I’ve this friend whom I’m extremely close to & I think I’m falling for him, AGAIN. My friend & I have known each other for a couple of years, I’ve shared things with him much more than I had or would with anybody else. He has been understanding & sensibly supportive of everything I let on to him. His this attribute made me have ‘more than just friends’ feelings for him the first time, even when I knew he liked one of his friend & was yet to get over her. The first time I professed my love for him, he said he can’t reciprocate my feelings but he would like to remain friends nonetheless. Although, disappointed I decided to go along with his decision to remain friends. A few months back, he told me he had got back with his old friend. I was OK with him not reciprocating my feelings but him being with someone else was more than I could take & therefore started keeping distance from him which hurt him. That in turn hurt me & we were back to being friends like we were before. I had somehow suppressed my feelings for him, but now it has resurfaced because he can’t stop being such a good friend & an even better person. Though I don’t wish him & his GF to break up but also I’m not able to prevent myself from having those ‘more than just friends’ feelings. He has never been a flirt nor those mixed signals kind of person. The problem, I feel is me, so overwhelmed by the good person he is. Sometimes, I feel like completely cutting myself from him so that I get some relief from the confusion but as I feel I can be ‘me’ only around him & likewise he is more ‘himself’ with me, than his other friends & being not around each other would be hurtful for both of us. What to do ? SOS
The issue appears to be that you are in love with your friend but he is in love with someone else. Despite knowing about your feelings for him, he would still like you to remain friends. However, this arrangement is causing you distress and hurt, but at the same time you cannot be away from him as it hurts you both. So clearly, you must choose between letting him go to ease your pain, or continue this toxic relationship. We use the word ‘toxic’ cause the confusion seems to be killing you inside. The solution is simple. Either you choose your peace of mind and stay away from your friend or you continue to keep your feelings in check and endure the pain to be with him. The choice is yours, as always. About the choice, we cannot decide for you. Its your life and you seem to be fully aware of the consequences of your choice, either way. Now, that was the first impression after reading you mail. But we feel that there are certain issues which may help you understand why you maybe in this situation in the first place. Reflecting on the following issues, hopefully, may lead you to more clarity.
What is love? Does anyone know, for sure? We all have our own subjective, partial and sometimes whimsical notions of it. Agape love (unconditional love), which is considered as the most ideal form of love can be summed as ‘I love you in spite of’ (the weaknesses I see in you). In this idealistic form of love the welfare, protection, nurturing of the other takes precedence. There is a willingness to give even when the loved one is not able to reciprocate, with no desire to control. And one does not get hurt in the process but rather gives joyously. This kind of love is rare and difficult to fathom in today’s world, nevertheless, people still strive for it. As for your case, it seems like your love for him is because of the way he is with you, i.e- ‘He has been understanding & sensibly supportive of everything I let on to him’ (conditional response). Besides, given that he already has a girlfriend, it may not be healthy for you to have such strong emotions (bordering dependence) for him.
Most of us have two sides to ourselves. One is the ‘public self’ which everyone knows and the other is the ‘ true self’ which is seldom let out. Once our public self gets appreciated by those around us, it leads to more anxiety about exposing our true self for the fear of getting rejected or less loved. Living this lie is more demanding because of the realization that such kind of love is short-lived and not permanent in nature. Sometimes, when a girl is dissatisfied with a part of her own identity, she may develop a low self-esteem. She’ll seek to hide her true self behind the mask of a false self. By communicating an image of being tough and confident, she may appear to be a ‘strong girl’ to others. But deep in her heart she may be vulnerable, hiding her feelings of inadequacy and insecurity. Wearing a mask is all about gaining other people’s approval for our identities rather than our own approval. If this approval and love is more important to us then self acceptance, we try to hide our true self behind it. But this is not an easy process as we mostly remain confused about who we are and what we are becoming. Here, it is important to realize that the formation of our identities is a continuous process; it is forever developing and changing.
What do you think of your identity? Are you proud of who you are ? Do you accept yourself the way you are, or wish to be a different person ? Would like to change parts of your self for the approval of others ? Is it important for you to be seen as a good friend or to accept the fact that you are unhappy in this current situation and feeling hurt? When you find answers to these questions, you will realize which path to take.
While, both genders look for fulfilling friendships, where they can be open about their lives, girls often seek more nurturing in their friendships. You seem to get a similar sense of satisfaction being with him. Therefore to avoid any conflict or rift in this friendship you have let yourself get hurt in the process. Having invested in this relationship without any concern for your own emotional well-being, it has been devastating for you to disappoint him or to let him go. This is apparent when you mention ‘keeping distance from him which hurt him…that in turn hurt me & we were back to being friends like we were before.’ We felt that there was an underlined anxiety in your appeal, as if you are always left wondering if you would ever get the approval and affirmation that you need from others or not. There is always the risk that in the effort to win his approval you may end up losing your self-approval. Losing a friend certainly does create a void but in no way is it a permanent one. Your choice will reveal what matters the most to you.
Wishing you all luck.