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Want to start dating guys - but it would crush my best friend that loves me


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Well folks, this won't be easy to explain, so please bare with me. I've become best friends with a male whom is 15 years older than I. We love one another, but I have never been in love with him. He knows this, yet still seems to want more. We talk about EVERYTHING, have been friends for 4+ years, and he loves me for who I am, but I'm not the least bit attracted to him. I truly care about this man. 

We do everything together. We started to kiss one time a couple of years ago, and I stopped it, as there was no chemistry on my end..at all. He accepted this, and we agreed to be friends. It never went any further - we didn't even finish our one and only kiss because I was really turned off.

I am in my 50's and ready to date again after being single for almost 10 years. The problem that I'm having is wanting desperately to keep from hurting him. Every time I start looking at dating sites, he is in the back of my mind, as I know that it will break his heart. 

Does anyone have advice on how I can go about this without devastating him? I do not want to lose him as a friend, he is a wonderful person, and I've even tried to have romantic feelings for him - It's just not going to happen. In theory, it seems like this should not be an issue, but it is. He literally has nobody left. His child died of cancer, his parent's and siblings passed long ago, he has no family left, and this is heartbreaking. I am his "person", he is mine. We know everything about one another; The good, the bad, and the super ugly. He looks at me with stars in his eyes. He is in love - there's no doubt about that.

Please, if any of you have some insight, or have been through similar, how would you handle this? Thank you in advance!

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1 minute ago, Whatsthescoop said:

Does anyone have advice on how I can go about this without devastating him? I do not want to lose him as a friend

You can't have everything, and you're partially leading him on by staying so "friends" this way. You need to distance yourself slowly from him. Remain friends, but interact more like friends. See him less frequently so that you have time to date.

I'd also think some people would be turned off by the fact that you are friends with someone who wants more than that. That's a red flag. Which is why again you need more boundaries and distance. You can also let him know you'll be going on dates and see how he reacts. Maybe he'll distance himself too for a while and let this reality sink in.

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2 minutes ago, Whatsthescoop said:

I've become best friends with a male whom is 15 years older than I.I am in my 50's and ready to date again after being single for almost 10 years.

If you are "just friends" and he accepts this, why can't you start dating?

It's not right to string anyone along. You need to step back and stop your emotional dependence on him.

Are you both divorced/widowed? It seems you became "friends" to keep yourself company until you were ready to date.

Just start dating and refrain from telling him the details.

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OP you can't not hurt him. You have to accept that this is part of it, and the hurt will be something he'll have to deal with- not you.

7 minutes ago, Wiseman2 said:

start dating and refrain from telling him the details.

This is important. Don't tell him the details. Keep it brief. If you want to share details, share them with your lady friend.

 

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DarkCh0c0 & Wiseman2,

All valid and important points. We are both divorced. I think that it's fair to start distancing myself, and to start dating without divulging information. Leading him on is not my intent, but I can see how that could be the case, and it definitely would not be fair to a prospective love interest.

Your advice is appreciated more than you could know!

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You know what is right. You can’t be friends with someone where it’s imbalanced. Even without romantic feelings.  For example you wouldn’t try to be best friends with your friend’s 25 year old daughter because the age difference and how you met would make it too challenging and not fair. Same here. It’s not fair for you to try to be platonic friends with someone who wants more to the extent that he would be upset if you dated men. That’s not a true friendship.

I gave the example I did because of how simple this is. Especially since you’re 50. I’m 55.  It’s simple. What’s hard is doing the right thing. Sometimes doing the right thing is really hard but essential. You’re 50 and you know this. Right ?

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Yes, you need to start taking some space from him. 

This will hurt him, but you also can't put your life on hold for him either. He has been through a lot but he will need to start spreading his wings and not to depend on you emotionally. The same for you. If it means that you dating other men is going to change the dynamic between you (and it will), then so be it - both of you knew this day would come, eventually.

 

 

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Yeah, you're in quite a pickle. From the outside looking in, I'm going to guess there is some emotional manipulation going on here, by him. He's a grown man, and it's on him if he hasn't created a supportive circle of friends and/or hobbies and interests for a fulfilling life since he can no longer rely on family to fill his personal needs. He put all his eggs in one basket, but you can't sacrifice your own happiness because he's failed to have his own back when it comes to running his life.

And yes, any potential date will run far and fast away from you when he sees the dynamic between you two. Especially since the truth is that your friend would jump at the chance to be your boyfriend. That's not fair to any new partner for you to keep this guy as a friend, even if you made sure you weren't as close as you once were.

Think of it as doing the guy a favor, freeing him to devote his time and emotional energy on someone who can reciprocate those feeling.

What would I do in your shoes? I'd have a discussion with him, explaining how you're happy you two were able to help each other through difficult times. But now, for the good of you both (explain the reasons why, as everyone has mentioned) that you two will have to go your separate ways.

It's a difficult task, but nobody said life is easy. I, and many people I know, have had to cut people out of our lives for various reasons. You're not going to escape, for your own good, doing this as well. Good luck and let us know how it goes.

 

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He's not your friend if he has a strong romantic interest in you. He's an orbiter just waiting and hoping for you. That in itself is very hurtful. You should have cut ties with him years ago. It's selfish to think it's ok to keep being friends. I will tell you this, he's going to be a big issue to any prospective BF you start dating. They will not like your relationship with your friend that keeps carrying a torch for you. Sad to say but it's time to close this chapter with said friend so he can move on and meet someone, and you can finally move on with your life. In other words he is doing more harm than good being in your life.

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If he’s any friend at all he’d respect your desire to date or even be concerned that you aren’t dating yet and why you’ve taken so long. Part of me wonders whether you’re making a bigger deal of this than it really is and whether you pity him a great deal because of his hardships. Friends motivate each other to do better not hang on like this for fear of offending and for selfish reasons. 

I find it hard to believe that he wouldn’t be happy for you and this romance has long faded. Don’t let pity be your guide in friendships. Go and do your thing.

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So even if someone tells you they are fine being friends and you know different you need to step back and at least try and reset the friendship. 

 Why isn't he dating or trying to meet someone?  It sounds like he is 65ish so he could potentially meet someone couldn't he?

 With you dating you may be doing him a favor and jolt him back to reality that you are never going to be a romantic partner.

Lost

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4 hours ago, lostandhurt said:

So even if someone tells you they are fine being friends and you know different you need to step back and at least try and reset the friendship. 

 Why isn't he dating or trying to meet someone?  It sounds like he is 65ish so he could potentially meet someone couldn't he?

 With you dating you may be doing him a favor and jolt him back to reality that you are never going to be a romantic partner.

Lost

 

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4 hours ago, lostandhurt said:

Why isn't he dating or trying to meet someone?  It sounds like he is 65ish so he could potentially meet someone couldn't he?

Good question. I'm not sure - didn't think to ask. He's almost 70, and yes, he could try finding someone. 

I am stepping back, and have realized that it's not up to me to provide his happiness. We've talked a couple of times regarding only being friends, and that if he needed more, I am not the one, in which case he stated, "We're very clear on that, I am happy having you as a friend to accompany me to things which I would be going to alone anyway."

Thank you for your perspective.

All advice has been so helpful - from everyone!

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Regardless of his age it’s not for you to decide whether he dates either or wants the same thing you want. He may be fine the way he is. There are a lot of assumptions but I’m glad you’ve cleared the air. Move on with your life and I hope you find what you’re looking for. 

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You are his friend so encourage him to get out there and meet someone.

 "____________, I am going to start dating and try to meet someone and I think you should too" "You have a lot to offer and I am sure there is a nice woman out there for you"

  Instead of trying to hide this from him bring it right up front and center and you both can start this journey at the same time.

 Lost

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16 hours ago, Whatsthescoop said:

in which case he stated, "We're very clear on that, I am happy having you as a friend to accompany me to things which I would be going to alone anyway."

That's a good example of what I assumed was happening with emotional manipulation. That wording plays on your heartstrings. Most towns have social groups specifically for older generations. He could be participating in them to meet others if he wanted to. If he's a clueless man, you might want to print out info for him, and it's up to him if he ignores it or tries the activities. In my area, there are dances that either every age group attends or that the elderly solely attend such as for swing dancing, ballroom dancing and tango. There are also meet up. com groups for singles in every age group, usually spanning 15 years. He could join a masonic group like Eastern Star where they regularly have dinner events.

When a person makes you the sole center of your social universe, it can feel really smothering. Good luck!

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