Clearly, you don’t want to be “just friends” with someone you love. But when a relationship is out of the question for now, you may consider this as a good choice. You can be friends with someone you have feelings for.
You may already be friends but you started having romantic feelings toward this person. If they aren’t ready for a romantic relationship yet, it would be sensible for you to strengthen your friendship and keep in touch with them.
Or else, you may be having a crush on someone but you’re not getting a positive response. If this is the case, you can extend your hand in friendship and later on, turn it into a romantic relationship. But to remain friends with someone you love can be a challenge, as it requires letting go of romantic expectations and focusing on building a strong, supportive, and respectful friendship.
But can you be friends with someone you love in real life? Can you stop loving someone but stay friends? It’s not easy but doable. It’s hard to lose feelings for someone you love and remain friends with them. Before you go down this path, you need to consider it from all possible angles.
If you want to build a strong friendship with someone, just try to be their friend and not use the friendship as a shortcut to their love. If, later on, the friendship turns into something more, let it happen naturally. Don’t push your case too much or else, you will end up spoiling both friendship and romantic relationship.
This article explores this complicated situation and comes up with some suggestions for you to try. You will find here how to be friends with someone you love without damaging either relationship.
How to be friends with someone you love?
Building a strong friendship takes time and effort, but it can be a valuable and fulfilling relationship in its own right. Whether you already conveyed your romantic feelings for them or not, approach the friendship without ulterior motives.
It’s important to communicate openly with the person about your feelings and expectations for the relationship, establish clear boundaries, participate in activities, pursue shared interests, offer emotional support, and try to emotionally detach from any romantic feelings.
Building your romantic relationship from friendship has its own advantages. Even if your romantic feelings fade with time, your friendship will remain intact. Couples who have been together for decades will attest to the fact that it is friendship that keeps them together in the latter part of the relationship.
However, this is no consolation if you love the person. You need to learn to manage your emotions and try to stay friends with them without strings attached.
1. Is a romantic relationship feasible?
You may have approached the person with romance in mind but was rejected for reasons best known to them. Ask yourself these questions.
- Is this the right person for you to spend the rest of your life with?
- Do you really know the person?
- Are you in touch with the reality of dating this person?
- Are you just fantasizing about being in a relationship with this person?
- Are your values, beliefs, and goals in tandem?
You don’t know how this person would be as a partner. Even if you have known them as a friend, their behavior would be different when the circumstances change. Don’t make assumptions and jump to conclusions. You may regret this later on.
Living with a person is not easy if you find their habits and behavior annoying. But you will still be able to tolerate them well as a friend. Try to see the person for who they are and stop idealizing them.
Take an objective evaluation of the situation. You may realize the difficulty in building a relationship with this person. That may help you to be a good friend to them.
2. Is this person your ideal partner?
Have you ever considered what kind of a partner you want in your life? What are the traits you desire in your partner? Does this person have all these traits?
Love, they say, is blind. When you fall in love with someone, you may forget about all the dreams you have about your partner and your future together. But when you actually live together, reality may come back to bite you. You may regret your decision to get into a relationship with this person.
It’s not just about their physical appearance; their inherent qualities and character will matter much when you choose to live with the person. Check to ensure that this person has at least all the essential traits you want in your partner. In case this person comes nowhere close to your ideal partner, maybe you should abandon the romantic angle and choose to stay friends with them.
3. Give yourself some time and space to know your mind
When you realize that you have romantic feelings for this person, you should take some time out and find space to ponder over it. You need to be sure that these feelings are real, strong, and lasting and not fleeting.
Without this step, if you reveal your feelings of love for this person, you may get caught up in a whirlwind romance and may not get the opportunity to figure out what you really want until it’s too late. That may not work out great for your future.
Even if you made the first move, you should still give yourself this opportunity to ensure that this is what you want for yourself. It’s always advisable not to rush into relationships. You need not tell this person what you’re feeling and thinking, or else, they may try to influence your decision one way or the other.
While you are assessing this person, you can develop a good friendship with them. There is no harm in that. In fact, this will be a good foundation on which you can build your relationship if you decide to have one.
4. Reveal your feelings to them, if need be
You can develop a good friendship with this person even when you have romantic feelings for them. You can tell them how you feel about them at the beginning itself or whenever you feel the time is right. There are hard and fast rules for this.
There is no need for you to keep your feelings suppressed and remain friends with them. You may not enjoy it at all. That will impact how you relate with this person and your friendship may not develop into something more because of this uneasiness. However, you should also be prepared for the consequences of revealing what is in your heart.
In case this person isn’t enthusiastic about a romantic relationship now, try not to push too hard in the beginning. Take some time and space for them to come around and accept the idea of love and romance with you.
5. Accept their decision with grace and move on
When you reveal your love for them, it can go either way. This person may welcome you enthusiastically or may reject your love. Either way, be ready to accept their decision. Don’t continue to pester them about the relationship or hope for a change of mind. Treat them with the respect they deserve.
When this person has already rejected your advances, don’t stick around hoping for a miracle. You are reducing your value in their eyes with this move. Instead, be ready to accept their decision and move on. You may need some time and space to heal the wounds of this rejection. Be kind to yourself and maintain some distance from this person.
If you think you can leave out the romantic angle altogether and be their friend, you can try this after a break. Right after the rejection, don’t demand them to accept you as their friend. Undeniably, your feelings are hurt and you need to give your time to heal. This person may also need some time to recover from the shock of your revelation.
Come back later to be friends with someone you love. Whether this will lead to a romantic relationship or not eventually is hard to predict.
More suggestions to be friends with someone you love
- Don’t allow the rejection to get you down.
- Focus on self-care and self-love.
- Don’t try too hard, be it to be a friend or a partner.
- Don’t allow them to manipulate your feelings.
- Explore other opportunities; try dating others.
- Accept that this person may be dating others.
- Treat them just as a friend; nothing more, nothing less.
- Don’t feel hurt or angry with them for rejecting you.
- Come to terms with the fact that this person will just be your friend.
- If you need more assistance, seek professional help.
Final thoughts on being friends with someone you love
The phrase “more than a friend” is the wrong way of looking at a romantic relationship. With this, it may make friendship seem like a consolation prize when you fail in securing a romantic relationship with the person. That would be devaluing the importance of friendship. If you think from this angle, you will be disappointed to end up with a friendship with this person when your aim all the while was a romantic relationship.
Already it’s not easy for you to remain friends with someone you love. That is not to say that you cannot make it work. You definitely can. But you cannot be a good friend when you approach the friendship with ulterior motives.
You need to learn to leave aside your romantic feelings before trying to stay friends with someone you love.