Dear Ask Aaron,
One of my BFFs has made it really clear that he wants more than just a friendship with me. I’ve known that he’s always had a thing for me but because of things that were going on in my life I kept things between us on a friendship level. Now that my life’s circumstances has changed, and we’ve been chatting more he’s really stepped up his efforts to get us to be more than just friends.
He really is a great guy and I do find him attractive. He’s always been a great friend to me and I don’t want to lose his friendship. I’m scared that if a romantic relationship doesn’t work out I’ll lose a great friend.
How do I handle this Aaron?
Dear Really Confused,
I will never understand why women shy away from exploring the possibilities of having a romantic relationship with someone who is a good friend to them when there is some mutual attraction. The “I don’t want to ruin the friendship” excuse is tired and honestly a very short sighted and immature way of thinking in my opinion. The most difficult part of a serious romantic relationship is establishing a strong friendship. Intimacy and sex is relatively easy to develop between two people; However, building a friendship is what’s very challenging. Dating someone whom which you already have a strong friendship with is a the recipe to having a successful romantic relationship. After all, you hopefully have already established great communication between one another, already understand each other’s quirks and behaviors, and you have more then likely seen each other your best and worse moments. More importantly you have mastered the art of arguing and making up. You have an established relationship that is perfect to build on and if there is any significant level of mutual attraction between the two of you, why would you not explore the possibility of being Lovers?
If the friendship is truly strong then the relationship will probably be one of, if not the best relationship of your life. If the romantic relationship happens to not work out and your friendship is truly strong, then you’ll eventually make it back to being friends. In fact, your friendship will probably be even stronger because you both now know that a romantic relationship is not right for the two of you; therefore, romance shouldn’t be a distraction for either of you anymore.
If you have love for your friend Really Confused, but is certain that a romantic relationship isn’t right for the two of you, then you have to do the right thing and let the friendship go. Keeping someone around who you know has strong feelings for you, but you’re not interested in being with is cruel and selfish. No one really wants to sit back and settle for friendship while they watch the person who they’ve more then likely fallen in love with date, and have relationships with other people. It is pure torture.
Speaking from personal experience I know exactly how difficult it is to try and carry on a friendship with someone who you’re in love with but they only want to friendship. I could only handle being just friends for so long before the situation took its toll on me. Having to hear stories about the dates she goes on, or the things that she and the guys she’s meeting are doing and talking about more then just stung. It eventually caused me to look at myself and wonder what’s so wrong with me that she wouldn’t look at me in the same way that she looked at other guys. I grew tired of being the shoulder she cried or leaned on for support knowing that after I got her back up and on her feet that she’d happily go running back to the very guy her hurt her, to do the things that I dreamed about doing with her. I also got tired of comparing the other women I met to her, and eventually I got to the point to where I lost interest in meeting new women because I was so caught up on her and it felt like I was wasting their time because they just weren’t stacking up.
In the end, I got to the point to where a decision had to be made. She and either needed to try and go out on a few dates and see if could work, or we needed to walk away from the whole friendship. Some would say that ending a friendship because you’re not getting what you want is selfish. I say that asking someone to stay in a friendship that is hurting them is even more selfish. Unfortunately I’ve been through this a few times in my life and so far I’ve always had to walk away from the friendship. It is never an easy decision to make, but it so far has been the right decision for me. If the people around you aren’t going to look out for your well being then you have to take care of yourself.
Really Confused what it basically comes down to is that you obviously don’t realize what you stand to lose by not pursuing a deeper relationship with your BFF. You’re concerned about losing your BFF if things don’t work out, but you should be more concerned about losing out on the potential meaningful, healthy and fun relationship. You are unfairly denying the both of you the opportunity to be truly happy together based on a fear of possibly losing what you currently have; which, once he made it clear that he wanted more from you, what you had was already lost.
As it stands, even if your friendship manages to continue on from this point it’s not going to be the same because you’re not going to feel comfortable being open with him about your love life, and your rejection of him may either cause him to be more aggressive with his pursuit or cause him to fall back from the friendship. Regardless of how he decides to act, you’ve still already lost what you were trying to save by not giving a closer relationship a try. So really, at this point you have nothing to lose by giving things a chance.
If protecting the friendship is the main reason why you haven’t tried to date him then protect the friendship by giving a romantic relationship a chance. Stop making decisions from a position of fear and trust in the strength of your friendship. If you two really do get along that well then you will have a great romantic relationship.
I’m not saying jump into bed with him. I’m saying go on some real dates. Do the things you would do with someone new and see where it goes. Because of your friendship it will be easier to be open and honest with one another. If things feel way too awkward then you’ll both will feel it and should be able to talk things through and figure out what the next best move to make is.
Stop being afraid and take a chance Really Confused! The risk is absolutely worth the reward.
Thank you for writing and I hope this helps you out.
If you have a question for Ask Aaron to tackle please send it to Askaaron@djsilk.net