Updated: May 2
We all have our unique desires in life—from our careers to our relationships, we know what we want and where we want to be. More often than not, that includes someone we can love and share our life with. But what do you do when the girl/guy you love doesn’t feel the same? How do you maintain your friendship without breaking your own heart? It’s no easy feat, but it is possible to distance yourself romantically while cherishing the bond you have as friends.
Be upfront and honest.
“Genuine friendships are rooted in honesty,” says dating coach Kevin Darné. “The first step in being a genuine friend to anyone is to be trustworthy.” As uncomfortable as it may be to speak openly about the way you feel towards him/her, you don’t want a friendship that is built on secrecy—and your person doesn’t deserve that, either. You can’t control how they will react to your open honesty, but it’s the best shot you have at creating a fulfilling friendship where both of you are on the same page. “If you are unwilling to inform a person regarding your feelings you are practicing deception and not being a true friend,” says Darné.
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Accept the reality of the situation.
Maintaining a friendship with someone you love hurts—especially at first. But that’s a life lesson to be learned. We can’t always have the things we want, and that’s a tough reality to handle. But the sooner you can accept the situation and stop trying to change it, the sooner you will find peace and liberation. “I guess it comes down to sometimes having to accept your lot in life. You can't have everything you want. And even if you want more, true friends are a dime a dozen,” says R. M. S. Thornton. So, yes, it does suck that you don’t have the romantic bond with this person that you wish you did. But instead of spending your days in a miserable state of self-pity, consider taking a step back to acknowledge how lucky you are to have such a good friend.
The reality is that this individual doesn’t feel romantic feelings towards you in the way you feel towards him/her. Whether or not circumstances change in the future is something only time will tell. But right now, you deserve to prioritize yourself. Instead of spending your time wishing you could develop something more than a friendship, think about what you deserve. True love isn’t unrequited, and when the right person comes along, you won’t have to chase him/her or prove you’re worthy of being loved. So, maybe one day it will be them—or maybe, it won’t. But for now, you owe it to yourself to accept the circumstances and keep loving yourself first. It will make you that much better of a friend towards them anyway.
All of the uncomfortable, negative emotions you may be feeling are completely valid. But it’s important to allow yourself to feel them completely and then keep moving forward. When you get stuck in your feelings you are keeping yourself caged in self-pity and are unable to be the friend that this person deserves. The longer you stay trapped in these negative feelings, the more likely you are to miss out on someone truly right for you. If you have any desire to have a genuine friendship with the one you love, you must be able to release your sadness and frustration and look towards the future.