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LOVE LETTERS

She helped me after I almost died

Now ‘I want to date her’

Love Letters

Love Letters

Q. I’m lovestruck. I nearly died a few years ago. Since then, a female friend and I have become much closer. She has supported my medical issues, bailed me out of bad situations, and visited me in the hospital. Before my brush with death, I told her I had strong feelings for her. She said she has none for me. I accepted it. We have formed a great friendship though. I am lucky to have her in my life.

The feelings remain, and it’s become an overwhelming emotional burden for me. Each day I feel the burden in my body. She is smart, gorgeous, fun, and warm. I feel somewhat rejected and angry. Her dating philosophy is to find guys who are more of an achiever than she has become. Then she dates them for a bit, gets bored, and finds another guy. I want to date her or have a short-term relationship with her. She has signaled not to try to kiss her without asking. She tells me about her sex life. We hug a lot. Are these mixed signals?

Why does she tell me about her sex life? What does she mean when she says not to kiss her without asking? I want to think these are signs to ask her out, but I am terrible at interpreting. Of course my feelings are partly physical attraction, but I feel more attracted to her personal qualities. Please help. I am stuck in romantic purgatory.

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STUCK

A. She doesn’t owe you romance, and you don’t owe her friendship. Say that out loud a few times.

It sounds like you want different things from each other, and that’s why it’s time to rethink — and minimize — the relationship. Take space so you both can find the support and attention you need.

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I recommend explaining this to her so there are no misunderstandings. Tell her you understand and respect what she told you years ago — that she’s not interested in dating you. Then say you need to undo your own feelings, which requires time by yourself.

Let her know that talking about dating and sex has felt uncomfortable because this isn’t just friendship for you. You’re looking for signals where there might not be any.

I know she’s been a source of support during scary times. You feel lucky she was there for you — and that makes perfect sense. If she cares for you, she’ll hear the “emotional burden” part of this and want to help by drawing some lines.

Figuring out the specific boundaries might be difficult. Do you want a clean break? Is it more about limiting conversation? What works for her? If she can reiterate her feelings now — whether anything has changed — it might help you both consider your needs.

Get yourself out of purgatory. It’s in your power.

MEREDITH


READERS RESPOND:

There’s nothing mixed about this. She’s been very clear, she sees you as just a friend. Honestly, you haven’t “accepted it” and you need to set some boundaries with her. Stop hugging, and especially kissing (if that’s even actually happening) — it confuses you. Ask her to no longer talk about her sex life — it upsets you. Spend more time apart — you are deluding yourself into thinking something is developing (it’s not).

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FINNFANN


I give him credit for being so honest in his letter. Truth is ugly sometimes. But, yeah, he is allowing himself to stew in an unhealthy situation which is bringing out the worst in him.

LITTLEPENGUIN


I had a lady friend whom I would meet for coffee once or twice a month for four or five years. She would tell me about her sex life and we would hug upon meeting and parting. These were not mixed signals. She was just a good friend.

LEFTY49


She’s telling you that she’s not interested in changing the status quo. She has told you outright that she doesn’t want you to kiss her. She has told you outright that she doesn’t have feelings. She tells you about her sex life to point out that she’s not interested in you. You should end the friendship.

BLISTERED-TOE

Send your own relationship and dating questions to loveletters@globe.com or fill out this form. Catch new episodes of Meredith Goldstein’s “Love Letters” podcast at loveletters.show or wherever you listen to podcasts. Column and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters.

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