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Difficult Situation

I have got myself into a difficult situation, and I don't see any acceptable way out.
First some background, I have always held 2 core values, for as long as I can remember:

1) Be a man:
Be self-reliant, help others more than you are helped, don't allow yourself to be a burden to anyone, take any situation with some grace and composure, even if it IS the end of the world, take it like a man.

2) Keep love special:
When I fall in love, its real, and rare and precious, and if i fall in love with you, then you know you are 1 in a billion. Not to claim I'm anything special, but YOU would have to be to be the 1 person who means more than the world.

These have kept me on a good path and kept me together through some tough times, and I have even been told how amazing it is how i manage to take anything in my stride. But now they have got me into a situation that threatens to break me.

I met a girl years ago, and even though I HATE cliches, I knew she was special the moment I saw her, even though I didn't really know why at first, but I knew that I had to know her, so in a move of uncharacteristic bravery (at the time anyway, i hadn't really come out of my shell yet) I walked over to her and upon seeing her hug a friend, asked her where my hug was. we have been friends ever since, which is partly the problem.

I was instantly attracted to her, but not enough to screw up an amazing friendship, but that feeling grew over the next few years, but still, i refused to ruin my friendship with who had become my best friend, until despite my insistence that I would not use the word without knowing it in my soul to be true, I couldn't deny it to myself any more, I loved her. I hoped it would go away, but it only got stronger so i plucked up the courage and asked her out. In typical form, she rejected me in the nicest way possible.

Long story short, i tried to win her over, but it was clear that the woman who knew me the best in the world, wasn't interested.

Now the problem lies in the fact that we are such good friends before all this. She still wants to be friends, {Insert funny friendzone meme here} and she can live with knowing i have feelings for her, but i cant. And so my dilemma:

I have loved her for 3 years now, and it hasn't got any easier, at first i could compartmentalise, but now it just hurts like hell. I have felt depression before, and this is worse, there is no pill to make this go away. But she really cares about me (as a friend) and if I were to cut her out of my life, it would hurt her, more than I'm willing to hurt her.

I'm ready to move on, but i cant, because i see her all the time, we hang out, we chat etc, She knows i love her, but by her own admission, she has never been in love, so she doesn't know how much it hurts me to be her friend, and im not going to tell her, im also not willing to just cut her off, i cant be that cruel to her. So here i am, maintaining a friendship that is killing me, it takes me weeks to recover from spending just 1 day with her. I can keep it together, i can play the part of happy friend, i can hide the pain, im good at that, that's why no one knows how bad the situation is. But i cant keep it bottled up forever, and its not exactly pleasant (understatement of the year).

I just need some way to make this more bearable, is there any way to move on from your first love (and simultaneously first unrequited love), without cutting her out of your life? I keep trying to come up with an answer but i cant find one.

As much as im trying to, I cant just get over her without some distance, but i wont just cut her off, because though it would do me a world of good, I cant hurt her like that. Its my pain or hers, and i have no right to cause her pain to spare my own.
MrWinstonSmith MrWinstonSmith 22-25, M 1 Response Dec 14, 2012

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First, you love this girl for a reason. Whatever the reason is, it's something about her that makes her worth loving. Therefore, as long as she can accept that my recommendation is that you hold onto her. Keep her in your life. She is important to you, don't give that up. Even if she can never return your love, she's willing to give you other things that are worth having. I fell in love with my best friend. She returned my love for a while, but now she's gone, and believe me when I say that I would give anything to have her friendship back. As someone who knows how it feels to desperately love someone, I implore you, don't throw away something as precious as your friendship. I know it hurts. As for dealing with that pain, the only way I know how is to communicate. Tell her exactly how badly it affects you. Tell her that you don't want to make her love you, and you don't want to hurt her, but you need some space. I'm sure she will understand because she obviously cares for you. Another thing that helps me is to remove constant reminders from your environment. Don't let yourself get hung up over pictures, or songs, or things like instant messagers/facebook/etc. Try to push those things out of your everyday life so that you're not constantly reminded of the pain. I hope this helps. I know just how painful unrequited love is, but trust me, you would really regret loosing your friend.

I cant tell her how much it hurts, it will kill her to think she caused so much pain, and as for asking for space, i cant do that either, a couple of her friends have fallen for her in the past, and they all ended very badly, al of them asked for space and ended up never seeing her again, and each one of those hurt her.
My number 1 priority in all this is to avoid hurting her, surviving this myself comes second.

I understand you don't want to hurt her, but the fact of the matter is that something in you has to give. I know you feel like you have to be strong and take all of this but eventually you will falter. I'm not recommending that you spill your guts to her. It doesn't have to hurt her feelings to know that you're in love with her and that is difficult for you. It's not her fault that she doesn't love you. It's no one's fault. There isn't anyone to blame here. All I'm suggesting is that you let her know that she's important to you. You don't have to never see her again. You don't have to distance yourself entirely. In fact, I would begin by telling her that your current relationship is really important to you and you want to maintain it (if in fact you do) just try to understand, and help her to understand, that she isn't the one hurting you. You just have feelings. Feelings resist rationalization. That's all I mean. Just tell her what's most important to you. As much as you feel you have to, you can't bear the emotional burden quietly and alone forever. Burying it is not the answer. You have to deal with it some way or another because it will never go away. If you decide you're going to simply shoulder this burden and try to bear all the pain quietly you need to understand what that may entail. You have to realize that as long as you keep this girl in your life the feelings will never go away. As long as she gives you a reason to love her you won't stop. It's out of your control. Just know what you're signing up for, if you choose to suffer this all on your own know that it won't get any better. In all likelihood it will get worse. I know you'll do everything you can to not hurt this girl, but try to wrap your mind around the fact that you may not be able to protect her from all of it. Good luck my friend. Don't ever let go of the people that are important to you.

She knows i love her. i told her 2 years ago. I just think she kinda hopes i dont feel the same any more, and as she has never been in love (by her own admission) i don't think she really understands, and im not going to enlighten her.

I have suffered in silence before, i managed to deal with depression on my own for years before it finally got the better of me, and i know what im signing up for here. I would love a different solution, but the fact is, no matter how i explain it, she will feel guilty for me feeling that way, i know her very well and im sure of that. And i even if i dont intend to cut her out of my life entirely, all her other friends who "needed space" never came back, despite what they said, so she will worry im doing the same.

If you read all my stories on EP, you would bet on me managing this, i was just hoping there was another way, a way to help me cope with this.