What to do if you are stuck in friend zone for a long time to have any chance at romance.
In this video coaching newsletter I discuss an email from a woman who has been stuck in friend zone for a decade. 10 years ago, when she was 35 and he was 54 they dated for a year. Then he went into rehab for alcohol and when he came out, he told her he couldn’t continue the romantic relationship and only wanted to be friends. She dated another man for 5 years in between, but now they spend so much time together and she says he perfect for her, but he won’t engage in any romance because he says he can’t handle it. She asks if there is any hope to rekindle the romance. My comments are in bold italics like this below in the body of her email.
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Hi, I’m Coach Corey Wayne and this is my video coaching newsletter. And the topic of today’s newsletter is going to be, Stuck In Friend Zone For Ten Years.
Well, believe it or not, I got an email. This one actually is from a woman. And so, about ten years ago she was 35. He was 54 and they dated for about a year and then he went into rehab for alcohol abuse. And then when he came out, he said he just strictly wanted to be friends. And so, they continued just to strictly be platonic friends. And she hoped that after a period of time that he would want to restart their romance.
And so eventually she started dating. Somebody else had a five year relationship, but this guy’s always stayed in contact and they spent a ton of time together. He does everything. He’s really kind. She loves him to death. But the problem is he’s like, I don’t want to date you because I can’t handle it.
And so, she spent all this time, in essence, carrying a torch for this guy, hoping that their romance will get rekindled. And she writes in asks, because I guess the five year relationship she was in ended, and she spent so much time with this guy, she’s like, he’d be perfect, but he’s like, he doesn’t want a relationship. Is there anything I can do? So, let’s go through her email.
Dear Coach Corey Wayne,
Please can I ask a question, I will try to be as succinct as possible! I have been following your very useful YouTube videos about the friend zone, and how to get out of it. You won’t believe my question or situation. As this is role reversal (you usually speak about women putting men in the friend zone) as I’m a 45 year old woman who is in love with a 64 year old man, who has put me in the friend zone!!! I want to be in a relationship with him and I really believe he loves me, but he will not budge on his stance.
Well, you got to remember, it takes two people to make a relationship work. And at the end of the day, you’re in a negotiation. You want sex and romance. He says platonic only. And if you are not able to come to an agreement, a mutual agreement, a win win for both parties, where you both get your wants, your needs, met, then a deal is not possible. And the strongest negotiating position is being able to walk away and mean it.
And what you’re doing is you’re projecting your fantasy of what you want this guy to be and you’re ignoring the reality that you basically, in essence, have been stuck in friend zone for ten years. And he’s been insistent that it’s not going to proceed to romance. And so, you’re projecting your fantasy, while ignoring the reality that he’s unavailable.
And typically, I used to do this when I was younger didn’t know any better, I did this a lot in my teenage years and in my early 20s, I’d get a crush on a girl, and stick around for a ridiculous amount of time, at six months, a year or two years or whatever, thinking that I’m going to finally get my shot. But the reality is, is that, I was going nowhere.
And but what it did do, is because deep down I didn’t feel I deserved the love that I wanted, I would stay in a loveless friendship, hoping that it would change, hoping that I would get the love that I wanted because that felt exactly like the relationship I had with my own parents, wanting to be loved, wanting to be hugged, wanting to be told, I’m proud of you, we love you, but never getting any of that.
And then when you’re a little kid and that’s your life experience, that you never get the love and the hugs that you want, and you’re mostly getting your ass kicked whenever you do things wrong. At some point you’re going to start to think, “Hey, there’s something wrong with me.” And so, you start to develop a belief that you’re not worthy of love.
And so, therefore you get into situations like this woman is into, even at 45 years old, and probably on some level, she doesn’t feel like she deserves love. So, she stays hung up on a guy that’s unavailable. And this keeps her out of a relationship, keeps her from getting her heart broken.
And that’s the thing that I realized when I was in my early 20s. I was like, Man, I’m wasting so much time of my life going by, and these girls are going nowhere. I remember the last one that I happened with. I was like, I think I wasted a year and a half, two years. At that point, I was like, “Pfft.” Thinking like a Disney fantasy.
“This is the one, we’re going to be together,” because you see it in lots of movies, right? Guys stuck in friend zone for a couple of years or whatever, and eventually something happens, and the girl is like, “Oh, the love of my life was there all along. Let’s live happily ever after.” And it just doesn’t happen like that in the real world. And so, typically people that stick around for this deep down, they don’t feel they deserve love. And it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
If you stay in a loveless relationship with somebody hoping that it’s going to change, you’re denying yourself of the love and the relationship that you really want. And instead of seeing the situation as it is, and remember, Maya Angelou did say, “When somebody tells you who they are, believe them the first time.”
And this guy’s been telling her he’s screwed up, and he’s not capable of it, and yet she keeps sitting around hoping that he’s going to change his mind. When you love him, value and respect yourself, and the fact that your time is evaporating here on planet Earth, the time you got left is going.
You got to do something about that. Never try to keep somebody that doesn’t want to keep you. The self-loving thing to do is to say, “Hey, I think you’re great, but I’m not interested in being in a platonic relationship. I don’t want to hear from you unless you’re interested in romance.”
And oftentimes those people, though, have stuck you in friend zone a few months or a few weeks or whatever will go by and then they’ll reach out, because they like the companionship. But at the end of the day, they still ain’t feeling what they don’t feel. You can’t negotiate desire; you can’t talk somebody into liking and loving you.
You just have to see the situation as it is. And if you love and value yourself, and you’re a high value person, you’re going to go seek somebody that reciprocates and sees your value. Because if you don’t value your time, nobody else will either. And if you’re constantly giving your romantic attention to somebody who just is not giving it back, well, that’s on you.
You got to recognize that your needs are not being met and nothing’s changed with this guy. It’s been a decade. I can understand a few weeks, a few months. But ten years, it’s like, that’s absurd.
10 years ago, when I was 35 and he 54, we had a mutually happy relationship for 1 year. The man had an alcohol problem however, and towards the end of that year, he went into a rehab clinic for a few months. I would not say his alcohol problem was cured when he came out.
He ended the relationship back then, saying we were now “just friends”, as he felt being sober made him “too emotionally fragile and unable to want emotional commitment”, whereas previously it had been a very romantic/affectionate/sexual relationship! I was quite devastated, and we lost contact for a while.
During the next 10 years, he has come back into my life on/off intermittently, but always “only as friends.”
Well, that’s your mistake. The fact that you allowed him to come back, because whatever you tolerate, you invite more of. And so, when somebody stuck you in a friend zone and you continue to hang out hoping they’re going to change their mind, then you’re acquiescing to their demand.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a woman stuck in a friend zone with a guy, or what happens most of the time with most of my viewers, which is, a guy that’s stuck in friend zone with a woman. If she’s not interested in sex and romance, you have to leave and you have to hold them accountable.
You cannot allow them to have the thing you claim you’re not willing to give them. In other words, you’re not interested in being only friends. And if you’re not interested in being friends, then you’re not going to hang out with them unless it’s in a romantic setting.
Hence the 7 Principles To Get An Ex Back where if the woman’s friend zoned you or rejected you, she’s got to come to your house to make dinner in the evening together because oftentimes in those situations, the woman tries to get the guy to meet her out for group dates, or lunches, or coffee in the middle of the day. Things that prevent and get in the way of any kind of a seduction happen.
Whereas if she’s coming to your house to make dinner in the evening, sex is on the table. Women know what that means. If they make dinner plans in the evening to come to your place and make dinner together. And why a woman that is trying to keep you in friend zone, or maybe you’ve acted weak in the past and she’s testing your strength is that it’s it makes them either shit or get off the pot.
They either agree to come over, make dinner together, or they stop calling you. Either way, that’s what you want. You are only interested in romantic interactions and that’s where your mistake was. You continue to interact as friends only by giving him your time and your presence, hoping he was going to change.
Because when he says friends only and you say, “That’s not what I want,” but yet you continue hanging out with him, your actions communicate, you’re okay with platonic friendship because at the end of the day you’re with them and you’re with them in the context that he set, which was friends only.
I have never known anyone so kind and caring and devoted towards me. I can see in his face and devoted actions that he loves me, but he will not admit it.
Well, again, this is your opinion. It may or may not be true, but it doesn’t matter. He’s not showing it. And what’s the number one most attractive thing that women love in men? It’s confidence. And so, even if the sexual desire is there, he doesn’t have the confidence to express it.
He will not accept affection, and I am an attractive woman. I think he’s scared and has a fear of commitment.
Well, guess what? It’s not your job to fix him, or to save him, or to say, “Oh, he’d be the perfect man for me if he would just want to sleep with me.” It doesn’t work that way. You got to see reality as it is. And you’re projecting your irrational fantasy for a decade now and ignoring the fact that he has been consistent the whole time.
Friends Only. Just because he spends time with you. He’s always saying friends only, and the fact that you spend time with him communicates that you’re okay with friendzone, even though your words may be saying different. Your actions communicate you’re okay with it.
I patiently bided my time with him this year, and spent around 6 lovely months being very patient with him, being his friend with lovely meals, walks etc., to see if I could win his confidence round… Eventually I could wait no longer and politely asked him, if he thought this situation might develop into a relationship if we took it slowly, as I loved him. He said No! I backed right off, have been heartbroken… I am doing no contact. He would just like things to carry on as they were.
The reasons he gave were that, he doesn’t want “emotional commitment”, he says that the age gap is an issue for him… that he ‘wants to be on his own’, he thinks he would end up “getting on my nerves” and ultimately hurting me, so he won’t even give things a try.
Well, you could have told him that you’re already hurting me by acting like my gay male girlfriend and keeping your hands to yourself all the time.
He says he “views me as a daughter” and that I’m a “very young 45” whatever that means!
Well, in other words, he’s just saying you look ten, 11 years younger than your age. I think she said she was 54.
But now since I’ve told him want, I want, after about 2 months of no contact, he texts me occasionally (“text buddy” I guess.) And this breaks my heart as I want a man who loves me and wants to be with me.
Great. If that’s your truth, if that’s your outcome. If you want a man who loves you, and wants to be with you, then you will absolutely never, ever again spend time in a platonic setting. Whether it’s with this dude of ten years that you’re stuck in friend zone with, or some other guy that is too prude or not interested.
So, you’re in love with the fantasy of what you want him to be and you’re ignoring the fact that for the last decade he’s totally kept his hands to himself, and he’s been consistent. He’s been consistently telling you who he is, and you’ve been ignoring that and spending time with him and taking yourself off the market, in essence, because you’ve got to create a space in your life for somebody to come in and fill. And this particular guy is just unwilling to fill that romantic space up, pun intended.
Please can you advise if there is any hope for turning this situation from a friend zone into a relationship?
The only way it could possibly happen is if you absolutely refuse to hang out with him unless sex and romance are involved. If he calls or texts and gets in touch, he says, “I want to see you.”
Just tell him, “The only way I’m interested in seeing you is if you’re going to come over and make mad, passionate love to me and then we can go out and get a meal or something like that. But if you’re not interested in sex and romance, I don’t ever want to hear from you again. You need to leave me alone so I can move on. You say you care about me, and you think of me as your daughter. Well, it’s like, let me move on and go find the right man for me, because you’re wasting my time.”
And how do I do it? I am prepared to be so easy going with this man, I know he has got issues with anxiety/depression, alcohol and over thinking things.
Hey, it’s not your job to be the white knight. You’re not there to save or fix him. You’re looking for a teammate, an equal, and you’re totally ignoring the reality that he’s not an equal. He’s a messed up dude. He’s admitting to you that he’s messed up.
Again, as Maya Angelou said, “When somebody tells you who they are, believe them the first time.” And he just told you he’s a fuck up, and he doesn’t have what it takes to be the man that you need. That’s the truth, that’s the honest truth. And you have to see that reality and accept it as it is.
He is always talking about how he’s got anxiety and trauma from his early life.
Again, that’s not your problem or your fault. It’s his job to fix it.
Which I know cause him limiting beliefs about himself, and he won’t allow himself to accept love or be happy.
Well, again, not your problem. That’s his family that screwed him up.
He seems to prefer to wallow in self-pity rather than make the most of having a lovely lady in his life!
Sounds like a loser. He’s not man enough to do what’s right. Well, that’s on him.
He has got his alcohol issue much more under control than it was 10 years ago.
Please can you advise. I have had another 5 year relationship with someone else during the last 10 years (whilst intermittently being friends with this older man.) But unfortunately, that 5 year relationship did not work out due to other reasons.
Well, unfortunately, if I were you, I’d put a fork in this. And again, you have to be consistent. You can’t tell them you’re interested in sex and romance, and then go hang out and do platonic things with him. And the only way I mean, I’d be looking at what’s in 7 Principles To Get An Ex Back the article and video that I did in this topic. And if he ever reaches out in the future and wants to get together, say, “I’m willing to make dinner together at my place if you want to make love. But if you’re not interested in that and you can handle that, that’s too much for you. That’s too overwhelming.”
Then, you know, I wouldn’t say this, but obviously his balls haven’t dropped. And or maybe you could maybe you could be a little mean because masculine energy does go through challenges. Say, “Hey, if you if your balls ever finally drop and you want to be a man and you want to come over and treat me like a real woman and passionately take me and have your way with me, that would be wonderful.”
“And if not, you need to let me go and move on with my life because you’re just wasting my valuable years here. Because I keep hoping that you’re going to change and you act like a boyfriend, but you don’t want to have sex. So, you either man up or leave me the hell alone.” That’s what I would do if I were you. Because ain’t nothing going to change. And if you keep acquiescing and agreeing, because every time you hang out with them in a platonic sense, you’re communicating that you’re cool with it through your actions.
It doesn’t matter what your words say, but your actions communicate that you have submitted to being a platonic friend zone in this way, the only way you will see him if he comes over and ahead of time, he’s agreed you guys are hooking up that night, and if he’s not down to hook up then you don’t want to see him and you don’t want to talk to him. You want to wish him well. Thanks for the memories. Have a nice life.
So, if you’ve got a question or a challenge and you’d like to get my help, go to UnderstandingRelationships.com, click the Products tab at the top of your screen and book a coaching session with yours truly. Until next time, I will talk to you soon.