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January 23, 2019

I Wanna Be More Than Friends, But She's Moving Away

Hey, Bonita…

Hey, Bonita!

So, I'm currently stuck in a weird spot emotionally. I've reconnected with an old friend in recent months, and it's been great having her in the loop again. The only problem is I've developed strong feelings for her, and she's moving out of state later this year. (She'll be away for a couple of years.) I've communicated that I'm interested in her, but she's scared to take things further because of the big move coming up.

Now I feel down, because I still want to be with her, and I really haven't been able to take interest in anyone else. Part of me is wanting to stay rational, accept the situation for what it is and move on. Equally, I want to let her know how strongly I feel about her, and how I'm willing to do anything to make this work.

I have plenty of time to work this out—I’m just wanting to find closure sooner than later. Regardless of what happens, I want to keep our friendship intact, as I value it dearly. I truly appreciate any insight you have for me.

All the best,

Long Haul Friend

Long Haul Friend,

I’ve been in this exact same position, and I know how this hurts. Hell, I’ve been there more than once. We crush on our friends because they’re awesome, not because it’s a good idea.

Here’s the thing: She’s already told you how she feels. I know you’re in love, and you feel driven to press the issue—to tell her again how strongly you feel about her and how you’re “willing to do anything to make this work”—but she’s already given you her answer. I’m aware that sometimes people change and feelings evolve, but right now, the truth for you two is that she wants to remain your friend. The best thing you can do right now is accept that and continue being her friend if you can.

It’s a natural response for some people to want to persist after they’ve heard “no,” but it’s not the best instinct to follow. At this point, you certainly could make a grand gesture or beg to be given a chance, but that puts your friend in a pretty awkward position. I’m sure she doesn’t want to hurt your feelings or embarrass you, but she might, if you push the issue and her answer remains the same. Conversely, if she does take the leap and still doesn’t feel a spark there, it might make things too awkward for y’all to continue being friends.

You’ve done everything you need to do. You told your crush how you felt, and you got a response. You should feel good about that, even if you didn’t get the response you wanted. That move alone requires an amount of bravery that I still haven’t worked up to for my current crush. (She’s so pretty and intimidating.) Now, you’re in the best position possible: You know where you stand with your friend, and you’re free to pursue people who will actually return your interest.

Right now, you’re trying to herd cats, my friend. You think there’s something you can do or say that will hit the switch in your friend’s head to make her want you back. That’s a very sterile way to describe this, I know, but what this comes down to is control. She didn’t respond the way you wanted. But that’s just part of dating, and pursuing unrequited love is more uncomfortable and distracting than romantic, if you ask me. While you’re focusing on someone who’s given you their answer, you could be spending that time meeting people who are more suited to you.

I know you really want to date that friend, but you can’t. Not today, at least. She’s not into it. You have to accept it for the sake of your relationship with her, and for the sake of your own mental health. Don’t obsess over her answer to the point that you start to wonder what’s “wrong” with you or why you’re not good enough for her. You’re good enough, and there’s someone out there for you. But it’s probably not her.

Need advice? Email advice@flagpole.com, use our anonymous form, or find Bonita on Twitter: @flagpolebonita.

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