Dear Q: Cambridge Rebound

Dear Q,

My “old flame”, if you could even call him that, recently came back from Cambridge. Years ago at school, he played the older, responsible, big brother to me, a young, naïve, and lost new arrival. We had a brief romantic interlude in the beginning, but then spent most of our two years together as platonic friends. I returned to Beijing first. When he came back, we met up and ended up hanging out all day. As we bid farewell in the subway, he suddenly hugged me close and started kissing me. I was startled as he kissed my hair and forehead, but turned away when he tried to kiss me on the lips. After that awkward incident, he never mentioned it again and now pretends that nothing happened. I know he recently broke up with his very demanding girlfriend, but his inexplicable behavior is making me very confused. What’s going on?

Signed,

Reunited With Big Brother

Dear Reunited,

Our famous writers have waxed poetic over the romance of Cambridge. I’m not surprised that your reunion with this “sort of” campus ex is fanning romantic flames. So, what’s going on? The first thing is to ask yourself, “What’s going on.” How do you feel about Big Brother now? You clearly liked his company at school, but were perhaps too young to commit at the time. Now that you’re both working, back in the homeland, and mature enough to reconsider, are you actually attracted to him? If you are, then why did you dodge the kissing ambush? Or do you only want to rekindle the “friends” part of your relationship? Then are you waiting for him to mention the incident again so you can set the record straight? I think you’re confused about your own feelings for him and are waiting for him to take the initiative on sorting things out. Now, what’s going on with him? It’s likely that the emotionally charged break up (with demanding ex) and reunion (with you) threw his rational world order into disarray. He might have been acting on an impulse to regain female intimacy, or an urge to fulfill his once unrequited feelings for you, or maybe he’s simply been watching too many wistful rom-com’s while moping alone. Whatever the cause, the fact that he hasn’t tried again, nor alluded to the issue, shows that he’s not yet sure what he wants. Why not enjoy being in Beijing with an old friend again and when one, or both, of you figures out what you most want from the other, bring up the awkward subway kiss in conversation?

Best,

Q

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