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Getting from Friendship to Romance

Dear Philippa,

Jerry and I have been friends forever. Through good and bad times, during marriages to other people, we've always been buddies. Whenever I meet someone new I end up telling Jerry how this new guy reminds me of him. Jerry and I have never crossed that line beyond just good friends. Girl friends of mine have suggested I should try to get together with Jerry. What do you think?

�Jennifer, Eugene, OR

 

Dear Jennifer,

Interestingly, my hairdresser is engaged to a man she says was her closest friend for a very long time. Just like you, she found herself comparing the men she was meeting to her male buddy. She however, wasn't the one to make the first move. I asked her why he had taken him so long to approach her this way. She said that he finally realized that she was always telling him how the men she was dating were like him.

Then it was simply a matter of her giving him some unconscious encouragement.
That seems to be the key. People need to know its safe to test the waters.

All the marriage how-to books I've recently read tout that the key to marital longevity seems to be that couples first and foremost are best friends.

I don't know why we tend to compartmentalize our feelings about friendship and romance. I spent the best years of my single life convincing myself that having chemistry with someone I really liked as a friend was not attainable. A sort of Harry Met Sally-type paradigm.

You wish you could have that easy-going, deeply trusting, fun relationship you have with your buddies also in a heart-stopping relationship. Somehow, it doesn't seem to be possible that you could be very attracted to someone and also like each other a lot as friends.

Sounds dumb when you see it in print doesn't it? That's why I advise others to look at the attributes they have in their friendships and use them as a baseline when they're out looking for that special romantic someone.

Jennifer, you are smart enough to realize what a treasure you have in Jerry. I am sure, based on what you say, this realization is mutual. Have you ever played "what if" games with Jerry? Have you ever asked him if he's thought what it would be like if you and he dated? Has he noticed how you compare him to all the guys you meet?

Scared of the risk? You take a risk every time you put yourself emotionally out there with a new guy. At least you know Jerry is a great guy.

My hairdresser said she hadn't consciously thought about being attracted to her long time friend. When he showed romantic interest, she found she had been attracted to him all along�she had just never realized it.

In other words, there is a chance that Jerry has had feelings for you, but like you, he went on with his life marrying and dating others. He needs to feel safe and know that even if the romance never goes anywhere that you will always be his friend.

Most importantly, you need to believe that too. You need to know in your heart that Jerry and you will always be friends, maybe in romance and marriage, or simply as buddies. In order for this to work, you must see this as a win-win proposition�not as a risk and something you can lose.

I wish there were a magic formula I could provide you with that would help you decide what to do. I just know that you both sound like super people and how fortunate you are to have each other in your life.

�Philippa

 

 

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