I feel kind of weird asking for advice here, mostly because it's something that I'm still trying to figure out in my head.
WARNING: Essay ahoy! I don't know how to shut-up... Sorry
I am in the process of getting a divorce and finding closure from a not-so-good-very-bad-an-generally-unpleasant relationship. (Type is ESTP, but that really doesn't matter here as it was all psych/poor adjustment/personality disorder issues from his side.) Prior to that I had a not-so-great-but-not-as-bad relationship with a needy and draining ENTx. Apparently in both I had friends who were either taking bets about how much longer I would tolerate the male involved or were wondering what in the world I saw in him.
Long story short, I've only had two relationships, both were long-term, and both were unhealthy. To be honest, I haven't actually had much time as single since I really started to realize, "OMG! Guys are cute, I think I maybe wouldn't mind having one..."*fast forward a few years* Relationship 1 is 3 years long, relationship 2 starts a few months later and lasts 4 years.
Well, I've been in consistent communication with an INTP friend for the last several months and he has been privy to the ups and downs and downs and neutral points of the last year or so. We both have very similar interests and values and don't have much problem with that whole communication thing that tends to stand in the way of many NT/NF conversations. We both have our social awkwardness (I mean, really, it's kind of a given, especially since I think I test as 4w5 and he tests as 5w6 in enneagram...) but really all that means is that we both laugh at it and move on, or just change the topic of conversation completely, which also leads to a bit of laughter since it's so obvious.
Naturally this apparently leads to at least one party being interested in something more than friendship.
Problem #1 - I want my time as a young, single lady. I'm 24 and have been spending the last eight years pleasing everyone but myself. I know I'm not in a good place mentally to have a relationship and I really don't want to screw someone else over because of that. Especially my friend because he got burned pretty bad in a previous relationship. He's pretty much done with his healing bit, but I'm not, I've barely started. In a year or two or five, maybe, but not now.
Problem #2 - We're in different states. Colorado versus California, and we both have careers. Sure, we're technically mobile (he's in software engineering, I'm a psych nurse) but we also both like where we live, being near family and friends and comfortable surroundings. Someone will have to be willing to give most everything up, and right now, I know I'm not cool with that. (Have I mentioned need to heal/recover/find myself again? Cliche as that sounds.)
Problem #3 - There are several significant cultural barriers that could make things difficult or interesting depending on how they go. I'm an eclectic neo-wiccanish Buddhist who was raised in a generally Christian household. He's a Russian Jewish immigrant. I don't mind, he doesn't mind, but family, especially his since he's an only child, could mind. A lot. Some of my relatives, especially the Catholic side, could throw a huge hissy fit as well. I don't want to subject him to that, whether it's my side or his side, because there's a choosing sides thing and that's not fair. He feels similarly regarding myself, "You need to find a nice Russian (Jewish is implied as well) girl to settle down with, ______. No one else will understand you," is something he has heard most of his life from his mother.
Problem #4 - Knowing all this, I don't want to lead him on, but neither of us are really willing to say we shouldn't continue to talk and interact. Essentially that means one or both of us will hit a point of no return as far as our emotions are concerned, and that's not fair either. Well, if the relationship develops into something further that won't matter, but if it doesn't... someone is going to get hurt. Again. :sad:
How do I know all this, you might be asking. Well, we've already discussed all of this. I made a post on LJ basically saying, "hmmm... single, but getting sexually frustrated is no fun. I want a friend with benefits!" He asked me to call him later and told me that he wasn't going to mention anything for at least another 3-6 or more months, but he was interested in discussing exploring whether a romantic relationship could work between us. (That's almost exactly how he said it too, which was amusing and blunt and made me laugh.) We both came to the conclusion that it was good to discuss it and to know that the possibility was there, but that it was important for me to have the time to heal.
Only now I am very afraid that I am thinking/treating him differently, which was one of the things we both agreed would only get us in trouble. I can't undo the discussion (Oh, what I would give for a Time Turner!) but I also don't want to ruin the friendship because I'm treating him differently. I also think he has been treating me a bit differently, but that has primarily been that he has been more willing to let me be privy to his emotions/frustrations. Yay! Good. Oh... could be bad and painful though.
So, any advice would be helpful - especially for trying to ignore what I now know, working through my issues at a faster pace, and maybe even pro-con chart of Metro Denver area versus the Bay Area of California... Or anything else you can think of.
Thank you! Apologies again for the essay.... :blushed: