After two weeks of texting and three dates, a woman I met on Tinder said she wasn't feeling it and wanted us to be friends. (We were intimate on the third date, so needless to say I was surprised.) I assumed her offer of friendship was her way of letting me down easy. A week later I got a text from her asking if I wanted to meet for coffee and a social distance walk. I told her I couldn't make it because of previous plans. She suggested another day but I haven't responded to her text. What do you make of this?
While I can understand enjoying someone's company enough to want to stay in touch, I think distance is needed before you can properly embark on a platonic friendship. A person can't just switch from one mode to another like that without some confusion and complications.
If you're questioning her motives, you should be. It's rather insensitive of her to think she can reject you and then, just a few days later, ask you to chum around with her like nothing physical transpired between you. Human emotions are a little more complex than that. It sounds like maybe she only wanted companionship all along but wasn't clear about that in her own mind. I doubt she was being malicious, but this is the danger of dating when you don't know what you want. Compounding that confusion is an intense feeling of isolation many are experiencing due to COVID. People are jumping into things without thinking.
Personally, I'm not a big believer in staying friends with an ex. Friendly, sure, but not friends. Not until a significant amount of time has passed, at least. To me, this woman's invitation of friendship feels more like an attempt to keep you around until a) she finds someone she does want to date or b) she can figure out what she wants. Neither option bodes well for your mental health or well-being. There's likely going to be a lot of gray area involved and mixed messages to decipher. My feeling is she needs to pick a side and stick to it. She can't have it both ways. She can't expect to reject you (out of the blue, it seems) and smoothly transition to friends just like that. That she does appear to think that way is telling.
If you feel you can proceed with a friendship without getting caught up in the are we/aren't we stuff, then by all means, be friends. Since you're writing in to me I'm going to wager you're not there yet. I'm also going to bet she isn't, either. I think the best thing to do is respond and say you think hanging out as friends so quickly isn't a great long-term strategy if the true goal is to remain friends. Then see what she says. It wouldn't surprise me in the least if she came back around in a few weeks and suggested you and she give things another try.
That's not necessarily a bad thing for her to do, either. Better for her to exit stage left now, when she's unsure, than in a month when you're that much more invested. That she cut things off early signifies that she's probably a good, if confused, person. There's always the possibility she's dating someone else. Yes, even during a pandemic, some people are social distance dating multiple people. The harsh reality is that, at one point or another, we're all somebody's second choice. We just don't know it at the time.
If she does come back around, you can decide if you want to give things another go. Don't expect her to be upfront about why she initially cut things off, though. If she does tell you she was dating someone else as well as you and chose them, run. That's a sign of poor boundaries and lack of self-awareness. You don't need three strikes. Two is enough.
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