Is Getting Friend-Zoned By Your Girlfriend A Thing?

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There’s a certain sinking feeling when she stops squeezing your hand as tightly — when her grip loosens just enough for you to notice. It’s subtle, but it’s there. It’s there when she stops kissing back with the same fervor you’ve grown accustomed to. It’s there when her emoji usage plunges by 30%. (Not an actual stat — also, I hate myself for including that one.)

If you’re lucky enough to know a problem exists, you’re both dreading the moment of truth: when one of you will have to explain what’s up and the other will have to sit there and listen. Maybe one of you doesn’t communicate well. Maybe one of you thinks it’s something that it isn’t. Maybe somebody’s having a bad day to begin with.

The conversation doesn’t happen organically. The words need to be massaged out — slowly, gently, humanely. But once they’re out, they’re out.

Things don’t go back to the way they were. They change as much as do you throughout this hellish process: growing, maturing, evolving. You don’t see it that way at first, but progress takes time.

The encounter starts with both of you sitting there together, a simple: What’s wrong?

It ends with each of you sitting somewhere else, wondering: What’s wrong with me?

“I think we’d be better off as friends.”

Maybe it’s not what she means to say, but it’s the combination of words that escapes her lips, so it’s all you have to go off of. Weeks pass. You torture yourself internally until you go numb.

Because there’s only so many times someone can tell you, “It’s not you, it’s me,” before you start thinking, Oh shit, it’s probably me.

(It’s not, though.)