I realized I’m in love with my friend. Now what?
What's your love/dating/marriage/crush problem these days? Send a letter here, please.
I'm struggling with what may be the end of a close relationship.
I didn't realize how deeply I'd fallen for this person because we're both very focused on being there for each other as friends. We try lots of new things together, we've taken trips and have been planning one for the summer, and we very much love each other.
It wasn't until recently that my friends started been saying ... "it sounds like you don't just love this person; you're in love with them." I love seeing other people in love, and I love platonic love with my friends. I am scared of romantic love, and I'm embarrassed that it has blindsided me here.
The reason I think things are close to an end is because this person recently revealed to me that they are considering starting an open romantic relationship with someone they recently reconnected with. Initially I was happy for them, but I started feeling physically sick and realized the dynamic of our close relationship will change in so many ways. I'm scared of that.
Then came my friends' observations about my feelings. I've never met anyone like this and have become a version of myself I'm happy with, through this person's support. I feel an inexplicable pull toward them, and I'm terrified of losing them forever. Is it worth confessing to them, knowing that they likely don't feel the same? Do I then set them free forever?
Let's delete the word "forever" from your question. Relationships are ever-changing things. You might love this person now, but change your mind in a year. Maybe you'll watch this person in a relationship and realize you don't share the most important values.
Also, the friendship isn't all or nothing. Sometimes platonic relationships become smaller but involve the same amount of love. Basically, change is inevitable.
I do think you should talk to this friend about your feelings and figure out next steps. Maybe they're wondering about this too.
The only thing is, I would not say you're in love. I'm not even sure you are. All you know is that you have strong feelings for your friend, and you realized – pretty recently – that they're romantic in nature. The revelation has thrown you out of orbit, and you don't know what to do. That's a good place to start.
You can ask this friend how they feel, and give them space if they need to think about it. If they don't reciprocate, you might need some time off from hanging out. But like I said before, there's no need to "set them free forever." This is a day-by-day situation, one that can involve happiness without dropping someone from your life. No need to jump to the extreme options.
It's not "in love" or "they're gone for good." It could be, "This is confusing. Let’s see how it plays out."
Readers? Disclose feelings? If so, how? End the friendship? Is this about a fear of romantic love? Thoughts on that?
"Have you considered that your fear is driven by the upcoming change and not by romantic love? That you would now have competition for their time? How close are your other friends? I think you need a bigger friend group and some perspective on your relationship with your primary friend." – Nanoseco