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Is there a way to stay friends with him?" There's this guy I

Is there a way to...
Is there a way to stay friends with him?"
Hi. There's this guy I met on the Internet about 8 years ago. He lives in the uk and I live in Japan. We communicated in English and mostly through email. I've always had special feelings for him almost from the beginning but he saw me only as a friend. I've told him several times how I felt about him, but his reaction was always lukewarm. We have a lot in common and it was fun to talk to him but at the same time it was painful so just 6 days ago I told him I want to leave. I told him the truth that I love him and it is painful to keep in touch and can't move on so I'll leave. No response. So I thought our 8 year friendship was over.
But I just can't stop thinking about him. Actually this is the second time I left him. At the first time I told him a different reason, and we stopped talking to each other but a month later he contacted me again telling me how much he needs me in his life, etc. So we begun to email each other again. So I can't help but expect him to talk to me again. But I know I couldn't keep in touch because I can't see him only as a friend. He said he wanted to meet me in person, but I said no because it would increase my frustrations. I kind of regret it now. But I just can't talk to him again unless I find a way to stay friends with him.
Since I left him I've lost all interest in any kind of relationships and people in gerenal. I'm the only friend he had. He told me recently that he felt a bond to me too. I have schizophrenia and he has brain injury. We really liked writing to each other so if only I could see him as a friend...!
So my question is how to stay friends when one loves the other but the other doesn't feel the same way? How to fall out of love? I think he's much worth having as a friend when the true love can be found somewhere else.
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Answered in 49 minutes by:
7/9/2012
TherapistMarryAnn
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5,878
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Hello, and thank for requesting my help.

There is probably two things going on with the guy you are friends with- either he wants to be friends with you and doesn't feel any more than that, or he does feel more but cannot express it, maybe due to his brain injury or an emotional difficulty he has with relationships.

Since you have tried twice to let him know how you feel and he has not been able to express the same feelings back to you, then it leaves you with a choice. You can either stay with him and try to cope with your feelings or leave the friendship all together. But, as you said, whenever you try to leave for good he contacts you and tries to rekindle the relationship. That makes it hard on you to draw the boundary.

You can remain friends with him but that leaves your feelings open and you in pain. Holding your feelings back can be very hard. Since at this point your friend is not willing to consider a romantic relationship, it may help you to consider relationships with other guys that you can date and fall in love with. There is someone out there for you. It's just a matter of finding him. And going out with other guys will let your friend know that you are moving on in terms of finding a romantic partner. So if he does have any feelings for you, then he may choose to show them if he sees that you are dating others.

You also can consider ending the friendship. If it is too hard for you to face seeing him and having feelings for him, then making a clean break may be necessary. That is very hard to do but in the long run, it will make things easier. You need to let him know that you have to let go of the friendship and move ahead with your life. He may protest and contact you trying to get you to come back, but just repeat what you said. Eventually he will stop.

If you do leave, you will need to mourn your loss. It is painful to let go of love and try to move ahead. Give yourself time to cry, feel anger and feel down.

Another possibility is that your friend could be fearful of a romantic relationship and so he keeps you as a friend but nothing more. He may be too afraid to take it further. Just the fact that he contacts you after you try to leave says that you are important to him. But how much he feels about you is hard to tell. He doesn't respond when you tell him how you feel so it's up in the air. But his actions do say he cares, a lot. It could be that eventually he may be able to express how he feels. But for now, there is no way to tell. That leaves you to decide if you are willing to be friends and wait this out.

At this point, your best bet is most likely trying to stay friends with him while seeking out a romantic relationship with other guys. If he wants to only be friends, he cannot hold you back from dating or falling in love with others. Try to make a good effort to find someone else to be with romantically. That way, you can have him as a friend at least.

I hope this helped you,
Kate
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Customer reply replied 5 years ago

Hi Kate,

Thanks for your reply.

I don't think he feels more than as a friend because after the first time I left him I got a bf, and when he contacted me a month later I told him that,and although he didn't ask me much detail he was just glad about it.

While we were communicating via email, he has dated with a few women(not at the same time) but he always told me that he didn't love them. he often told me he doesn't feel anything, probably due to the injury he has. So he broke up with all of them. Now he doesn't seem to be interested in dating anyone. He often told me that he was scared of commitment.

He often told me recently how much he enjoys writing me and how much it refreshes him. Once he called it "an infatuation." I don't know how to interprete it.

When I told him how much I love him 6 days ago, he was kind of surprised. He said he didn't notice I had such strong feelings for him. I think I've told him how I feel many times so far but he didn't react. He always seemed to be too preoccupied with his own thoughts to pay attention to how I feel about him. But this time he was more sympathetic than ever before, and asked me if email communication was somewhat frustrating for me. I was glad he finally noticed how i truely felt about our relationship. But then I acted impulsively and told him I want to leave him for good. But this is when he told me he felt a bond to me too which doesn't make him want to leave but rather continue communicating.

I know it would be very painful if he started dating with someone else again but I still want to be friends with him.

So my question is how long should I wait before I contact him again? It's been almost a week since I stopped talking to him but if I emailed him right now I think he'd get angry?

I'm sorry if this email is a bit confusing.

It sounds like his brain injury or his emotional issues are interfering with his ability to be with anyone, including you. In that case, it may be hard to get him to be in any relationship but if there is a chance for him, it is probably with you.

I would contact him within the next few days. Let him know that you were hurt and didn't know what else to do but break it off. Keep it short and simple and say you were sorry. That way, he doesn't have too much to deal with. He may need some time to deal with how he feels, but that can be his decision. He will know that you are there when he is ready.

Kate

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Customer reply replied 5 years ago

Ok, but I don't have any ways to deal with my feelings for him at the moment. If I contact him again he might ask what I would do if communicating with him become painful for me again. What should i say to make him feel safe?

Let him know that you are working on this issue. Tell him that you see that you have an issue with this situation and you are trying to find the best option for the two of you so you can remain friends. And let him have control over whether or not he is ok with that. Tell him that it is up to him after you make contact, but that you are trying and you do care.

Kate

TherapistMarryAnn
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Satisfied Customers: 5,878
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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