I really need your help… I have this best friend. A guy I’ve BEEN best friends with for the past four or so years, and we have always been connected on a very deep, emotional level. He has had a rather difficult past and personal life with his family that has caused him to have difficulty being emotionally open with people. Now, it was always quite evident to myself, my best friends, and even his, that he had developed powerful feelings for me, and I him. People often asked the both of us if we were dating, or why we weren’t, and our close friends would get frustrated with us for not “just trying it.”
After years of receiving mixed signals, I finally gave up and told him about my feelings for him several months ago. But I told him that I was only telling him about it because I wanted him to let me go. He told me he was sorry and that he didn’t feel the same for me, but also got really mad and angry and frustrated, saying that I was being immature for thinking I had to let him go to get over my feelings. And after not only a month of silence, he asked to be with me.
The main conflict with our relationship was that it would only have been able to last two months, because he was going to college and I was staying in our town. We agreed on these terms, and it was honestly the most incredible relationship I have ever been in. He was a very loving, caring boyfriend. He told me he loved me, nervously, one time (which was why I thought it was special, it only happened once). By the end of the two months, despite confessing that we both wanted to, we didn’t even have sex, mostly on his initiative, he said he “couldn’t do that to me” because he was leaving. So he left for two months, still called me every single weekend and texted/chatted me constantly, he came back, and is leaving again in two weeks. My feelings didn’t change, but when I told him that, he said that his had.
I don’t understand how they could have gone away so quickly after being there for SO long? I’m fine with him just not wanting to get my hopes up for a long distance relationship which was why we broke up, I’m even fine if he had just lied to me about his feelings for me, which he has done before. I’m keeping my eyes open to other guys because I want to be smart about this, but I don’t know what to do about my feelings for him. I dated other people while I was just friends with him too, but even then my feelings didn’t subside completely. I don’t even know if I can take continuing on with him as a friend; it hurts me to even think about having to bear it, but at the same time, I’m one of the only people he opens up to about himself and he’s been more like family to me than my real family, and I don’t want to let him go.
He knows it’s hurting me, but he won’t let me go either. What does he want from me?
Thanks for your question. We’re sorry you’re hurting so much.
The issue you have, is that he doesn’t want from you, what you want from him. Sure, he may have given a relationship a go with you, but that was because he feared losing you. He values your friendship, loves you deeply, and clearly considers you his closest confidante, but for whatever reason he’s not interested in a romantic relationship with you. And besides his capitulation over the summer, he’s been pretty clear about this from the get go. We don’t see a flip-flop here. What we see is a guy who very much wants to be in love with you, but knows deep down that he’s not.
There could be several reasons for this. We feel you need to consider all of them in order to help you move on.
1. He’s not attracted to you physically. (Likes a different type of woman.)
2. He’s gay.
3. A combination of #1 and #2. Meaning, he’s not attracted to you BECAUSE he’s gay.
We know you mention a 4rth possible explanation but we don’t think that’s the case. (That he’s emotionally unavailable.) Why? Because a guy will still try to have sex with a woman even if he’s not emotionally available. In fact that’s pretty much all he’ll be looking for.
The thing is Ariadne, you present evidence to support all the possible explanations. And we believe all of them are worth exploring, especially if you’re trying to move on. Sometimes there is no good explanation for why a person doesn’t feel that butterfly feeling. Believe us, he wishes he did. You’re perfect for him in almost every way. It’s possible he doesn’t understand it himself, or it’s possible he does but does not want to share his true feelings with you, or reveal something to you he’s not comfortable revealing.
The other thing that’s interesting is the gender reversal that’s playing out here. Typically it’s the woman who doesn’t understand why the guy needs to cut off all contact. This woman doesn’t realize that if a guy wants to be intimate with a particular woman, just the thought of this woman being with other guys sexually is just brutal. In your situation it’s playing out just the opposite, which also supports one of our theories.
So how do you move on?
1. Finding out the true reason he doesn’t want to be with you might help you.
2. Distance. (This always makes it easier.)
3. Falling in love with someone else. (This shows you’ve truly moved on, but it’s a situation of the chicken and the egg. Because is it even possible to fall in love with someone else when you’re pining for a different person?)
4. Cutting off all ties. (This may help you, but it also might amplify your feelings, and make you miss him more.)
5. Tone down the friendship. (Take away the intensity and just be friends. Probably a nice compromise.)
Finally, we really think he’s being selfish. You’re telling him how difficult this is and he’s saying, “Get over it. I need you. You’re being immature.” Actually, he’s being immature for not “hearing” you and trying to help you understand what’s going on for him. He’s putting his needs over yours, and that’s something to seriously think about. If you were in a relationship with him, we wonder how else he might put his needs first? Just sayin’
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