She does not feel the same way I do

-- Question for John --

I have had romantic feelings towards this woman since the beginning of the relationship and from time to time she gave signs of feeling them back. But she does not feel the same way I do. I had no interest in other women because of my feeling for her and not knowing how she felt was ripping me apart.

So I invited her down to my town to attend a play at my college with me. We watched the play and went back to my place and talked and, I thought, left on very close terms. However, after this she wouldn’t return any of my emails and when she finally did just wrote “I’ve been really busy, unfortunately things aren’t looking up, try back next week.” This hurt my very badly so I decided that I would try once and for all to get over her, so I started avoiding her to try and get her out of my mind. This bright idea didn’t work. All it did was make her angry with me. I decided I had to resolve this once and for all.

So a few months ago I wrote her an email telling her of my romantic feelings towards her. I told her that I understood if my feeling weren’t returned and that all I asked of her was some closure on the issue of our potential romance. She told me that she was still kind of angry at me (I had explained why I was avoiding her) but felt that I did deserve and answer, yet she wasn’t ready to give one.

I told her I understood and wouldn’t press the issue. I put the ball in her court and told her we wouldn’t talk until she was ready too. She still hasn’t gotten back to me. I feel empty inside, I feel that if I can’t have a romantic relationship with her I must at least have our friendship back. Is there anything I can do? I’m really at the end of my rope here, if you can help I will be forever in your debt.

-- Answer from John --

I wonder if she is angry with you again since you are not contacting her, just like in the first case when you avoided her? I wouldn’t be surprised. Or maybe she just doesn’t know what to say to you about the romantic thing? Or maybe she is confused herself and avoiding things? It’s hard to guess… and, in the end, there’s nothing much you can do about what she wants. In that sense you are wise to put that ball entirely in her court.

But can you feel free to keep her as a friend, even if there’s no chance for anything more?

I know that I have had this same thing happen to me long ago, and I started avoiding the woman… and then she got mad at me for neglecting the friendship. I told her what I really felt and she said she did not feel that way back… but she actually told me she was angry at me for neglecting the friendship…. and, unlike your friend, she pursued me and insisted that we get through that uncomfortable situation where I felt I wanted more and she couldn’t give more. This may be where your friend doesn’t have the particular personality my friend did… and so your friend may be avoiding dealing with the uncomfortable situation just as much as you are.

The solution for you would be to face the probable fact that all that is available for you is the friendship… and that you are going to have to get through that AND still communicate with her… if you ever want the friendship to last.

I did with my friend, and she became even more of a friend… my love for her truly shifted from romantic to like a brother for a sister. I kind of liked that. And, after awhile, I could see that a romantic relationship with this friend would not have worked out anyway… but she was perfect as a “sister”…

So maybe you can stay open to the possibilities. It is difficult to go through such uncomfortable situations. Very challenging. But only with challenges do we learn and grow. There doesn’t seem much to learn in just avoiding things… does there?

So you might want to give her a call, find out where she is at… as a friend, not as a romantic prospect… and see what there is to salvage… assuming of course, you are willing to deal with the challenge I am talking about above.

I am concerned that you feel empty and that you are putting that emptiness on her to fill. This is one area that is your domain to work with. It is the very core issue for spiritual growth.

You are obviously a young man, and spiritual growth normally does not interest men or enter the picture until middle age, for most of us. Yet, consider this. The “empty” feeling that we can get inside… how do so many people try to fill it? Sex? Drugs? Alcohol? A relationship? Money? Possessions? Power? So many ways we have to look on the outside for something that will perhaps only distract us from something calling out to us on the inside. Do you get what I mean?

This emptiness. This is the very heart and core of things. Learn to touch that emptiness with your own love… the same love you want to give to her… and you will grow. Anyway… just consider the possibility that this emptiness offers you an interesting opportunity to discover something far different than you imagine when you are too focused on filling it with something or someone on the outside.