Falling for a friend?

So I met this guy a couple of years ago and we became really good friends. It was a weird friendship because I'm more of a nerd and he is outdoorsy, but we became super close. I've always kind of flirted with him, but at the time I didn't mean anything by it because I'm a naturally flirty person and flirt with everyone. We tell each other I love you a lot but it was always meant in a platonic way. He always jokes that he is going to marry me someday. He is always there for me when I get my heart broken (he threatened the guy) and when having issues with other friends. He watches out for me and is the only person who has never let me down. Over the course of our friendship, I haven't had a serious relationship. He has a dated a couple of girls for a short time. One was jealous of me which was part of the reason it ended. We have a friendship where time apart doesn't seem to change anything. We are going to different colleges and I haven't seen or talked to him in a while.
I miss him and I feel kind of strange. I am starting to wonder if I really love him. I care about him a lot and our friendship. I feel empty and sad without him around. I'm not sure if just missing him is making me feel this way or if the feelings are genuine or how to tell the difference. I'm hopeless. Advice?

I have been in the same boat.

Are you in touch with him at all now that you're going to different colleges? Will you be seeing one another over the summer? If so, perhaps you can re-examinee your feelings and if you find that your feelings are genuinely about loving him, you can discuss it with him. Much better to regret something you did than something you didn't do.

 

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