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He Said, She Said: The Dance Between Friends & Lovers

Friendship is the beginning of love, but the dance between being ‘just friends’ and transitioning to ‘lovers’ can be a very tricky one. 

Image Credit: Getty Images

Image Credit: Getty Images

Love should always be based on friendship. When friends move into the lovers’ dynamic it means they are taking the next big step in their relationship. However, before committing to any romantic relationship, one must make an effort to get to know the individual they are involved with and create a tight bond through friendship. If friendship isn’t one of the key foundations in your love life, you might be wasting your time with the wrong person. It is through friendship and a deep understanding that you discover the good and not-so-good side of a person, and appreciate all their characteristics and grow to love them in ways only you can see.

But what happens when you fall in your love with your best friend and they’re in a relationship?

Sometimes opening up to your best friend about your feelings and telling them that you’re in love with them can bring about one of the best things and progress what’s already a natural friendship. Who wouldn’t want to spend the rest of their life with someone they can trust, rely on, confide in and most importantly love?

It doesn’t always go as planned though. Rev. Lloyd Strom said, “Love does not obey our expectations; it obeys our intentions.” Love can blindside you midst the realities and lead to unrequited feelings–one of the most heart-wrenching experiences forlorn lovers might go through in such situations. Falling in love with your best friend can have you traveling down a slippery slope of no return. When telling your best friend you are in love with them, tread easy because either you tarnish the friendship and they’ll grow offended that you stepped over a sacred boundary and thus, shy away from you; or they might not understand completely and have you become stuck between your own feelings and the current reality at hand, where often delusion can build up.

But once you open up your feelings and heart to your true love but are rejected, where do you go next? Do you breakup with them? Do you stay the best friend? It’s highly dependent of the situation. No two relationships in this world are alike, and none of them are like the ones found at the movies. Losing the one person you love in any dynamic sucks. In some ways, losing them in a romantic notion can not only affect and uproot your foundations, but rattle your psyche, emotional, and social structure.

This week we hear from Abby of Bloomington, Indiana who is in love with her best friend even though he is soon to be married. Because of this, Abby is torn up inside and has been contemplating on whether or not she should end the friendship with him. So, should she? Or should she stay the best friend? Our writers group together and provide insight to the heartbroken Abby.

He Said She Said - Abby July 10 2013

Chris says…

I really feel for you, Abby.

Having been on both sides of this dilemma, I can truly say that there is no real “win-win” situation. I’m not sure how long your friendship has been or the kind of relationship you had before he found his fiancée; however, I do know that the cycle you’re in is toxic and will only get worse the longer it carries on. It seems as though you have already decided that carrying on this way isn’t working, and sometimes that can be the hardest part. What you are already doing – keeping yourself busier – is a great start, but what you can’t do is let these breaks that your friend and his fiancée take steer you off course. When I was in a similar situation as you, I used to get so excited when my friend (who was in a long distance relationship) and her boyfriend would get in fights or take breaks. It was so hard trying not to be the “hero” to come in when there was trouble or a lull in their romance, but I was burned every time. I encountered the same thought process that you have now: Should I carry on and hope that they’re relationship falls apart? Or should I end my friendship with her?

After a lot of interventions and time to think, I ended up thinking back to that moment when I had originally confronted her with my feelings. The outcome was similar to yours. She told me that she had “her guy” but didn’t want our friendship to end because she cherished it. After that retrospective, I took what she said for what it was – a simple “no”. I took my chance, and she declined. Sometimes you have to look at it as a rejection in order to move on.

Conversely, I’ve been in the shoes of your friend too. In that situation, a different friend confronted me with her feelings while I was in a relationship with the woman I eventually married. In that case, it was me, the guy or your friend, who made the decision to end the friendship. I saw that her feelings were too strong and anything less than a romantic relationship would tear her apart. I didn’t want to hurt her feelings but if I hadn’t ended our friendship right then and there, then I would have hurt her worse. In my opinion, the chance for your friend to do the same thing has passed and now you have to do what’s best for you.

My advice is to take your friends engagement and “I still want our friendship” answer to heart. There isn’t an exact science for happiness, but there is a pattern to unhappiness. Right now, it is hard to see past this friend being the one you love. However, this kind of situation brings me to my point: had I kept alive the cycle from the first situation that I described, I would have never met my future wife and be truly happy.

Good luck, Abby.

James says…

Abby, the hardest dance seems to be the one between being friends and lovers. I’m living proof that never giving up can actually lead to dating your best friend. Oddly enough, we have similar stories. It seems like you’ve stuck around through just about everything, since he’s engaged and all. What’s weird about that is the way he and his fiancée take so many breaks. Usually, there are no more breaks when you’ve decided to marry someone. Here’s where you do what I found best after years of sticking around:

Prepare a detailed explanation of exactly everything you’re thinking. Meet him somewhere you both love to be. Before you surrender your heart, tell him with the honest conviction you know you have, this is the first and last time you’ll ever bring this up. Confess your love, pour your heart out, date back to the first time you met him, where you stand now, delve into all the late night conversations you have with yourself, and most importantly, be yourself. This whole fear of sounding like a crazy-lady is only for the movies. People like to hear how it is straight and forward. And if you give an honest delivery with confidence, you’ll feel increasingly better no matter what the outcome.

When I did this, I told myself I would be okay if the outcome was a disconnect because when you develop chemistry with a best friend it becomes something else. Love is a depressing cycle until you land. But it’s worth it to lay it on the line, especially after you’ve had years to wrestle with thoughts of him.

Get in a good (sober) state of mind. Realize you matter and this will better you either way. Deliver the message. Let it soak in.

They say life is about taking chances. This is one of those chances.

My best, Abby.

Cady says…

Abby, this is a tough situation to be in.

It’s always hard to have feelings for someone who doesn’t feel the same way. Love is a funny thing, and sometimes it seems impossible to find the right person. It seems to me that your friend and his fiancée have a rocky relationship, and it’s great that you’re there for him when they decide to take a break. You shouldn’t resign yourself to just being a back up plan though. Love isn’t about waiting around to see what may happen between other people and how it changes your own relationship with him. You shouldn’t put your own happiness on hold, because you deserve to be happy.

I think it will be really difficult for you to move on, for you to find someone new to fall in love with, if you keep holding on to your feelings for your friend. Being a friend to someone you love more than just as a friend can be incredibly hard and sad and emotionally draining. Trust me, there’s no light switch, no way for you to just “turn off” your feelings and make you forget you were ever in love with him. But you need to give yourself a chance to find happiness, even if that means finding it elsewhere. It sounds rough, but you need to put yourself first. There’s no point in making yourself unhappy, even if it means making yourself available to him as a friend. You never know, there could be someone waiting who is perfect for you, but if you’re still holding on to this guy, you may never meet him.

I’d say you should keep doing what you’re doing: try to involve yourself with your family, your other friends, and just keep yourself open to whatever possibilities may wander your way. Your friend’s relationship with his fiancée doesn’t seem too stable to me and no one ever really knows what the future may hold. His relationship may not work out, but maybe it will. And if it does, you’ll want to be ready to find your own happy ending.

Good luck, Abby.

Cathie says…

Abby. My heart goes out to you because your words really do reflect the emotional turmoil that you’re feeling.

I think it’s very brave of you to have expressed your feelings to your friend. I hope he realizes that was a big step for you and shows the level of caring you are at. Try to not confuse his not agreeing with your wanting to end your friendship with him not understanding you. I know that may be difficult, however there is a difference. He is emotionally invested in this as well. It may be different, but that is not to say he wouldn’t be affected by your action of cutting all ties.

What I am going to suggest is to ask yourself some simple questions that will feel like they have complex answers. Do you feel that this ending of the friendship is really necessary? It’s been over two years and you’re still there with him. It’s a long time and shows that you can still be his friend. If your emotional state is becoming more fragile from it, then maybe you need to impose a break from him. During that time, look after only yourself. No contact; try to not think of him. Ask any mutual friends to not mention him, or bring up any details about him. A level of clarity is needed where your first thought isn’t of your friend, but of you. You matter and you need to be happy for yourself. It sounds as if he really cares for you. Can you find some comfort in that? There isn’t a switch to turn off feelings, unfortunately. We’ve all hoped for one at least once in our lives. Maybe you don’t need to switch them off but shift them instead? Try to not think of him in a loving sense, but as a friend. Just as a friend. Remind yourself of why you are best friends and what that brings to you both. A change in your relationship status may change all those things as well. It doesn’t have to, though it should be something you consider.

You are not a bad friend for wanting to end your friendship. You’re trying to protect yourself and stop the hurt you feel. If you think of him as your friend, maybe that will open you up to other things that you aren’t seeing right now. Regardless of what is happening in his relationship, don’t let that be a factor in your approach. Think of him as your friend and try to get into that mindset. Letting go of the thought in your head that you have feelings for him, could change things for the better. I fully believe that if something is meant to work out, it will. However, we are only able to be in control of ourselves. You sound like a lovely and caring person and deserve more than being sad and depressed over someone you can’t have. Could you give yourself that chance? He’s still going to be there, and I’m sure that he would really like to see you happy.

I really wish you all the best, Abby. Remember, you are very worthy of putting yourself first. You don’t have to lose someone important to you to do that. If that is what you need to do, it means that you are taking care of yourself. Time and a new perspective can make a world of difference. I really do hope you find it.

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If you seek advice from our writers, email us at thehudsuckerblog@gmail.com! Perhaps your question will be featured in our next installment.

While our team of writers have given their advice with the best of intentions, they nor anyone of this site assume responsibility for your actions or the results of them.

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