This is something a bit out of my comfort zone, but needs must as the saying goes.
Also, forgive me in advance as this is quite a long-winded story, but I’ll try my best to shorten it as much as possible.
Basically, I think I’ve fallen for one of my closest friends. This is an age-old problem, the whole ‘friendzone’ thing (which I didn’t know existed until I Googled it!).
I’ve been good friends with a girl who I work with since 2012, I’m 44, she is 38. We have been close for a long time, but over the last year or two we’ve become closer due to different issues in our respective lives.
She is beautiful, model material to be honest and coupled with her girl-next-door personality she is one in a million. Naturally there is no shortage of men interested in her, but sadly she has been suffering from anxiety and self-belief issues herself for some time and is really struggling.
I’ve worked in an office most of my life so I am more than comfortable in the company of women, happy to chat, listen and very much subscribe that men and women can be good friends. My friend has always been there, listened at my string of catastrophic relationships and blind dates over the years and likewise myself with her. But over the last 14 months I feel like something has changed in our relationship, a few things she has said or come out with that’s made me think.
Up until recently I was seeing a woman in work who lived with someone else. Its not big and its not clever but it happened. We’ve fizzled out lately but remained amicable. My friend has never liked this woman, based on how she was treating me, this cumulated in a few words between them in a bar last year which I didn’t even see.
Not long after this she said to me that she is protective of me, but in her eyes ‘nobody will ever be good enough for me’. Then she said when I asked her out for my birthday drinks, ‘I’m always there for you aren’t I’.
More recently just the pair of us have been going out on a Friday, as opposed to a work group. She told me ‘I make her smile all of the time’, she even tells her mum and sisters everything about me and my life.
Last week the pair of us went out again, just the two of us and we had an amazing night. Lots of drinking, lots of laughter, just a relaxed night. We took a load of selfies together of her wrapped up in my arms and said at the time, “I can’t believe how happy I look in these pictures, this is the happiest I’ve been for a long time.”
The last thing is, there is another guy we work with who constantly tells her he loves her when he’s drunk. They are close too, but she’s told repeatedly there is nothing there between them, despite being good friends. She mentioned at the weekend that she was telling him about the woman I used to see and that I bumped into her in work, and he got a bit irate saying ‘why are you bothered about his ex’.
Sorry to waffle on, but the three biggest issues I have are firstly I don’t want to ruin what we have between us, especially given everything she is going through and has been through.
I honestly don’t know why, after so long of knowing her, that I feel like this, is it a case of reading too much into things? All I know is I genuinely love her, that’s a given, but I think I’m in love with her, that’s the difference.peggyOctober 5, 2022 at 12:19 pm #1116361
Well, who knows if you are reading too much into things? In TEN years nothing really has happened. You have not straight out asked her out and she has not indicated clearly that she wants you to, or has told you she wants a dating relationship with you.
If I were her I would not want to date someone that had dated a person while they were in a another relationship, like you did. Though it sounds like your work friend thought “the other woman was treating you badly”. That is bizarre.
This whole thing sounds like Jr. High. Either have a real conversation about how you feel/ask her on a proper date etc. or let the idea of a relationship with her go. Neither of you sound very forthright or mature.
Lastly, and maybe this should be first, dating a co-worker is not a smart idea.ronOctober 5, 2022 at 1:29 pm #1116362
It could be something special. You certainly are thinking of her as both friend and as your ideal woman. You want a romantic relationship but are afraid to make a move. You’re stuck. Whether or not she considers you a potential romantic partner, you know that she likes and trusts you, which is at least a starting point.
You have to tell her how you feel (not ‘I love you’, but that you have romantic feelings towards her and want to ask her out on a real date) and ask her out on a romantic date. I say you have to do this because your feelings for this ideal woman have you totally blocked from successfully starting a romantic relationship with anybody else. In your mind nobody else can compare to your friend and this will make any other woman seem inadequate until you resolve this tension with your friend. You ask her. If she says no you can try to preserve the friendship but will at least have an accurate picture in your mind about your friend. This will allow you to date others, knowing you have no chance with your friend. If your friend says yes to a real date then the sky’s the limit, but at minimum you and she will have a truer vision of each other and can decide whether you are in a relationship, just friends, or need to go your separate ways.
This was a little hard to follow.
Your 38-year-old work friend is a woman, not a girl.
All those paragraphs and I’m truly not sure what you’re referencing when you say you mention “everything she is going through and everything she has been through.” You mention things like anxiety and self-doubt, but… many people deal with those at some point.
Personally, I’d not want bonding over “different issues in our respective lives” to be the foundation of my relationship. And I’m with @peggy that I’d not want to date someone who recently dated someone who was in a live-in relationship, especially if that person had a string of “catastrophic” relationships. But, I’m not this woman.
In my experience, when I’ve gotten together with someone I met through school or work (and the only time it happened at work was when I was in college working as a barista, so I imagine that’s a bit different), it happened naturally, easily. I’d say something would’ve happened by now if it’s going to, but you can have a conversation about how your feelings for her have changed and see where it goes. It doesn’t need to be friendship ruining.FyodorOctober 6, 2022 at 8:59 am #1116375
First, don’t use the term “friendzone,” which is kind of gross and implies that women owe you romantic attraction and there’s some kind of special trick you can use to make them romantically attracted to you.
Second, as people noted, there are risks in having romantic relationships with your coworkers. if you have a bad breakup, you would have to see her on a daily basis.
All that being said, yeah, based on what you’ve described I think that she is into you romantically. I think that you need be able to use your words and tell her that you are interested in having a romantic relationship and ask her out on a regular date. Given the length of your friendship I think that you can do this without blowing up the relationship.AnonymousseOctober 6, 2022 at 6:38 pm #1116386
Oh boy. This is not what the friendzone is, nor should you use that term. I actually shocked you’d say that, at your age. You’re not some old man from a bygone era. It’s interesting that you’ve worked with her for ten years. Why haven’t romantic feelings come up before?
You say she’s really struggling, then a few paragraph later that you go out drinking heavily with her. Is the drinking also contributing to the feelings? I can’t tell. What is she struggling with? I don’t need to know these answers but all together, I’m not sure if “pursue your female coworker that you drink heavily with often,” would be top on the list, at least not in this way.
If she is really struggling, maybe don’t ask her out? Is she your friend? Because if she’s really struggling, how, as a friend, are you supporting her? Is she in a good place to date? Do you even know?
Asking your vulnerable female work friend out, out of the blue after ten years could be weird. You need to feel and think this through. I also think the work situation is not ideal. Why is your ex also from work? You know there’s literally a world of women out there, not at work at the same business as you, right?
Nah, way too many red flags here. She does not sound like she’s in a place for a relationship. And, frankly, neither do you. All these “struggles” that you don’t actually name don’t make for a great foundation for a relationship. Plus, you work together and already have relationship drama at work. Don’t add more. If you two have been very close friends for 10 years, just continue enjoying the friendship.
Finally, I have a suspicion you have a little bit of a savior complex when it comes to this woman (and maybe women in general). She doesn’t need you to save her or complete her or whatever. Whatever struggles she has aren’t going to be solved by you making her your girlfriend. Support her as a friend and don’t give her more drama to deal with.