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Crush is crushing me.

Naomi wrote:

I frequent an Internet message board concerned with dating and
relationships. I've met some great people there, but two in particular, a
man and a woman. They live three hours apart, and get together once in awhile. I live in too far away, so I rely on phone and e-mail mostly for contact with them.

The man is the kindest, most companionable person I've ever met, and we've been astonished how easily and completely we've become very good friends.

The woman came to me acouple of months ago, and we spent a weekend in together. She's wonderful, and I confessed to her that I have romantic notions about the man.

She agreed to help in any way she could, and I told her all I really wanted to know was if she thought he had any such interest in me, because I wanted to be able to perhaps tell him how I felt, but only if it wouldn't create awkwardness in our friendship. She didn't know, so I told her I'd have to play it by ear.

The three of us have been planning a vacation together for months. To me, it seemed like the logical thing to wait until I'd met this man in person
and see if I still felt the same way before I even considered broaching the
subject of romance.

Last weekend we went away. We had a wonderful time, with the woman and I occasionally talking about whether I was going to say anything to the man about my feelings.

Friday morning, she told him how much I liked him and that I was romantically interested in him (while I was in the shower). While he took his shower, she told me she'd told him. Essentially, she'd told him the ball was in his court because I wasn't going to risk our friendship over a crush.

Sunday morning, barely before their flight left, he took me aside to say,
"I like you loads, but..." He said he'd even considered romance with me
before, but hadn't seriously considered it because it was "just too
complicated." He'd tried to figure out how he could move, which just isn't feasible. He has four children and I have no such ties. I told him that if it came to that, I'd certainly move to him.

Let's start with the fact that I wasn't ready for him to know this. Now
that it's out in the open -- especially since it was so premature -- I'm
afraid it ruins our chances of ever having a romantic relationship. He
"can't" do a long-distance relationship because of a bad experience with one and I certainly wouldn't want that indefinitely.

Through that Sunday morning conversation and a phone call since we got home, we have established how sorry we both are for any number of things (hurting each other, scaring each other, not handling the situation the best way, that it can't work out, that our friendship may be affected...). I told him I wished things were back to where they were before our female friend told him about this, and he said, "You're 34. I'm 40. We're big people. We're adults and we can make that happen."

So we're trying to be friends just like before. I'm sure there will be fragile moments and awkward times, but I think we both really want this. Sadly, what I really want is some hope that we may be able to get together
romantically in the future. I'm not sure I believe in soulmates, but the
longer I know him, the more I think I may have found mine.

I know he cares about me a great deal, and as objective as I can possibly be, I think if we lived within driving distance we'd never let each other go.

I'm far too close to the situation to think about it rationally. I don't know what's possible and what's pipe dream. Normally, I'd pitch this story
to my friends on our message board. They'd throw all kinds of kind words and good advice to me, but I can't for obvious reasons. I feel so
incredibly isolated. Any help you can give would be appreciated.

Dear Naomi

What exactly is it you want that you haven't already got? You have a great friend, who could have taken advantage of your crush, but didn't, and who has helped you to keep that friendship when either of you might have felt so humiliated it could have gone forever.

Who knows what the future will bring? Why risk a great friendship for what you have accepted is a crush.

But you know all that. You are doing great. I'd only suggest going one step further. Tell them both that you realise you were a little over the top, that it was a difficult time, and that it's now in the past. And you're grateful they've been so supportive.

It'll be a lie, but it will satisfy your girlfriend - which is important, and it'll make it easier for him. Let the future take care of itself.

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