Isn’t this how love is supposed to be? You get along so well, you make each other laugh, respect each other. You can call them five times a day and they will not think you are psycho. You can tell them anything. Well, of course, it is easy when you are just friends, because there is no pressure and no sex. The easier things are between you, the easier it seems to take that next step. However, it is frustrating that you cannot just do it.
This is the worst place to be: they tell you about all the other people they want to date. All you can do is be a good sport and give them the best advice you can, outside of “forget about them and date me…can’t you see?” At times, you are dating your friend without intimacy. You go out to dinner, movies, spend a lot of time together. The bonding that forms, the connection you built throughout the year.
There is the old “don’t rock the boat” rule. You value your friendship, and taking the next step might destroy it. Even if you are not afraid of destroying the friendship by taking the next step, you still hold back because you know the other person sees you as a friend. Therefore, your feelings are left to burn inside secretly while your friend clearly shows no interest in taking this simple friendship to another level. If you are very close, every time your friend is hurt or frustrated in love, they might come to you for solace and comfort. You have to sit there watching different people hurt them and take them for granted, knowing you would give them the world and treat them right. However, all you can do is be there for them when they are hurt before they move on to the next person other than you.
It’s simple, if not easy, to deal with feelings for someone you don’t know well. You suffer, you cry, you write poems, and then eventually you move on. When it’s someone you’re friends with, it gets trickier. You want them to stay in your life. You can’t always avoid seeing them while you nurse your broken heart. And because you know them better, your feelings for them have deeper roots and take longer to die down.
Do you continue seeing them and respond to their calls and texts? Do you jeopardy your friendship by telling him or her how you truly feel? Do you continue to allow yourself in this friendship in the hope that your feelings would eventually go away?
What do you do?
Here are the steps from disappointment to personal growth and healing:
My own reaction when I found out my friend whom I have deep feelings for is dating again; A stream of questions haunted me. What if this is the woman? They will get married, buy a house, have kids and she has everything that I long for with him but will never able to have because we are simply friends. But can I fault him for telling me this? Of course, not, we are friends.
Those are the days I deepen my meditation practice. Taking more deep breaths to cooled my mind by realizing that this disappointment cannot be ignored but just like all emotions, they will pass like waves to the shore.
We are all impermanent beings and we cannot expect our relationships or those in our lives to remain static.
Don’t play the Blaming game.
True friends do not wish to harm each other in any way. There are times I catch myself to focus on the rejection and the injustice my friend did not reciprocate feelings to me but I have never doubted my friend’s respect for me nor his goodwill towards all sentient beings. He was honest and could not lie just to spare my feelings or curb my disappointment.
I do not blame him for being honest, caring and wanting to offer his lifelong friendship. There were days I see him that I felt attracted.
In the past, I have stayed and held back from revealing my feelings because I was afraid to lose a good friend. A few years ago, I have decided to do this differently. I revealed my feelings, stayed within the friendship zone but continue to find myself haunted by my own desire. I took a chance. I picked a distance. I drew my line and expressed my wish to have space from him. I did not want to see him. I choose not to be around him.
Oh, does it hurt? It absolutely does.
However, I do not regret making this choice and I do not blame myself nor him for what did not work out the way he and I both wanted. And I know it hurts him as much as it hurts me by me coming up with this decision. True friends would come to understand what is best for the other person to heal this wound and they will forgive the pain you both experienced.
Take time alone to collect yourself.
No more hanging around at the end of the day to chitchat. No e-mail, no notes, no calls. Yes, it was painful and it will take time. Abbreviate your contact with this friend and allow yourself to reconnect with family, read more books, volunteer for a good cause. In addition, what started out as “I am so happy I don’t have to see my friend while feeling hurt and the Knot in my heart” will turn into an appreciation for nature, the people around you with laughter and enjoying watching of a sunset.
Most importantly, no matter you stay as a friend or you have decided to honor your own feelings by jeopardizing this rare platonic relationship, you need time to exercise the same compassion and tenderness to yourself that you have offered to others.
For me, a lot of the pain of walking away from a platonic love comes from feeling that our energy and time were wasted and meaningless. My feelings for my friend are powerful, important, and real, and to think of him as something that I just need to squash or “get over” feels wrong on a visceral level.
So instead, I think of other things I can do with it.
Take more time in the creative activity whether it is music or painting can also be the driving force to accomplish other things. To learn a new skill. To seek out new experiences. To travel and expand my world.
Having had a platonic friendship was the most amazing thing that happened to me for the last four years of time. I have learned things I would never have thought I learn before; I have gone to places where I have never been because I was alone. This platonic friendship meant a world to me; however, as much as I would like to continue enjoying his company, his true lifelong friendship, it was also time for me to move on.
I am not sure if we will ever become friends again, but I never doubted that the friendship we have devoted over the course of years had been nothing but the Best. I have always liked the analogy of taking a bus ride. Somewhere along this journey of life, we both got on the same bus. We sat next to each other for a very long time, we shared memories together on this path, but the bus came to a stop and I made a decision to get off. I have reasons to believe that even as we have decided to respect each other’s choice, we are still walking each other home.
May we both continue to have a safe, blissful journey and I hope for your forgiveness and understanding.