She tells me about her sex life

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Hi Meredith,

I'm lovestruck. I nearly died a few years ago. Since then, a female friend and I have become much closer. She has supported my medical issues, bailed me out of bad situations, and visited me in the hospital. Before my brush with death, I told her I had strong feelings for her. She said she has none for me. I accepted it. We have formed a great friendship though. I am lucky to have her in my life.

The feelings remain, and it's become an overwhelming emotional burden for me. Each day I feel the burden in my body. She is smart, gorgeous, fun, and warm. I feel somewhat rejected and angry. Her dating philosophy is to find guys who are more of an achiever than she has become. Then she dates them for a bit, gets bored, and finds another guy. I want to date her or have a short-term relationship with her. She has signaled not to try to kiss her without asking. She tells me about her sex life. We hug a lot. Are these mixed signals?

What does the sex-life part mean? And the don't kiss her without asking? I want to think these are signs to ask her out, but I am terrible at interpreting. Of course my feelings are partly physical attraction, but I feel more attracted to her personal qualities. Please help. I am stuck in romantic purgatory.

– Stuck


She doesn't owe you romance, and you don't owe her friendship. It sounds like you want different things from each other, and that's why it's time to rethink – and minimize – the relationship. Take space so you both can find the support and attention you need.

I recommend explaining this to her so there are no misunderstandings. Tell her you respect what she told you years ago – that she's not interested in dating you. Then say you need to reset your own feelings, which requires time by yourself.

Let her know that talking about dating, sex, and other intimate things has felt uncomfortable because this isn't just friendship for you. You're looking for signals where there might not be any.

I know she's been a source of support during scary times. You feel lucky she was there for you – and that makes perfect sense. If she cares for you, she'll hear the "emotional burden" part of this and want to help.

Figuring out the specific boundaries might be difficult. Do you want a clean break? Is it more about limiting conversation? What works for her? If she can reiterate her feelings now – whether anything has changed – it might help you both consider your needs.

Get yourself out of purgatory. It's in your power.

– Meredith

Readers? Thoughts on maintaining this friendship?