Guy Who is Madly in Love With His Best Friend
August 24, 1998 Ask Dr. Love Advice Column
I'm currently living with a girl (as roommates) whom I've known for about 9 months now. I am madly in love with her and I've told her this. We last weekend kissed for the first time and then a lot more came to follow. I was under the impression that everything was going to be fine but then she said that she can't do this anymore because her heart isn't in it, and she's terrified of hurting me.
Well it's to late for the hurt she did that by not wanting to continue. Personally I think she just plain afraid to be in a healthy happy relationship. We are also, I should point out, best friends.
So what I need to know is what should I do. Keep trying to persue her or drop it and deal with the hurt?
It is very hurtful to be rejected by someone you care for. I understand your predicament, do you keep trying or walk away and begin the healing.
Before walking away, there is one thing you can do. You mentioned that you sense that your friend is afraid to be in a healthy relationship. Before leaving, it would be good to tell her what you told me.
You have nothing to lose and before letting her go and 'dealing with the hurt' it would be good to see if you can salvage this relationship by helping her to face her fears and work them through. You could begin the conversation by telling her that you don't intend to press her to become more involved with you than she is comfortable. By telling her that you aren't pressing for more, she may feel safer to talk and explore her thoughts, feelings, and motivations with you. In a nonpressured atmosphere, she should become clearer about the nature of her conflict, and in the process, she should also become clearer about how she feels about you.
It isn't clear to me that she doesn't like you. She did sleep with you. It sounds more like she is very conflicted and fearful. And, when she says that she is afraid to hurt you, she needs to talk a great deal more about what this means. Does she mean that she is the type to break off ties when her anxiety becomes too great? Is she afraid of being dumped, so she dumps first? We need to know. You would do well to ask her to explain why she is terrified of hurting you. And, ask her to explore all the thoughts and feelings tied up with this subject.
So, here's the plan. Set a nonpressured tone, then open up a discussion of her feelings. See where the talk leads. If she is willing to talk about why she is so afraid to become involved, then it would be good to agree that no decisions will be made about whether you will or won't be lovers until you have finished talking everything through. Bottom line, no important decisions (such as whether or not to end a relationship) should be made in haste. Decisions that are made in haste, before all the issues have been explored and talked through, are usually made for the wrong reasons (such as to escape frightening or strong feelings).
As long as she is willing to have a progressive discussion with you, you are both moving in the right direction.
If she refuses to talk, or is unable or unwilling to discuss what she is afraid of, then you will need to move on. I hope it doesn't come to this.
Good luck. Let me know what happens.
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