I have this problem and I need your help. I’m in love with my best guy friend. I have known him for more than a year, and we’re so close we tell each other everything – but he has a girlfriend. We work together in an office where we often work late, and sometimes he sleeps at my place. Lately he has tried to make out with me, but I refuse. I know he likes me as a friend, but maybe he feels the same way about me. What can I do? How can I know if he has feelings for me?
– Dame In Solon Craving Real Emotionally Endearing Ties
I get it. You’re falling in love with your best friend, and sparks are flying as fast and hot as they did on your Birthright Trip. You spend every day together at work, you share intimate thoughts and feelings, he even sleeps over and presses his lips against yours in secret moments of seduction. It’s exhilarating, and meaningful, and you can’t stop wondering if it’s meant to be.
It probably hurts when you see him with his girlfriend, or when he is unavailable because he is with her. You’re confused because you don’t know whether you should bare your heart and tell him how you feel or respect his relationship and back away.
First, think about how your actions could hurt his girlfriend. How would she feel if she found out that you are allowing her boyfriend to spend the night at your house? When emotions run deep, it’s easy to focus on your own desires, but that self-focus comes at a cost because it blinds you to the feelings of others.
Second, if he’s already comfortable cozying up to you at night, it’s not a kabbalistic mystery that you have feelings for him. The truth is, he could end his relationship and pursue you, but he isn’t budging. He seems fine cheating on his girlfriend – and leading you on in the process.
While you could continue waiting on the sidelines, you’re reaching out to me because deep down you know that you deserve better. You deserve a man who will make you a priority and will part the Red Sea to be with you. You are worthy of love.
In psychological terms, you are operating from a scarcity mentality in which you perceive a limited number of dateable men, and you are willing to pursue a man who is taken because you believe that eligible men are in limited supply. In reality, there is no shortage of single men. There are plenty of smart, funny, dashing men, but you are oblivious to them because of an infatuation with your unavailable guy friend.
Don’t fall into a “oneitis” trap, blindly believing that one guy is the answer to all of your dreams despite clear signs that your affection is unrequited. Instead, embrace an abundance mentality. This Dr. Dreamstein of yours sounds like a womanizer. He isn’t in love with you, he’s using you to get his emotional needs met without offering you anything tangible in return. He’s deceiving his girlfriend, and he’s not worth the energy or time that either of you are giving him.
My advice? Expect more. Research shows that when you expect more from a relationship, you get more. Open your eyes, get dressed up, go to an art exhibit, chat up a stranger at a party, cheer at a baseball game, and when you catch the eye of a handsome gent, make sure to raise your standards for character before getting attached.
Despite all my warnings, if you can’t imagine moving on without an answer – proceed with caution.
Tell him that it hurts to be just friends because your feelings for him are deep. Listen carefully to his response and accept his answer. If he says that he shares your passion, tell him that he needs to end his relationship before he can be with you. You can celebrate, but don’t be surprised if you find him sneaking around with another woman behind your back down the road. If he chooses to stay with his girlfriend, then you will likely need to cut out after-work socializing until you can tolerate being in his life without being intimately involved. In that case, shake your lulav in a new direction until you catch the attention of someone honest, loyal, and unattached.
Elana Averbach is a dating coach and psychotherapist who hopes to be just as in love with her husband-to-be at 70 as she is now. Learn how coaching can help you find romance and companionship at kickstartlove.com.
Looking for love? Send your dating questions to AskElana@jstylemagazine.com.