Your Call: How Can I Get Her to Let Me In?

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We get a lot of questions coming in at EMandLO.com, but sadly, we just can’t answer them all. Which is why, once a week, we turn to you to decide how best to respond to a reader. Make your call on the letter below by leaving your deep thoughts in the comments section. 

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I have been dating this gal for about 18 months now and recently she said we were getting too familiar. She was widowed seven years ago and when she feels she is falling for me, then she closes up and drives me away. She wants to be friends but does not want to go out and do things friends do. We play cards twice a week but she barely talks to me (though she does chat with others). Any suggestions as to how to get things on the right track again?

— The Outsider

What do you think T.O. should do? Leave your suggestions in the comments section below. 



  1. Saying she wants to be friends and then dodging you is classic blow-off behavior. I don’t think being a widow is the reason she drifts away when you get close. I think she isn’t into the relationship, but she isn’t handling that with courtesy or maturity. Maybe it’s because she lacks the courage to hurt your feelings. Maybe it’s because she likes the attention you pay to her, and likes to keep her options open.

    Either way, you’ve got feelings for her that she doesn’t seem to reciprocate. I’d say forget it and move on.

    … unless, of course, you wish to dabble in the dark arts of playerdom. In that case I’d say your best bet is – surprise! – exactly the same. Forget it and move on. If she’s attracted to you, being ignored will smoke her out. If it doesn’t, oh well. Then you REALLY know she’s not into it.

  2. Several things come to mind –

    First, I would lay your cards on the table. You may have already done this, but if not I would let her know in clear and unambiguous terms that you are interested in being “more than friends”. This may require a great deal of courage, as some of us really hate rejection and feel it quite keenly. Having said that, ’tis better to have given it your best shot and failed than to not have given it your best shot.

    Second, I’m wondering if she has already given you your answer. If she uses terms like “too familiar”, she may well not be interested in you in the same way that you are interested in her. Another possibility is that she does have similar feelings but is unwilling/unable to act on them. In that case, you need to decide if you are willing to wait and see if anything develops, realizing that nothing may very well come of this.

    If she’s emotionally unavailable now, it’s not at all clear to me that she will be available in the future. A clear discussion around this would be helpful to determine if she needs more time or if she simply doesn’t want that.

    My gut feeling on reading your letter is that things have never been “on the right track” and that she has repeatedly rebuffed you for whatever reason. I don’t see anything in what you have mentioned that things are likely to change. If you haven’t had a real heart-to-heart, I would encourage you to do so although I suspect that you aren’t going to like her answer. If you have, then I’d seriously consider moving on and finding someone who is willing and able to reciprocate.

    None of this is to suggest that she’s a bad person, just that it doesn’t sound like the two of you are a good match.

    I’m saying this from the perspective of a divorced man who thought that, with enough time and patience and love, I could “heal” my partner. I was wrong, and paid for my mistake with an emotionally barren, abusive marriage and a lengthy divorce with its own aftermath. You can certainly love and support someone in their own journey, but you can’t force anyone to do something that they don’t want to do, and you can’t fix anyone other than yourself. Her grief and suffering is her problem, not yours. You can empathize with her, as a friend or otherwise, but you can’t get her to “jump tracks” when she doesn’t want to. Trying to force that will probably only end up in more suffering for both of you.

    My very best wishes to both of you.

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