I have been working with this guy for almost 4 years. He asked for my number but we really never texted that much until I moved away to college. THAT is when he started to text me every night, we would call each other like 4 times a week. He always knew if something was wrong and generally he was there for me. When I came back to visit from college he would be like “Where are you?” “When can I see you?” He would always take me out for dinner and a movie. Or bowling. Always opened the door for me. Smiled, always listened to me, like actively listen to me, or remembered a conversation we had like months ago. Here is where my feelings for him really took off.
Well after a month or two into my first year of college, I told him that I liked him more than a friend. Well, he got quiet and said he wasn’t really looking for a relationship right now… He knew I liked him and he treated me the same. The vibe felt a little different, but he still took me out, texted me or called me when I needed someone to talk to. Then I plainly asked him: “If you’re leading me on, tell me now. If you don’t see me any more than a friend, you’re too good of a guy to lead me on.”
Talk back and forth blah blah blah. Comes down to this: “I have had and seen too many friendships get ruined by having a relationship.” So this is his reason… he doesn’t want to risk it now… okay.
So that was like a month ago. Not much has changed. Still takes me out still talks to me, worries bout me and everything. I know he likes me, I know he does. Just something is holding him back. Or am I just completely stupid and being led on like people are trying to warn me? Am I being led on or does this dude believe that I am too good for him and just wants to leave it as a friendship? Or what is he scared of? I’m just so confused.
Should I move on? Should I wait? Because this is worth it. I feel it, in my heart, I am so sure. And to say all this is like…huge. I have never thought myself as worth something. But I am worth the risk. I believe this.
Dear I Am Worth the Risk,
Wow. Thanks for writing and sharing your story because there are others out there in a similar situation who need the encouragement too! If I’ve got the timeline right, you’ve had feelings for this friend of yours for 3, going on 4 years. That’s a heck of a long time. I can tell you’re a “sink with the ship” kinda gal. That’s a good quality.
Chances are your friend is not maliciously stringing you along, but he is stringing you along nonetheless. Most likely, he genuinely does value you and your friendship and he’s afraid of messing that up and loosing you. And yet, even though his intentions may be good, his actions are selfish. You’re in misery. And by refusing to just say no, he is keeping you miserable, in limbo.
As I see it, you only really have one option considering all the information you’ve given. Move on. You have to move on.
Now, you can do this one of two ways: you can move on while still being his friend, or you can move on entirely. Both are valid options. I know everyone thinks that the more noble choice is to continue being friends, but that’s just not true. Sometimes what is more healthy for both of you is to let go of the friendship too.
If you decide to still be friends, you’ll need to reestablish some boundaries in your friendship with this man and let your feelings for him fade. You’ll need to let him know that you’re fine just being friends but that your friendship has to change. You can’t spend time with him in the same way you would a boyfriend. That’s gonna keep you from being able to get over him, and it will keep you from being able to be with someone who actually wants to be with you! This won’t work if you’re trying to use other guys to help you forget about or have fewer feelings for your friend. It. Won’t. Work. On top of being an unhelpful solution for you, what you’re really doing is using people, and that’s just plain wrong.
However, you may decide you can’t just be friends because you’ve tried that already and it didn’t work. It might not be possible for your feelings to fade. That’s okay. Let him know you can’t be just friends with him, that you don’t see him as just a friend and it kills you to be just his friend; that you want something more and you’ll never be satisfied with less. If that’s how you feel, that’s okay, and it’s important to know what you want and persue it insofar as what you want and your persuit of it is not self-centered in a way that comes at the cost of another person.
Who knows? Moving on may show him that he can’t have his cake and eat it too. It may help him realize that he does indeed have feelings for you as you feel sure he does, or if nothing else, that he is already messing up his friendship with you by trying to hold on to you in a way you’re unable to be held.
Like I said, this may happen as a result of moving on and not hanging out with him anymore. But, it may not. So you can’t decide to stop hanging out with him entirely on the hope that this will happen. If you need to move on, you need to do it out of care for yourself and care for him even if he never returns your romantic feelings.
However, if you decide to have your cake and eat it too by still holding on to him or the idea of him even though it’s killing you, then you can’t blame him for making you miserable; you’re making yourself a martyr and you only have yourself to blame. So, if you can’t just be his friend, then you ought to let him go. It’s a diservice to you and to him to hold on to something that isn’t there.
You’re absolutely right about one thing: You’re valuable. You’re worth the risk. So take a risk on yourself, and move on one way or another.
Rooting for you.