Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Love Notes 15: Between Love and Friendship

Dear Joe,

Just call me Anna. I'm a fine arts student in a long-term and happy relationship. But I am tormented right now by some feelings that I cannot explain.

While I've been in a satisfying five-year relationship, I have this friend that I have feelings for. He's special but I never told him that for fear of losing our friendship. But it sometimes feels like he has some feelings for me, too. Joe, if that is true, how does one know for sure?

My friend and I used to be classmates before we became very close friends. All this time, I have told myself that it was nothing but friendship. But when my boyfriend and I broke up, this friend was always there for me. He helped me through those three months of sadness. In fact our classmates thought that he was courting me because he would always bring me home in his car. But to me, it was just an act of generosity. Besides, we'd always go as a group. I'd often stay in the back seat with our other friends. Often I'd see

him staring at me from the car's rear view mirror. When I'd catch his eye, he'd shift his glance to our other friends. He would also treat me out often and take me to places with beautiful scenery. When we were new friends, he told me how he envied my boyfriend for having a girl like me.

When my boyfriend came back to me, my friend continued to send me sweet messages that made my boyfriend jealous. He became a constant source of discord between us. While I defended him for being just a friend, deep inside I knew that I felt something for him. He has no girlfriend, and my other friends say it is probably because of me. But this friend would firmly answer in the negative. It was his choice and besides, he says, he doesn't have plans of stealing somebody else's girl. But he remains silent about his feelings. If actions do speak louder than words, what should my conclusion be?

I don't have any plans to break up with my boyfriend, for my family likes him a lot and that matters to me. All I want to know, just before graduating, is if I am special to this friend in the way that he is special to me. Joe, is this love or friendship?

Yours truly,


Dear Anna,

Sometimes the line that separates friendship and love becomes obscure because our emotion crosses beyond that which is spoken, and expresses itself openly in actions and gestures that speak more of love than friendship.

Honestly, I believe that your friend is very fond of you. It pleases him to see you happy and he takes it upon himself to be responsible for your safety. He likes to secretly stare at you because you occupy a special place in his heart. He could have had everything set out perfectly, except for one thing. He never told you what it all meant. He never said what he truly feels for you. He is a classic example of a man who has a very big heart but a very small voice.

Anna, I know that you have a feeling that he likes you too. You just need affirmation that what you feel is true. I don't see anything wrong in that. What I am afraid of is what happens if you find out that it is true, that he could have been loving you from a distance all these years.

You could be missing an opportunity to be fair to yourself. All I can say is that you shouldn't stay with your boyfriend simply because your family likes him. You should stay with him because you love him. But if you are caught between your strong feelings for your best friend and your commitment to your boyfriend then you've got a lot of thinking to do. Remember, love sometimes sneaks up from the most surprising places at the most unexpected time. Let us just make sure that we are able to make sensible decisions when that happens because sometimes it is the love by accident and not the love that was contemplated that takes hold of our hearts and keeps it forever.

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