Counseling/friendships

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Question
Hi, I'm not sure if this is the right category, sorry if it isn't.

I don't know if this is abnormal but it distresses me. I'm 16 years old female. I don't know how to explain it but it's like I have 'friendship fantasies' with basically any male that I become good friends with. I already have a boyfriend for 2 years and I love him and only him. So these weird fantasies I get make me feel guilty. I know I don't like any other guy, I never imagine anything sexual or anything with them and I don't want to do any of that sort of thing. it's all about friendship.

the friendship fantasies I imagine are scenarios where I or they need some sort of emotional help/support and we're there for each other, or we stick up for/protect each other - basically really close friendship type things where they basically never had a friend like me and like to hang out with me and stuff like that.

There is currently only one guy I think like this of - again, I DON'T have 'love' feelings towards him, or anything like that. I'm not interested in being with him and I already have a boyfriend who is the only one I love truly. I just feel guilty and mixed up with these feelings; the guy I think about I don't even see everyday, we don't even hang out or anything. we were together in one class last year and that's it. I liked him as a friend and I guess I miss him because I don't really have close friends at school, and he was a good friend compared to most others.

I would like to know why I am constantly falling into day dreams about a guy I used to sit with in class about us being close friends, and how I can stop these day dreams. honestly I like to think about it because I feel like it's filling a 'hole' in me but again I feel guilty because I don't believe that I should develop any close friendships with other males while I have a boyfriend. it is just a friendship but I still feel guilt because if my boyfriend were experiencing this with females I know I would be a bit jealous, even though it's just a friendship.

thanks

Answer
Hi Nicole - your fantasies seem to fill a personal need for friendship (vs romance or sex), and as such, are valid. you have a number of options:

1] consider this article on reducing excessive or chronic guilt to normal:

http://sfhelp.org/gwc/wounds/guilt.htm

2] let your boyfriend know about your fantasies. If he trusts he's primary with you, this may lead to more shared intimacy and may relieve you of guilt.

3] It sounds like your real need is for more platonic friendships. I don't know enough about you to guess what may hinder that, with one exception: you may have inherited psychological wounds from early-childhood trauma. If so, this can cause personal insecurity and social isolation. See these:

http://sfhelp.org/gwc/gwc.htm

http://sfhelp.org/gwc/means.htm

http://sfhelp.org/gwc/1_traits.htm

http://sfhelp.org/cycle.htm

4] You can ask the part of you that's causing these fantasies why it's doing so, and what would allow it to stop:

http://sfhelp.org/gwc/personality.htm

http://sfhelp.org/gwc/dialog.htm

I hope you find these choices useful. If you have questions about them, please ask!

- Pete  

Counseling

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Peter Gerlach, MSW

Expertise

I can answer questions about mood disorders, depression, suicide, relationships, communication skills, problem solving, clear thinking, bonding disorders, trauma recovery, addiction management, grieving, shame, guilt, fear, reality distortion, and trust disorders; courtship, family functioning, "problem kids," mediation, (re)marriage, divorce, stepfamilies, stepparenting, boundaries, self-neglect, abuse, parental neglect, personality subselves, ("parts work"). I cannot answer legal or medical questions.

Experience

I maintained a private therapy practice near Chicago for 27 years, and have worked with over 1,000 men, women, couples, and families on a wide range of personal and family problems. I have been in personal recovery from growing up in an alcoholic family since 1986, and have worked with five therapists to heal my own psychological wounds. I maintained a "warm (phone) line" for callers on the topics above for 20 years, and have taught over 200 seminars and classes in midwestern universities, churches, support groups, and schools since 1981. I have practiced internal-family therapy ("parts work") with trauma-recoverers since 1991.

Organizations
National Stepfamily Resource Center (NSRC) Experts Council; SelfGrowth.com Compassion and Choices, and Final Exit Network

Publications
# Several hundred articles in my non-profit "Break the Cycle!" Web site at http://sfhelp.org These articles are augmented by over 150 educational YouTube videos .

# six books on childhood-trauma recovery, effective communication, and stepfamily courtship, coparenting, and management.

Education/Credentials
A bachelors degree in mechanical engineering (BSME, 1959) from Stanford University, a Masters degree in clinical Social Work, (MSW, 1981), and over 500 hours of post-grad training in the topics above - including clinical hypnosis, spirituality, codependence, addicrtion-management, and guided imagery. My post-grad traning includes two 9-month internships on doing internal-family therapy at the University of Illinois.

Awards and Honors
Hundreds of grateful emails and comments from students and clients all over the world.

Past/Present Clients
Over 1,000 average Midwestern-US women, men, couples, and families. A physical disability limits me to doing telephone and Skype counseling now.

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