A man’s female friend is about to go hang out with her ex, and he’s worried… and a little jealous. He asks Eli and Josie how to handle these feelings.
Dear Sexes: I’ve been in love with a friend for a long time (almost ten months). We met in training and saw each other every week, then started doing stuff outside. I did ask her out once last year and she said she’d prefer to stay friends. Since then, we’ve grown closer and both had relationships that didn’t work out. However, she’s meeting up with her ex “for a talk” and I’m worried. Its not just jealousy that’s bothering me, although that is a part, but I’m afraid she’ll end up hurt again.
She Said: You seem awesome! It’s so great that you guys were still able to be friends even though you admitted some feelings for her.
I think you should just be direct. First, be direct about your concern that she’ll get hurt. I would start with explaining that you know that she can handle herself and make good decisions, but that you’re worried she may be setting herself up to be hurt again, and that she deserves more than that.
Then you should say something like, “And, I swear my concern has very little to do with the fact that I still may have some feelings for you.” And then smile. Because she’ll know that it has something to do with that, regardless.
With any crush on a friend, there is the risk that they will completely freak out. I can’t deny that. But I think if you go into it confident, and assure her that nothing has changed, that you’re still friends just as you have been the last year, she’ll be able to hear your concerns. But you really have to follow through on that.
If she decides to go get her heart stomped again… The only thing you can do is just support her. Unless there’s abuse, people heal from heartbreaks and get stronger.
He Said: Are you worried because of the topic of conversations for “the talk”? Or are you nervous, because of who your friend is talking to – her ex? You say you’re afraid she’ll get hurt again. Has her ex given you (or more importantly, her) reason to believe he/she has irresponsible intentions? Is your friend particularly nervous about the talk? You can’t protect your loved ones (no matter how much you love them) from being hurt in life – it’s inevitable. All you can do is be a good guide, and point them in the directions that give them the best chances to succeed.
So… if you want to be a great friend (which I’m sure you are), have a talk with her of your own (before she has THE talk with her ex). Find out what she’s trying to accomplish from the talk, and what she’s expecting from her ex. Hopefully you can help her into a good position. Remind her to be honest with her ex (and herself) about what she truly wants from that relationship, moving forward.
Speaking of honesty, you’ve got some things to work on too. Even though you said your jealousy was only a part of your discomfort, regarding your friend meeting up with her ex, it’s still a part. Giving space and time to your friends are great things to do. But at some point, you may find you’ll have to tell your friend about your deeper feelings for her. If you wait too long, you may start to resent your friend (or yourself) for your silence. And what’s a great friendship, if you can’t be truly honest with each other?
Revealing your feelings is risky, but with great risk comes (sometimes) great reward. There’s no perfect time to reveal your feelings, but a good friendship deserves transparency. So reveal away (when you’re ready to really bring the honesty, of course). And definitely wait until the talk is over and done with. Good luck!
Got a question for Eli and Josie? Ask it here!
Originally appeared at She Said He Said
Photo: Flickr/Andrea Allen