I have a three-year friendship with a male friend that I do most everything with and talk daily. We are not sexual, although we sleep together sometimes and can hang out and talk for hours. No, he is not gay. He is 55 (I am 53) and never married and had a rough childhood…his excuse for his intimacy issues. When I say I am in love with him his response is, “you just think you love me”. What does that mean? I feel that he is my best friend and is there for me unconditionally. How can I keep his friendship and accept that he is just a friend! I don’t want to give him up but find that I can’t date because our emotional relationship is so deep. There is no room for someone else but I miss physical love and a true partner.
It’s a rare email that gets me to bust out my Yiddish but this one certainly qualifies.
Let’s first start by flipping this entire thing over and viewing it from a different perspective.
Why did he say, “You don’t really love me”? Because he doesn’t want you to love him, that’s why.
Think back to another time in your life when you were best friends with a guy. Nice guy. Sweet guy. You could bare your soul to him and he’d never judge you at all. Except the entire time you were best friends, you sort of ignored one big thing about him: he never wanted to be “just friends” with you. He was in love with you. The only reason he accepted being “just friends” was because that was the only way he could spend time with you. The second he opened his mouth and told you he was in love with you was the second you ran away crying, angry that he ruined your perfectly good friendship (with which he was never entirely satisfied). Things were never the same between you after his confession, and he probably slunk away to be friend zoned by someone new, unable to learn his lesson yet again.
You’re in the friend zone, Jackie. And while guys knowingly put themselves in the friend zone just to have access to attractive women, somehow, you didn’t even realize that you were parked there. Because it’s so common for women to find themselves in this predicament, I’ve even coined a term for you:
The Emotional Booty Call.
Your best guy friend is getting all the benefits of having a girlfriend, without the sex, and without any of the commitment and drama that comes with regular relationships. You talk every day, you hang out, you fall asleep at his place, you feel safe, heard and understood around him… it’s PERFECT. For him. He doesn’t have to let you into his heart. He doesn’t have to buy you dinner. He doesn’t have to let you see his flaws within a relationship. He doesn’t have to ever break your heart down the road. All he has to do is be your best friend in a low-stakes platonic relationship. He gets all his needs met — and is still free to date other people. Pretty sweet deal for him, huh? Not so great for you.
The Emotional Booty Call: Your best guy friend is getting all the benefits of having a girlfriend, without the sex, and without any of the commitment and drama that comes with regular relationships.
If you’re left to your own devices, you’ll do what “friend zone” people have done for time immemorial — continue to be in love with your best friend, who has absolutely no romantic interest in you. You’ll spend years pining for someone who is never going to marry you, and pass up the opportunity to meet excited available men, all because you don’t want to lose your friendship. But it’s your friendship that’s causing you this pain, and it’s your friendship that’s preventing you from finding true love.
That’s why you have to tell your best friend the truth: you’re in love with him, and because of that, you can’t be friends anymore. Yep, just like a break up. If he can’t see himself romantically with you, you’re going to have to cut him off entirely — not because you don’t care, not because you won’t miss him, but because at this time, you want to focus your energies on finding a life partner. He’ll protest, of course, but he really has no leg to stand on. If he loves you, he should want you to find the man you deserve.
You just have to have the guts to go out and find him, instead of waiting for your best friend to suddenly change his tune about you after three years.
Oh, and why did he say, “You don’t really love me”?
Because he doesn’t want you to love him, that’s why.