Solved Challenge: 5 ways to cope with a friend that is in love with you when you don’t feel the same

Challenge Description

 

There is a guy.

It all started when I attended a party a few years back. He invited me to be his Facebook friends, but we didn’t talk much apart from wishing each other “happy birthday”. And that is how 6 years passed, until half a year ago we met again. And again, totally by mistake.
Since then, we started chatting over social media.

Twice a week became every day in seconds and now, half a year later; we tend to Skype on weekly basis.

Why don’t we meet, you’d ask? He lives around 3000 km away from me.

The problem is, I do not feel attracted to him in any ways. I just like to talk to him and spend my free time with him. I don’t have any feelings towards him, whereas he openly told me he loved me and he won’t let me go.

I don’t know how to treat the situation anymore. I don’t want to limit our daily conversations, but I cannot enter a fake and distance “relationship”. You’ve got any comments?

 

Greetings Egle,

Thank you for sharing your Challenge with us! We have come up with 5 Options for you (including one exercise) and hopefully, after reading it (and listening to the podcast: here) you feel find an answer in yourself what to do next.

Your Challenge touches upon an ageless question: Is it possible to be friends with someone who is in love with you but you don’t feel the same? The common answer you will hear from most people is… “NO”. But, you know what? You’ve Got 5 Options is not about “the common answers”. We want to go beyond the “common” and by giving you 5 different solutions, inspire you to find your own way.

 

Dear Egle, your options are:

Option 1: Let Him Go…
Option 2: …Or Let Yourself Go
Option 3: Become his Bro… literally
Option 4: Play the “Incompatible Girlfriend Material” card and if this won’t work – become CLINGY and NEEDY
Option 5: Reflect on yourself and try to figure out what DO YOU REALLY FEEL and why is this “a Challenge” for you in a first place

 

Option 1: Let Him Go

let him go

 

Yeap, it’s that simple. He is in love with you and you are not. Any friendship at this point will be very difficult to maintain. His feelings are probably growing stronger and daily contact with you is only giving him hope that you will change your mind (“She talks to me daily, it has to mean something” type of thinking)

 

Why do we even propose it?

You have asked us to advise you on how to keep the friendly contact with him, in spite of his love declarations, so this option doesn’t make much sense, does it? But we cannot overlook the fact that it is very unlikely that he will just wake up one day and magically lose all the feelings he has for you.

It is more likely that he will persuade you more and more and get very hurt in a process.

That way, in this Option we would recommend you to talk with him honestly and explain to him that you have no feelings towards him. And that it would be better for you guys not to contact each other anymore.

 

Before you skip this options, answer this:

I What do you think will happen if you stay in this situation?

  • What are you counting on by maintaining daily contact with someone who is in love with you and you don’t feel the same?
  • Do you hope that he will lose his feelings within time and you will stay “clean friends”? And if yes, did you notice his feelings increasing or decreasing over the time?
  • Do you really care for a guy? If yes, are you able to put “his own good” first and let him down gently yet firmly so he can forget about you and move on? If no, why is that?

II Why is he still persuading you, even if you are clearly not interested?

Usually “rejected” people are proposing themselves that they would like to cut contact in order to forget and move on. From the description, it doesn’t look like he’s up for it. It is rather unusual so please think about the way you act towards him and answer these questions:

  • Did you express firmly you are not in love with him?
  • Can there be anything in your behavior that gives him hope there can be something between the two of you?
  • Are you giving him “lame excuses” why you guys shouldn’t be together (distance) instead of telling him clearly you are not interested?
  • What do you think could fuel his persuasiveness?

Staying friends with someone who is in love with you is like a “Pink Unicorn” – we’ve all heard about it but no one actually saw it  It could work in a short term, but in a longer perspective, someone usually gets hurt. That’s why limiting your contact with him is something that we would definitely like you to consider.

 

Option 2: …Or Let Yourself Go

Let Yourself Go

You’ve mentioned that you don’t feel attracted to him yet you don’t want to stop the daily contact. Something doesn’t fully add up here and please don’t get us wrong… but most of the times, when there is one person who systematically confesses love to someone and “that someone” doesn’t feel the same, it gets uncomfortable. Quickly.

 

Are you sure about what you really feel?

Usually, the person who is not attracted tries to cut communication because it is quickly becoming a burden  (how many times we ignore texts from people we don’t like and we hope that they’ll just give up and “disappear”?)

There is also an option that you have over-rationalized the situation based on one important factor: The Distance. There could be a possibility that you actually do have some “feelings” for him but you have suppressed them. After all, rationally speaking, entering a relationship with someone who lives far away “makes no sense”.

 

You need to look deeply within and let yourself go

Try to figure out: what do you REALLY feel for the guy? What is the main reason that you don’t give it a try? Is it indeed the lack of attraction or is it mainly the distance?

See dear, at the end of the day, something keeps you attached to him, even if you say you are not in love with him. This Option – in a nutshell – is a proposition to reflect on your own feelings and consider a possibility that you may actually like him more than you think, but you simply don’t want to admit it to yourself.

More details regarding this Option – including “The Switch” theory and the differences between the way men an women fall in love – are available in our podcast and in a great discussion “The Evolution of Love and Sex with Dan Savage” on StarTalk Radio below:

The Evolution of Love and Sex with Dan Savage

Dim the lights and get comfy when Neil deGrasse Tyson chats with sex columnist Dan Savage about modern love. Meanwhile, Chuck Nice and biological anthropologist Helen Fisher look at sex scientifically, and Bill Nye rants about... what else?

Option 3: Become his Bro… literally

become his bro

You are friends already; it’s time to take it to the next level!

Start to act like his Bro. Literally. In a nutshell, this means that you should become as asexual as possible – no cute smiles, no flirty replies, in fact – no feminine behavior what so ever.

You are not a woman anymore. You are Jim. Or Ted. And you really act like it.

Implement “No makeup and I’m in my pajamas with messy hair” Skype meetings. Start burping, or – if you are brave enough – include “other sounds”.

You can also “level it up” and start to share stories from your last night’s party, including hints about naughty things you did (you are bros; you should share that kind of stuff, right?). If this won’t scare him away, go for the ultimate killers: Ask him for an advice regarding the “guy you like” or offer to be his wingman and help him to find a girl next time you meet.

 

Will it work?

That depends on two things.

Firstly, can you pull it off? Are you able to really commit to your “bro persona” and stick to it? Can you be convincing in your new role?

Secondly, if your friend is really in love with you, no messy hair or lack of make-up will scare him away. He may actually find it cute and adorable (this is how male brain works when it is in love) so it can unintentionally deepen his feelings towards you.

If, however, his infatuation with you is superficial, it could effectively repulse him and discourage him from having any romantic relationship with you.

 

Option 4: Play the “Incompatible Girlfriend Material” card and if this won’t work – become CLINGY and NEEDY

incompatible girlfriend

 

Try to scare him away

We assume that both of you know each other relatively well by now; most probably you’ve already learned a bit about his goals, dreams, and values.

Depending on how much YOU have managed to share with him, start to contradict everything he says in topics like a relationship, starting a family, children, career etc.

 

The Deal Breakers

Does he like to travel? Because from now on – at least in front of him – YOU HATE IT. You are afraid of planes, trains even buses make you sick.

Is he “let’s sit on a couch and cuddle” type of a guy? Well, you are definitely NOT! Party and dancing all night long is your type of thing.

How about Sex? If he needs a lot, you are a Holy Mary, extremely frigid edition. But if his libido is moderate, you need to have it 4 times a day. Let him know in a subtle way about “your rich experiences” in the area and how good your previous partners were.

The ultimate deal breaker here would naturally be “the kids topic”. Does he want to have 4 children? Then you don’t! You don’t really feel comfortable around kids and you never plan to have it.

You see what we are doing here, right?

If this doesn’t work, it most probably means that he still has his “pink glasses” on and it doesn’t bother him yet OR he thinks he can convince you to his ways once you are together (meaning: “the power of his love will change you”). You may need more drastic measures:

 

Become the CLINGY and NEEDY girlfriend

Appear to be madly in love, suddenly and out of nowhere!

First of all, guys like to chase. The chase is over, you have surrendered – half of the excitement is gone.

Then you go with “the big guns”:

  • Start to text him every day, a couple of times a day actually, with messages about EVERYTHING. “Cute sessions” of your pet eating and sleeping (if you don’t have a pet, borrow one) or 10 pictures of different bags with a question: “which one should I buy?” are most welcome! And remember to make a huge drama each time he doesn’t answer immediately
  • Press him. Over everything. Press him hard and consistently (Why aren’t you going to gym?!Etc.)
  • Plan the engagement, the wedding, and the first baby’s zodiac sign and name
  • Overload him with your problems; even if you need to invent them! In your conversations focus solely on you, your pet, your bags and your wedding. Give him no space to breathe.

Some will run in panic. Others will just propose to take it slow from now on… (which gives – btw – you another fantastic opportunity for drama creation). This should be a pretty effective solution and it will work really fast.

The problem is, not only you will lose his romantic interest. You will also, most probably, lose his friendship.

 

Option 5: Reflect on yourself and try to figure out what DO YOU REALLY FEEL and why is this “a Challenge” for you in a first place

reflect on yourself

 

What’s really going on?

Your challenge is really interesting, mainly because it’s not fully conclusive.

As we mentioned, in most cases, when people are faced with an “unrequired attraction and/or love”, most of them feel awkward and uncomfortable and they try to separate themselves from “the in love person”.

On the other hand, those who feel strongly about someone, usually, after being rejected try to cut the contact – either because their ego is bruised OR they want to forget and move on.

From the way you’ve described your challenge, none of the “typical” scenarios have occurred yet. He still wants to keep contact with you and “fight for you” (we refer to: he openly told me he loved me and he won’t let me go) and you want to keep a daily contact with him regardless his straightforward confessions and simultaneously your lack of interest.

 

It’s a Puzzle that only You can solve

It may be that there is something more to this situation that you haven’t shared with us.

Is there “a third person” involved from your (or even his) side? Maybe you have feelings for someone else? Is it really the lack of attraction that you feel, or could it be rationalized decision due to the distance between the two of you?

Or maybe you have been through something difficult lately which makes you very cautious and careful about entering any romantic relationships?

Of course, we have no way to find out (unless you decide to contact us again one day  ) so in Option 5 we prepared for you a little homework.

 

The Exercise

We would like you to find a couple of minutes when you can be alone and relax.

Please take a piece of paper (or use “the mental note” method) and try to answer the questions below.

Don’t rush the process – take as much time as you need and be very honest with yourself – it’s ONLY YOU now, and you don’t need to share your answers with anyone else.

Ready?

  1. How do you feel about him? Please try to find 3 – 5 words that would describe your feelings towards him in the best way
  2. What do you feel when you think that he may disappear from your life?
  3. How would you react if you found out that he fell madly in love with another girl? If you feel somehow upset thinking about it, try to think why does it upset you
  4. What do you feel when you imagine yourself in a relationship with him?
  5. Is it difficult to resign from that friendship because you may be keeping him as “a backup option”?
  6. Are you enjoying his attention? Do you like to listen to his love confessions?
  7. Does it please you that he is persistent? Does it give you a feeling of being appreciated/ validated?
  8. Do you feel lonely sometimes? If you couldn’t talk to him every day, what would you do instead?
  9. Do you have any “unfinished business” with another man and if yes, are you ready to let go?
  10. Are you at the point in your life, when you are ready for a relationship at all?

Answering these questions will help you to reflect on yourself and understand your own feelings better. You may realize that you indeed just need a bit of an attention and appreciation in your life, so you keep him on a hook. Or maybe you have some true feeling for him but you are neglecting them? And if yes, why is that?

Now when you’ve answered all the questions please re-read all previous options. It should be easier to decide now.

Good Luck Egle!