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How Do I Deal With My Friend’s Crush On Me?

She’s “straight” – so why does she want me?
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Hi Barbara,

My friend and I have always been close. She’s straight, and I’m gay, but over the years we’ve built up a great friendship. We’ve partied together, had sleepovers, gone shopping, been each other plus one. It’s always been a platonic friendship; well I thought it was, until my new girlfriend decided it wasn’t. And then everything got weird.

Every woman I have dated has had an issue with our friendship, but my new gf really doesn’t feel comfortable with it. She says my friend has feelings for me, which I dismissed. But she kept pushing until we had a massive bust-up. I turned to my best friend and told her the issue, and she didn’t react the way I thought she would. I thought she’d laugh it off, but she didn’t. She got very serious with me, and asked if I’d ever thought of her as more than just a friend. The truth is I had considered it once but now I only see her as a friend. I told her this. However, she told me she often thought about us together as a couple, and she sometimes wishes we were more. She said she’d even had fantasies about what it would be like to sleep with me.

This has all really thrown me. Now I don’t know what to do. My girlfriend doesn’t trust my friendship, and now I’m not sure I trust it either.

My head is all over the place. I know my friend inside out. I’ve seen her go through different guys, and she seen me with different women. We’ve joked about it, and about the type of sex she enjoys.

She has never hinted at liking women, which makes me wonder why she has had thoughts about me. Am I just a fantasy? It all suddenly feels very messy, and confusing. Help!

Hello reader! Straight girl crushes are pretty much the bane of every lesbian’s existence, but things get even weirder when the straight girl has a crush on you.

Recent research suggests that there’s actually no such thing as a straight girl – and, as a lesbian, I can’t really say that I doubt that idea. Women are just so wonderful! (Although, admittedly, this logic is not much different than straight guys who think that every woman likes men… So I’m not sure if I’m 100% behind the idea.)

I’ve had my fair share of partners who questioned some of my friendships. I’m not a particularly touchy-feely person, in general, but with my best friends, I am. I would never dream of doing anything with any of them, but I’m big on pet names and hugging, which can send the wrong idea. I’m guessing this is probably why your friendship causes questions, too.

First of all, your girlfriend was right about your friend, but that has nothing to do with you, directly. The way I see it, it really doesn’t matter who has feelings for you – you cannot (and should not) be held accountable for other people. If you’re not interested in your friend like that, and you are 100% confident you’d shut it down if she tried anything, then your girlfriend is not being fair. Unless you personally have given her a reason to doubt things, your friend’s feelings are not your fault.

This might be an unpopular opinion, but it’s one I’ll hold firm: Your girlfriend is not allowed to dictate your friends. There are probably some people who you wouldn’t feel comfortable being friends with when you’re in a relationship (for example, I have a hard time staying friends with guys who suddenly take it upon themselves to assume I’m not really gay – uh, bye), but this should be your decision – and your girlfriend should trust you.

Next, about your friend: She probably kept her feelings for you a secret because she figured you didn’t feel the same way. You can’t really fault her for this – confessing feelings always has the potential to make things awkward. Of course, I don’t advise anyone to keep their feelings a secret, but this is pretty much a “do as I say, not as I do” scenario. Most people repress their feelings, at least to a certain degree. We can try to be honest about them but it simply doesn’t come naturally to most people.

Have you considered the possibility that your friend isn’t straight? Human sexuality is a broad spectrum, and I don’t think there are very many people who are strictly one way or the other. Whether your friend is just curious, or if she actually knows she’s bisexual and just isn’t ready to admit it, her feelings are legitimate, and you should try your best not to hurt them more than necessary.

That being said, if you don’t feel the same way, you are going to have to hurt her feelings.

It’s entirely possible that it’s just a fantasy of hers. I’ve known a few female friends who were “100% straight” – but they told me that I’d be their first choice if they did “decide to be gay”. I know, that’s not exactly the same as your situation, but there’s a possibility that the end result is basically the same. She sees you as someone she trusts, and the jokes you two have shared about her sexual preferences (and possibly also yours) can add to the confusion and curiosity.

Plus, with the recent influx of lesbians in the mainstream media, I think it might be making more women curious. (Don’t quote me on this.) After all, how many “straight girls” have you seen confessing their crushes on Ruby Rose? I know probably 90% of my straight female friends have. Thanks, OITNB – you’ve somehow made being gay a little more complicated than it already was. (Not that I’m not a giant fan!)

There is another possibility, too. Sometimes we can misjudge our close friendships as a crush, even though really we only love the person as a friend. But when you’ve shared a number of inappropriate jokes with a person, it’s reasonable that the lines might start to blur. It’s not exactly a full-fledged crush, though. I know I’ve made the mistake of dating a BFF before because “friendly” is almost the same as “flirty”. (Then, once you pursue the relationship, you realize that you really should have just stayed friends.)

In dealing with your friend from here on out, it’s important to remember that – as far as you’ve told me – she did nothing wrong. She knew her feelings could make things awkward, so she didn’t bring them up until you did. This means that you are the one who made things awkward – even though it wasn’t intentional. This doesn’t mean that anything is your fault, but it’s important to remember that it’s not her fault, either.

I usually advise against trying to remain friends with someone you have feelings for, but if the two of you are very close friends, it can be hard to just walk away like you don’t even know each other. If she was the one asking me for advice, I would tell her to try and distance herself until she can get her feelings under control – but if you told her that, without her asking, it would be incredibly rude. You can try distancing yourself, but this will quite possibly hurt her feelings.

I think it might be helpful for you to just let her know, definitively, that you do not have feelings for her. You can choose to tell her that you used to, if you want, but it might be a little softer on her feelings (and less chance of false hopes) if you don’t. If you think you might develop feelings for her again in the future, it’s OK to leave that option open for yourself, but be sure to not play with her emotions.

As far as your girlfriend goes, though, I do believe she’s being unfair to you. What was the inspiration for her telling you about your friend’s feelings for you – and what did she hope to accomplish by saying something? Unless your friend was overstepping the proper boundaries of your relationship, it shouldn’t matter that she had feelings for you.

I would recommend that you tell your girlfriend that her jealousy is unfounded, and that you wouldn’t dream of disrespecting her by pursuing something with your friend. You can also explain to her that your friend’s feelings are not returned by you. (I assume that you’ve probably already done this.)

I’ve been in the situation where my girlfriend doubted the platonic nature of my friendships, and it’s really frustrating, especially in situations where you weren’t even aware of the feelings until they were brought up by someone else. It’s not fair to you, and her insecurities are probably more a reflection of her than they are of your friend. The relationship isn’t doomed, but you will need to talk to her about how things actually are. If she cares about you, she’ll try to control her insecurities – but you might need to reassure her more than once.


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Author
Barbara is a 26-year-old lesbian living in California with her partner (and their “fur babies” - an adorably chubby puppy named Porkchop and a ball python named Ru). In the spare time she pretends to have, she enjoys horror movies, music of all varieties, reading, and complaining about the weather.

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