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Dated briefly then 7 years as best friends. Suddenly heartbroken.

Friends and Lovers Progressing into "Friends with benefits" and beyond: When platonic relationships become more intimate.

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Old 17th February 2018, 11:38 PM   #1
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Dated briefly then 7 years as best friends. Suddenly heartbroken.

Ok, here we go ... I met a women through online dating over 7 years ago. We dated casually for around a year, but I was less than a year out of a terrible breakup with my long term partner and I suspect I wasn't really ready for a relationship. Also I found her kind of boring because she was reserved, introspective and didn't like to go on trips and while my ex was a wild bundle of chaos and adventure (good and bad). Also, the sex was so-so compared to the wild passion I had with my ex. After a year our relationship sort of fizzled out. I remember telling her "We haven't told each other we loved each other all this time, probably best to call this off".

However during that time we ended up as neighbors in the same building. We continued to hang out as friends and struck up a great friendship. We talked about everything, went out to many fancy dinners several nights a week (we'd split the bill, we're both pretty well off), went to concerts and rode bikes together as friends and neighbors. We both dated and would always get together to bitch about our dates.

Slowly we became best friends as we were there for each other through thick and thin, deaths and job changes and every decision in life and inside joke. The women I thought was boring kept getting more and more interesting to me over the years but I never felt like she was the right partner for me.

Three years ago after my mom's passing my best friend and I went on a trip to spread her ashes on a mountain top. The minute we spread her ashes the sky opened up in a tremendous thunder and lightning storm. We were literally running for our lives for miles to the car with lightning and torrential rain. I have a lot of experience in the mountains and I'm not kidding when I say it was one of the closest experiencing to death that I've had. All I wanted in that moment was to protect my best friend and get her off the mountain alive. That day was one of the most intense experiences of our lives. That night we both slept together cuddling all night. Nothing happened but I believe something shifted with me that day toward my friend.

We text everyday and spend around 3 nights a week with each other but it never felt needy or like I had to see her always. Even though we would date others, time with her felt so comfortable. Then a few weeks ago she was contacted by someone she knew out of state. They hit it off online and he recently flew out to visit and the completely clicked. She's already talking about moving out there after they do a bit of long distance dating.

All of a sudden I was crushed. Like the heart being ripped out feeling I get during a breakup with someone I love. It was a shock because I thought I was single, which should mean I can't feel heartbroken! I realized I have fallen in love with my best friend and have probably been in love with her for several years but it was sort of under the surface. I told her how I felt and as expected she said she didn't feel the same way about me.

I'm just crushed and hopeless. I don't think it's just the hurt talking but I can't think of one practical reason her and I wouldn't be amazing partners. We both know each other better than anyone else in the world. We're both at the same point in life, have the same goals, are aligned on values, children (no!) and how we like to keep our homes (we're very particular), how we solve problems and are completely comfortable around each other. We've even talked about buying real estate together to build a house with two "wings". We're both the same level of attractiveness, intelligence and wealth so I'm not pining over someone out of my league. The only problem is ... she doesn't love me and she can't say why.

I just want to understand why the person I'm most connected to in the world doesn't want me. This isn't some college crush or someone I barely know. I'm completely heartbroken, spend all day in bed and don't know how to move on from this. I've gone no contact because seeing her hurts and she really doesn't seem to understand how much. I want my best friend back too.

Last edited by tinyrobotman; 18th February 2018 at 12:09 AM..
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Old 18th February 2018, 2:53 AM   #2
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I'm so sorry you are hurting but the one reason you two wouldn't be amazing together is because she does not have romantic feelings for you. Similar goals, values, comfort, don't matter at all when the romantic feelings are not there. It's as simple as that.
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Old 18th February 2018, 8:10 AM   #3
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hello t/r/m.

sorry to hear of your tough time, the love you have for this girl in your post comes over so heartfelt so it must be hard for you right now. hhmmm...I don't think there is too too much I can say that is going to really help as even what I can offer you will know already, but as your posting for thoughts I thought why not add my bit too,

you sound like a someone who has been made to rethink about this girl when maybe you didn't see her potential (but I'm not sure it was that you didn't see her potential, I suspect it was because it wasn't what you felt or wanted) and so it didn't work; and as a result of hindsight sadly this is one of those situations you are best to just let it run its course until things are less raw. time is the biggest thing that will help you in this situation and of course letting your emotions come through naturally.

I know you want answers, but I'm not sure at this time they will make you feel any better as I think if she does open up to you it will keep you in a mental loop of thinking about her (and that will make your no contact seem harder as you will be thinking so deeply).

also if she does talk about things as you hope for , even if she tries to put things sensitively to spare your feelings, I feel it will hurt you just knowing more and of course it will probably also mean that in order to explain how she feels she will end up talking about this other man which you won't want to really hear !!!

you sound like a good person, so whatever has happened is not a reflection on you. it's about what she has thought about properly and feels will now make her happy in her heart. it's what she needs.
if you wish to show her you are her best friend (or can be later on ) then it's about letting her go and accepting her choices..

it's really tough for you that is clear, but even if she were to try to cut out her feelings and gave you another chance got with you she would only yearn for something else and you would be just as unhappy sooner or later.

it isn't the outcome you'd hoped for, but at least she has been honest with you.

the best I can say is be grateful for the good times you did have with her, treasure that and be glad you did get a change with her (not everyone who loves another person gets that chance).

but realistically, I think that the fact that things went the way they did was a sign that the perfect match (even in the early days) was not as steady enough a match to keep things alive, but look - I'm sure when enough time has passed by you will get through and when you've accepted things and moved on you'll attract someone new who can give back the deep loving feeling you have felt and she will be able to give it right back to you and make you happy.

VERY BEST WISHES, take care of yourself and give yourself time. give yourself a little loving right now and look to the changing seasons to embrace the strength of the lighter days and warmth, that will also help to heal your soul.

one day at a time is all you or anyone in this situation can do.

referring to your best friend....I think you will get your best friend back. but it will be a best friend. keep strong there is another lady out there that will be a better match even though your heart wants something else. maxi.
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Old 19th February 2018, 1:39 AM   #4
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Thanks for the kind reply. You've restored my faith in the internet. Nothing like an 11 hour drive today alone with my thoughts in the high desert to clear the mind or maybe not. Thoughts were all over the place between "I hate her", "I'll never speak to her again", "I just want to get back to being friends", "it could be so perfect if she'd just give dating me again a chance" to "wow I blew it 6 years ago" to "I'm better off and will find someone better". Ugh.

I guess my feeling about knowing why is that even if it's painful to hear I can at least put the speculation about why to rest and hopefully accept her reason as fact. Some of it I believe is that when she stops dating someone her mind just puts up a wall to that being possible ever again. She's can be very rigid. Also I believe that I may not have some of the external traits she believes she wants such as always being funny and being "deep" or romantic. (this guy is all of those things and she's very excited about that). This is all speculation but if she told me things like this honestly I feel it would be easier and less hurtful than "I don't know".

Part of me also thinks she doesn't become attached to people the way I do. It's very easy for her to pickup stakes for something new in a lot of areas of life. She grew up in an abusive home and her father is a genuine narcissistic psychopath. Maybe that has lead to attachment problems. For me spending a lot of quality time around someone I care about naturally leads to love and attachment. For her I think love is something that has to start with external things like the other person being funny or romantic. Unfortunately I think what makes a good long term relationship are the qualities that you discover later such as trust, patients and caring.

Back when my friend and I stopped dating I had the attitude that I really needed someone who matched my activities (which tend to border on a lifestyle), when really those aren't as important I should have been looking for someone who shared my goals, values and preferences like my friend does. My ex and I shared a lot of activities but her and I didn't share values to the point that it made a disaster of my life that took years to clean up. It's too bad I didn't learn that lesson earlier when I was actually dating my best friend and I would likely have pursued her more aggressively maybe with different results.

One day at a time I suppose and writing this out seems to help ... Just want the hurt to stop.

Last edited by tinyrobotman; 19th February 2018 at 1:43 AM..
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Old 19th February 2018, 2:57 AM   #5
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Sorry to hear. I suspect that she may have harbored feelings for you for a while, but don't think you can expect that she drop a man she's interested in now when it took you seven years to realize what she meant to you. I think you friend-zoned yourself by not acting sooner with clear interest before another man stepped in.

I don't even believe that you don't have a chance with her in the future, but right now I would take her words at face value and attempt to move on. I would not try to be "best friends" with her while you're healing, as your motivations won't be pure and you'll just be setting yourself up for torture.

Good luck, I know it's painful.
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Old 24th February 2018, 2:07 AM   #6
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Thanks for the reply healing_light. "Friend-zoned myself" made me laugh just a little. Yes I did indeed. I ended our dating relationship six years ago, although I think it was pretty mutual at that point. Probably why were able to quickly become friends afterwards.

Unfortunately none of this is reasonable because none of this has to do with our heads. If it did then either she would consider me a possibility or I'd be able to just go back to being friends. Nothing has changed about who she is in those seven years since when I didn't consider her a good potential partner, in fact some of her flaws have become more pronounced. What has changed over many years is my feelings about her. I suspect I just spent too much time with her and became too invested. I'd be so happy if I could just reset myself back to where I was when we were just friends but I don't know if I can.

I think the rejection is the hardest thing to take. It feels like this guy is just jumping in and stealing her away with so little effort. I've been there through thick and thin and we've developed all this amazing history together and all of sudden she's talking about dropping everything and moving out of state (to a place she doesn't want to live) to be with this guy she barely knows. To make matters worse when he was out to visit she did all her and I's favorite things to do together, except with him it was all so much fun (ugh). She seemed surprised that all of this hurt me and that I feel rejected. I just want to know why she seems not even remotely consider me as a possibility.

Part of me doesn't even want to try and be friends with her anymore. I just can't even imagine not feeling hurt by her at this point.
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Old 24th February 2018, 1:12 PM   #7
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It usually comes down to sexual attraction. But also, the other thing is women have a hard time after being friends with a guy like they're a girlfriend to develop sexual attraction for them. I mean, by that time, you're like a brother to her. So even if there was sexual attraction at first, a year or two of friendship will usually dispel that, much like it often dispels it during marriage! Familiarity isn't necessarily sexy.
"I care not much for a man's religion whose dog and cat are not better for it." -- Abraham Lincoln
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Old 25th February 2018, 1:03 AM   #8
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preraph, I suspect you're exactly right. I wasn't that attracted too her when we were dating which probably set the tone for things to come. This is all sort of a new experience for me where I've developed an attraction to someone over a long time that grew with familiarity. Also, my experience with my ex (previous to this women) the sex remained crazy hot for nine years until the end of the relationship (which probably caused me to overlook a lot problems with the relationship until it finally blew up, but that's another story) so I guess I didn't really understand the waning interest over time issue. It's so hard to accept that there's just nothing to be done at this point except no contact until some undetermined date in the future. Do you think that women ever can reverse those "like a brother" familiarity feelings or once those are set they're set?
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Old 25th February 2018, 7:06 AM   #9
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hi tiny robot man,

well your spirit aint tiny that's for sure, what comes across is a huge huge heart and a kind caring one too.

Thank you so much for your kind reply too. you have also HONESTLY restored my faith in my replies to people on the shack (I mean that sincerely), it isn't the easiest reply to give and I would have dearly loved to give you more hope; but I have been and am always honest; I judged your post and felt that you would use it constructively and you have proved me right; you are a genuine guy and I felt that you were able to really see what was being said without taking it as an attack.

it sounds like that you are already meeting the healthy but very hard way of grieving the relationship so just go with the tears, remorse, hating her wanting her feeling lost etc, as it will help you that bit quicker to acknowledge different feelings and heal properly so in time you are free to feel less pain and rawness.

it's ok to feel all you are right now, you have a wealth of really admirable qualities and I'm sure you are doing all you can to meet them whilst juggling living life too as best you can. your post and honesty is touching and really refreshing.

just remember whatever happens this won't be the end, I do believe you can in time ease your heart and if she is willing in time then I don't see why a friendship cannot happen.

but you know sometimes it takes things like this to let things shape you (and maybe particularly her) and there is no telling what the future for you will be. but believe me when I say that you are on the right track with all of this, you gotta let someone out to heal properly before you can be strong and objective and balanced in emotion and rationale to have the strength and distance and separation to let her back in as a friend in time.

I think there is every chance you can have a good friendship again but only when you feel as healed and as emotionally levelled as before you met her, but if in time you still want to keep friendship then sure you can, but the priority should be taking care of your own heart right now.

what you have to remember is that friendship aimed for before you are strong enough to deal with it will also hurt as she will be with him and that means talking about him, maybe sometimes wanting to be in places where you as a friend may see them together, so if you want that make sure you can be in their company or be moved on mentally enough to be able to hear about their news etc..

but you will heal and maybe it might do you good to meet someone new when you are fully healed as I feel it could help you get some of the feelings you have about her shelved and shifted.

just hold on to the great values you do have as I feel they will serve you well when the time comes and I think you will find true happiness and a more compatible love match.
I think when you meet someone new even though it must feel like you won't or don't want to right now, I think that you will open up and share and be able to feel the shared feelings of love and deep affection return back to you by someone who just understands - rather than you having to explain or feel frustrated that you'd like someone to be a certain way but they are not).

you are a special guy and you deserve a really special partner. if in the future anything happens between you both then good luck, but for now, work on your healing to get your old you back and I believe you will find the balance and happiness and kindness you have shown (all be it a bit too late for things to have worked out) but you found something within yourself none the less - so build on that and take your new insights to the next relationship and I feel you will get that share values, shared lifestyle thing that you were really hoping for but never quite managed to get.

and look on the bright side, if this lady was what you initially thought a little bit dull for you, then maybe had you married you might have found that that side would have never really met your true hopes and needs of adventure.

who knows if you meet another in time, then maybe you may strengthen your heart as well as a renewed friendship with this lady.

VERY BEST WISHES, you have not only shared your story, but you have given something back by your honesty.

each day as it is, the warmth of spring and the freedom of summer will see you driving through the dessert music up healing and reflecting (and maybe with someone new in toe) but as is often the case, only time can tell what the future holds, but i reckon your gonna be time.

thank you for taking the time, i hope you get what you deserve ....something good. XX maxi.
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Old 1st March 2018, 6:16 PM   #10
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Progressing one day at a time. Just over two weeks of no contact and thankfully an awesome road trip with friends last week. Last night I read a great book called "How To Get Out of the Friendzone" by The Wing Girls. It's a funny and entertaining read, but more than anything it really made me think about how far into the friendzone I've been without even really knowing it. As I said before I'm someone who has to understand the truth and facts of something before I can move on from it.

I know some people dislike the term "friendzone", but I believe it's actually a pretty useful term. First the friendzone isn't a place someone puts you in but where you choose to wander into and stay in. I think I ended up here with my best friend because I didn't choose to pursue her when she actually had feelings for me 6 or 7 years ago. Then I think we actually went through a period of several years of being genuine platonic friends and neighbors. Then as we spent more and more time together that familiarity killed any and all feelings she may have had toward me. Something I didn't understand was that familiarity (especially for women) can actually lead to un-attraction (that like a brother thing) and someone taking you for granted. She has a great deal of affection for me but no longer any attraction. Somehow I had the opposite experience where I originally didn't have a lot of attraction for her and developed attraction the more time we spent together. Ugh, what a mess.

I believe I've been carrying around this unrequited attraction for maybe the last three years. I got into that place where I would always be up for coming over and hanging out with her, going with her to concerts and dinner, helping her with things and listening to her problems. From her point of view she had a hang out buddy anytime she wanted (she doesn't have a large social circle) and for me I got to be close to her and feel like I had a girlfriend. It always felt good to be out to dinner with a pretty girl who I connected with and would look into my eyes, twirl her hair and laugh at my jokes. I'd guess anyone would have assumed we were a couple. Problem is the whole things has been a lie on my part, both to her and myself. Denial ain't just a river in Egypt it's actually located deep in the Friendzone.

The book had some great advice about attraction and getting out of or never wandering into the friendzone (never ever settle for a fake relationship, don't make yourself over available and be assertive about what you want!). I'm realistic about the low chances of this women ever changing her mind about me but the solution to that is the same as the one that will allow me to move on as well and that is no contact. Even if things don't work out between her and this other guy (there are plenty of red flags and hurdles already. However that could take months or even years to play out. She's deep into infatuation since he plays the attraction game well) she has to miss me and see me in a completely different light, which is only possible if I'm not around.

Funny thing is if this guy hadn't come along this probably could have gone on indefinitely. This event has been a spark to make some other decisions in my life independent of her opinion (we always would consult each other when making even the smallest decision) which is sort of exciting. I've also learned that I probably shouldn't ever become such close friends with someone of the opposite sex. I have plenty of female friends but they're not what I'd call best friends. I've even thought of a couple situations where I've been (or maybe even still am ) on the other side of the friendzone where I really should have set boundaries for their sake.

It's a hard to not want to go to my friend and tell her "I know what happened! I know why you aren't attracted to me and can't say why!" as if she'd suddenly see the logic of the problem. Unfortunately that's not the way it works. I still miss her tremendously and wish things were different. I still cry if I look at a picture of her and I together and have trouble facing the day most days but I feel like there's a little glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.

Last edited by tinyrobotman; 1st March 2018 at 6:26 PM..
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Old 1st March 2018, 7:11 PM   #11
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One questions I do have is should I talk to her at some point and at what point should that be? After I confessed to her we left it that I was taking some time apart from her. Does that mean I go until I no longer have feelings for her (that could be forever or until I'm in a real relationship who knows) or should I talk to her again and explain where I'm at with things sooner than that? We really have been best friends for years and years so just ghosting her seems kind of awful but I need to not be drawn back into the friendzone.
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Old 2nd March 2018, 12:34 PM   #12
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You had one full year to get to know this woman and you still didn't love her. You only fell for her when she was no longer available to you in a romantic way. Also, you didn't tell her how you felt until you were sure that she wanted someone else who also wanted her too.

Are you sure this isn't a case of wanting what you can't have?
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Old 2nd March 2018, 3:27 PM   #13
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LOD, I understand what you're saying and I'd say yes and no. When I first met her I was not long out of a very long term relationship and she is pretty much 100% opposite of my ex. I think I wasn't ready for something different and more healthy at the time. Also my life and what I value in a partner has changed immensely in the 7 years I've known my friend, partly through being around her. What I thought I wanted back then is pretty different than what I want now. As I've said these feeling for this women developed over time.

For sure it took this guy coming along to make it clear to me how strong my feeling are. It's easy to just become complacent about someone always being there if nothing ever changes and I suspect I didn't want to tell her because I was pretty sure of what her answer would be so I choose to remain in the friendzone. I really do love this women and have for awhile not just because all of sudden she's leaving. The question is can I let that love for her go and go back to being friends. I'm not sure.
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Old 4th March 2018, 12:58 PM   #14
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hiya t/r/m. I'm glad you had a great trip with your friends and that you are looking into ways to not forget but to move forward each day and cope. I'm glad you are also able to still release feelings for her as it will help you heal still until real change takes you over and you are not considering the odd bits and pieces about her.

it all sounds as though you are making good progress so keep the friends close and all those that love you and you will get through this, you have shown and are showing great spirit.

come spring /summer and you will be flying high again I'm sure of it.

I wouldn't get to making conversation with her just yet about what you know or what you feel/felt as it might tip the balance to recovery a little and emotions may get the better of you when she tries to tell you her side (and its a side you already know, because you were hurt by it) and it wont help hearing anything like that I don't think not until you are fully back to the old you before you met her.

I think also getting close there is always a capacity for emotions to get very intimate and overwhelming for some (or in long term situations) it happens all the time in so many different situations for so many different people, just think how many people who go on holidays feel drawn to people or actors on a film set don't feel too bad, the thing is you are wiser now and if for now you feel that you don't want to get too close to women that's fine for now, but you may feel different after time has passed.

I think the one thing is that love is one thing and when you have that again (returned love that is) closeness and your views on it may change or be more capable as you will probably have something much more solid and sturdy.

but its nice to catch up with your progress so every time you look back (or are tempted to) think how far you've come since your original post about this and know that what you bring to the next opportunity will be wiser for how you coped with it all.

ok, very best of luck with it, before you know where you are the moths will fly by on this one. best wishes and keep enjoying those road trips, they sound a very healthy, fun, happy and cleansing way to help you move forward in a more natural and supportive way. ok, if I remember!!!! (and it will be if I remember hahah...) i'l look out for any news in the summer. but until then, all the best to you. see ya. maxi
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Old 4th March 2018, 1:23 PM   #15
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I am someone with similar personality to her - somewhat shy and introspective. I have often been overlooked by guys because they prefered "doing cartwheels on the beach" types. And they have often tried to come back to me after they got worn out by all the drama those types bring.

I have never and would never give someone like that another chance. I can talk to them and be friends with them but my romantic feelings for them are dead. My dream guy would find the "manic pixie dream girl" types as annoying as I do. I would even go as far as to say that if I meet a divorced guy and find out that he was married to that type of person, I would not date him.
The more people you love, the weaker you are.
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