For more than five years I have been going through a period of change:
weight, career, new home, and personal growth. I have made these changes through
self-help theories and a close male friend. During this period he has become the closest
person in my life. For the last year his attitude toward me has become even more
supportive and caring. I am beginning to feel that he is looking at me in a different way.
Despite the fact that we have gone on holiday alone together, he has
never made any physical advances toward me. I can see him as the man in my life, but I
have second thoughts about friendships turning into love affairs. Often they turn
sour and the friendship is lost as well. Should I put all of the cards
on the table or should I sit back and wait for things to happen?
I understand your concern. Given how people are about romance and sexuality,
you are concerned that you may ruin a wonderful friendship if the romance doesn't work out.
On the other hand, what better basis for romance than an intimate friendship? If the
friendship is a solid as you suggest, would it be able to sustain an unsuccessful
attempt at adding romance to the mix?
One of the problems with people seems to be that when romance enters the picture,
people change. They have different expectations of one another when they are romantically
involved and they play different roles, often defining their respective roles by gender.
Rather than relate openly and honestly, people in the throes of romance begin to hold
secrets, and play the game of love. It is often the case that romance itself is an illusion.
People relate to more to the fantasy than the reality of their relationship.
Just the mere thought of having a romance with your friend has already changed your
way of thinking about him. You are already plotting and thinking about ways to be
less honest. Prior to thinking about romance, you would disclose just about anything to
this closest person in your life. Now you are beginning to hold back. If openness,
self-disclosure and candor were the basis of your friendship, why not continue along that
path with these newly developing feelings and use the occasion to explore that aspect of
your friendship as well? You can discuss your trepidation, as well as your affection.
If your feelings are mutual, then you can proceed with same honesty that you have
enjoyed in the past and allow the relationship to blossom. If the feelings are
not mutual, you can share your disappointment, and move on with the friendship; the
disappointment will fade and you will still have the friendship.
Dr. Edward A. Dreyfus is a Clinical Psychologist,
Marriage, Family, Child Therapist, and Sex Therapist. Dr. Dreyfus has been providing
psychological services in the Los Angeles-Santa Monica area for over 30 years.
He offers individual psychotherapy to adolescents and adults, divorce mediation,
couples counseling, group therapy, and career and vocational counseling and
assessment.His book, Someone Right For You, is available in the Amazing
Dr. Dreyfus can be reached at: (310) 208-5700.