Dear Christine, Friend in Ferndale

Dear Christine,

I’m a little disturbed by a recent situation I had with a friend.  This friend is making me feel crazy as if I did something wrong.  This friend has been platonic the entire time I’ve known him and I have NEVER given off any indication and I’ve never told this friend that there would be any future for us in romantic type way and and that I have only cared about him in a friend way.

This friend I have been friends with for a few years and I’ve had to have this discussion with them more than a few times and let them know I’m sorry that you have feelings for me but I can’t offer you the same back.  I haven’t dated in a long time and recently just started dating which I’ve been happy about.  This friend was made aware of that

And now they are telling me that they do not want to be my friend and that I need to move on with my life and that they wish they never met me because I am finally dating.  This friend said things like “what’s wrong with me”  “I have so much love for you”  “I would have married you”  “You are my heart” all of these things once he found out that I was dating but then also told me to fuck off, that I can’t do better than him and I am cancer.

So my question for you is was he ever really my friend to begin with?

Signed, “Friend” in Ferndale

Dear “Friend”

What a difficult friendship that is/was!  If it was a true friendship, it sounds like it is over now! Friendships can have many different varieties of closeness.  Some people are friends with neighbors, but have never been in each other’s houses.  Other people are “work friends” and might go out for dinner or drinks after work, in pre-Covid times.  But they might never come to your home or meet your friends outside of work.  Friendships work best when the boundaries are clear to both people involved, and when both people agree to the same boundaries.

This friendship sounds like it was out of balance for a long time.  Your friend was romantically interested in you, despite you giving clear boundaries of not sharing romantic interest in dating.  You were clear, but he never gave up hope that you could be swayed.  He kept hoping familiarity would lead to love.  Sometimes that happens.  And in this case it did not.

You never gave mixed messages or led him on.  But he never could respect your boundaries.  Once you started dating someone else, he was deeply hurt, because his hope blinded him from seeing and hearing you for who you say you are.  The hurt was expressed in anger, saying mean and hurtful things to “punish” you for not coming around to romantic interest in him.  None of that is fair to you, and in retrospect, it doesn’t sound like he was a real friend.  A true friend listens to you and trusts you to be the expert on you.  Sometimes it is better to break off a relationship with someone who clearly does not respect your feelings and decisions of what is best for you.  This friend has issues and you are the last person to be able to help him.  The best you can do is not take it personally, forgive and let go, and keep a clear and strong boundary now that you know he cannot be just a friend.

Take care,
Christine C Cantrell, PhD,
Licensed Psychologist


Christine C. Cantrell, Ph.D.
Licensed Psychologist
Prism of Possibilities Psychotherapy
1026 W. Eleven Mile Road, Suite C
Royal Oak, Michigan 48067
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