How to handle unrequited love with a best friend?
September 10, 2007 10:19 PM   Subscribe

Is it possible to remain friends with someone you're in love with?

I've been best friends with a girl for 4 years, and she was in a serious relationship the entire time I knew her. Soon after her relationship ended, I admitted to her that I was in love and we hooked up a few times, but she has told me time and time again that she's not in love with me. She's not ready for a serious relationship with me, yet I'm utterly infatuated with her. She says that she needs time before she gets into a relationship because we have the potential to go long-term. But I'm losing my shit trying to hold back these feelings I have.

How can I remain friends with her? I can't rely upon the delusion that we'll "get together one day" because I simply can't withstand the jealously I feel when she talks about other guys. Do I simply need to man up and take control of my emotions (proving very difficult, thus far) or detach myself from the friendship and let go of this amazing friend? Will that kill our chances for the future?

I've never felt like this, and the jealousy plus the amount I think about her is just eating me up-- it's hurting our relationship, to boot.
posted by jstef to Human Relations (45 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
It doesn't matter what we suggest ("manning up" or going your separate ways)--you'll just do whichever your nature leads you to (the third option is of course continue to pressure her 'til she leaves your friendship).

The only real answer is that you accept that she doesn't see you in that way and I'd argue that as long as you hope you'll get together one day than you haven't truly accepted it even if you've acknowledged it.

My best advice is that you stop sleeping with her immediately. Not doing so can only gonna make it worse. (Plus, why buy the milk when you can get the cow for free?, so to say.)

And, in answer to your first question, yes, it's possible to be friends with someone you're in love with. This is different from it being easy.
posted by dobbs at 10:28 PM on September 10, 2007

I admitted to her that I was in love and we hooked up a few times, but she has told me time and time again that she's not in love with me.

If she said that even after sleeping with you, then no really means no.

She says that she needs time before she gets into a relationship because we have the potential to go long-term. [...] I simply can't withstand the jealously I feel when she talks about other guys.

She's talking about other guys because she's interested in other guys. I'm sorry she's not the type of person to be more honest and upfront with you. Believe me, I really am -- I'd buy you a beer.

Is it possible to stay friends? Only if you don't lose your shit over it, and it sounds like you are. So no.
posted by DaShiv at 10:29 PM on September 10, 2007

I think that there's this pervasive myth people tell young men, about how if they're just loyal and persistent, the fair maiden will eventually be won over.

Unfortunately, I don't think that really happens all that often. It sounds like your friend really likes you, but I think - being a girl myself - that girls sometimes say vague things like "Maybe someday" because they don't want to hurt you, not because they actually mean "Maybe someday!"

It would be nice if you could make her return your feelings, but you can't. You can't control her feelings or her behavior. In fact, the only thing you can control here is your own actions. You feel how you feel, but telling yourself that the crumbs of her affection are better than nothing is just doing yourself a disservice.

Heartbreak sucks! But if you let yourself stop pretending to be friends with someone you're in love with, you get to do two things:

1) Get over her
2) Meet someone who thinks you're awesome

Neither is likely to happen if you stay in the current dynamic.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 10:34 PM on September 10, 2007 [6 favorites]

The easiest way to stay friends is to start dating other people. Now. Today. Go date someone else. Once you're romantically focused on a more likely candidate you'll feel worlds better.
posted by TeatimeGrommit at 10:34 PM on September 10, 2007

You will get all kinds of advice here, some good, some condescending, some terrible. But trust me, this is the only thing that will work: Start dating other people immediately. If seeing you with another woman makes her anxious, then you two have a chance together. If've made a good first step toward getting over her.
posted by felix betachat at 10:35 PM on September 10, 2007 [2 favorites]

"...she's not in love with me."
"She's not ready for a serious relationship..."
"...we have the potential to go long-term."

If either of the first two statements are true, the third isn't. In light of that, I'd suggest giving up your amazing friend because...

"Will that kill our chances for the future?" don't have any.
posted by majick at 10:39 PM on September 10, 2007

Check this out. It's pretty much your question, from the other end.
posted by borkingchikapa at 10:41 PM on September 10, 2007

1) Thirding/fourthing/whatever the dating other people thing.

2) There's no such thing as a yes or no answer that's always right when it's a question about the heart. However, I can say from life experience, many conversations about this with friends, etc, that the answer is no at least 95% of the time ... probably more like 99% of the time.. maybe even 99.9% of the time.

It's just too difficult for the vast majority of friendships to last through something like unrequited love... besides that - it's not really worth it... more than likely you're convincing yourself you want to maintain the friendship because you hope someday there will be something more. Accept the fact that there won't. Date other people. Stop talking to this girl (seriously) for several months.

If you're really fit to be friends (and only friends), you'll eventually cross paths again end up getting back in touch. I'm actually friends with a long-ago ex of mine, but only because after a year and a half of total failure to remain friends after breaking up, we basically lost all contact for a good 2 years, grew up, moved on, and then ran into each other later on....
posted by twiggy at 10:42 PM on September 10, 2007

How can I remain friends with her?

Give up on the romance. You know, it is quite possible, and quite frequent, for someone to find a friend of the opposite sex to be kind of hot, but to just sort of leave that alone and concentrate on the friend part. All you have to do is give up the idea that you are going to be romantically involved.
posted by caddis at 10:57 PM on September 10, 2007

The Russian word "razbliuto" means ' the feeling you have for someone you were once in love with but are no longer so'.
FYI, that's all.
You hafta go cold turkey, my man, and it's gonna get messy. I'm suggesting with a personal headshot photo set to 'sultry'.
Climb every mountain, ford every stream, tame every cougar....or be tamed; both can be fun...I've heard.
Seriously, I'm being facetious (?), but you just ahve to walk away and NOT turn around until you- YOU- feel good.
posted by tristanshout at 11:07 PM on September 10, 2007

No. As long as you're actively in love with her you cannot realistically maintain a close friendship.
posted by nanojath at 11:19 PM on September 10, 2007

I suppose you could try to find out what it is that makes her not attracted to you romantically. Or maybe you can step back from the situation, and try to assess her in an objective manner.

Try to think of any differing life philosophies, lifestyles, families, personality quirks... things that are beyond your control or hers. If you can rationally convince yourself that you two being a couple would never really work out in a practical sense, it can make it easier to settle for just being best friends in the long run. I've been through the "But we'd be so perfect together" scenario twice, and both times came away thinking I was probably better off not having it go beyond being friends after all.

Don't press matters, or try to make it an all-or-nothing deal, as much as you might want to... You'll end up regretting ruining your close friendship if you do and she doesn't accept, and things just get awkward from there.. You've told her how she feels, and she seems pretty cool with still being friends. Don't let your broken heartedness make things worse when you're around her.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 11:20 PM on September 10, 2007 [2 favorites]

Accepting the impossibility of this desire - as in period, don't hold out hope - might help. As would adopting a more rounded appreciation of the relationship you currently have - you're infatuated, she's not - clearly, reality is not in sync with whatever ideal sort of scenario underpins your wanting to be with this person. Being able to appreciate (the perspective of) why this would be a poor match-up might also help, as far as appreciating this person as a friend. Because most people make better friends than lovers?
posted by unmake at 11:23 PM on September 10, 2007

Uh, what TheSecretDecoderRing said..
posted by unmake at 11:24 PM on September 10, 2007

It sounds like you've already figured out that you're not going to have a romantic relationship with this girl. You can still be friends with her, but the way to do that is not to do more-than-friends kinds of things with her (like sleeping with her). Fuckbuddies are great, but not if one participant is there in hopes it'll become more than that: that's just a plan for making the heartbreak worse. Self-control is difficult and painful and not immediately rewarding, but it's the way to keep this "friendship [and] amazing friend". If she's your friend she'll understand and help you with that.

Seek romance elsewhere, and try to see this girl only in situations which aren't likely to feel romantic or sexual— pretend you're a temptation-haunted Puritan or rum-ridden alcoholic if you have to. Some day five years from now you'll wake up and realize you're over her.

(Or maybe you won't and you'll be pining, alone and unloved, until the day you die in misery and squalor. I mean, it's a possibility. Try to avoid it.)
posted by hattifattener at 11:30 PM on September 10, 2007

[on didn't-preview: what caddis said, and not what nanojath said.]
posted by hattifattener at 11:31 PM on September 10, 2007

been there and seconding tristanshout: cold turkey.
if possible (assuming you're not door to door neigbours, classmates or co-workers) put distance on every level between you and her. I am not talking about moving to Alaska (assuming you're not actually in Alaska at the moment) but about turning 180 degrees and meeting someone else, doing new stuff etc.
posted by ollsen at 12:16 AM on September 11, 2007

If I've learned anything from MeFi, it's that you aren't in love with her and you aren't her best friend. You are a guy who had a deferred crush that exploded when she became single. She ultimately didn't reciprocate, and now you don't know what to do. Given all that, I'm inclined to say "no."
posted by rhizome at 12:35 AM on September 11, 2007

In this situation, I second the "cold turkey" comment. The only way I've ever been able to be friends with someone I had serious unrequited feelings for was after enough time or distance had developed that I no longer felt attracted to her -- usually after some time in another healthy relationship. So long as you're lonely, she's going to seem like someone you want to be in a relationship with. Once you have some more perspective, you may be able to look at her as a friend, but given your previous sexual history.. who knows, may depend on your willpower.
posted by Alterscape at 12:46 AM on September 11, 2007

Do I simply need to man up and take control of my emotions (proving very difficult, thus far) or detach myself from the friendship and let go of this amazing friend? Will that kill our chances for the future?

No, it won't necessarily kill your chances for the future.

Data point: my partner and I met in much the same way you met this girl you're in love with.

I was still in love with my ex, but I had this best friend who was in love with me. We tried to be friends despite this detail, but it didn't work. We'd hooked up a couple of times but I told him I didn't want any more. He was majorly jealous of anyone else I dated. So we ignored each other for ages, upon my request (6 months-1 year? can't recall.) Then we somehow ended up in each other's lives again. And I found myself quickly falling in love with him, which was a surprise to me. We've been together for years now. So it can happen.

(NOTE: when I say it was a surprise, I mean that I NEVER EVER thought that I would feel that way about him. So that's how your best friend feels. And there's nothing you can do about it.)

I think that there's this pervasive myth people tell young men, about how if they're just loyal and persistent, the fair maiden will eventually be won over. Unfortunately, I don't think that really happens all that often. It sounds like your friend really likes you, but I think - being a girl myself - that girls sometimes say vague things like "Maybe someday" because they don't want to hurt you, not because they actually mean "Maybe someday!"

It obviously works occasionally! But I suspect my scenario may be too rare for you to use it as inspiration...

For the record, when I said "maybe someday", I recall thinking to myself (especially in moments when he was more relaxed, rather than trying to "get" something from me) - he would be a really good man to marry, if only I could develop feelings for him. So saying "maybe someday" doesn't necessarily indicate that someone is a coward. They may really mean maybe.

PS TeatimeGrommit is right.
posted by mjao at 2:21 AM on September 11, 2007 [1 favorite]

What I did, several years ago, was forge a mindset that I would not be romantically (or sexually) interested in someone who was not interested in me, in turn. It works beautifully; I lose all interest the moment I realize someone isn't into me, and I quickly move on. If you get hung up in the land of unrequited love, you waste time that could be used towards finding someone who is great *and* interested in you.
posted by korpios at 3:41 AM on September 11, 2007 [1 favorite]

Yes, it is perfectly possible to remain good friends with someone you're in love with. I've done it, and we're still good friends. It wasn't always easy - painful at times - but was definitely worth it. So, yeah, it's possible.

However, the question of whether you can remain friends with this person is another matter. Without reading too much into what you wrote and the tone of your writing, I'd agree with people here that you seem to be freaking out over this. That's not ideal conditions for keeping down your end of the (unspoken) unrequited-love-friendship bargain. Which is that they won't act all weirded out by you, and you won't act in a manner that will weird them out.

So I'd agree with people that you should, if not go fully cold turkey, at least take a step back. Hang out more with other friends, try dating around a bit, just ramp down your interaction with the object of your desire. You may find that, as you move her out of being the centre of your life, she'll also slowly recede from being the focus of your romantic desires.

If not - if there's still so much desire that you can't be around her without things being uncomfortable - then maybe full cold turkey will be the only way to go.
posted by flashboy at 3:53 AM on September 11, 2007

it's not friendship if one is still in love with the other
posted by matteo at 3:54 AM on September 11, 2007

One can be good friends with someone you're in love with, even when they give frustrating mixed signals, so long as it remains possible to separate the "in love with" part from the day to day part. I've done it, and it hurts like hell, but I was more than happy to keep the friendship and don't regret it for a second. In fact, the notions that somehow it's not friendship if someone is in love with the other seem completely alien to me. How anyone can be in love with someone they didn't feel was also an amazing friend is beyond me.

Two things work for making it work. First and foremost, don't get obsessive. Treat her like a friend. Maybe even a best friend, but still just a friend. Don't give her any extra preference that you wouldn't give anyone else in that position. When she says things about "not being ready," cringe and hurt, but move on. It can be hard, but it's not that hard. Second, find other people to date. If you're anything like me, this is way easier said than done, but it is still worth it to change your mindset and seeing other girls as attractive, interesting people you want to get to know better. It might also help greatly to have a friend or two that knows both of you to serve as an ombudsman, with whom you can honest talk about if you are doting too much or not looking out for yourself enough.

And then, if you get so lucky as to have her change her mind, go for it. Living a normal life now will not change that, especially if you stay friends.
posted by Schismatic at 5:21 AM on September 11, 2007 [9 favorites]

posted by crewshell at 5:22 AM on September 11, 2007 [1 favorite]

I have to disagree with the sentiment in this thread.
I've been that guy a number of times. Meet girl, fall for her (I wouldn't quite call it love), but the feelings were unrequited. In each case, we became best friends regardless of my feelings. It would appear I have the "best guy friend" syndrome and it is something I've come to be at peace with.
I've also been on the receiving end before. Unbeknown to me, girl was madly in love with me, yet we were best friends for a while (until I fell for her best friend. Bad idea).

It can work out. In the end, however, it's predicated on how you respond to her rejection. If you continue to be in love with her and are unable to squelch those feeling- particularly when you're around her- then chances are the feelings will eat you up inside. On the other hand, if you can keep the feelings to a minimum and concentrate on just being friends (that means no dreaming or pondering, "what if"), it is very possible.

Oh, and staying in the friendship solely in hopes of her falling for you sounds like bad idea.
posted by jmd82 at 6:03 AM on September 11, 2007 [1 favorite]

I spent a lot of time in an on-again off-again friendship with a person that I had a hard time admitting I was in love with. I feel like I blew 3 years of my life in anxiety and ulcers worrying about her. I really don't know if I could have done anything differently but it certainly didn't help my life at all. I wish the first time I told her to fuck off I'd stayed that way.
posted by sully75 at 6:28 AM on September 11, 2007 [1 favorite]

Schismatic is right. Yes, you can, but there are some things you need to do. Move yourself from "in unrequited love with her" to just plain "loving her". Realize that her being happy is the actual point of you loving her. Abandon the very concept of jealousy - it's territorialism at best, malice at worst, and is unworthy of you. If she's going out with some other guy, be pleased that she is happy. There are men who are better for you than her; accept that. Don't stand in the way, and don't make the mistake of interfering (unless she asks you to, or it's actually seriously dangerous to her in some way, in which case, get other mutual friends involved too). It's fine for her to date guys you think are jerks; they probably aren't. Really.

Like Schismatic said, date other women. Hell, ask her to introduce you to any she thinks might like you and vice versa, and be prepared to love them as much or more as you love(d) her.

If you can do all that, it'll be OK. Get enough practice and you'll get the process down to under a week, trust me. :)

If not, go tell her you can't see her any more, and wish her all the best, and go get drunk or cry or get out of town for a while or whatever it takes, and maybe sooner or later you'll meet a girl who actually is perfect, ie is without that major imperfection of not loving you back.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 6:34 AM on September 11, 2007 [2 favorites]

Thanks for all the advice thus far. I was as honest as possible when writing this and I think my sentiment did carry over; I am most definitely "freaking out".

To rhizome: We definitely are best friends. See each other every day, first to vent our problems, rely upon one another for everything type of best friend. I know her darkest secrets and she knows mine. I wasn't fooling myself about that part.

To mjao: Ahhhh! Your story is what I envision happening for us later on. I think I have to let go of that fantasy, however. I'm glad it worked for you!

There's lots of good advice here-- I think I'm going to distance myself a little bit in order to cool off and then make my best effort to keep it together when I'm with her. We stopped sleeping together a few days ago, so at least that part of the equation is solved.

The idea of going "cold turkey" for a few months is really daunting, but it seems to be the most recommended course of action. I don't want to bring myself to it yet, and to see that some have gotten a handle on their emotions enough to remain friends gives me hope that I can do it too.

This situation is all the more difficult for me because I think there really is a chance, despite what was said in this thread. We've talked together about dating, marriage, how I'm "right" where her boyfriend of 4 years was "wrong". She missed out on dating for so long and wants to test the waters before jumping in with me. I feel like I'm walking a tightrope between losing her as a friend and losing her as a (potential) lover.
posted by jstef at 6:48 AM on September 11, 2007

Years ago, when I was an undergraduate, I was utterly infatuated with this girl. She loved me a friend but wasn't interested in my "that way." Yet I followed her around like a puppy for four years.

Finally, I snapped out of it, and realized that the romance wasn't going to happen. I also realized that I'd partly fallen in love with the DRAAAAHMA of unrequited love (as much as it also genuinely pained me). I realized that this wasn't doing me (or her) any good. So I called it quits. I told her that I was sorry, but I needed to stay away from her for a while. She was sad, but she knew how I felt about her, so what could she do but "be understanding."

Once I'd committed to not hanging out with her, I felt better immediately. It was like a huge load had been lifted from my shoulders. I got on with my life, had other relationships, etc.

Cut to fifteen years later. The girl and I got back in touch, via email, and now have a great friendship. She's married; I'm married. It's totally platonic between us, and it's wonderful. It's all the good stuff from our old friendship without any of the pain and awkwardness.

There's no reason why our friendship needed a pause of fifteen years. We easily could have had what we have now after a couple of years. I just -- *gasp* -- forgot about her when I got on with my life, and it took me a decade to think to re-connect.

Recently, I've re-friended a ton of people. I've learned that if I once had a TRUE friendship -- if there was something I shared with someone else beyond superficial infatuation, it withstands time. It can be rebooted. And it's usually better the second time around, after a break.

And if it WAS just superficial, then after a break ... who cares?
posted by grumblebee at 7:15 AM on September 11, 2007

Good God, run from her. She may be the greatest thing since sliced bread but things are never going to go your way. Alot of girls (and some guys) just get off on having this last-resort person around who they know they can go to if all else fails. Just having you there unconditionally guarantees you will never be The One. She'll give you just enough attention to keep you around but never enough to satisfy you. She probably doesn't know she's doing this.

You will be miserable until you quit the addiction. Rhizome is right. You won't listen to us, but remember to check this thread a year from now and learn your lesson.
posted by ZackTM at 7:47 AM on September 11, 2007 [1 favorite]

You need to get this girl out of your life right now, don't be melodramatic about it, just tell her that the friendship is not working for you for obvious reasons, and that you wish her the best. The important thing is that after you do this you must not call her or email her or anything like that at all. You will probably be lonely and depressed from this, but you need to use that drive yourself to find someone better for you.

Just focus on yourself and please for your own sake, and that of our gender get her out of your life, do not half ass this. Also I hesitate to mention this because you absolutely must not think of this as a possible goal, but doing this may result in her falling for you down the road, but that is not an acceptable goal for you either. Really as far as you are concerned the best case scenario is that you ditch her for your own good and hers, and that you move on to something way better and that later on you are doing so well that she laments missing that opportunity for the rest of her life.

Good luck.
posted by BobbyDigital at 8:54 AM on September 11, 2007


Its (1) the only way to maintain your sanity; and (2) the only way that she will not take what she can get for free. Everyone who can get support and love for free goes for it, no matter how nice they are. It is hardwired into human nature.

Find someone available--you deserve it.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:33 AM on September 11, 2007 [1 favorite]

Also, figure out what is going on in your life outside of this woman which you might be avoiding by focusing on her. Deal with that and you won't care.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:34 AM on September 11, 2007

I've been in this situation before and had it work out. Best friends with a girl for several months while she dated another guy, they break up and I (after giving it a little time) confess my feelings for her. She rejects me and I move on, but after a few weeks she realizes her mistake and we end up dating for two years.

I think the key is to move on and to be your own person. Don't just mope and make the friendship uncomfortable. For me the thing that made her realize her error was seeing me with another girl and realizing that she actually felt jealous about it. YMMV. IANAPIJCAL (I am not a player I just crush a lot. haha)
posted by atomly at 9:51 AM on September 11, 2007

You cannot tolerate being only this woman's friend. She does not want you to be anything but her friend. You need to end things. Sorry — it supremely sucks, and I can deeply empathize from my own past experiences. But if you try to keep doing this, you will drive yourself absolutely batshit bonkers.
posted by WCityMike at 9:53 AM on September 11, 2007

If a girl doesn't want to sleep with you (eventually) when she first meets you, she never will.

Believe it.
posted by four panels at 12:07 PM on September 11, 2007

I'm the "significant relationship" in a very similar story. She's got a very good friend who's basically been her shadow for quite a while, and has even joked (regularly, apparently) about how he was "next in line" if her previous relationship failed. Long story short, she and I met while both on a study abroad program, she broke up with her previous boyfriend (who was getting weird and had said that they should take a break, despite the fact that he was planning to propose after she got back...?), and we've been together for the last two years.

Things are great, except that her friend still treats her like she's his girlfriend. I used to think that her ex just had jealousy and control issues (he never wanted to hang out with her if her friend would be there), and to an extent that's still true, but after seeing her friend sit directly next to her on the couch (even when I'm present) or insist on driving her everywhere and paying for everything or finding even flimsy pretenses to have some form of physical contact and just generally dating her without trying to kiss her, it's really pretty creepy/frustrating. She loves him as a friend, but she has no romantic interest in him at all, and we both suspect that if, for some reason, they were to start dating, it would probably be catastrophic to him as he's placed her on such a mental pedestal that there's no way she could possibly live up to his expectations. The only reason she even tolerates his incessant doting is because she's used to it at this point.

Don't be that guy. Stay friends if you think you can handle it, but don't count on her ever changing her mind. When girls aren't interested in dating a guy, there's rarely anything that can be done about it (I assure you).
posted by DoctorFedora at 1:28 PM on September 11, 2007

four panels: "If a girl doesn't want to sleep with you (eventually) when she first meets you, she never will.

Believe it.

I'm a woman and I completely and utterly disagree. There are several examples of why through my adult life.
posted by loiseau at 8:11 PM on September 11, 2007

Also, Jstef, thank you for posting this. We're not best friends, and we've never slept together, but I'm deeply infatuated with a friend who is unavailable, and I feel I can draw something from the answers you're receiving here.
posted by loiseau at 8:13 PM on September 11, 2007

I'm almost doing a 180 on this. The unique thing about this case is that she actually has suggested a relationship might be possible down the road. Usually when this question is (so often) asked around here, either the girl flat out rejected the guy, doesn't know how he feels, or they weren't close friends to begin with.

Since she knows about how you feel, I do wonder if maybe you should tell her how she's driving you nuts by dangling the carrot (though I'm sure you already have). You don't want to pressure her, but obviously it would be hard for you to move on and see other girls, knowing the entire time that it's quite possible, if not likely, that she'll change her mind later on.

Going out with someone else to make a crush jealous seems to succeed with some frequency, but that seems too manipulative. I suppose you could ask her if she think she would be jealous in your case, because unless she does something, that scenario will pop up eventually anyway.

It does seem like you two may as well try things out to at least help her decide more quickly, if only for your sanity. And hopefully, if it doesn't work out romantically, you'll be comfortable enough around each other to stay friends. And you'd both at least know it just wasn't in the cards, rather than merely wondering about it.

But avoiding her completely, when you two are such close friends and count on each other so much, doesn't make much sense to me. You'd both end up feeling empty and guilty.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 12:45 AM on September 12, 2007

Here's an update for anyone who's following, hopefully it might be of use to someone in the future:

We went out to dinner last night. Our conversation fluctuated between our usual best-friend conversations (life, laughing, all that good stuff) and us discussing what should happen between us.

I pushed for a break. A short one, I said; just a few weeks to clear my head (we see each other every day, now). She was really upset, but agreed it would do me some good. We played with the idea of getting together in the future, again, and had plenty of reasons why-- "how you make me feel... how we understand each other... the sex..."

We were planning a trip to Las Vegas together and decided to go through with it in a month. I'll probably see her before then, but I think the trip will help us keep our minds off of the $20,000 question-- will we ever get together?

I appreciate everyone's advice, but the general sentiment of the thread was that I should run, and fast-- some answers took the gravity of my relationship with her into consideration, and I found those the most helpful. I just can't leave my best friend hanging on a limb. I feel guilty enough about the short break. In any other situation like this, I'd turn to her for advice, and she would turn to me; if I run, I'm just giving up my best friend.

In six months I could be asking myself the same questions, and all the pessimists in this thread would have been right. :)
posted by jstef at 8:53 AM on September 12, 2007

Been there. Here's the recipe: A little bit of serious exposure to these guys and the fact of her interest. A little bit more distance from her life and what she's up to. A chunk of time. And a whole lotta manning up. Not preventing your feelings ("No! No! I refuse to want her!"), but acknowledging them ("Eh, looks like I still want her ...") and then neglecting the ones that you can't do anything about ("... too bad."). They'll wander off sooner or later ("But hey, I wouldn't mind wanting her instead.") and there you'll be: friends. It's harrrrrd but it happens.
posted by eritain at 1:31 PM on September 12, 2007

A trip to Vegas could certainly distract you with all the hot babes you'll see in the casinos. Then again, maybe those women won't have much beneath the surface, and it'll just make you appreciate your friend even more, and it'll start all over again. So... be cautious. :)

But it's good that you both tackled it head on, though, even if there were no immediate results either way. Don't feel guilty about the short break, it'll probably let you both step back and assess things better.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 11:17 PM on September 13, 2007

God, jstef you're so brave, or foolish. I really don't know which? I really like DoctorFedora's take as being one of the few people in this thread who has experience of this type of complicated scenario.
When she finds someone who will make her light-up, will you be that guy who couldn't let go?
Clearly you guys have a great and deep friendship, but YOUR feelings of wanting to be the one for her are what will untimately ruin this friendship. I also wonder how much of the friendship is you wanting to be what you think she needs, so that eventually she will see the error of her ways and choose you. I don't think that's going to happen.

Good luck and let us know
posted by Wilder at 2:03 PM on October 2, 2007

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