Dr. Darcy on falling in love with friends…

Ask a Mental Health Professional the Difficult Questions

Dear Dr. Darcy:

I am in my 20s and I have had the same two best friends for most of my life. We have all had on-again, off-again crushes on each other throughout the years along with random hookups and nonetheless we have remained as close as family. I now find myself deeply questioning my feelings for one of them. In short, I think I’m in love with her but I’m terrified that this will negatively impact our little family in part or as a whole. I’m just not sure what to do. Have you ever had feelings for a friend?

Lesbian friendships can be as platonic as sibling relationships or our version of foreplay, depending on the participants. The question of whether or not to disclose your feelings for your friend is not one to take lightly. I’ve seen it go both ways, and when it goes in the wrong direction the wounds can be deep.

Among all the variables, you need to take into consideration how this will affect your other friend. Her “family” will change forever if you make a move. Have you ever discussed how you’d each feel if any combination of two paired off? If there have been negative reactions, I’d caution you against changing the dynamics.

Feelings for friends (or anyone who is potentially unavailable) can be a way of avoiding real intimacy with a potential partner. Ask yourself if having feelings for her might be a safe crush, one that isn’t likely to materialize in a relationship thereby keeping you safe from vulnerability. On the other hand, the emotional connection between two female friends can be more intense than any other, and falling in love can sometimes be unavoidable.

If you decide to act on your feelings, I suggest that you discuss this with BFF #2 before you tell BFF#1 that you may be in love with her. There is a lot at stake here, but who among us hasn’t either initiated or been on the receiving end of such a conversation? And even when those feelings aren’t reciprocated, if the friendship is real, there’s no reason why adults can’t recover their equilibrium. Personally, I can’t imagine going through life having undisclosed feelings for my best friend. And yes, I have had those feelings. n

Email questions to dr.darcysmith@gmail.com or call 212-604-0144
*By submitting questions, the writer acknowledges that she has no rights of confidentiality and that her question or a version thereof may be printed in GO Magazine. Correspondence between Dr. Darcy Smith and a writer does not constitute a therapeutic relationship and such a relationship and the rights/privileges associated with such can only be established through a scheduled, in-person session.

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