Q. I am really close to a male friend, and I know he is very attracted to me. We meet very often and have a great time together, but I am not attracted to him physically. I have told him many times that this is not a romantic relationship, but I also feel that I am leading him on by spending so much quality time with him. Please help.
Ans: You need to explore three thinking routes if you feel you are still leading him, even after being clear about the relationship you want. The first one has to do with how responsible you feel towards other people’s feelings. The second with how much you trust the other person’s emotional capabilities. The third with the understanding that relationships of any kind are not static.
Many of us feel responsible for other people’s feelings, but the truth is that taking ownership of our own is the greatest gift you can give to any relationship.
You can empathise with how your friend feels and appreciate the fact he is attracted to you, but that is all. You feeling so responsible could stem from trauma and an insecure attachment style. Speak to a professional if this is a pattern for you.
If you have concluded that he is too attracted, therefore incapable of making rational decisions about the relationship, you don’t trust his boundary-setting capabilities and emotional regulation skills. Although coming from a good place, this could be perceived as condescending. In this instance, the only thing you can and should do is talk about your feelings and boundaries. Anything beyond that is making decisions for him and not with him.
Lastly, recognise that the way you both feel could change. Circumstances, attitudes, and people change, and so do attraction levels. Remember that unattractive schoolmate who has now become the hottest thing in town or that cool one who is now a couch potato? This could happen to any of you too. Focus on what feels right for you and is authentic to the relationship today, and the rest will fall in place.
The writer is an Intimacy & Relationship Coach, Founder of The Intimacy Curator, an organisation promoting self-discovery through emotional and sexual well-being (www.theintimacycurator.com). (Have a query? Send it on email@example.com)
(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)