Love and Relationships

[Two Pronged] Help! I have a crush on my guy friend

Margarita Holmes
[Two Pronged] Help! I have a crush on my guy friend
They helped each other move on from the end of long-term relationships – but now she seems to be falling for him

Rappler’s Life and Style section runs an advice column by couple Jeremy Baer and clinical psychologist Dr Margarita Holmes.

Jeremy has a master’s degree in law from Oxford University. A banker of 37 years who worked in 3 continents, he has been training with Dr Holmes for the last 10 years as co-lecturer and, occasionally, as co-therapist, especially with clients whose financial concerns intrude into their daily lives

Together, they have written two books: Love Triangles: Understanding the Macho-Mistress Mentality and Imported Love: Filipino-Foreign Liaisons.


Dear Dr. Holmes and Mr. Baer,

I’m a 24-year-old “city girl,” with somewhat liberal ideologies – which is rare in the conservative company, in this semi-provincial city where I’m assigned. I broke up with my long-term girlfriend after working here a few months.

I am currently happy with who I am.

This newfound confidence brought me a lot of friends from work, including this one guy. We first got along over our mutual grievances over work and mutual pain getting over long-term relationships.

We get along pretty well, he makes me laugh easily, and is such a good and caring person. I didn’t realize until months into our friendship that I’d developed a crush on him.

Since this crush revelation, I’d done my best to maintain our friendship while doling out the subtlest flirting I can manage. He isn’t responding to the flirting too much, though. Still, I get giddy when he messages me, and when we’re together.

I catch myself fantasizing about a comfortable and warm relationship with him. We’ve gotten very close; I’ve been asked a few times if we were together. When I think about him objectively, I realize we don’t really have the same hobbies or interests; but I like his personality.

I haven’t opened up to him that I’m bi and that my last relationship was with a girl.

I haven’t gauged how he will react to this. My crush on him has reached the point that just seeing him and interacting with him makes my whole day; the opposite leaves me dull and unmotivated.

What should I do? I feel incredibly silly for having these feelings in the first place, like I’m too old to have crushes. I’m caught between letting this high-school crush on him go or opening up the possibility of us dating to him.

Either way, I want us to maintain our good relationship regardless of my feelings. I’d greatly appreciate your advice.

YSA


Dear YSA,

Thank you for your email.

If your overall intention is to do nothing that would imperil your friendship with this guy (let’s call him Ted) as your last paragraph states, then you may have potentially backed yourself into a corner. You have tried subtle hints to no avail, so you have either to be more direct or back off. 

The former may yield a closer relationship but if he is not interested at that level, then it may imperil your friendship. The latter will preserve your friendship but you will not be able to realize your hopes of something deeper.

It is significant that you have chosen to describe your feelings for Ted as a crush. After all, crushes are generally associated with adolescents and immature transient feelings so to apply such a word to your own situation suggests that you yourself view them like this. I think you need to examine your feelings rather more deeply and decide whether they really are merely “adolescent” or have at least the capacity to become mature and strong enough for an adult relationship.

If the former, they are not feelings that you could confidently reveal to Ted; if the latter, there is hope. Of course, all this presupposes that you are not downplaying your feelings as a crush as a defensive measure in case Ted continues to ignore, or rejects, your advances.

As for your bisexuality, your relationship with Ted is in its infancy and discussion of your sexual orientation seems premature, unless perhaps you envisage that any relationship with Ted in the future must co-exist with such relationships as you may form with a woman/women, in which case it is probably a subject that should come up sooner rather than later.

Please write again if you have other concerns.

All the best,

JAF Baer


Dear YSA,

Thank you very much for your letter. 

Like Mr Baer, I “taas-kilay-ed(wondered at) your describing your feelings for Ted as a high school crush. The way you describe your feelings for him show that it is not merely that.

Please forgive me for being presumptuous enough to “advise” you. I very rarely do so in Two Pronged, except when it‘s clear you ARE asking for advice and even more especially when it’s clear that all you need is permission to do what you really want to do: tell him what you truly feel.

And why not? Your feelings are strong, honest, and most importantly, aren’t likely to go away soon. You owe it to yourself and to him to honor all he gives you: “he makes you happy, giddy, you enjoy talking to him” – goodness gracious me, Ysa, that can be a lot more than what many husbands give their wives, or wives give their spouses!

For starters, psychologist and author Lucy Foulkes says: “Be brave enough to share, kind enough to listen, and you can escape the shallows of small talk to dive deep with another” 

That IS what you want, right? After all, as Erica Jong said, “If you don’t risk, you risk even more.”

The good news is that you have already started “deep diving” by sharing, and laughing over things you haven’t shared with others, at least not with people in your office.  

While I am not a communication “guru” I love what several of them say:

AIM just for understanding, and not what most people who have “deep conversations” hope for: arriving at a solution or a plan. A solution might be: “So, when do we send out the wedding invite?” and a plan would be “So, when we next get together, no more platonic kisses. Next time, we aim for the lips, ok?” That is too much to ask of your relationship at this point.

BUT an understanding of what you and he may each want out of life might be a good start: slow and non threatening, so that after it might be a natural jump to what you want out of a relationship, and… maybe yes or maybe no… whether either of you see the them as a potential partner.

Because, even if you are ready to share what you feel (when you feel the time is ready after all the other sharing you’ve been doing) you will know how to tell him: directly, side steppingly, “frustratedly,” gently, gingerly… and knowing this will be far easier if you “listen, listen, listen” to what he says and don’t merely wait to reply.

Oh, Ysa, I sure hope some of this helps. If not, please write us again, as I am sure Mr Baer (and definitely moi) will have more to say on the subject. 

Sincerely,

MG Holmes

– Rappler.com

Need advice from our Two Pronged duo? Email twopronged@rappler.com with subject heading TWO PRONGED. Unfortunately, the volume of correspondence precludes a personal response.