Being "Friends?"

Q: I have been dating a girl for about five months, during which we've become really close. Then she tells me one night that she just wants to be friends, and that we should play the rest by ear. I can't figure out what to do. Should I put more into me and her or should I give up? She has not gotten any of her clothing or other belongings from my apartment, and she still has my key. I have asked her about it and she said the next time she sees me, she will give me the key. She has still kept it. Since the night we became "friends," it's like we have done more together than before. I am lost as to what to do. -- Bill, 23

Dr. Susan: If you're happy being "just friends," then do exactly what you're doing. Apparently she's fine with the relationship the way it is, just doing things together with no serious intentions. Perhaps you became too close, too soon, and she got nervous because she was too young to commit to someone forever. Now she has more freedom, no strings attached, and she can be with you just for the fun of it. I don't know why she's keeping your key. She's giving you mixed messages, and you should be frank and tell her so. She may want to see other guys, and you ought to get that clear. If you can handle that, then you ought to see other women too. Whatever you do, be honest about it. And expect the same from her. If you put more time into you and her, as you say, you're doing so with no guarantees. Of course, there are never any guarantees.

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