Dear Miss Emily:

I met this guy 4 months ago knowing he was going on military leave for 18 months. I really am interested in this guy, and spending time with him before he left was amazing. Although now since he has recently left, he has been very guarded. He does not want me to wait for him, and he does not want me to date until he comes home. I really like this guy and want to wait for him. He tells me that he still has feelings for me, and we do continue to talk almost daily.  I have a feeling that because last time he was on military leave, his girlfriend of a year cheated on him while he was over there and I’m sure its affecting him now – being that he does not want to be worried about me and what I’m doing while he is over there. I very much understand.  I feel as though if I continue talking to him, it will just be a waste of time. It will be nothing but a dead-end because he says we are not going to be together. I’m afraid of ending it because he does like me and we still talk. I am very confused as to the right thing to do to get this guy!  I continue to tell him that I want to wait, and he just tells me not to because we will never be together. But the whole thing about liking me and wanting to talk is very confusing. He is a good guy, and I’m positive he is not using me or anything like that.  Thank you very much for your input!
Getting Mixed Messages

-----------------------------Miss Emily’s advice--------------------------

Dear Getting:

I see a gigantic red flag when he says "We are not going to be together when I get home."  That seems pretty final. I don't care that he had a girlfriend cheat the last time he was deployed.  If that's the real issue, he could have said, "I can't promise anything, and I'd rather just have you carry on with your life while I'm gone.  If we see each other when I get back, that's great, but I'd like to keep it 'friends only' for now, due to my present circumstances."  I understand the problems inherent in waiting for someone with an uncertain future. Life does go on when someone is deployed and, for them, their life is the new country and their buddies who stand with them, and by them.  Many hearts are broken over these circumstances. When you told me that he said, "Don't wait, but don't date," I find this odd, because it is in direct conflict with him telling you there's no hope when he does come home.  Oh, well.  This is my sage advice:  Continue to talk to him, but leave out the stuff pertaining to you being nothing but his.  It's too much pressure on him, and if he does want only friendship, it's demeaning when you to try to convince him otherwise. Don't put your life on hold, but don't cut him out of your life, either.  Put it into perspective where the relationship stands NOW and, if something happens when he returns, so be it.  Please stop trying to read between the lines and listen to what he tells you.  Avoid appearing desperate.  He's got a lot going on.  Right now, be a friend.  I think that's all you can hope for at this time.  A good friendship is worth its weight in gold.  Offer this, without the strings, and maybe he will change his mind one day.