has started telling me he’s jealous whenever I go out with other guys, but that he can’t “clearly evaluate the way he feels about me” because his life is such a mess right now. I asked him if I was just supposed to wait around until he could “evaluate” everything, but he told me that he realized he couldn’t ask me to do that. I’ve come to realize that for men its all about timing and for women its about finding the right man regardless, but… don’t you just know how you feel about someone? Is it really about timing or am I just the ‘fill in’ until he finds someone else? I guess the real question is…. should I wait until his life is sorted out or should I get out now before more feelings are involved?
Kelly in New York
Love is like pornography; you know it when you see it. I’m pretty suspicious of this guy who says he can’t “clearly evaluate” the way he feels about you? Trust me, a guy knows when he likes a girl. Saying, “I’m jealous when you go out with other guys, but I don’t know if I want you” is simply a way of marking territory. It’s like licking a piece of cake so no one else will eat it, so you can eat it later. He’s trying to put you on a lay-away plan, or a lay-you-later plan.
So I think he’s a loser. But, for the sake of argument (and to fill up some paper space), let’s say he’s telling the truth. Let’s say he’s some kind of emotional moron who can’t tell if he has feelings for someone. Then, my question to you is, “why do you want to be with an emotional moron?”
Let’s say this guy is really, really deep. He likes to read Rilke and he had a complicated relationship with his mother. He really does like you, but hasn’t sorted out other issues. Maybe he’s afraid he wouldn’t be good for you (isn’t that sweet). Maybe he’s afraid that if you guys got together, he’d lose himself and become emotionally dependent on you (yeah, that’s the ticket). He could be struggling with profound philosophical issues – “The Buddha left his wife to pursue enlightenment, maybe I need to be alone, so I can reach enlightenment.”
Do any of these possibilities sound like your guy? Let me suggest one other possibility. He likes you. Thinks you’re cool. Considers you a long-term relationship option. But, he wants to shop around a little more before he makes up his mind. When a guy tells someone that he needs time to work out his feelings, 99 percent to the time, he means, “I’m pretty sure I like you, but I think there’s a decent chance that I can do better.”
The bottom line is this – when you like someone, you grab onto them. I think it’s true for men and women. You say that, for men, it’s all about timing. On one level that’s true. A man doesn’t settle down because he’s met the right woman, he settles down because he’s become the right man. Whatever else is happening, it sounds like this guy hasn’t become who he’s going to be yet, so I suggest you move out and move on.