Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

His Take: “Why Does My Best Guy Friend Have Feelings For Someone Else?”

I have really strong feelings for my best guy friend. We’ve been really close for about five years and over time my feelings for him just get stronger and stronger. He is truly an amazing man: strong, understanding, and deeply loves his friends and family. He knows I have feelings for him; we’ve discussed them several times before. He’s never said he doesn’t have feelings for me. When he describes what he most values in a woman, they are the same qualities he’s said he loves in me (often word for word). But over the last year, he’s professed to be interested in a mutual good friend of ours. They are also very close. However, she has zero interest in him and has told him that several times. Also, the qualities that he sees in her are the same qualities he’s told me he dislikes (even hates) in women. So what gives??? Please explain this to me, because I am out of ideas. — Bewildered Best Friend

MATT: You wrote: “He’s never said he doesn’t have feelings for me.” I have to respectfully (and lovingly) disagree. He has indeed said this. He has said it by being your friend and not taking the relationship to a new level over the course of five years; he has said it by being willing to discuss his taste in women with you as a friend would; he has said it by making you aware of a specific interest he has in someone you both know. Some of us let our actions do the talking for us because we just don’t have the words.

I’ve never been much of a hugger…I’m more of a slap-on-the-back kind of guy…but, if I could, I’d reach right through our fancy inter-webs right now and give you a big long bear squeeze because I feel your pain. At one point or another, I’ve been both of the parties in your scenario and it sucks.

You close by saying you are out of ideas. Do you mean ideas about why he does not choose you or ideas about how to make him see how great you are? I want to caution you about the latter: you’ve been so honest with him; show yourself the same level of respect and understand that you do not possess the power to change him. Ignore every romantic comedy and every fairy tale we (especially women) are fed. If you are okay being his friend and eventually even seeing him with someone else, great. If not, take some time to patch your heart & soul up a bit, so that you’re open and ready for some other great guy that comes in your life. Either way, the truth is the same: this guy is just your friend.

ANDREW: I once saw a movie on an airplane about a girl who was in love with that guy on Grey’s Anatomy with all the hair. They were BFF’s but, realizing he was unable to appreciate what was right in front him, she accepted the proposal of a Scottish aristocrat. Realizing he just lost the best thing in his life, the guy from Grey’s Anatomy travels to Scotland to break up the wedding and win her love. It was one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen in my entire life.

If, after five years AND a profession of your feelings, nothing has happened… It is time to, as the cool kids say, MOA. “Good idea!” you’re probably saying to yourself. I’ll date someone else (maybe a Scottish aristocrat?), make my BFF jealous and he’ll finally recognize he’s in love with me. I CAN’T TELL YOU HOW LAME THAT MOVIE WAS.

It’s okay if you remain friends and it’s okay if you’ll always be kind of a sucker for him. But it sounds like you’ve been stuck for five years and you need to move forward. I think the movie was called “Made of Honor” or something stupid like that. It was really bad.

ELIAS: You’ve likely heard the idea that the grass is greener on the other side. This sounds like the case here. Sure, you and the other girl are both close friends with him, but you have made your availability for something further very recognized. On the other hand, his desire lies with someone who has not done so which causes him to desire her even more. He knows he could easily have you, but he is looking for the one who is a challenge. My advice is to cool it. Be more of a friend to him. Talk about other guys. Stop pandering to him. Let him catch you looking at other men. Become the unreachable target. If you’re ever going to get his attention, it will be then.

DAVE: First off… congratulations. You now know how nice guys feel all the time as we watch our love interests consistently overlook us for the gorilla next door! It sounds like you have a good friendship and you communicate freely, which is the foundation of any true relationship (as well as a lasting marriage). Don’t push him. Just continue to be his best friend and understand that may entail watching his heart get broken a few times whilst chasing other girls. Be patient, and he should eventually come to the conclusion that romance is ultimately about intimacy, and true intimacy can only come from a true friend. If you are indeed right about him, it will be worth the wait.

* If you’d like to ask the guys a question, simply email me at [email protected] with “His Take” in the subject line and I’ll pass your question along to them.

91 comments… add one
  • Tudor Princess April 7, 2011, 12:04 pm

    Matt and Andrew really hit the nail on the head. Remain friends, but back off. He knows how you feel. If/when his feelings change he will know where to find you. Please, please do not wait for him. Live your life. Date. Get to know other great men out there and maybe one day you will also see that friends is exactly what you two were meant to be.

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    • Tudor Princess April 7, 2011, 12:04 pm

      Oh, and Matt is totally adorable. 😉

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        Wendy April 7, 2011, 12:08 pm

        Matty is one of my closest friends and sometimes it’s all I can do when I’m with him not to just eat his face, he’s so cute.

      • ReginaRey April 7, 2011, 12:13 pm

        Wendy I’m so jealous! You get to hang out with Matt AND Andrew?! I’m dying here!

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        Wendy April 7, 2011, 12:33 pm

        I know! Sadly, Matt lives in Chicago and I live in NYC so I don’t get to see him as much as I’d like, but we visit pretty frequently. He’s as sweet and funny as you might imagine from his replies. And, Drew. Well, everyone knows how I feel about him. 😉 I am lucky to have some really kick-ass people in my inner circle.

      • ape escape April 7, 2011, 1:14 pm

        “…if I could, I’d reach right through our fancy inter-webs right now and give you a big long bear squeeze..”

        I am moving to Chicago. Right now.

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        Elizabeth April 7, 2011, 2:00 pm

        I already live in Chicago! I wanna cash in on the bear squeeze…

      • Bricka April 7, 2011, 2:10 pm

        I loved the bear squeeze line too. From what ive seen:
        Bloggers are the new Rock Stars, hurray for them and the groupies of the new millenium! 😀

  • sarolabelle April 7, 2011, 12:06 pm

    @Andrew – I hated that movie too. Has to be the worst movie ever made besides Chucky.

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    • Eagle Eye April 7, 2011, 12:45 pm

      Ugh, I too was once caught on a cross-country plane flight without sufficient reading material and was forced to watch that movie…

      I think at some point I actually took off my head phones, and watched it on mute, the dialogue was simply too awful…

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      • MissDre April 7, 2011, 1:09 pm

        I think most RomComs are awful… LoL!

      • LennyBee April 7, 2011, 1:33 pm

        I love RomComs, but only with wine, and only as pure guilty entertainment. It’s like watching fantasy movies – stories of the happenings in the Mythical Land of RomCom where bad dialogue abounds, and the prince always rescues the princess.

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      Roxy84 April 7, 2011, 5:28 pm

      Scottish Aristocrat is also on Grey’s (writing this served no purpose, I’m just proud of my useless movie trivia)

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    • caramelpuff April 10, 2011, 5:05 am

      Bahahahahaha! When I heard him mention that horrible movie I couldn’t help but laugh! For some reason my sister thought it was entertaining (sometimes I question her taste since she did tell me about ‘Death at a Funeral’ the good one) so I watched it with her. Yea I felt the same way when it was over such a waste of a movie. How did the great Sidney Pollack (R.I.P) come to produce and be in that crap?

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  • ReginaRey April 7, 2011, 12:08 pm

    Never saying “I don’t have feelings for you” is NOT equal to “I have feelings for you.” He’s had ample opportunity to come right out and say it…it’s been 5 years! I suspect the reason he’s never told you once and for all that he’s not interested is because he likes having you as a friend, but fears that telling you would drive you away. Girl, I understand that you’re hung up on your friend. But the fact that you’re so emotionally invested in a guy who isn’t interested is preventing you from being available to guys who WOULD be interested.

    If you continue down this road, you’re going to end up being the LW who writes “How do I convince my FWB to be my boyfriend?!” You don’t convince anyone to be with you. They’re convinced all by themselves. I think you need to pull back from this guy – stop hanging out with him as much and communicating as much, and put that time into opening up your social circle (and your mind) to other dudes.

    P.S. Andrew’s post is hilarious…and SO TRUE. That movie was god-awful. No one ‘realizes’ after years that they’re in love with their best friends. It’s a RomCom myth, people!

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    • HmC April 7, 2011, 1:42 pm

      “You don’t convince anyone to be with you. They’re convinced all by themselves.”

      I wish I had had this tattooed somewhere on my body somewhere I could constantly look at it, preferably before I started dating. It applies to new loves, exes, and even friends. People will be in your life if they want to be there, and those are the only ones you should want in it anyway!

      Also, add my to the list of Matt fans. 🙂

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      • HmC April 7, 2011, 1:47 pm

        *cringe* How the heck do you edit a post?

      • ReginaRey April 7, 2011, 2:24 pm

        Honestly, I’m feeling pretty unoriginal lately, because I keep saying things along the lines of “Why are you trying to convince someone to be with you??” But I keep reading different DW letters that all revolve around that concept…as females it seems like we’re trying to find a way to convince ourselves that we’re ok with the way we’re being treated, or we try to convince guys to like us because we don’t want to give up. Love doesn’t work that way! No one ever says “Well, he wasn’t that into me for a long time, but I hung around until he was convinced! We lived happily ever after!” That’s an awful love story! haha

      • Theenemyofmyenemyisagrilledcheesesandwich April 8, 2011, 1:08 am

        Yes yes yes!

      • Maracuya April 7, 2011, 2:35 pm

        HmC. I JUST discovered this. I saw a link that says, “Edit your last comment./Delete your last comment” above the leave a comment box.

      • Maracuya April 7, 2011, 2:37 pm

        Ironically, I now cannot find that link to edit my last comment to say I can’t find it.

      • SpaceySteph April 7, 2011, 3:26 pm

        Yeah that link is hit and miss for me too… sometimes its there and others I can’t seem to find it. I wonder if it has to do with my browser settings somehow.

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      Heather April 7, 2011, 1:53 pm

      ReginaRey-I agree with your last line to an extent. I think that a lot of women do use this myth as an excuse for “Oh, he’s going to love me soon and just suddenly realize how great I am!” When we all know that’s not the case.

      However, I am actually in a situation right now. I have known someone for going on six years. And just within the last six months or so, we started seeing each other in a different way and having romantic feelings for each other. Although I attribute this to how we’ve grown into the people we are now from when we first met, etc. SO. I agree 99% of the time though that beings friends with someone for-freaking-ever and then suddenly “realizing” feelings when neither parties have really changed is just silly.

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      • SpaceySteph April 7, 2011, 3:33 pm

        Was going to say the same. My boyfriend and I knew each other as friends for years, but didn’t have feelings for each other until we’d known each other for about 2 and a half years. Also a friend of mine is getting married this summer to a guy who was actually previously engaged to her former roommate (yes I know thats a messy story) but they broke up and she remained friendly with him for another year or so before they dated.
        However, it is something that happens when you’re not looking for it. If you hang around him waiting for him to love you, it will just make you miserable. Hang out with him as a friend, but search for love in other places. If you are meant to be with an old friend, one day you will both be in the right place at the right time and not in other relationships and it’ll happen. Or, more likely, there is some other wonderful guy somewhere in the world who you will meet and fall in love with and never look back at this guy you once wanted who couldn’t even spare your feelings by not talking about some other friend of yours he wants to date.

      • Terri April 7, 2011, 7:37 pm

        I want to second this comment. I was friends with this guy for 10+ years who always felt like a brother to me. I only realized I was actually totally in love with him all along about a year ago. Its rare, but it happens.

      • Fairhaired Child April 8, 2011, 12:54 am

        My Mom and Dad fall into that “love after all these years” category. Actually they were both married previously before. My mom would have stayed married to her first husband but he left her for “some new young thing” after she had a baby, then my dad (them being freinds for years) stepped in to be a father figure for my brother and his then-wife got so upset and jealous (there was nothing going on ) that she accused him of cheating on her and then left him. My parents were actually best friends and had grown up together with their other siblings also all playing together – so there were no “physical” or “emotional” ties besides seeing each other as another sibling. After my Dad’s wife left him it was another year before he saw my mom as potential to date, and they dated and when he proposed my mom told him “no promises” and even on their wedding day she almost didnt show up because she didnt want to ruin their friendship. <3 Anyway they had a very happy marriage but he passed away from a heart attack.

        Because of that story I think that I've always had a "omg best male friend some day may be a boyfriend" outlook, but it was only when I actually started to date one of my friends (on the downlow because we were also in a Co-Ed Service group that was very nosey etc) and then I realized within a month I'm a dumbass and he treated me crappy as both a friend and potential/actual girlfriend. I had romantic feelings for a year and we both did the FWB/Dating on the downlow? thing for a month before I realized he never really cared for me the way I cared for him.. huge explosion break up thing and it was aweful. I cried for weeks, and we still dont speak even though I tried to 'be a grown up' and patch things up but there is no going back after what happened between us (we essentially fought over another girl and he said the only reason I cared was because I was so in love with him and that the feelings weren't recipricated(sp?) at all)

        My advice – back off, dont do anything, be a friend, because if he hasnt made a move in 5 years he sees you more as family than a potential girlfriend.. and if it's ment to happen it may happen, but dont FORCE it to happen. That will only end in disaster.

  • LennyBee April 7, 2011, 12:12 pm

    I think Matt and Andrew really nailed it. Great advice! I think the LW needs to move on. Stop expecting your good friend to someday fall for you, and MOA. Find someone who both thinks you’re awesome AND is attracted to you. Stop chasing your friend and just concentrate on doing what’s best for you. In the end, your friend *may* develop true feelings for you, but that’s a pretty big if. And you do yourself a disservice by treading water, waiting for someone who’s shown no interest so far. Move on, if only to find happiness for yourself.

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    • Elle April 7, 2011, 2:50 pm

      I agree with Matt and Dave and other commenters. I’ve been on both ends, and none of those crushes turned into anything remotely resembling a relationship. When I was the target, I just didn’t feel any spark with any of the guys. When I was attracted to a guy and I knew that he liked me too, but never made a move, I just assumed he’s not interested in anything more and I moved on romantically, while preserving the friendship.

      I like the way LennyBee put it – ” Find someone who both thinks you’re awesome AND is attracted to you.” With your friend, you only seem to have the first one going for you. If here were attracted to you, he would have made a move earlier, he wouldn’t have waited for 5 years.

      I hope you have the strength to pull your heart together, and start looking for a guy who both deserves it and wants it. Good luck

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  • Vathena April 7, 2011, 12:17 pm

    Have to disagree with Dave’s advice to “be patient”. How much time should a person waste pining for someone? Is she supposed to sit around twiddling her thumbs and turning down dates in order to be available to nurse his breakup wounds? Fruitlessly? How many more years is it going to take? She could fritter away the rest of her 20s and some of her 30s, and wake up realizing that she’s missed out on sex/love/childbearing because she was waiting for this one guy to come around. I agree she should distance herself somewhat and date around. Hang out with other friends and other dudes, get some perspective, and don’t hold onto a false hope.

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    • Dave Jay April 7, 2011, 1:10 pm

      Whoa! I never told her to stop living her life, just to continue being his friend. How long someone is willing to wait for love is highly personal. All I know is that getting it right is highly rewarding. This way, at the very least, she ends up with a good friend in the end… something that (believe me) is very rare as we get older. Her heart seems to be set on him right now, so let her enjoy that pursuit; that’s the fun part of love. Besides, when is the last time your heart listened to your brain?

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        bagge72 April 7, 2011, 2:13 pm

        It doesn’t sound like she is enjoying the pursuit anymore after 5 years. I mean I could see if this just started going on, but after this length of time you have decide to move on, and after that if he decides that the love of his life was under his nose the whole time then they will find away to be together.

      • Vathena April 7, 2011, 3:06 pm

        Sorry Dave, I didn’t mean to be harsh. I don’t disagree with what you just said, but your advice to the LW read to me like, “Some day he will see how great you are and marry you!” And while no one ever knows for sure how things will turn out, sometimes people will use any little shred of encouragement (“he didn’t explicitly say he’s NOT into me”) to continue hoping. And it seems like the LW’s hope that it might happen with her friend could be holding her back from finding someone who truly IS into her. Though it’s definitely true that heart and brain are not always in sync, unfortunately!

  • cat-i-z April 7, 2011, 12:21 pm

    I was once on the other side of this situation. In time I fell in love with my friend. Does that mean it will happen for you LW? No… that’s not what I’m saying.
    5 years is a very long time… it’s time to get out there and start dating… maybe you will find someone that will sweep you off your feet… or maybe your friend will fall for you. Either way,you have to get out and meet new guys.

    Don’t sit another 5 years hoping he will have the same feelings for you. Someday you might just look back and wish you had done something else with your time than wait on him.
    Life is short… get out and enjoy it, and still spend time with your guy friend… but don’t sit around waiting on him anymore…

    Best of luck!

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  • Laura April 7, 2011, 12:25 pm

    Does Dave have a single brother in the midwest? Every week I love his advice just a little bit more!

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    • Dave Jay April 7, 2011, 1:16 pm

      Thanks Laura…
      Sorry… no single siblings… just a slightly jealous wife thanks to you 😉

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      • MissDre April 7, 2011, 1:47 pm

        Awww your wife is lucky, she should be happy to know that you are broadcasting your status as “taken” to the internet!

      • bubbacatz April 8, 2011, 9:31 am

        Yes I am very lucky!

  • _jsw_ April 7, 2011, 12:40 pm


    Matt’s reply floored me. That’s how it’s done, folks.

    Drew, I agree with you, but I can’t forgive you for bringing up “Made of Honor.” *shudders*

    Elias and Dave, I agree that maybe he’ll eventually change his mind about her, but even if he were to do so, she’d never be the one he truly wanted, merely the one left standing, and I think the LW deserves far more than that. JMHO.

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    • SpaceySteph April 7, 2011, 3:44 pm

      “she’d never be the one he truly wanted, merely the one left standing”
      I think this is maybe not entirely true. Your wants change, and though he doesn’t want her now, he could one day and it wouldn’t mean he was settling for what he could have but that he realized he wanted something different than what he once pursued.
      The LW deserves a man who wants her, thats for sure, but nobody needs a man who falls in love with them at first sight. Its ok if someone who didn’t want you once, changes their mind.

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      • _jsw_ April 7, 2011, 4:07 pm

        I know there are cases – some mentioned in this thread – of people who got together after being platonic for a long time. Still… I think, in most cases, a good relationship is going to require good – and mutual – physical chemistry, and that is usually an immediate thing, at least on the man’s part [“man’s part”… heh heh].

        Can men become physically hot for women they previously weren’t attracted to? Sure. But it’s really, really rare. It’s one thing to find someone attractive but not be in a position to do anything about it, and another entirely to not be attracted to someone and then become so, at least for men.

        In the LW’s case, the guy clearly had the opportunity to move the relationship beyond mere friendship, and he didn’t. I find it unlikely that he’ll ever feel chemistry for her. Love? Sure. Passion? Probably not. And passion is something you’ll miss enormously if it’s absent.

  • Ray25 April 7, 2011, 12:48 pm

    Is it possible that maybe he’s not ready for a relationship with potential yet?

    Now, I’m a girl, so I don’t know how guys’ minds work. But when in situations like these, I was always told that there are girls that guys take home for one night and there are girls that guys take home to their parents, and usually the guy will go through a few (several? lots?) of the former before wanting to move on to the latter. When he describes his ideal woman to you, he’s probably describing what he wants in a future committed partner. If he’s not ready for that, then it probably doesn’t matter to him if someone he’s interested in has qualities he doesn’t like.

    Either way, it doesn’t seem like there’s anything you can do but move on and find a guy who is ready to commit to a take-home-to-his-parents woman and sees that you are one.

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  • Maracuya April 7, 2011, 12:49 pm

    I disagree with Dave and Elias. It’s been five years and she’s made her confession. He hasn’t acted. Go find a guy who will shout from the rooftops about how awesome you are. Not one who can’t find any other way to tell you he’s uninterested except for, “Hey, I like this other girl who’s not you but she doesn’t like me.” Unrequited love is a pain.

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    • Lindsay April 7, 2011, 1:41 pm

      This is something that’s always grounded me when I’ve had feelings for someone who doesn’t for me or who does but doesn’t want a relationship. When I actually stop and think, I realize that, no, I don’t want someone who had to be convinced that he likes me or who had to ponder it for a while. I’d rather have someone who likes me as much as I like them and who would not be pleased to just be friends. That’s what everybody deserves.

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  • JustMe April 7, 2011, 1:16 pm

    Oh man, that movie was god-awful, wasn’t it? But then again, remember when he did all those god-awful teen movies in the eighties? It felt like he was just going back to his roots 🙂

    This is what I asked a friend of mine in the same circumstances as you, LW. I asked, “Which do you want more, a (healthy, loving, stable) romantic relationship, or friendship with this guy?”

    When she answered, “A romantic relationship with this guy”, I told her it was an either/or question, don’t try to add Option C.

    Her answer was a romantic relationship – and this should be your answer, LW! If it isn’t, you need to do some soul-searching why it’s not, perhaps some therapy would be in order.

    Because she wanted a romantic relationship, she did things that lead to a romantic relationship. She didn’t hang out with him in her off hours, instead she went out, she got set up on dates, she hung out with ‘strategic’ friends who all knew it was their job to get her a date.

    When the guy called and wanted to hang out on a Saturday night, she didn’t cancel her date to be with him. She hung out with him usually on afternoons and usually with a group – she avoided those ‘faux intimate’ settings like hanging out all night and talking about nothing. No, that stuff was for boyfriends or potential boyfriends.

    She didn’t hug him, didn’t hold hands, no platonic cuddles, nothing that could confuse her into thinking this guy was a boyfriend in the making.

    I’m not going to tell you how this story ends, LW, because their story is not your story, and what happened with them won’t necessarily happen with you. What I can tell you is these are the steps you need to take, LW, and you need to take them now. Separate from this guy, physically and emotionally. It may be a situation where he’ll come to realize he loves you romantically, it may not, but whichever it ends up being, you need to get into a relationship with someone who loves you, not be constantly wondering when this guy will open his eyes and realize what a great girl is right there by his side.

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    • MissDre April 7, 2011, 2:27 pm

      “But then again, remember when he did all those god-awful teen movies in the eighties?”

      C’mon, Can’t Buy Me Love was awesome! LoL!

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    • Maracuya April 7, 2011, 2:39 pm

      Oh, man, I can guess how this story ends by the way you chose not to mention it, am I right? 😀

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  • SGMcG April 7, 2011, 1:30 pm

    Five years is a long time to wait for happily ever after. If he truly reciprocated your feelings, he would have done so with you now. He wouldn’t have wasted any time talking to you about other women. Accept his friendship for what it is and please MOA. You deserve someone who won’t waffle with your emotions.

    But don’t MOA with the inventor of the coffee collar…no matter how much hair he’s rockin’.

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  • spaceboy761 April 7, 2011, 1:35 pm

    You’ve done all you can. It’s over, kid.

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  • Desiree April 7, 2011, 1:40 pm

    I hate to bring up something so ordinary, but maybe she is his ideal woman in many ways, but he just feels no sexual chemistry with her. My boyfriend has a good female friend that shares some important traits (not all) in common with me; after seeing their camaraderie, I asked him if they had ever tried dating. He acknowledged that they got along well, but he just hadn’t ever felt a romantic/sexual spark. This doesn’t mean the LW isn’t attractive; it just means the chemistry isn’t there for those two. I sometimes think women get so caught up in the cerebral aspect of romantic love (when it’s unrequited) that they lose perspective on the sexual side. Looking back at it, I could tell that my unrequited crushes were simply not sexually interested in me. But at the time, all I could think was, “But our personalities match! We’re perfect for each other!”

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    • mf April 7, 2011, 1:42 pm

      This could be the case. I’ve had some guy friends who had crushes on me, but I didn’t date them because I just didn’t feel that spark. They were all perfectly smart, nice, attractive guys, but I knew that wouldn’t be enough in the long run.

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  • mf April 7, 2011, 1:40 pm

    I really feel for the LW.

    In my experience, a guy who has strong feelings for you will act on those feelings. The fact that he hasn’t actually said or done anything to pursue you is not a good sign. I think it’s time to MOA. If he develops feelings for you, then great! If not, at least you’ll have to chance to find someone else who can clearly see how awesome you are.

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  • Michele April 7, 2011, 12:42 pm

    I am going to have to agree with Matt on this one. And, I speak as someone who has just moved in with my former best friend/now boyfriend. For the the entire time we were just really good friends (which was only about a year), he never once talked to me about another woman he was interested in. It seems to me that’s his way of letting you down without letting you down.

    You have to decide if his friendship is important enough that you want to keep him in your life, or if it’s too painful to do so, in which case, you should distance yourself from him. (I had been about to do that, honestly.) Either way, go out, live your life, and stop focusing on him.

    Sorry 🙁

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    Heather April 7, 2011, 1:56 pm

    “You love her, but she loves him,
    And he loves somebody else, you just can’t win.

    And so it is until the day we die,
    this thing they call love is gonna make you cry.”
    J Geils Band

    My stepdad used to sing that to me during my dramatic high school romantic years..

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  • Theenemyofmyenemyisagrilledcheesesandwich April 7, 2011, 2:08 pm

    OK, I apologize in advance, but I have to take issue with Dave’s advice:

    First of all, I’m really tired of all this whining I hear from “nice guys” about how crappy all women are that they don’t/won’t see how great they guys are. Really? “Nice guys” don’t see the paradox in these statements? Also, there is a difference between being “nice” and being an emotional pushover who never sets boundaries with the people he/she loves while he/she waits [WAITS] for their secret love to finally run out of options and come a runnin’.

    For example: my boyfriend is a REALLY nice guy. True, he doesn’t go around telling everyone he’s a nice guy (see paragraph one). In fact, he tries to convince me all the time he’s a dasterdly scallywag. (In fact, he wears a shirt that says “My name is —– —–, and I’m an asshole.” Really. In public.) The thing is, he isn’t an asshole. Not even close. He treats me fantastically (see: setting proper emotional boundaries), is helpful and charming with my family and friends, and respectful and valuable employee. He bakes muffins for the department secretaries and accountants, “just because.” Muffins!

    My point is, a real nice guy, even we are even going to collapse all of the qualities of a man into one by which he will ONLY be known, is one in actions, not words. Because nice is something you are in relation to others, not something you get to call yourself whenever you feel like it.

    Besides, lets say the LW does wait around for this guy to come around. How long is she going to wait? Will she put energy into her career, or will she hold off in case it meant better prospects that could take her away from the guy? So maybe she’s waited for him for another five years, and after being the steady, emotional-doormat of his dreams- right under his nose!- he finally confesses his “eh, might as well” love. How in the hell is she expected to start expressing her wants and needs after a decade of deferring to his? And if/when she does, won’t he feel just a little bit like all of this was a bait and switch?

    Again, I know I’m being rather harsh and rant-y. I just wish I could sit down all of the “nice guys” I’ve met throughout life in a room and get them to realize that you can be nice AND assertive, that being asserting is little more than expressing that you have needs and accepting when others aren’t prepared to fulfill them and move on, and that most importantly when it comes to descriptors like “nice” actions mean a whole hell of a lot more than words.

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    • Bricka April 7, 2011, 2:13 pm

      I agree with you, my new rule is to stay away from self proclaimed “nice guys”, they can break your heart just as bad as “bad guys” and they can do it while playing victims.

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    • Eagle Eye April 7, 2011, 2:18 pm

      Goodness, thank you for saying this, especially since I was foraging through Good Men Project and they had this whole thread on “nice guys”…Ugh, how I HATE that term, its drives me nuts!

      Especially because all of the guys that go around bemoaning that they’re so nice really aren’t if they’re spending that much time b!tching about it…

      /end rant

      Also, for the record I too am dating a nice guy because he’s just that, he’s a good guy that treats me/ his family/ his friends well…

      Although no muffins…I may have to start requesting muffins…

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      • Theenemyofmyenemyisagrilledcheesesandwich April 7, 2011, 2:28 pm

        -with blueberries. From scratch.

      • Eagle Eye April 7, 2011, 2:39 pm

        Jeez, you’re killing, now I’m just sitting at my desk thinking thinking about freshly baked goods…

      • Maracuya April 7, 2011, 2:43 pm

        This. Thanks, Grilled Cheese. I had an immediate ‘bleh’ to the invocation of the ‘nice guy’ phrase.

    • mf April 7, 2011, 3:55 pm

      YES! Nice =/= passive and spineless! Women do not respect men who don’t express their needs and set healthy emotional boundaries. (Just like men don’t respect women who don’t do the same.)

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  • Dave Jay April 7, 2011, 2:35 pm

    The irony is that if women could tell a “Nice Guy” from a “Scumbag”, the issue wouldn’t even exist. (Think about that!) 🙂

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    • LennyBee April 7, 2011, 2:43 pm

      I understand the plight of the “Nice Guy”, but I think it’s the same for the “Nice Girl”. Now, if Nice Girls and Nice Guys could develop an attraction for each other, we’d find a solution. But as long as Nice Guys are attracted to women who won’t look at them twice, and Nice Girls are attracted to guys who won’t give them the time of day, the problem will persist.

      For example, my bf is a genuine Nice Guy. Who for years (according to his sister) only went after girls who were “a little putana”. Since I’m not putana, my Nice Guy has finally found himself in a loving relationship with a Nice Girl.

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    • Eagle Eye April 7, 2011, 2:45 pm

      But I’m a woman, and I CAN tell a “nice guy” from a “scumbag” that’s why I’m dating one!

      However, as a caveat to that, and partially as a piggy back onto grilledcheesesandwhich’s point…he’s not a pushover, he’s no doormat, he’s a good guy but he doesn’t let people walk all over him…he’s more than happy to disagree with me if he thinks I’m wrong…which doesn’t make him a “bad” guy…it makes him a real person who I can love and respect and who I know will forever be there to call me out on my BS (as will I for him)

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      • Elle April 7, 2011, 3:04 pm

        @Eagle Eye – so which guy are you dating? Joking 🙂

        I think we should use ‘good guy’ instead of ‘nice guy’. When I hear about someone that they’re nice, I imagine they’re boring… (Sorry Dave 🙁 ). A ‘good guy’ is someone a little more interesting, with some hobbies and good morals, and overall, a stand-up person. Well, I would like to date THAT!

        So Dave, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt, that you meant ‘good guy’ when you said ‘nice guy’. You’re a ‘good guy’ in my book. Don’t tell the wife! Oh, I think she knows by now…

      • bubbacatz April 8, 2011, 9:38 am

        I do know and I did way back when too! (also he is anything but boring!)

      • demoiselle April 8, 2011, 10:27 am

        I prefer the term “good man.” That’s who I married.

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      bagge72 April 7, 2011, 3:10 pm

      I get sick of the “nice guy” term too. It usually seems to be the guys who are afraid to ask women out, and never have dates that use the term “nice guy”. It’s not everyone else is fault you are afraid to make a move, don’t blame it on being nice. If you were nice you would flatter a girl by asking her out, and making her feel wanted by treating her how she deserves to be treated. Now Dave on the other hand is Married, and I’m sure she is a wonderful women so he should see that “nice guys” clearly don’t finish last, because there are a ton of guys that would love to be in his situation right now, and he seems like a nice guy (even though I disagree with his comment lol).

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      • Dave Jay April 7, 2011, 3:44 pm

        Apparently I can never refer to myself as a nice guy again without revealing my true identity as a scumbag! Fortunately, this nice guy doesn’t care and ISN’T a pushover. I’ve even been attending NGA meetings (Nice Guys Anonymous) “Hello, my name is Dave, and I am a Nice Guy.”
        [“Hello Dave”]
        “I never realized I was a nice guy until I went off to college and started to receive midnight calls from female dorm-mates asking if I’d come escort their drunk ass back from some party across campus [which I did]. The kicker was that some of these girls had boyfriends on campus — but apparently felt safer with me! What’s a nice guy to do?”
        [Ouch! Sorry Dave.]
        So here it is from a Nice Guy’s mouth. We do NOT finish last… we just take a long way around! Nearly all my friends are Nice Guys (met them at the meeting) and even though it took some of them a decade or more to find a Nice Girl, they ultimately ALL did. Life ends well for the Nice Guy… AND the Nice Girl. (I suspect that is where “Nice Kids” come from, but I’m still doing my research.)
        [Thanks Dave! Can we have a muffin now?]
        “Sure… and someone crank up that boom box. I have a new J.Geils cassette!”

    • Theenemyofmyenemyisagrilledcheesesandwich April 7, 2011, 6:36 pm

      “The irony is that if women could tell a “Nice Guy” from a “Scumbag”, the issue wouldn’t even exist. (Think about that!) :-)”

      OK, again, thanks for demonstrating my point for me. Women… “women” … don’t all act the same. It’s unfair for women to generalize about men: “oh men don’t like cuddling!” “men aren’t emotionally available!” “If a man doesn’t marry the girl he’s with after 4 dates, he’s an emotional cripple!” But it’s EQUALLY unfair for men to generalize about women, like, say: “Women can’t tell a “nice guy” from “scumbags.” I wear glasses, but they don’t give me super-brain-melting-laser-vision.

      A real and true nice guy is a nice guy in ACTION. Like a totally awesome action-hero who forms quality friendships and calls his parents on birthdays and holidays instead of (or and, I don’t know) diffusing a bomb.

      Bitter isn’t nice. Nor is it productive, and THAT’S my main point. I know a lot of nice guys who have gotten bitter and I just want to sit them down with a beer and say “No, sweetie, no. You’re not going to make all women fall in love with you. Maybe not even many. But one day you’ll find one. That’s enough, isn’t it? And if she’s worth it, you’re just going to piss her off if you get defensive and bitter about WOMAN-KIND.”

      As Dan Savage says, all relationships fail… until one doesn’t.

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    • demoiselle April 7, 2011, 8:51 pm

      Wow, what an arrogant and offensive thing to say. *People* of all genders and orientations struggle with relationships. Women do not have some kind of special inability to perceive the worth(lessness) of some men. In fact, I’d hazard to guess that most women–no matter what their shortcomings–are better equipt to judge what man is right for themselves than any man can judge for them.

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      • Dave Jay April 8, 2011, 1:49 am

        Isn’t it just a weee bit oxymoronic to say “Women do not have some kind of special inability” and also “most women are better equipt to judge” in the same paragraph? Yes, we all struggle for awhile with love… and we all make mistakes. We should also all agree that love is worth fighting for. No need to resort to sexism.

      • demoiselle April 8, 2011, 10:26 am

        No, it is not at all oxymoranic.

        What I said was “Most women are better equipt to judge what man is right for themselves than any man can judge for them.” Which is very different from making an oxymoranic statement. IE, you can’t stand by as a “nice guy” and decide that women have no ability to judge for themselves who is a scumbag. They have a right to judge for themselves, well or badly. It is the woman’s life and the woman’s experience that counts.

        And I agree there is no need to resort to sexism. That is why I called you out for suggesting that you–or men standing on the outside–have better judgment than women do. And for glibly saying “Think about that!” as if women haven’t been told the same thing over and over again in their lives.

        Ultimately, this is not *your* fault, and I don’t mean to attack you personally. But it’s a terrible cultural message which is widely repeated–and you’re just repeating it yourself. Think about what it sounds like from the other side.

  • spaceboy761 April 7, 2011, 2:44 pm

    This is so much easier with guys. You would just stand outside her window with a boom box blasting Peter Gabriel.


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    • Elle April 7, 2011, 3:12 pm

      It’s easy with girls too – go to his door dressed only in a trench coat and heels. But I don’t think it will help LW much.

      *For the record, Peter Gabriel makes me throw up. I hope he comes with Dire Straits 🙂

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      • _jsw_ April 7, 2011, 3:15 pm

        “Dire Straits”


        And it reminded me to put some of their songs back into rotation.

      • spaceboy761 April 7, 2011, 3:21 pm

        Best rock guitarist ever.

    • Michele April 7, 2011, 2:48 pm

      Who has a boom box these days?

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      • Bricka April 7, 2011, 2:53 pm

        A very interesting retro guy…thats whom XD

      • spaceboy761 April 7, 2011, 3:06 pm

        Holding up an iPod with speaker attachments just doesn’t have the same panache.

      • Michele April 7, 2011, 3:08 pm

        I laugh, because my boyfriend and I have had this very discussion. It does not.

      • TheGirl April 7, 2011, 3:41 pm

        There’s an older guy who walks around my neighborhood every summer blasting oldies on a boombox. It’s hilarious, totally weird and sweet all at the same time…

      • bubbacatz April 8, 2011, 9:40 am

        Nice guys?? : )

  • SpyGlassez April 7, 2011, 3:28 pm

    Four or five years ago, I was in a “not relationship” with a “not boyfriend” who had been a good friend several years before. We had lost touch, met back up, blah blah blah, started spending time together. I was attracted to him mostly because of the friendship we’d once had, and we seemed to be on the same page about a lot of things, but he’d had a broken engagement and didn’t really want to date anyone seriously.

    Until the day he told me he was going to NY to meet a gal he’d been emailing for three months (the same 3 months he had been telling me he had not, in fact, been emailing this gal). Guess what? I reminded him of how I felt, he went to NY, they got engaged a year later, and they’re happily married and I’m dating my student. It hurt, having to pull back from a friendship and the feeling of “what might have been” but my friend and his wife are perfect for each other, and I would never have met my BF if I hadn’t wanted and needed to get out of a rut. My BF is the kind of guy who will talk in his sleep when he shifts position, and even in his sleep he will murmur that he loves me.

    Long Story Short: If the BFF wanted to become a BF, he would have jumped on it when you indicated your preference (even if he just wanted to be a FWB, he would have jumped!). He didn’t. He has given you an answer. Now it’s your turn to get out of a rut and look for someone new. Trust me: it is so much better being with someone who can’t stop telling you how much they love you than it is to be with someone where you feel you’re just good enough till something better comes along.

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  • RoyalEagle0408 April 7, 2011, 3:35 pm

    First of all, I think he gets that you have feelings for him, so please, STOP BRINGING IT UP. Do you think he’s going to decide that he wants to date you after 5 years of knowing you have feelings and yet not asking you out? What if he does? And then things don’t work out and it ruins your friendship? My advice would be to continue to be his friend, but please, MOA and find a nice guy who is interested in you. Not one who would seemingly only be dating you because the girl he wants doesn’t want him.

    Believe me, I’ve made the mistake of making it absolutely clear I had feelings for my best guy friend. You know what happened? We dated for over a year and when we broke up it was devastating. I lost a relationship and one of my closest friendships.

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  • SpyGlassez April 7, 2011, 3:35 pm

    Side note: A friend from college used to proclaim, “I don’t want to be Someone, I want to be The One.”

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  • TheGirl April 7, 2011, 3:46 pm

    I have to agree with most of the people here. Its time to stop pining over this guy. You’ve made your feelings known, and he’s made it known that he wants to shtup your friends. Go out, see other people and one of two things could happen, either he’ll realize he’s been missing out on something, or you’ll find someone awesome who wants to shtup you and only you.

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  • anna728 April 7, 2011, 6:11 pm

    I am a little worried Elias and Dave are giving the girl false hope. It’s just about impossible to get over it when you are still clinging to hope. In all likelihood, it is never going to happen. It’s best to try to move on (already!) and on the off-chance that he does end up wanting something more it will be a pleasant surprise.

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    • Dave Jay April 7, 2011, 8:18 pm

      I don’t think “hope” is EVER a bad thing to have… and sometimes it is the only thing we have. If she were turning down dates with neuro-surgeons just to play Old Maid with this guy, I’d say she was crazy. By all indications, this is the only love interest in her life right now and she needs to see it through (for better or worse) before she can be fair with another partner.

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      • Theenemyofmyenemyisagrilledcheesesandwich April 7, 2011, 8:23 pm

        *Devil’s advocate*

        But she has seen it through. She confessed her feelings, and he in time has responded by confessing his feelings for another girl. Head, meet 2×4.

        Besides, we DON’T really know that this is the only romantic possibility in her life. If she employed? Does her employer employ men? Is she in school? Has she ever thought about going back? Maybe there’s a nice guy hopelessly in love with her who is working up the courage to confess it. I just really REALLY doubt it is ever going to be the BFF.

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    Skyblossom April 8, 2011, 11:06 am

    Because romantic love can’t be forced. It’s there or it isn’t and for him it isn’t.

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  • Cathrine. July 9, 2011, 5:31 pm

    Thank u 4 da advice guys,am just going 2 remain friends wd him and move on.no waiting.

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