I changed my mind about him

Nine years ago I met my best friend. At the time he was hoping to start a relationship. He was not quiet about wanting that. I was young and had just ended a wonderful three-year relationship that had become awful at the end. I was not interested in starting something new.

After years of being friends, he asked me why we couldn't be together, especially because I knew how he felt about me. I asked him why people couldn't be just friends anymore. After some time he told me he would always be in love with me but would accept being platonic.

He moved back to his home state after a while, but we have remained friends. He visited me over the years and we have always been great. Recently we realized that it had been a few years since we had seen each other, so he flew me out to visit him. I guess that during these years I realized I love him. I really do.

During the trip, I thought he was sleeping and I am not even sure I whispered it, but when I was headed out of the living room, I told him I loved him. His head shot straight up. He was more shocked than I was. He couldn't understand why I waited so long.

Even longer story short, he told me he was not sure what to say, that he still loved me but doesn't know if I waited too long. He asked for time to think about it. We left it alone for a few days and behaved like friends.

He eventually told me that he will not move back to New England and said that I have to figure out what I want. I told him I wanted to be with him but did not know how yet. I asked what he thought, and now he wants more time to think.
Did I make biggest mistake possible?

– Waited too long, Boston

I don't believe that you're in love with this guy. You care about him a lot, but you spent years rejecting him and you've been content to live without him. It's possible that your priorities have changed and that he's now what you're looking for in a long-term partner, but you have no idea what it's like to see him every day for long stretches of time. It's OK to say: "I have feelings for this person but I don't know what they mean." You don't have to jump to love and commitment.

The only thing you can do (if he's willing) is to see him more frequently and figure out if there's any potential. Of course, he flew you to him for that last visit, so I assume you're not in a place to pay for your own tickets. If you are, ask him if you can fly him to you for a weekend to reciprocate. See how it feels. If you're truly cash-strapped, all of this will be up to him.

But please, if he does agree to spend some money to give this a chance, don't oversell your intentions. Your feelings for him have evolved but that's all you know. You can't say, "It's always been you!" Because it hasn't. All you want is some time to explore and clarify. Maybe he'll be more willing to consider this if you take the big promises off the table.

Readers? Should they be friends at all? Could she love him? Was her confession too wishy-washy? Should they explore this or let it go? Help.

– Meredith