In Love with Best Friend?
Q: I am at college and have been best friends with a wonderful girl for two years. We talk about everything. She has a boyfriend, though, and I respect that. Still, I love her with all my heart and know we would be good together. She knows I care about her greatly. Recently she told me she that has started having feelings for another guy other than her boyfriend. Of the two guys I knew she has started hanging out with, she told me it was neither. Her roommate and other friends of mine believe she is referring to me. I do know we both greatly care for and love each other. I need to know if I should tell her exactly how I feel about her or if I should wait till the boyfriend is gone. My friends tell me I should, but when I was talking to her about another girl I liked that also had a boyfriend, she told me not to because it would make it harder on her. I would like some expert help so I don't have to depend on what my friends say. -- William, 25
Dr. Susan: You should never depend too much on what your friends say. They all have their own experiences and don't know what is right for you. Let me say upfront that being a girl's best friend for a very long time while she has a boyfriend is often NOT the way to get her to see you in a romantic way. If this girl tells you about her boyfriend, the other guys she hangs out with, and her feelings for yet another guy, I doubt she's talking about suddenly feeling differently about you. That just sounds like kid stuff, too much game-playing. She's seems to enjoy your role as only a friend. Some girls like to dangle a number of guys, knowing that the guys are romantically smitten with them. If you begin telling her about another girl you like, she doesn't want to hear about it because she wants to be the most important person to you. And meanwhile, she gets to have as many guys on the string as she can get away with. It's not very fair, and it would make me leery of trusting her.
If you're really such good friends, open up to her. Ask her why she doesn't leave her boyfriend if she has feelings for other guys. And by the way, ask her, could she ever have those kinds of feelings for you, beyond friendship? Also, if I were you, I wouldn't "love her with all your heart," because then you're not open to meeting someone who can actually love you back.
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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.