Can Women Be Put in the Friend Zone?

Can Women Be Put in the Friend Zone?

I have a three-year friendship with a male friend that I do most everything with and talk daily. We are not sexual, although we sleep together sometimes and can hang out and talk for hours. No, he is not gay. He is 55 (I am 53) and never married and had a rough childhood…his excuse for his intimacy issues. When I say I am in love with him his response is, “you just think you love me”. What does that mean? I feel that he is my best friend and is there for me unconditionally. How can I keep his friendship and accept that he is just a friend! I don’t want to give him up but find that I can’t date because our emotional relationship is so deep. There is no room for someone else but I miss physical love and a true partner.

Jackie

Oy, Jackie.

It’s a rare email that gets me to bust out my Yiddish but this one certainly qualifies.

Let’s first start by flipping this entire thing over and viewing it from a different perspective.

Why did he say, “You don’t really love me”? Because he doesn’t want you to love him, that’s why.

Think back to another time in your life when you were best friends with a guy. Nice guy. Sweet guy. You could bare your soul to him and he’d never judge you at all. Except the entire time you were best friends, you sort of ignored one big thing about him: he never wanted to be “just friends” with you. He was in love with you. The only reason he accepted being “just friends” was because that was the only way he could spend time with you. The second he opened his mouth and told you he was in love with you was the second you ran away crying, angry that he ruined your perfectly good friendship (with which he was never entirely satisfied). Things were never the same between you after his confession, and he probably slunk away to be friend zoned by someone new, unable to learn his lesson yet again.

You’re in the friend zone, Jackie. And while guys knowingly put themselves in the friend zone just to have access to attractive women, somehow, you didn’t even realize that you were parked there. Because it’s so common for women to find themselves in this predicament, I’ve even coined a term for you:

The Emotional Booty Call.

Your best guy friend is getting all the benefits of having a girlfriend, without the sex, and without any of the commitment and drama that comes with regular relationships. You talk every day, you hang out, you fall asleep at his place, you feel safe, heard and understood around him… it’s PERFECT. For him. He doesn’t have to let you into his heart. He doesn’t have to buy you dinner. He doesn’t have to let you see his flaws within a relationship. He doesn’t have to ever break your heart down the road. All he has to do is be your best friend in a low-stakes platonic relationship. He gets all his needs met – and is still free to date other people. Pretty sweet deal for him, huh? Not so great for you.

The Emotional Booty Call: Your best guy friend is getting all the benefits of having a girlfriend, without the sex, and without any of the commitment and drama that comes with regular relationships.

If you’re left to your own devices, you’ll do what “friend zone” people have done for time immemorial – continue to be in love with your best friend, who has absolutely no romantic interest in you. You’ll spend years pining for someone who is never going to marry you, and pass up the opportunity to meet excited available men, all because you don’t want to lose your friendship. But it’s your friendship that’s causing you this pain, and it’s your friendship that’s preventing you from finding true love.

That’s why you have to tell your best friend the truth: you’re in love with him, and because of that, you can’t be friends anymore. Yep, just like a break up. If he can’t see himself romantically with you, you’re going to have to cut him off entirely – not because you don’t care, not because you won’t miss him, but because at this time, you want to focus your energies on finding a life partner. He’ll protest, of course, but he really has no leg to stand on. If he loves you, he should want you to find the man you deserve.

You just have to have the guts to go out and find him, instead of waiting for your best friend to suddenly change his tune about you after three years.

Oh, and why did he say, “You don’t really love me”?

Because he doesn’t want you to love him, that’s why.

4
5

Join 8 Million Readers

And the thousands of women I've helped find true love. Sign up for weekly updates for help understanding men.

I hate spam as much as you do, therefore I will never sell, rent, or give away your email address.

Join our conversation (23 Comments).
Click Here To Leave Your Comment Below.

Comments:

  1. 1
    Karmic Equation

    Men don’t friendzone women they’re attracted to, the same way that women don’t friendzone men they’re attracted to.
     
    So Jackie, even though it hurts to have someone you’re in love with not be in love with you back, you need to accept that he’s not attracted to you. That should galvanize you into dating other men and letting him go romantically in your heart and mind.
     
    We women deserve to have men hunger for us, physically as well as emotionally. Don’t be satisfied with being a man’s emotional security blanket, if you’re looking for romantic love.
     
    That said, there’s a LOT to be said for having a MAN be our bff. I have one of those. I don’t think you should give that up. Because finding a bff like that, male OR female is extraordinarily difficult.
     
    More difficult, I daresay, than finding a man who hungers for us physically and emotionally.
     
    If you can let go the romantic dreams, you can have the best of all worlds. A great bff … and a man who wants to tear your clothes off and hungers to see you every day.
     
    They don’t have to be the same man.

    1. 1.1
      Alex

      I cannot speak for all men, but for my own part, I have certainly friendzoned women who I was attracted to. Whether to pursue someone romantically has never seemed so cut and dry to me so as to be boilable down to just attraction. Attraction waxes and wanes and in its waxing and waning there is always something that is felt mutually, whether it’s mutual interest, disinterest, or just empathy, it is mutual. 

      I don’t have any place advising Jackie, but were I in her situation– and I’ve been there before, many years ago with a woman I loved and still love for better or worse– I would ask myself if I am feeling self-possessed. To love someone is to let them change you, let them make you better. Perhaps the man in this story is too self-possessed for romance to work in this situation, but perhaps it is Jackie’s self-possession which is the barrier for him. 

      If the golden rule is “treat others the way you’d like to be treated,” then before I asked a lover for unconditional affection, I ought to be prepared to give it and give it unambiguously. I think that to do this nearly always has a price; individuality is, on some level, willingly abandoned. A nation of two is, after all, but a single nation. 

      1. 1.1.1
        Sandy M

        I am a woman who has just been freshly placed into the “friend zone”, and am still trying to catch my breath. I appreciate this perspective, Evan, and from those who have replied. And thank you, Alex, for stating that you have friend-zoned women whom you have been attracted to. I would hate (cringe actually), to think the attraction in my relationship has been one-sided. Still trying to understand this and compose myself. Glad to have this community from which I may learn.

    2. 1.2
      Reply to Karmic Equation

      Men friendzone women they’re attracted to, the same way that women friendzone men they’re attracted to. So Jackie, even though it hurts to have someone you’re in love with not be in love with you back, you need to accept that he’s not attracted to you. That should galvanize you into dating other men and letting him go romantically in your heart and mind. We men deserve to have women hunger for us, physically as well as emotionally. Don’t be satisfied with being a woman’s emotional security blanket, if you’re looking for romantic love. That said, there’s a LOT to be said for having a WOMAN be our bff. I have one of those. I don’t think you should give that up. Because finding a bff like that, male OR female is extraordinarily difficult. More difficult, I daresay, than finding a woman who hungers for us physically and emotionally. If you can let go the romantic dreams, you can have the best of all worlds. A great bff … and a woman who wants to tear your clothes off and hungers to see you every day. They don’t have to be the same woman.

  2. 2
    Sparkles

    Sound advice.  Women need to stop letting the emotional factor rule their lives.  We are so programmed to take care of everyone else first and to put ourselves on the back burner.  Enough already.  There is nothing wrong in wanting what we want.  It doesn’t make us selfish or bad.   

  3. 3
    Alena

    I´ve had a lot of guy friends since my high school days. Some of them were clearly and openly attracted to me, others not so much.
    I almost “friendzoned” myself with a guy I found very attractive on my sports team who had a girlfriend to just be near him but then thought the better of it and reduced the contact to hello/what´s up whenever we played basketball with each other. As time went by I got to know him better anyways and concluded to myself that he was just physically attractive and had not a very interesting character to match mine. So now even if he was available I´d not go out with him.

  4. 4
    Ruby

    This relationship sounds very safe. I find it really strange that a middle-aged man and woman sleep together sometimes with no sex. I’d also guess that this man doesn’t date and isn’t very sexual. I agree with EMK about moving on from him. Once you’ve met someone who can give you a full relationship, maybe then you can go back to being friends, that is, if you still want that.

  5. 5
    starthrower68

    I have platonic guy friends, that are pretty good friends, but with whom there is no romantic attraction from either side.  I find it to be a valuable asset; while they are not attracted to me physically or romantically, they still encourage me and build me up.  I actually find that their friendship is very helpful in keeping me objective enough not to chase after guys that are bad choices.   I think it’s very helpful to have that positive male attention without the romantic complications when not in a romantic relationship, and if you are and they are good friends, they can point things out to you that are warning signs you might miss or ignore.

  6. 6
    SparklingEmerald

    I don’t have a male “friend zone” this time around.  Harry explains it pretty well in “When Sally met Harry”.  Only once in my life did I have a true male friend where neither of us wanted more.  We were room mates for a while in fact, and I truly did love him like a brother, and he looked at me as a sister (he was an only child, and I thing he liked having an adopted “sister”)  He had an on again off again girlfriend the whole time, so I KNOW he wasn’t an orbiter, secretly in love with me, or anything like that.   All my other attempts at male “friendships” , the guy would SAY “let’s be friends”, but they really they wanted more.  And in one case, I attempted a “friendship” with someone with whom I had the longest running high school crush in recorded history, and it was just sheer torture for me.  So, even tho’ I have had ONE exception, I think my rule about no “friend zone” in this incarnation of dating is a good one.  Guys enjoy being “friend zoned” (no sex) about as much as most women enjoy being “friends with benefits”.  Since I don’t like being hurt, and I don’t enjoy hurting people, this works best.  Of course, there’s NOTHING that guarantees 100% that I’ll never get hurt again, but why purposely invite hurt into my life ?
     

    1. 6.1
      Brent

      An on-again-off-again girlfriend is a safety net. It’s not serious enough to commit but it’s better than being lonesome and it maintains a certain appearance of romantic availability. I wasn’t there, don’t know you, don’t know him, but as a man it would surprise the hell out of me if he wouldn’t have slept with you should he have had the occasion. Whether it’d have gone anywhere is impossible to say but don’t be so quick to rule it out. What, really, is the difference between a sibling and a lover aside from one being sexually off-limits as if by holy decree?

  7. 7
    Sabine

    I’ll admit that I am sensitive. The words this man spoke hurt me deeply….because they reminded me of the callousness of my college boyfriend. And while you want him to be in the same place you are, he is not.  Friends don’t say things that hurt friends. And male friends protect their female friends. It seems that he isn’t doing either with your feelings. To me, that speaks volumes about his character.
    While it hurts, you need to let him go.  You want to spend your time, energy and emotions with a man in a healthy relationship. Friends don’t string friends along. You are worth it and deserve more. :-)

    1. 7.1
      Karmic Equation

       

      Sabine, male friends can be “conisderate” about our feelings but they do not “protect” our feelings. That’s not their job. Sometimes the truth hurts. If friends cannot tell you the truth, then your friendship is not a strong friendship. You want validation, not friendship.
      Women string themselves along by refusing to dump unworthy men who treat them badly. Not being in love with you when you are in love with him is NOT treating you badly. Telling you the truth when you don’t want to hear it is NOT treating you badly.
      Bad behavior is lying, cheating, condescension, taking you for granted, physical abuse, verbal abuse, etc. 
       
      You need to realize you have the ultimate power in any relationship. Walking away from an unsatisfying or unfulfilling one is the ultimate power. Staying in such relationships is failure to exercise that power. That’s on you. Don’t blame men.

      1. 7.1.1
        Sunflower

        Well said KE.  Women are in control and need to start facing the facts that if something isn’t working for them, to have the balls to speak up or let it go.   Not to settle just to have an unworthy man in their lives.  There are a lot of good men in the world.

  8. 8
    Clare

    I would say more or less all my guy friends have wanted more from me than friendship – sometimes you give it a shot and if it doesn’t work out, I find if it’s a shorter relationship we can go back to being friends. Normally then because my emotional investment wasn’t that deep, and now because I’ve tried being boyfriend/girlfriend with them, I can confidently say I do NOT want that with them. So it can work that way for me.
     
    I would say with longer relationships where love and a more serious commitment was involved it would not be possible to go back to being friends, not for me anyway.
     
    Good guy friends can be a comforting and lovely addition to a woman’s life in many ways, as long as the clear friendship line is maintained. As for the sleeping together without sex, I have a guy friend I occasionally do that with… I do find him attractive and I enjoy cuddling with him, but I do NOT want to have sex with him.  He falls into the category of we have dated and I decided I do not want to be in a relationship with him (he was very caring but had habits which frustrated the hell out of me) so I do not desire to connect intimately with him on that level.  It’s all about compartmentalising in my opinion.

  9. 9
    John

    This relationship sounds very safe. Because few women are sexually aroused by good men, whether or not they care to admit it. so yeah women can be out in friend zone…

  10. 10
    TheThinker

    Why did I see something different from everybody?
    I disagree that this man intentionally put the woman in the friend zone. Unless he is actively looking for another woman, or making efforts to that end, why is it that we cannot simply accept that this man indeed has a problem with having sex with a woman? I mean, he is at least secure enough with this woman to bear his soul to her. He said he has childhood issues that may be the cause of his lack of desire for sex. Why on God’s earth so difficult to accept? Why couldn’t this woman explore the man’s history even more? Was he previously sexual? Has he tried and failed to have satisfactory sexual experiences with other women in his past? Has he ben diagnosed with any medical/hormonal problems?
    Contrary to what people might think, there is such a thing as low/absent libido in men. Some men simply do not have a desire for sex with anyone. Even if the most attractive woman were to bare it all before them, they would not get aroused. Now, it does not mean that they are not attracted to those women, but more like their bodies do not go in the same direction that their minds might be going.
    Now, some medical conditions that can cause low libido/lack of sex drive include diabetes, high prolactin levels, and some medications (e.g. some used for blood pressure control). A quick test is to ask if he still experiences early morning erections. If not, then there is in all likelihood an underlying medical problem which he might not even be aware of.

    This seems like a great relationship. Evan is right: the woman needs to make her wishes clear. However, it would be premature to assume that this man is only using her for his own end. He might have a legitimate medical issue which both of them can work through together. Most 55 year old guys are not exactly studs anymore.

  11. 11
    avery_t

    I’m a guy. I have put three women in the friend zone. I liked them, but they were all too fat. If they lost 20 t0 2 lbs, they may have been girlfriend material. For a guy, the friendzone is almost always for women who are too fat for the girlfriend zone. harsh but true.

    For men, it’s usually about height or income.

    1. 11.1
      Jenn

      Avery,
      Get over yourself. You probably aren’t an Adonis either, so rejecting a woman because she has an extra 20 pounds (which is NOT fat, by the way) is extremely superficial. Many women have a little excess weight and carry it well. We can’t all be Victoria’s Secret models.

      1. 11.1.1
        tamara

        Um, I don’t necesarily agree with avery’s post, but how is having an Extra 20 pounds (i guess this means 20 pounds above the recommended healthy body weight for a person’s height) Not fat? He didn’t say anything about looking like a VS model.
         
        That said, it would be v picky to reject someone u like for being 2 lbs heavy, as Avery said. I could probably lose 2 lbs by skipping supper for a week, 2 lbs is nothing.
         

    2. 11.2
      Shannon

      I’m very fit & attractive. It’s not often that i’m actually attractive to a man ~ but the ones that I am attractive to who say they are attractive to me ~ and they do try to sleep with me ~ put me in the friend zone and I’m not having sex with them. 

  12. 12
    nk

    The comment that she thinks she’s in love is so insensitive. I don’t like it one bit. It reminds me of a contrrolling guy I once dated. It’s almost gas lighting. His level of emotional intelligence is low if he doesn’t think she’ll get hurt of she keeps hanging around him. She needs to put distance between them 

  13. 13
    janet

    Well jackie, I was friends with a man for 2yrs before we got together as a couple, we split up in november 2013 after a 3 & 1/2 yr relationship, my x was married with 4 children 3 to his wife 1 to a 1 night stand, as friends we done exactly the same as you 2 are doing, but it was he who came after me telling me he loved me and that he wanted to be with me for the rest of my life… !!!  Yeh right o …. in november of last year after bn in each others lives for over 6 years he left me for a 27 year old man !!!! My ex is 44 coming up…. !!!  He was always telling me he wasnt “GAY” jackie , becausefriends of mine and his were questioning  his sexuality, he was with his ex wife for 18years , he was a player when his mates were abt , but underneath he was hiding a dark dark secret… HE is actually “GAY” now he hasnt come out the closet and keeps denying hes gay , because of his past with women and because of his macho mates and probably his children, but before we actually got together jackie as a couple friends who where questioning his sexuality were telling me are you sure hes not gay jan, even people who didnt know him but knew me were saying it, gay lads, straight men and women you name they asked..!!!! So what I did before I ever even thought wede get together as a couple, I asked 1 of my gay friends if my friend was gay , he said no dont be daft , so I said to him so why is every body questioning me about it then, so he said because hes a good looking man and is very polite and nice to every 1, there obviously not used to you been with some 1 like him I said but we are not together tho we are just friends… Anyway this is going to take for ever jackie, so ille try and make it short, when I finaly sussed out what he made me throw him out my flat for, I inboxed my gay mate and asked him why he lied to me about my ex’s sexuality !!!!  He messaged back and said he would come see me, anyway he did, so I asked him why he did what he did, because my life is wrecked , my head is battered, and the things I have found out about him, by working every thing out and putting things together what  my ex was doing its discusting , I feel depressed and sick ..!!!  He said to me, I didnt want to tell you jan because yous looked happy, and I said look we were friends back then I had a boyfriend and he pushed him out why ??? When hes  GAY , ( I didnt have my boyfriend long either ) my ex showed a lot of jealousy and made sure he pushed me away from him !!,  you should of just told me the truth , now look my life is wrecked, my head is battered I feel physically sick and depressed, and all he could say was ime sorry jan … !!!!  Now my ex is quite happy with his little boy and ime the 1 thats left ruined..  (ime 51 by the way sorry jackie.)  So now I havnt a clue jst how many men he has actually been with all these years of him been gay.. !!!  put it this way aswell the 3 & a 1/2 years we were together I think we had sex 9 or less times , he said it wasnt me but him, he told me after splitting from his wife he met a woman , he was with her for 4mnth and had sex once, because he didnt realy fancy her as she was a rebound, so he said for not having sex for a long time he had gone off it, so I googled it and yes some men do go off it in their 40’s so I thought ok then, but then I discovered he watched pornos !! Hetresexual pornos, ( round his own flat , but stayed there when hede av a night out get wrecked and av his real mates round , he would stay there for about a week or so till he recovered as they partied for 2 days ( his mates didnt stay fr the week jst the 2 days ) welll anyway to say hede gone off sex he watched pornos and then I think you know what he was doing, so to tell me hede gone off sex yet could watch 1 of those and not want to touch me , I thought to myself there must be something wrong with me …!!! Well it wasnt me was it, it was him hes gay, he used to come back round mine with these red marks around his neck, blisters around the top lip and his bed was even broke from the head board and it was a brass bed !!!! This is what is making me so ill.!!!   He must of been into that exfixiation thing, !!!!   Now hes walking about with his toyboy and still telling every 1 he isnt gay, even tho this young man dosnt look his mate type as I know what type of mates he has and plus hes only just met him on play station last year sometime when been on line playing black opps … so there you go jackie , its best you move on love and find a real man who wants to be with you who can love you and make love to you, before its too late, LOOK AT THE STATE OF MY LIFE NOW ..!!! jackie… and by the way for a 51yr old woman every body tells me ime a beautiful woman ime avarage size, 12 /14 depends , but some people are saying ive lost alot of wieght aswell, but say I even look better for it,, but anyway ime so angry at him for what he has done to me ……  its sick, I dont think men like him should be allowed to do this to women it totaly destroys us knowing that they are gay yet stay covered and get a woman on their arm for their own self pittiness because they are too scared to come out !!!!   Cheers mate nice 1 eh for wrecking my life …!!!!! 

  14. 14
    Robert Larson

    When women are really good looking and know it, and start talking about other guys, I friend zone them first and make them work their way out of it. Cruel I know, but those type of women can’t take rejection from someone they think is lower than them. It works like a charm and they have it coming anyway for every guy they have manipulated.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>