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Lesbian Life/Wasted years and false hopes?

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Question
Hi,

So to put it simply... I am in love with my best friend. We met in college and became roommates for two years until I graduated. She had another year left. I think I fell in love with her the first time we met. We had an instant connection. We would talk for hours and did everything together as things progressed. I didn't tell her how I felt at the time because I don't think I even knew. I was afraid.

After college, I moved out of state, partially for an internship and more school, partially to run away, partially because I was scared that I was in love with her and didn't want to be pathetic and wait around as she finished her last year of school, partially to try and figure myself out. It was only for a year and half... and it was hell. I missed her every day. It was like a canon to my chest. While I thought she'd keep in touch, during that time, she distanced herself and dated a guy. But I knew she was hurting. My friends would tell me she was drowning herself in school work and work and was worried because she seemed depressed. After a bit, we made sacrifices to see other. Even drive through the night 7 hrs just to see each other and cuddle for a few hrs. After a while I couldn't take it anymore, and so when the opportunity presented itself, I moved back. We've been living together ever since.

It's been about five and a half years.

I love every moment with her. Every day it's like I fall in love over and over again. I can't help myself but to be kind and giving toward her. We've had ups and downs, we've been there for each other. She knows me in and out, and I know her. I love her personality. I love her eyes. I even love her faults. We do everything together.

Basically, I know I love her. I've confessed my feelings to her only recently after all this time. She's only dated guys, and is adamant that she has only seen me as a friend. But our history together and the look in her eyes always tells me something else. She would never say she likes girls. I don't know if secretly she does, but I know she feels differently about me. And I know to say she likes me would mean a lot of things to her. It's kind of a big deal. Especially knowing that her family would not approve. So I understand. She's dated several guys during the course of our friendship. It's never really worked out. She tells me she gets bored or the conversation isn't great... even if she might find them slightly attractive. She admits that she isn't too great at communicating and tells herself that she has issues to work through because of life, and therefore blames those shortcomings on why she can't keep a boyfriend... but won't consider that maybe it's really because she likes me. Or maybe she has but just doesn't know it. Either way, I feel she has a difficult time being honest with herself.

As you can imagine, it hurts. As we've been living together, we hug, we cuddle, we caress, we talk, we sleep in the same bed often, we eat together, we plan things together, we talk as if we're going to be with each other forever, we kiss each others' faces, say we love each other, make cute love gestures, and hold hands in the car... etc. She constantly tells me that if I were only a boy we'd be married already, or that she wishes I were a guy so we could get married. We pretty much everything a couple would do. People say we look at each other across the room and talk to each other without speaking. It's beautiful to me. It's more than what friends would do to me. But she insists that everything has just been on a friend level. And that she has not thought about anything more with me, even thought she did admit she did think about it during moments of our friendship. I believe she's in denial.

But at the same time, am I crazy for thinking she feels the same? I know it took me a while to come to terms with the fact that I like her as more than a friend. I know it might take some time for her, too. Maybe even longer. I've been patient. And I can continue being patient.

She is dating someone right now and tells me she likes him... That conversation is decent. It's easy and she finds him attractive. It's devastating to me. Yet, I don't believe her. Not sure if it's because I don't want to believe her or what. I don't understand how we could have lived together like this for several years and do what we do... and have her tell me that we've only been friends. She says she feels bad for making me think it was anything more. But I know it's real between us.

Is that possible? I know she could very well like me and still find guys attractive. I'm not interested in labels or anything. I'm just not sure what to do at this point. I know I could choose to take some space and leave her be for a little while and try to move on, or I could continue as I have been hoping that she'd come to the realization that she cares for me deeper than just on a friend level. I know continuing on would hurt, but it would all hurt regardless because she's like the air in my lungs. If I continue, would I just be going on false hopes? Do I really just take her word at face-value and believe her when she says we've only been friends? What if she really hasn't been open to it, and now that she knows how I feel, things can change? Am I crazy to think that she really does feel the same? Maybe I just want some sort of acknowledgement that I do/did mean something more to her, even if it means she doesn't want to pursue anything more.

I know if someone were to come to me with this, I'd be able to give some killer advice! But alas, I'm in so deep with so many emotions swirling around inside.

I don't know what to think. Or what to do. Please give me some insight!

Answer
Dear Friend,

Years dedicated to loving another unconditionally, is not exactly what I would call, "wasted" time. True love is a magical experience and you are lucky to have partaken in it.

What I think that your 'special one' might not realize, is that all this time, you have been her primary relationship. Hence, her difficulty in connecting to others #men, for instance#.

There is no doubt that you have both benefited from the bond between you. It would be wonderful to be able to continue in it.

You yourself -- come across as commendably self-aware and it seems that you know exactly what feels right for you -- I am convinced of this. Therefore, no one is a better judge of 'when' to step away, than you.

Stepping away, entirely -- and giving her some temporary personal-space, are two different things. So... 'allow her' -- That simply means, loosen the proverbial noose a bit.

Sometimes we feel suffocated or at least a tiny bit under pressure when making what may be a giant, life-altering decision, for us. It may not be the other person's doing but just how we feel about big decisions. Gauge this, by comparing some of her other decisions -- school related perhaps or moving in, etc.

She might be facing just such a dilemma in terms of the relationship between you.

Once you have allowed her increasing degrees of separation #for example, join a hobby related class; without her#. Spend more time away physically. Take a vacation, without her. Get to know others, without her. Bring others over to visit and do your own thing.

Try, spending time with her, only when she initiates ideas. Talk less about the connection between you and more, about your new friends, activities, family. In short, exclude her more.

Give it, let's say around six months to a year. I choose that timeframe, because that is the recommended amount of time for no-contact separations, between partners whose relationship is in need of re-alignment.

One day, when she initiates quality time between you. Maybe on vacation together or going camping in your back yard during a long weekend. Tell her you want to ask her something personal, not about her, but to clear up your own thinking and possible misconception on how you view things in general and how you react, sometimes. This approach will take the edge off of any possible defensiveness, around the subject of a future #deeper# level of relationship between you.

Then -- only ask questions and or explain yourself as in: 1) If a person tells you that they want to move a relationship "up a notch" what does that mean to you? -- maybe share a bit about your own discomfort around sex related topics. Maybe tell her about your own, first-time experience or about how, getting closer to another person, does not always mean "sex" to you.

Again, you appear to be very well in touch with your own gut feelings. If her reaction still feels like rejection to you, then, maybe consider increasing the amount of emotional distance, until you have moved away from the relationship gradually, but ultimately, completely.

This would be very sad -- but we just have to face sometimes that, no matter how mutual the love is between us, and another person -- if our needs cannot be met here, they must be met, elsewhere.

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Lena Torres

Expertise

Can Answer Questions about Lesbian Life: Dating, Relationships, Breakups, Cheating and Every day life. Prefer not to Respond to: Intricate Psychological Disorder questions (though I can refer readers to other resources i.e. websites/counceling for information and help on these issues). No questions with sexual content, especially from under-age readers.

Experience

Worked within the domestic violence field, assisting victims to get their lives back on track; through facilitating support-groups, workshops and individual counceling. Continue to be an active member of the lesbian community, providing referals and support to fellow lesbians through church and other groups.

Organizations
FVS (domestic violence group in Florida) and various church groups.

Education/Credentials
B.A. in Journalism, with heavy research concentration in Social Psychology and Human Relations. Working toward Masters.

Awards and Honors
Received commendation award for public relations work and teamwork/unity and team-leadership awards within a corporate setting.

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