You have a longtime friend with whom you shared all your secrets. You never before thought of him in a romantic way, it just seemed to happen unexpectedly. Now you are not sure what to do with your new feelings. If you confess them, you could possibly ruin your friendship. But it may not be fair to either of you if you deny those romantic feelings.
Assess Your Situation
The hardest thing is to decide whether to act on your feelings and tell him the truth. You keep telling yourself that dating a friend is better than dating someone you don't know well. But it doesn’t mean that you should rush in and declare your love. Take some time to assess your feelings. Did they come about suddenly? Perhaps when you saw him with a new love? If so, then maybe you’re jealous, rather than in love. If your feelings gradually developed over time, could you be confusing admiration and friendly feelings with being in love? It’s natural to feel a range of positive feelings toward friends. But these feelings don’t necessarily mean you should get involved romantically. If, on the other hand, you’ve known for quite some time that you’d like to take the relationship to a lovely new level, it’s time to make a plan.
Notice the Signs
If you are not sure if he feels the same way about you and you don’t want to lose a friend, consider postponing your confession. It can save you from being rejected outright. However, if he stops talking about dating other women, take notice. He may be trying to let you know that he’s interested. Also, keep tabs on his displays of physical affection. He may feel the same as you if he begins hugging you more often or touching your cheek. If he’s showing signs that he’s interested, then you can test the waters by becoming a bit more romantic with him. This way, you can begin telling him how you feel without using words. Try touching his hands when you’re both sitting down chatting. Make longer eye contact and smile. Or give him an extra long hug when you say goodbye. If he returns the affection, then you've set the stage for telling him how you feel.
Communicate Your Feelings
When you decide to finally confess to your friend how you feel about him choose your words carefully. Use the fact that you know this person very well and adjust your approach accordingly. If you know that he would be too overwhelmed by words like, “I realize that I am deeply in love with you,” try to scale things down a bit. You could say something along the lines of, “I have realized that my feelings for you have changed, and I would like to be more than just a friend to you." By scaling things down this way, you are being honest, yet giving him space to digest the news without feeling pressured.
Be Prepared for Response
If you muster the courage to confess your love only to hear that he doesn’t feel the same, respect his feelings. It is much better that you know the truth about how he feels about you so you can move on. You will probably need some time and space to regroup your feelings and figure out whether you’re capable of continuing your friendship the way it was.
Nina Edwards holds a doctorate in clinical psychology and has been writing about families and relationships since 2000. She has numerous publications in scholarly journals and often writes for relationship websites as well. Edwards is a university lecturer and practicing psychologist in New York City.
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