Love, Maybe

24 Jul

Letterbalm What Should I SayDear LetterBalm: My friend Tom and I have been friends since we were in third grade. We go to different colleges, but we stay close and talk or text every day. We’re back in our hometown for the summer, and recently he told me he loves me. I was so happy because he’s the closest person in the world to me. But as I thought about it, I realized that I don’t feel the same for Tom as he does for me at this point. I do love him, but more as a dear family member or friend. Maybe I’ll grow to be in love with him, maybe not. But I made things complicated because I told Tom that I loved him, too. How do I back off from this without losing him?

–Not Certain

You and your friend are young – probably not yet 20. You’ll learn that our emotions towards those close to us can vary from one day to the next. Sometimes a new relationship can produce euphoria, while a longtime friendship can cause the emotional side to wax and wane. It’s not necessarily a true reflection on how you truly feel for the long term. Ms. L.B. notes that life events can certainly cause feelings to change for good or ill. Even soulmates have periods of muted feelings for each other. Have a quiet talk with your friend and ask him to be patient. (He may have some doubts about his declaration of love, too.) You owe each other time to see what you really feel. Say something like this:

Tom, this summer has shaped up to be really special for us because we said that we loved each other. But I have to tell you that I’m uncertain that I love you 100 percent. If you have some doubts about your feelings, that’s O.K., too. I need to take more time to be sure my feelings for you are authentic, real love. And, it’s fine if you want to do the same. We need to be patient with each other until we’re sure we know what we want and how we feel. All I know is, you’ll always be my friend.

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