Dealing with unrequited love

Meredith,

I've fallen in love with "Mark." (We are both in college.) He loves and appreciates all my quirks. He thinks I'm funny and constantly tells me how beautiful I am. Mark is the most amazing person I have ever met. Kind, polite, funny, humble, attractive, and ridiculously smart. Mark and I spend almost every day together, and we tell each other everything. I feel safe in his arms. We spend all night talking on the phone when we're not together. My family adores him.

I have met so may guys who have disappointed me, but Mark is different, I have never met anyone like him and I doubt I ever will. But ... he is gay. We were FaceTiming one night when he told me. Through tears, he told me that he hadn't told anyone yet. In turn, I told him how I felt – how happy he made me, how I'd never felt this way before about anyone. I begged him to stay my friend despite this.

Mark reassured me that he would never stop being my friend, he just cares about me so much that he doesn't want me to be hung up on someone. That conversation made us even closer; Mark is just more careful now about how he shows affection.

You would think that I'd be able to get over those feelings now, but I can't. We’ll be in different places again soon – I'll be on another coast. Maybe the distance will help me get over my feelings. But the bar for guys is so high now because of Mark. Ridiculously high. Honestly, I can't imagine anyone better.

My question is: How do I ever start dating when I compare every single guy to Mark? I'm terrified that I will never feel that love again. I'm terrified to let any guy into my life knowing that I will most likely be disappointed or get hurt. I honestly can't imagine anyone better, and I'm scared about that.

– Missing Mark


I know Mark seems like the perfect man, but he wasn't the perfect boyfriend, right? You say you can't imagine anyone better, but I bet you can imagine someone reciprocating your feelings of romantic love and attraction. I bet you'd enjoy being with someone who wants all of you. Falling in love, by the way, always involves the risk of loss and disappointment. It's part of the experience, and yes, it can be terrifying.

The good news is you can take your time. You love Mark because you developed a friendship first. You can fall for someone else that way, too. You don't have to rush into your next romantic relationship.

Distance will help you set your own boundaries with Mark, and it'll also expose you to some new people.

I expect that some of those people will get you curious. That's how it starts. Scary but exciting.

- Meredith

Readers? How can she get over Mark? Can you offer some perspective here?