Friendship No Longer Enough
Q: I've fallen for my best friend. We've been friends for two years, and over the past year and a half, I fell in love. I didn't realize what was happening for the longest time, but I know now. He's been away at college for the past year. I've seen him about every three months since then. He seems to have feelings for me too, but hasn't said anything, and I'm too scared to confess my feelings in case he doesn't feel the same way. The fact that he's on the other side of the country becomes more and more unbearable. I used to be fine if I didn't hear from him for a week. Now, I want to talk to him every day, or I start getting down. I'm scared I'll mess up the friendship. All I want is for us to be together, whether it be as friends, or as more. Preferably as more. -- Claire, 21
Dr. Susan: You don't have a lot going on in your life right now, do you? Your friendly/loving feelings for this fellow have taken over your life, convincing you that what you feel is true love. Maybe it is, and maybe it isn't. The two of you are simply living too far apart right now to figure out what's really going on. My suggestion would be to keep busy so you don't get depressed when you don't hear from him for a few days. I wouldn't just confess that you love him over the phone, as that could make him really uncomfortable and you won't be able to read his body language. The next time you see him, ask what the social life is like at college and if he's seeing anyone there. If he's free, be frank, but cautious. Say something like, "Do you ever imagine we could be something besides just old friends?" Be ready to be told no. If you do it carefully, you won't lose his friendship and you'll have the information you need.
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Advice for Her
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.