I need some advice, or maybe I just need an objective opinion. I started graduate school this past September and met a guy in my program who is absolutely incredible. We became fast friends, delighting in how much we shared in terms of worldview, values, and interests. Over time, I have begun to fall very much in love with him. I thought at one point he was starting to feel the same way ... but then he started mentioning someone he has strong feelings for from his hometown, so I actively tried to shut my own feelings down (to no avail).
This person is someone I hope will always be in my life; he is a friend I strongly value and respect. But as each day passes, it becomes harder and harder to pretend like these feelings for him aren't there. I haven't felt this way in a long time and want to be honest with him, even if he doesn't feel the same way. But I fear what may happen to our friendship if I bring this up. We have one more year of graduate school together, and I cannot bear the thought of not being able to spend time together like we usually do. Do I bite the bullet and lay all my cards on the table, or do I keep silent and allow time to pass and see what the future holds for us?
– In Love With My Best Friend
You're worried that a confession might alter the friendship, but your relationship with this man is going to have to change no matter what. You want it to change. You'd rather have him as a romantic partner than a pal. And if he can't reciprocate your feelings, you'd benefit from some space so you can redefine who he is in your life.
The thing about close/best friendships is that they are built to survive awkwardness and change. They evolve, depending on where people live, how busy they are, etc. You can't freeze things as they are, so you might as well be honest.
Tell him you've developed feelings, but don't put him on the spot with a massive confession. Sometimes all-or-nothing proclamations scare a person out of a conversation. Simply tell him that your feelings for him have grown over time and that you wonder if he'd be open to something beyond friendship. Let him know he can think about what you've said; there's no need for immediate answers.
If he decides he can't reciprocate, do think about your needs. Again, you might require some space. Taking it doesn't mean you'll lose him forever.
Readers? Honesty here?