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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » Dealing with 'friendzoning' in the long term (1 year +)

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Author Topic: Dealing with 'friendzoning' in the long term (1 year +)
Member # 107738

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I've seen lots of Q&A about people either trying to decide whether, as a girl, they should tell their guy best friend how they are developing feelings for them (generally, everyone says 'go for it', which I found encouraging at the time) and I've also seen plenty of people saying what to do (distance yourself, get 'out there' and meet others etc.) when you are rejected so that in a few weeks or maybe months you can move on. However, there's very few people talking about the longer term when it comes to unrequited love/still having these feelings after a much longer time, in my case, over a year.

I met my guy best friend during the first week of university, then about 6 months later having genuinely seen him purely as a friend, I began to develop feelings for him. We were very close, very open and very at ease with each other by this point and I felt, although I have never had a boyfriend/anything close before, that this was no longer a case of just friends. I felt very comfortable and safe around him, because we knew so much about each other, had lots of shared interests and we make each other laugh. We had a few instances of friends pointing out to me that they thought we were a couple, which I laughed off, but even my girl best friend said she felt she was 'third wheeling' when she hangs out with just me and this guy.

So it reached a point where I became sure of my feelings, and since we had been talking openly for a few days straight in the evenings on messaging and seeing each other every day, I decided to send him a message and suggest that although it might be awkward to say it and although I completely understood/predicted this wouldn't be the same for him, he was someone I enjoyed spending time with and had begun to see as more than a friend. I left the message open, saying he could ignore it, or reply, whichever he preferred. He responded very kindly, thanking me for that message and saying that his answer would be as I had predicted, that he saw me as a friend, just 'not really in the sexual dimension'.

Since then, we went back (after a couple of days of me avoiding him so it wasn't too awkward) to being as close as ever, and although a couple of times I have apologised for ever sending the message and given him the chance to let me know if he didn't want to go back to being as close as a friend, he's always said it doesn't bother him and he still likes hanging out with me. Prior arrangement meant we were then moving in together with 3 other students the next academic year, meaning I never had the chance, after the summer holidays of really being 'distant' from him. And to be honest, we would have missed chatting too much.

So, it has now been a year since I 'told him' and I have got to be closer as a friend, have more fun times as a house, including him, and amongst everything else going on in my life realised that no one else I meet ever matches up with him. He is still single, and has only shown brief interest in one girl, who in turn rejected him, and our housemates always comment that it is me who he turns to whether for a chat, travelling somewhere together, or just to spend time with on the sofa. It is confusing for me because I feel we do have something different when we are together. I've never made any physical attempt to show him my affection, although he does sometimes hug me, so I'm not at all suggesting that I still 'want something from him' now. Although I know he probably would have felt OK about asking me out (since there would be very little chance of me saying no, having asked him out first!) had his feelings changed over the year, he hasn't done so, and deep down this means I know he still is a 'no'. But that is something I'm finding incredibly depressing and disheartening.

Has anyone else had a similar, long term sense of unrequited feelings? Or, to be more accurate, feeling there is something there and the other person can't admit that, maybe because they want someone better/more attractive etc.? How did you deal with it?

Any help would be really appreciated, as I can't talk about this with my housemate that I would usually confide him, as he is best friends with the guy in question!

Thanks [Smile] x

Posts: 1 | Registered: Jun 2013  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Patricia H
Member # 103815

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Hi strawberry22, and welcome to Scarleteen.

Ah, unrequited love; as much as the feelings suck, I'm sure many of us have experienced what you're going through at least once in their lifetimes.

That being said, I don't think you did anything wrong with expressing your feelings for him; how else would he have known? However, please don't feel bad and take personally that despite how close you two are as good friends, he doesn't reciprocate your feelings and desires for a romantic relationship with him. It's not that you're not pretty enough, smart enough, whatever; you're simply not what he's looking for when it comes to a romantic relationship, and the fact that he was very upfront with you on that shows that he cares enough to tell you that, as opposed to "stringing you along," so to speak, just so that he can please you at his expense. Does that make sense?

How you want to deal with this is really up to you and your comfort level; in other words, there's no wrong way to grieve (if you have to), move on, etc. Obviously, if he still isn't ready to consider you as someone more than just a platonic friend to him, you should respect that and not try to change him. Maybe he will change his mind someday, maybe he won't; but either way, it's not healthy to hold your breath and put all your hopes and dreams aside in hopes that he will. If it helps, consider if taking up activities that don't involve him might help you take your mind off him for a while. As well, you can always come here to talk about your situation, how you're feeling, etc. if you want an impartial third party to divulge your deepest fears and worries with. [Smile]

Nolite te bastardes carborundorum. - Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale

Posts: 234 | From: Hawaii | Registered: Feb 2013  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 101745

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Hi strawberry,

Having unrequited feelings for someone can be really frustrating, it's true. I've dealt with a long-term Feelings Situation that lasted for a few years, and it was indeed pretty awkward and intrusive, at times.

I think your instinct to not push this issue and bring up dating again is right; since you mentioned it to him initially, it seems likely that if he realizes he is interested in starting a relationship with you, he can feel comfortable asking you. So the fact that this hasn't happened does probably mean that his feelings haven't changed.

You said you're going to be living with this guy; it may be good to come up with some strategies to give yourself ways to take time and space away from him if you feel like spending extra time with him will be really emotionally intense and might make your feelings harder to deal with. This could be a good time to get involved in some new activities or branch out your social group a bit more; not because you need to forget him, but because it might be good to spend some mental energy on some other people too. I know you mentioned this in your post as a short-term idea, but honestly I think this is great to do no matter where you are in the midst of these feelings (and in general). Even if you're not specifically meeting new people, getting involved in some new hobby/activity might help you focus on something else when you feel like you're getting sucked into thinking about this guy more than you really want to.

I don't know that it's helpful to you or to him as framing this as a situation of him waiting for someone "better" than you. The things that make a person want to date someone else are varied and often hard to pin down, exactly. I'd bet there are plenty of people you're friends with who you don't want to date, right? I have some very very dear friends who are incredibly close to me, who I can talk with for hours, who I love to hug and stay up late with, who I just don't want to date. It isn't because I'm not close to them or don't like them enough. It's just that that isn't the sort of relationship I want with them. Not wanting to date them doesn't reflect badly on them as people.
It sounds like the two of you have a really close and intense friendship. And that's great! But that doesn't mean that it's necessarily going to translate to a romantic relationship. Right now, though, maybe you can try to focus on the awesome friendship you do have vs. the romantic relationship you don't?

Posts: 1352 | From: San Francisco | Registered: Jan 2013  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

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