Friends to more than friends
February 27, 2007 11:33 AM   Subscribe

I have one of those "movie" situations: A really good friend of mine and I finally realized that we "like-like" each other. When I told my good friend (a mutual friend of us both) she said "Finally!! Everyone has seen it all along except for you two!!" I'm really happy with how everything's happened. But now I don't know how to proceed!

Long story short: I met this guy about 4.5 years ago while in college. We worked together at our part-time job and then wound up having the same major and classes together. We're extremely alike, have tons in common, a great relationship all around. We even grew up about 30 minutes away from each other. Well, after we graduated he stuck around here for a while and then moved out of state for a job. He's been back to visit a few times and I've gotten to see him every time. We've already crossed the intimacy threshold a couple years ago, so that part's really not an awkward transition. (Please refrain from commenting on that part of it, it's not what I'm asking about)
So finally it's out there, it's open, when we said goodbye the next day he said "I meant everything I said last night." I said "OK!" and we parted ways.
So my question is - now what!?! I'm a little gun-shy about long-distance relationships, having just been in one that did not end well (even though it was a much different situation). I know I want to go visit him but am a little afraid it would be kind of like overload - just the two of us, instead of dozens of our friends around, in this new "situation" - but then, I know that's an important step to take.
Has anyone made the transition from practically best friends to something more? Everything I found when I searched was about all these extenuating circumstances - "We're roommates" "We don't like each other, we just like sex with each other" "He has a girlfriend" - and we don't have any of those. Things would be terrific if we were still in the same state, that's about the only crazy condition we've got!
I'm interested in peoples' experiences with this transition, and any advice on how to proceed would be welcome!
I'm really not as stressed about it as I may seem, he and I are both really laid back and I know things will be great. I'm just wondering about the success rate of these situations more than anything.
posted by slyboots421 to Human Relations (20 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Don't tell us, tell him. It really is that simple, and if you cannot talk about your feelings and concerns with him, don't be with him.

You're applying all these conditions, or lack of, as if they mean something. The joy of a good relationship is that the two of you, and nobody else, gets to decide how it's going to be. It's a negotiation, like anything else - talk about what you both want and how you want to get it. Make a plan. There's no point in game-playing; it'll just waste your time.

Enjoy. Don't make drama. Be kind to each other. Communicate. You'll figure it out as you go.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:46 AM on February 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

You're asking about the success rate of the transition (when there are no complicated extenuating circumstances and you've already had sex and you both feel the same way about each other) from practically best friends to something more? Well, I imagine it's quite high.

Don't create problems where there are none.
posted by amro at 11:47 AM on February 27, 2007

How long is this long-distance? Can you reasonably weekend-date?
posted by DU at 11:51 AM on February 27, 2007

I'm really not trying to create problems or drama - believe me, I'm not very tolerant of people who do that. I'm just excited, happy, thrilled our feelings are mutual and very curious about how this will all go. We did talk a bit about how it would be if he still lived here and how great it would be, but "How is it that I moved there and away from you? Why didn't I say something sooner?" was in there too. He's out of town for work this week so we can't talk as much as usual. I think that's why I'm asking here - I can't talk to him about it til he gets back and I just want to!
The long distance is pretty long - it's Michigan-Minnesota. It's about an 11 hour drive, and for some reason an expensive flight.
Thanks for humoring me, guys. :)
posted by slyboots421 at 11:56 AM on February 27, 2007

I think you're over thinking this. Why not just date and see how it goes?
posted by chunking express at 12:06 PM on February 27, 2007

To me, the 11 hour drive almost makes it seem impossible to 'begin' the relationship long distance.

I wonder if it would be safer and less heart-wrenching if you just took it as slow as possible until you suddenly know that you want to move to be together.

Unless theres a good chance yall can be closer in the near future, I'd say don't go above a 3 on the SERIOUSNESS dial until several months have passed and you have a better idea what he's like in a relationship.

You should still go out and meet new people and have fun though, or else that heart-wrenching stuff will come into play.
posted by ZackTM at 12:07 PM on February 27, 2007

LDRs are hard. Making the transition to home relationship when you're both in the same state afterward will be the real test.

Ultimately, in my opinion (having done an LDR that crashed and burned for other reasons), what will give the relationship the biggest chance to work will be that at some point (and I suggest you eventually talk about this) one of you will move to be with the other person.

If nobody is willing to move, if "something always comes up," then it won't even have a chance to succeed.

And if one of you moves close to the other, they should get their own place at first.
posted by canine epigram at 12:28 PM on February 27, 2007

I don't understand the question. No one can tell you what is going to happen.

And that's great news! One of the hardest things in relationships is realizing its all up to you, and there's nothing you can do about it in the same moment. (I'm sure you are saying to yourself, what the hell is she talking about?!)

Basically, no one here can tell you how things will go. No one else's experience will be like yours (nor will it be totally different - it just will most likely not be helpful in figuring whats going to happen). There are no rules - you should do what you want. If you want to see him, drive or take the train to go see him. Or maybe you can meet half way and each drive 5 hours. Whatever. But all those decisions are in your court. Call him now, wait and call him later, its all up to you.

But at the same time, recognize that so much happens in life that the relationship may work out or not work out for reasons you have absolutely no control over. So enjoy the moment, do what you want, and don't worry - the things you would worry about you can't control anyway.
posted by zia at 12:33 PM on February 27, 2007

Has anyone made the transition from practically best friends to something more?

A better question would be this:
Has anyone made the transition from practically best friends to something more when there's an 11 hour commute between the two parties?

Going from best friends to more isn't that hard, it's more of a natural extenstion of things. But that 11 hour distance...!

What's the status of your other relationships while seeing him? Were you guys being intimate even if you were other relationships (not a judgemenet call!!)? If you guys are ok with seeing other people while the distance is there, then take route and go slow.

Ultimately though, somebody is going to have to move if you guys want this to succeed.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:38 PM on February 27, 2007

Mrs. Booth and I were best buds for three years before dating and marrying. We had a couple false starts (one night we kissed and I freaked, another night I kissed her and she didn't know why I did it, etc.). But 20 years later we're still together and liking each other.

We didn't have to deal with LDR right away though, and I wish you the best with that. Go visit him. If it feels too odd, chalk it up to "overload" and try again.

I was going to suggest that you just kiss each other a lot and see what kind of transition that leads to, but it seems you've gotten past that already. So just start [whatever]ing each other. Have fun.
posted by booth at 1:04 PM on February 27, 2007

My grandmother tells a wonderful story of how my grandfather, an enlisted man, would drive from Houston, Texas, to French Camp, Mississippi, and back, whenever he had two days leave time. The car he drove topped out at around 45 miles per hour, and the drive took more than 12 hours each way. He had some wooing to do, and nothing could stop him.

So, while difficult in the near term, this could be one of those sweet, romantic stories that becomes a part of the rich tapestry of your life, and so on.
posted by chudder at 1:26 PM on February 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

I'm really happy with how everything's happened. But now I don't know how to proceed!

Well, I'm just going to go ahead and suggest a little K-I-S-S-I-N-G. First you'll find yourself dealing with the love, and if that goes well, next will be coming the marriage, and then, hell, who knows? You might end up with a baby in a baby carriage.

Seriously? The only issue here is the distance. Nobody can "handicap" this thing for you. Just go ahead and visit him (you know, call first). If it works out you'll find a way to be together.
posted by nanojath at 1:29 PM on February 27, 2007

Mr. Darling and I were friends for two years (like booth and his mrs., we had one weird make-out thing early on, but the timing wasn't right - other people involved) before we became a couple. What helped us finally break the ice? Beer. Lots of beer. This is our 20th year as a couple and 17th as married folk. I hope everything works out for you!
posted by Sweetie Darling at 1:31 PM on February 27, 2007

My parents were best friends, and were roommates, and my mom had a boyfriend (not my dad), and my dad was about to move out of state when he told my mom he "like-liked" her.

My mom broke up with her boyfriend, they got engaged, they planned their wedding in six weeks, and moved out of state together. They'll be celebrating 25 years of marriage in August.

Your mileage may very quite considerably, but it can work.
posted by crinklebat at 1:39 PM on February 27, 2007

Mr. Paleography and I were friends for quite a long time, began dating for real (after a few summer-fling-type things) in an LDR, and eventually got married. We had a few long-distance intervals, always for about four months or so.

And I'll second what everyone else has been saying about unpredictability of the future, uniqueness of relationships, blah-di-blah-blah, but I'll also say that dating a best friend is pretty freaking awesome. When the chemistry works on every level like that--friendship, sex, sense of humor, intellect, emotion--it seems silly not to give it a shot.

Enjoy the giddiness!
posted by paleography at 1:50 PM on February 27, 2007

Two friends of mine who were dating-but-not-dating for much of high school began officially dating towards the end of college. Their colleges were far apart and thus they were long-distance at the "beginning" of their relationship. This past December (3.5 years post-college), I attended the wedding of these two. So yes, anecdotal evidence suggests that this can work.
posted by epugachev at 2:55 PM on February 27, 2007

Personal anecdote: My now-husband and I were good friends before we started dating. We were quasi-long distance at the time (about forty-five minutes away, but over the border) and for us the transition was as simple as, "next time we get together, how about a date?" We made date-y plans, but since it was New Year's Day and we forgot to consider that everything would be closed, we just ended up walking around the city and shivering together for hours. It was, as paleography puts it, pretty freaking awesome, and it continues to be years later.
posted by AV at 3:05 PM on February 27, 2007

As far as the distance factor is concerned, I believe the band Cake said it best when they noted:

He's going the distance
He's going for speed
She's all alone, all alone in a time of need

Clearly, if your man is anything like Cake, an 11-hour travel gap will mean nothing if both of you want to make this work, although that truly is a hellacious amount of driving. Of course, you could meet halfway at 5 1/2 hours. And don't forget about daylight savings!
posted by Midnight Creeper at 3:37 PM on February 27, 2007

Make plans to meet in Lake Geneva! It's touristy but can be romantic. Don't know where he is in Michigan, but you can probably get to Southeast Wisconsin by the time he drives through Chicago traffic, assuming he's not a UPer.

Best of luck!
posted by luminous phenomena at 6:53 PM on February 27, 2007

One of my good friends is in a similar situation. Best friends forever, then one day they realised they liked each other more than friends, and now they're together. My friend is in Portland - she just moved and this relationship started AFTER the move - and her girl is near San Francisco, my friend's hometown.

As far as I can tell, they're going all out for it. Taking things as they come. The distance is a concern, but whenever my friend returns home, they make the best of it.

Lucky you! I've always fallen for my best friends (with no luck; my first and current boyfriend was just a casual acquaintance beforehand) so I'm a bit envious of your situation, haha! Take it as it comes and just enjoy what happens. My boy and I thought one thing about our relationship's progress but it ended up being a bit faster than we thought, and that's fine!

As long as you two are honest and open with each other, and mutually respect each other, you'll be good.

Good luck - I can feel the excitement in your post! Very cool! I'm very happy for you.
posted by divabat at 2:41 AM on February 28, 2007

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