You Need Help: You’re In Love With Your Best Friend

Q:

When I met my best friend I immediately decided she was the coolest and best person I had ever encountered. For five years I watched in frustration as she navigated relationships with men who, in my opinion, were extremely unworthy of her. I never really considered the possibility that she could be queer. I mostly remained single, talked to her all day every day, and spent hundreds of cumulative hours making her elaborate homemade gifts, all while knowing that I loved women but repressing the idea that I could be in love with her.

Fast-forward to about a year ago. She revealed to me that she had hooked up with a woman and thus realised that she was into women; I felt like I had been punched in the gut. I realised that we were both single and queer and considered telling her that I loved her as more than a friend. Before I could say anything, she told me that a girl had approached her at a party and that she and this girl were now dating. Things have been getting increasingly serious between her and her girlfriend for the past six months, and she is noticeably less open with me about this relationship than she has been about past partners. I want to be supportive and happy for her, but instead I have found myself feeling jealous and bitter. It has become increasingly painful for me to see her relationship progress. 

I feel like I have been hanging around watching her date people without really engaging in anything serious myself, and I think that part of it is because I couldn’t find anyone who was as smart or as great as her. I too would like to be in a relationship, and I think it is difficult for that to happen while I am hung up on my friend who obviously does not feel the same way about me. It might be healthy for me to get some distance from this whole situation and make room in my life for someone who actually wants to be with me. At the same time, I consider her to be without a doubt one of the most important people in my life. I don’t want to lose this friendship. How should I navigate this?

A:

I wanted to answer this question because I have been there, and I imagine many readers here have been too.

You have been hurt by your best friend keeping something from you, and from the woman you have a crush on choosing to date someone else — the problem being, of course, that these people are one and the same. I know you want to keep this friendship, but I want you to think about what you have written here and figure out what exactly is worth keeping. You have written that you are jealous, that you are bitter, that you are frustrated. You are arguing about meeting her partner. You have written that she is cool, great and the best person you know, but the crux of your question is “How can I stop being so unhappy around her?” I wish there was a better answer. I wish someone would invent a new way of healing hurt like this.

You have to take a break from this friendship. Not forever, necessarily, just long enough to let yourself heal. You are picking the wound open anew every time you see this friend, letting it scab enough so it is still satisfying to peel off. This will not be easy — it will be very hard, your heart will hurt and I am so, so sorry. I think you owe it to your friend, and to yourself, to tell her the truth about why you need some space from her. She deserves to know why you have been acting this way. You don’t need to serve her your heart on a platter, but tell her honestly and straightforwardly that you have feelings for her, and that you need some time apart to move on, and that you’d like to try to still be friends someday.

You should allow yourself to mourn this heartbreak. I don’t think you’ve given yourself time to do that, and pushing through all that pain isn’t fun for anyone. Cry, eat ice cream, listen to sad breakup songs, listen to triumphant breakup songs. (Kelly Clarkson does both very well.) If you want to find a relationship, you have to let yourself heal from this one first. Give yourself at least six months—trust me on this. Reach out to your other friends, let them know you are hurting, let them know you need support. It’s a cliche for a reason, that thing about time healing all wounds. I wish you so much luck.


You can chime in with your advice in the comments and submit your own questions any time.

Christina Tucker is writer and podcaster living in Philadelphia. Find her on Twitter or Instagram!

Christina has written 21 articles for us.

9 Comments

  1. agreed, you have to tell her, and tell her you need to take a break. i would say that it doesn’t necessarily have to be no contact, but you need to have it out there. talk to her and see how she responds. talk it out and decide together what to do. just make sure whatever you decide works for you.

    i don’t think you actually do need to wait too long to date someone else. a rebound, whether a hookup or something else, could be a good way for you to move on. just make sure to be real with any other person about what kind of commitment you’re ready for.

    also, this post is so relatable. wish you all the best

    • The poor girl… Apparently she’s met a woman, for the first time she is dealing with her stuff… And then a giant load of responsability for the damaged most close female friendship? It’s a lot to ask. Why should she have revealed that side of her? She has every right to privacy and her own choices. I totally understand the pov of the person asking this question and yep I’ve been there too but I’m older and I hope wiser and getting all resentful coz someone didn’t check in with you first before living their life…

      If u need space take it but attn not to drop guilt!! Let go the gnawing expectations.

    • Seconded, in my opinion a straightforward clarification that feelings are not reciprocated is the quickest way to dry up an unwanted crush.

      On the other hand, if it turns out that feelings are reciprocated or if the answer is not so clear, then you might find yourself in a whole different quandary – but either way, at least you’d know more than you did before.

  2. Last year, I was crushing so hard on my friend in a similar situation. So I told her, and she tried to let me down carefully, but I knew that I needed a yes or, more likely, a proper no. So she gave me a no, and it was awkward for a little while, and I was sad for longer than that. But we are still friends! As someone from the other side, I wanted you to know, we are friends now with much less stress on my part, and I am dating someone else and very much enjoying it. That is possible.

  3. i’m sorry you got hurt.

    generally might be worth it to consider that the friend/crush figured if you didn’t say anything, you just had friend feelings.

    also worth it to note that it’s not really fair to hold her responsible for feelings she didn’t know about, either yours for her or hers for someone else.

    also, for a long time it felt good to hang out with her, but now it doesn’t, so taking space is better. as she has a new crush, it might just naturally happen easily. but if she notices and asks what’s up, you can tell her what happened – you realized you might have some feelings for her, and took some space to keep things clean.

    getting hurt sucks, even if the other person doesn’t mean to. hope things start to get better for you soon.

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