I think one of my best friends may be in love with me and I don’t know what to do about it. He’s not one of my long term friends. We’ve only known each other for about 5 years. We met when we were both in relationships. Both of us broke it off with our boyfriends about the same time and started palling around with each other. We were both kind of burnt by our ex’s and made a vow to jump back into the dating/bar scene. We went out all the time and always watched each other’s back. We really had a great time being single. He’s very handsome and I’ve been told I’m not too bad to look at either. We met a lot of men and had a lot of sex. It was fun. We would often joke about who would get the hottest guy first when we went out. There was never any jealousy or any hidden subtext. He was my buddy.
About three months ago on one of our adventures, I met this really great guy. It started out with flirting across the bar. My friend urged me to go over and introduce myself. I did and we hit it off. We spent the night dancing and, later, kissing. We didn’t go home together but made a date for the next night. My friend had also finally talked to this hot guy he had been cruising for weeks. We laughed about it all as he drove me home. My date the next night was awesome. I really like this guy and we’ve been dating now for three months.
At first my friend was cool. He was supportive of my dates and asked about them when we talked. But as I began to spend more time with this new guy, my friend began to get grumpy… for lack of a better word. He wasn’t mean, but just not his chipper self. This has gone on for a few weeks now. I’ve asked him countless times if something is wrong but he always acts like he has no idea what I’m talking about, denies it, and laughs it off. I talked to my girlfriend Stacie, who’s gone out dancing with us both, and she thinks it’s because he’s in love with me. But I just don’t see it. There haven’t been any of the tell tale signs. I’m not sure how I should handle it. Should I continue to try and bring it up or just leave it alone?
Your decision on how to react to your friend is contingent on what sort of relationship you want to have with him. If you want to keep it at just a “bar buddy” you may want to not discuss anything. But if you truly think of him as a good friend, then you owe it to yourself, and to him, to say something again.
You don’t really know what is going on with him. That is where I would start. Often, we ask the wrong questions of people when we want information. Our questions can be too general, like, “Is there anything wrong?” You may want to get a little more specific when you speak with him. Something along the lines of, “We’ve been friends for a long time and I know when something is bothering you. I feel like you’re sad/upset and that upsets me because I care about you. I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that I’m dating McDreamy?” He may still deny it but you can feel comfortable in pushing a bit more like…. “I know we had been going out a lot and now that’s changed some because of this new guy. Is that a problem for you?” Eventually he will acquiesce and tell you what is on his mind.
It may be as simple as, “We used to hang out every Friday night. I’m happy you’ve found someone, but I feel left out.” Keep an open mind and don’t jump to conclusions. A good heart to heart conversation will help this situation out. Good luck.
Mark Rutherford LCSW