Can you “only be friends” with someone you love?

only be friends with someone you love

In one way or another, we have all been in a situation where we loved someone more than we felt loved back by them. If you felt you love someone less than they love you, you probably figured out that it’s best not to lead them on. If the situation was reversed, you wouldn’t want to be led on out of pity either. You would probably rather be with someone who loves you as much as you love them.

In many cases, when declarations of love are made, the relationship between the two people concerned is already existent in the form of a friendship. However, when you establish that that person is not going to love you the same way as you love them, your first instinct is to want to keep them in your life in any way. That’s when the idea of trying to be just friends comes up.

You think that being friends with that person might be enough because you were already friends and you don’t want to lose that friendship. But does just being friends with someone you love work? The short answer is no. Let’s find out why.

Reasons why being just friends with someone you love doesn’t work:

1- You can’t ignore the fact that they know how you feel about them:

When you were in love with your friend, quietly and sighing just inside your head, your friendship was easy and comfortable, because they were unaware of your feelings. But when you tell a friend that you love them and they are honest with you about not sharing the same feelings or only seeing you as a friend, that’s a no-return point.

 Telling someone we like that we don’t love them can be as heart-wrenching for us as it is for them. We already know that feelings are going to be hurt, no matter how things are said, so it’s normal for the person who doesn’t love you back to feel guilty afterward. They may like you a lot, and maybe just to spare you from suffering they may start wishing that it was possible to love you in the same way. 

They start trying to compensate you for the love they can’t give you. Suddenly, every time you plan something with that person, whether it’s just you two or involved in a group of friends you notice how extra conscious they are about how they behave around you.

They don’t want to make you feel like they changed their mind or that they’re open to having a romantic relationship with you because they don’t want to lead you on. That’s why they may seem distant and not even behave like a friend.

Eventually, there will be a distance forming between you two because you don’t know how to behave normally around one another anymore.

2- Staying friends can mean falling more for them:

Let’s be honest. Deciding to be just friends when you are aware of deeper feelings between you two is just a nice way to say that you will grow apart and go separate ways after a while. Being friends is about sending texts asking if they want to do something casual together or talk about your worries just for the sake of having someone that listens to you, for example.

If you keep doing this with someone you love and who doesn’t love you back you won’t be able to get over the things you feel for them. When you declare your love to someone and they don’t love you back, what you want to do next is get over what you feel for that person and move on.

Keeping in touch at a level of close friendship will only make you love them more. Not only will you become dependent on the time you spend with that person, but you also will not be able to be a true friend to them either.

The other person will refrain from sharing things with you to not give you hope that things might change. Just like that, your relationship will resemble less and less of a friendship and start to feel like an obligation of keeping in touch.

3- You may hate them for dating other people:

Trying to be mature about this type of situation is a good idea, but don’t forget that feelings aren’t a rational thing. If you love someone who doesn’t love you back and try to preserve your friendship, you might find that it’s a difficult task. However, secretly you might be wishing for them to change their mind, and get what you want in the end. But the opposite is likely to happen too. 

While you remained friends with someone you love, that person might start seeing someone romantically, which confirms that they won’t change their mind about you any time soon. Initially, you might feel angry at them because you feel that you invested precious time in trying to make someone love you.

But things don’t always work that way, and you need to think if you value your friendship enough to take a break and distance yourself to try to get over your feelings. If you don’t do this it might be too late and there won’t even be a friendship in the end.

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