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Help! In love with a friend and need to not be!

(25 Posts)
Snow54 Fri 25-Sep-20 20:51:32

Help! I feel like I’ve fallen down a rabbit hole and need some advice on how to get out!

Brief background: I’ve been with DP for over 20 years and have a child together. I’m bi and DP (male) is fully aware of this. No serious issues in our relationship apart from the fact we both acknowledge that over the years we have changed from being two peas in a pod to more independent people with a slightly more differing outlook on life. Relatively normal given the length of time we’ve been together.

Here’s the rabbit hole I’ve fallen into. I’ve have completely fallen in love with a very close female friend. I have no intention of doing anything about it and was hoping it would be a crush that would fade in time but if anything it has become more intense. It’s now been 2 years... I can’t quite believe it’s gone on this long. It’s now starting to affect my relationship with DP and I need to stop these feelings but I have no idea how.

I think I know I’m going to have to cut contact as I’ve already lost 2 years of my life to this ridiculous situation. It will be so sad to say goodbye as I truly value her friendship, but I cannot continue living like this, it’s too painful and I must put DC and DP first.

But what on earth can I say to her to explain what I’m about to do? We are very close so even just reducing contact would be noticed by her. I honestly feel like I would owe her an explanation as I know if she did the same to me I would be very confused and hurt. However I don’t think I’m up to telling her the truth about my feelings for her. I guess it would be easier to reduce contact very slowly, over a longer period of time - sort of pretending that we’ve grown apart. But it’s very likely I’m going to be useless at actually doing this.

So what the hell do I do? And what do I say to her? Argh! Why can’t I just like her as a friend?! I don’t have many close friends and it really saddens me that in order to sort my feelings out I have to lose the friendship. Has anyone else been in this position? Did it eventually fade back into friendship?

OP’s posts: |
nolovelost Fri 25-Sep-20 21:54:38

Can you not be honest? It's not nice to ghost people and leave them wondering what they've done.

Snow54 Fri 25-Sep-20 22:07:10

I wouldn’t ghost, that would be cruel. I just can’t face the idea of telling her. Made worse by the fact that she had an inkling a few months ago, questioned me and I point blank denied it. I really wish I had taken that opportunity now.

I’m going to have to tell her, aren’t I?

OP’s posts: |
nolovelost Fri 25-Sep-20 22:10:07

What, she questioned whether you'd fallen for her?

Apple222 Fri 25-Sep-20 22:13:32

Yes tell her.

Does she know you are bi because that might make it a bit easier?

Putting myself in your friend‘s shoes, I would want to know why. Otherwise she will be left wondering what happened and will doubt herself and the friendship she had with you.

You owe it to her and to yourself to be transparent. You have nothing to be ashamed of and you are acting with integrity which counts for a lot.

Good luck!

Greydove28 Fri 25-Sep-20 22:25:40

I wouldn't tell her you have feelings

ZaphodDent Sat 26-Sep-20 03:45:41

Sounds like you've got limerence. Google that term and you'll find loads of resources on how to deal with it. In limerence terms, you're considering "disclosure". It's considered the "nuclear" option of dealing with your feelings, since there are unpredictable outcomes. Is there a chance she reciprocates your feelings?

Snow54 Sat 26-Sep-20 07:30:31

Yes, she knows I’m bi. We had a misunderstanding a few months ago which upset me and whilst we were sorting it out she questioned my feelings for her. I was mortified and immediately denied it, mainly because I didn’t want to lose her friendship.

I really don’t want to have to go ‘nuclear’ as I’m not that kind of person. I think many tough situations can be sorted out without resorting to extremes, and she’s an innocent bystander in all this (she definitely doesn’t reciprocate my feelings). I am just getting totally exhausted by it.

It helps writing this all down. And reading your responses. Thank you! And above all I know I am lucky enough to have a kind and loving DP and DC who I need to have a clear head for.

OP’s posts: |
CircusAnimals Sat 26-Sep-20 07:34:13

It will pass, given enough time. Keep schtum, reduce the time spent with her and no nothing.

Apple222 Sat 26-Sep-20 09:59:32

Maybe that’s it OP. Spend your time focusing on yourself and your family. Do nice things with them and enjoy their company. In time this will pass.

Take care and good luck.

ZaphodDent Sat 26-Sep-20 10:47:51

Sorry, I didn't mean you had to go nuclear, just that disclosure is a bit of a last resort, and can have unpredictable or unwanted outcomes.

However, if you're clear on what you want to achieve, it can end the limerence. I've done it recently after trying to deal with it for one year, and like you, becoming exhausted with it. I wanted my mind back.

Unfortunately, the response was ambiguous to say the least. This person had some reciprocation towards me, so initially I had some relief for getting it off my chest (had told no one in 12 months of the anguish in my mind) but the complication of thinking maybe we had a future after all. Had to have a long hard conversation with myself about the brutal realities of that, and why it was a terrible idea for all sorts of reasons.

Anyway, as I then backed away from the friendship, never initiated messaging anymore, gave brief polite replies, this person knew what I was doing and why (I had even explained limerence to them) and they just let me go, for which I am very grateful. I then had a few weeks of heartache, a few weeks of sadness, a few weeks of wondering what if, and then I suddenly realised I had my mind back to myself. I can't tell you how nice it feels. Good luck.

Snow54 Sat 26-Sep-20 12:39:35

Thank you for all your replies. It is the first time I’ve been able to discuss it with anyone and that has really helped.

I am going to try to keep a low profile with her and focus more on my own life outside of our friendship. I know I will look back on this one day and wonder what on earth I was thinking (I’ve had many odd crushes before, but never this long and intense), but getting there is so hard. It sometimes feels almost addictive / self harming to want to keep a hold onto these intense feelings, however I know nothing good will come of it for anyone if I don’t get out of this hole 💪

OP’s posts: |
Sexboardsafename Sat 26-Sep-20 12:49:51

Be honest with her. If my friend told me this I would be fine, flattered even. You can’t just ghost them as that would be awful

Seventybillionnamechanges Sat 26-Sep-20 12:56:22

I wouldn’t tell her to be honest, and not sure that everyone would be advocating it if she were a man. It opens up too many possibilities for things to go very wrong.

Instead look at how you can reduce contact and start to develop other friendships/focus on your own relationship,

justanotherneighinparadise Sat 26-Sep-20 13:01:59

I would tell your husband first. That should take the edge off it and then tell her. Once you shine light on it you’ll find it no longer holds power over you.

Dery Sat 26-Sep-20 17:32:08

"I would tell your husband first. That should take the edge off it and then tell her. Once you shine light on it you’ll find it no longer holds power over you."

Depending on how you think your husband would take it, I think this could be a really good way to go.

I often have passing crushes on other men but about 10 years ago I more or less fell in love with a male colleague. Like you - this was well beyond anything I had experienced before. We worked very closely together so I was more or less constantly exposed to him. I spent way too much time thinking about him - he was so charismatic and his energy was so strong that at times I actually felt like I was wearing him (strange as that sounds). I said nothing to anyone for about 18 months and actually developed asthma type symptoms of being unable to breathe (something I had never had before). Like you, I was absolutely certain that I loved my partner very much and had no intention of leaving him for this other man (whom he also knew). And btw: that man was himself married with children and to this day (we're still friends), I don't think he has any idea of what I was feeling.

Crazy as it sounds, the first relief came from talking to a homeopath whom I had gone to see about my asthma type symptoms. She happened to mention that it sounded like I had heart ache but she couldn't work out why that would be the case from what I had told her about my life and my family history. This triggered a connection in my mind and I poured out to her what I was feeling for Mr. X. I immediately began to feel better.

Around the same time, my husband queried that I seemed to have become very unresponsive sexually (basically because I was trying to bury all my feelings). Fortunately, because we are both very secure in our relationship and I knew I had no desire to leave my H, I was able to talk to my husband about what I was feeling for Mr. X. And that also relieved some of the pressure.

I also contrived to create some more distance between me and Mr. X at work.

And after about 2 1/2 years, the feelings just began to abate. I think at some level I just became tired of living at such an emotional fever-pitch and the romantic feelings began to ebb away. We're still friends now and I will always be very fond of him but it's all very calm and platonic.

It was a huge learning experience for me and I will always be very grateful for it.

user1481840227 Sat 26-Sep-20 20:31:51

I would tell her but play it down.

I would tell her that you had started to develop feelings for her (not that you were in love wit her) so you need to distance yourself from the friendship and concentrate on your family and that you didn't think a friendship was appropriate right now if you had hidden feelings. I would also say that I didn't have any ulterior motive for telling her about your feelings so not to worry, you just had no choice as the alternative would be to ghost or slowly fade her out and you didn't want to do that because it was a shit thing to do!

Jasmine77 Sat 26-Sep-20 23:41:57

I developed feelings for a female friend about five years ago. It was truly awful. It came out of nowhere and absolutely knocked me (and my life) for six. It’s hard to describe those years now but it ruined a long period of my life. We struck up this ridiculously intimate friendship, texting constantly, being in touch around the clock. In the end, it fell apart as I started to realise she had just seen it as a bit of fun, whereas I had really strong feelings and just couldn’t cope when she started to
withdraw. She was very charismatic but also quite fickle which didn’t help. I was very mentally unwell...absolutely desperate to cut contact but couldn’t as we were in the same social circle. I was totally obsessed, couldn’t get her out of my head, having the most awful mood swings depending on the contact we had. It was truly awful, as I’d always been so balanced. I ended up having counselling which was no magic solution but helped a bit. My relationship with DH had become very stale and I was really needing that emotional intimacy from someone else.
I don’t think I have any actual advice other than tread carefully. I was utterly blindsided by my feelings and that period of my life has really left its mark. Life still isn’t perfect but I can see what happened and why it happened.
Hope this makes sense. You can ask me anything you want to as I’ve only given a sketchy kind out outline xx

Houserabbit Sun 27-Sep-20 01:06:07

Is it wrong I don’t think OP should tell her DP? She has a crush, she hasn’t been unfaithful, she wants to put her relationship with her DP first. Exception being OP, if you feel had the crush been reciprocated, that would rather be with your friend than DP (in the real world not fantasy scenario).

Houserabbit Sun 27-Sep-20 01:18:05

My friend is gay and had a crush on her straight friend...she said she never would have acted on it as she loved her DP and was simply starting to feel close to this other woman, the object of crush hadn’t a clue. But my friend felt so guilty she sought therapy...therapist told her she must fess up to her DP, which she did and it caused a lot of problems in their relationship for years.

One1 Sun 27-Sep-20 01:50:50

She deserves to know the truth, she probably knows anyway if she questioned your feelings a while ago. At least she will understand why you are cutting contact and may be open to rekindle the friendship when your feelings are gone. I would not tell the DP though. You’d only be opening another can of worms. Good luck! C

Opentooffers Sun 27-Sep-20 01:53:36

Bad idea to tell DH, there are no thought police, loads would be in the shit if there were, no doubt. If nothing has happened, it only serves to hurt the other person to blurt out your thoughts, what use is that?
So, it comes down to how strong you can be, and what path will be easier for you, it's a choice of face up to friend if you need to go no contact, or, gradually tail off contact and distract your with other things meantime.
Either way, focus on what's maybe missing in your relationship - rekindle connection, perhaps you've been too independent of each other.

Snow54 Sun 27-Sep-20 04:54:07

Thank you for all your replies.

I have no intention of telling my DP. As much as I can see how it would help me by ‘shining a light on it’ as a previous poster mentioned, I can’t use him to do this. It could cause massive damage to our relationship - maybe I would miraculously recover after telling him, but then he could suffer from the emotional fallout for a long period of time...

Houserabbit I have considered the scenario if my friend reciprocated my feelings: it would be a total disaster. Sure, the first kiss would be like heaven etc but there is zero future for us a couple. Aside from the fact I am happily married with DC, she has a lifestyle that is completely different from mine, and personality-wise would be a nightmare to have a romantic relationship with. So I truly know it is a total fantasy - I am literally just overcome with raw emotion for this person.

Jasmine77 What you wrote really resonates with me. It is quite a similar situation. My other close friends are far more consistent in the way we communicate. However she can be very intense for many months, then will fall away for a while, and then will start up again. It has probably contributed to this situation in some way.

I think I have a clearer idea of how to approach this now thanks to all your suggestions. I may need to have a more frank conversation with her in the future but without mentioning the 2 years of being in love etc. In the meantime I am really going to try to focus on some distractions (new hobby?!) and put in some extra effort with DP.

OP’s posts: |
nolovelost Sun 27-Sep-20 11:08:38

I don't think you're in love with her. It's good that you think you wouldn't get on with her romantically, try and concentrate on that. Stop opportunities for lustful moments.

I like what @user1481840227 has suggested.

MargotMoon Mon 19-Oct-20 22:26:00

How are you getting on, OP?

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