He's long harbored feelings for his best friend, and now she's seeing someone

Posted: April 11, 2012

Question: I'm a single guy who has harbored feelings for one of my best friends for a number of years. I've never said anything to her since I don't want to put her in the position of having to reject me, and I know in my head it wouldn't work out due to a number of lifestyle and religious hurdles.

She has begun seeing someone. How can I take a break from our friendship without ruining it?

?Answer:Best to lie low for a bit without explaining, since you want to maintain the friendship but you also don't care to play audience to her romance.

But I think it would be a mistake to regard this as a short-term problem in need of a short-term solution. You've been sitting in the path of this collision for years

So the bigger question you need to ask yourself is, how do you want this story to end?

You need to figure out the real reason you've opted for stuck. Then you need to decide how you're going to get unstuck.

Then you share with your friend: "I've had feelings for you for years and never had the nerve to speak up" or "I've had feelings for you for years that won't let me get on with my life, so I need to stop hanging out with you" or "I like us as platonic friends but it has been surprisingly tough to see you with someone."

Whatever you say, it has to be consistent with what you want. Otherwise you'll merely go from Stuck Guy, who lives in an eternal present, to What-If Guy, who lives in an unending past - hardly an upgrade.

E-mail Carolyn Hax at tellme@washpost.com.

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