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Can you help me have a tricky conversation with someone please

(5 Posts)
ToutesDirections Sun 22-Jan-17 11:00:37

Not a new story by any means.

I have a male friend of roughly 3 years duration. Met through another friend in a mutual activity (music related). We're both long term divorced and single with no ties.

About 18 or so months ago he admitted he has developed romantic feelings for me. We tried dating for a while but my feelings did not develop beyond just liking and enjoying his company. So we stopped and have remained friends. I am not looking for a relationship with anyone else and in fact I am in psychotherapy to work on the early life adversity which has, all my life, led me to choose wholly inappropriate and sometimes abusive partners (and friends!).

Male friend says he still loves me. I am struggling with this. I have been honest and direct about my feelings for him - that I like him a lot and would want to remain friends (because we share and live by many fundamental values and beliefs and we're still developing our musical partnership).

I feel like this is not working though. I feel compelled to manage and regulate the emotional temperature between us so that I don't ever give out the wrong signals. I sometimes feel as though he is hoping that if he just waits long enough I will change my mind and see how well suited we are. For whatever reason, though, I know I won't change my mind about developing an intimate relationship with him - at this stage I can't imagine ever wanting a physically intimate heterosexual relationship again and I'm an old gimmer so that's not beyond possibility.

I feel things are coming to a head but I don't know how to begin a conversation with him about this. And it's one of those talks which could go in any direction so it also feels risky.

Any thoughts please?

tribpot Sun 22-Jan-17 11:08:26

Why would the talk go in any direction?

What is it you want to achieve? He's been clear that his feelings haven't changed. You've been clear that yours haven't either. You sense (I think correctly) that he's hoping if he hangs in there yours will. And that's not really fair to either of you, but particularly to him.

I think the only want to defuse the current tension is for the two of you to see each other less. Whether that's for a period of time or permanently. You can't have the relationship either of you wants - he can't be just friends and you can't be not-friends. It's a huge shame but perhaps if he can move on and find someone else, he will be able to reconnect with you just as a friend? But that's unlikely to happen whilst he's still in frequent contact with you.

Very sorry this hasn't worked out as you would have hoped.

ToutesDirections Sun 22-Jan-17 13:17:18

I agree, that's how it is tribpot. It doesn't feel fair. If he wants a relationship (and he does) then I don't want to get in the way of him finding someone. I also don't want to feel like I can't also, at some stage, be open to that myself but as things stand I'd feel as though I couldn't be honest about that with him - and that's no way to carry on.

I'd also begun to wonder if it's better for the friendship if I begin to work with other people in addition to the work we do together, but I hadn't considered not seeing him permanently and that prospect makes me feel sad really. I suppose that's what I meant when I said the conversation could go any direction.

Thanks for your very insightful post though.

bellabluebottle Sun 22-Jan-17 17:30:00

hi there, I am new so I have not seen many of the messages. firstly I think you need to keep going with your honesty and don't give in, it is the only way to go forward and you have to be kind to him but true to yourself.

sometimes it can help to write a letter and send it, it will enable you to have some distance and give you time to think what you want to say. you could end up doing several versions before you are sure that what you want to say is ok and you haven't forgotten something.

you wont have the awkward face time thing or hardness or brief thing with e-mails but a letter from your heart I think will go in to his head a little bit deeper than hearing you say just want to be friends.

write it and read it next day before you send it to check if you need to add anymore or have been too hard and want to change what you've said, but just say what's in your heart and what you want him to know.

just remember that its ok not to get too personal if you don't want to share too difficult things with him, but I think he does need to know if your feelings are not the same and never will be.

some people just need time for things like this to really sink in, he clearly loves you, but its not enough if you don't love him.

a letter will give you time and relief once you post it. I hope it goes ok. I don't have much time online so if I don't reply you know why, but I hope you find a way. he like you deserves to be happy. in time you will probably feel better as friends that can see each other as friends.

Hassled Sun 22-Jan-17 17:32:33

I think for his sake and yours you do need to distance yourself as much as possible. This is understandably hard for you - but it must be horrendous for him. And he'll never move on while he's seeing you regularly. Make whatever life changes need to happen to cut that down, or ideally stop altogether.

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