I’ve been in love with my best friend for years. We are both in our mid-30s, we’ve known each other for eight years, and we do everything together. I’ve gone back and forth about telling her how I feel and finally decided four months ago to let the cat out of the bag.
After a few long talks, she basically told me that she was flattered but did not feel the same way, yet. I asked her to explain what she meant by “yet.” She told me that I’m the type of man she imagines herself marrying (fun, honest, sincere, priesthood holder, returned missionary, great with kids), but I don’t look like the type of man she imagines herself marrying (I’m shorter than she is, and not as fit as I could be). She hoped either she would get over that, or that I would make some changes.
This feedback has been very painful and while I care about her, I find myself being full of resentment. I would do anything for her — why the overfocus on my physical appearance? I’ve been trying to lose weight, maybe that will encourage her to want to date but I’ll never be any taller.
She really is a great woman. Should I keep pursuing her? Do you think she will ever see me for me?
— Ordinary Dude
Dear Ordinary Dude,
First: “Fun, honest, sincere, priesthood holder, returned missionary, great with kids” — you’re far from ordinary.
Second, I know this is painful. Unreciprocated love accompanied by “I don’t like how you look” feedback, is extremely hurtful.
I do not think you should keep pursuing this woman. Maybe one day she will see you, but she doesn’t right now, so it’s important to act based off of that information.
Let’s forget about her for a second and focus on you, though. How do you feel about yourself? Do you recognize your uniqueness in this world? Do you understand the invaluable contributions you can make (and probably already have made) to the people around you? Do you believe that regardless of your height/physical appearance that you have so much to offer your future wife? Future children? Do you feel worthy of romance and mutual affection, even with all of your human imperfections? Do you know that there are single women all over the world praying and actively searching for a righteous priesthood holder?
I ask these questions because I think if you could answer them affirmatively, you’d turn away from this relationship. It’s critical to understand your value and to couple with someone who thinks you’re great.
I’m sure you have strong feelings for your friend, but you will have even stronger feelings for the woman who accepts you as you are and partners with you to continually become better.
But it will be hard to meet this person if you are wasting your time pursuing someone who is still hoping after eight years you’re going to lose weight and get taller.
Turn away. Plenty of fish in the sea.
Readers: What advice would you share with Ordinary Man? Have you ever been in this situation?
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