When You’re “Just Friends”… But You’re Not

Andrea Alley

Dating, Single Life

I remember sitting under a starry night sky, surrounded by beautiful trees when a handsome friend of mine started asking me questions about my life. It was charmingly romantic, except it wasn’t because he had a girlfriend. I knew this about him, but I didn’t think there was any harm in just talking to him. As he continued to ask me thoughtful questions, I started to share things about my story that I didn’t easily share with people. I thought this was okay until I woke up the next morning feeling super connected to him and realizing he still had a girlfriend. I was so confused about why I felt so awful when I hadn’t done anything wrong. I hadn’t kissed him. I hadn’t even touched the guy. What was going on?

In church, I had grown up hearing about physical boundaries like: “Don’t have sex until you’re married” and obviously “don’t kiss another girl’s boyfriend.” What would have helped me out a whole lot that night is knowing about emotional boundaries.

Emotional boundaries can be a little trickier than physical boundaries and definitely aren’t talked about as often. Have you ever felt like you just couldn’t get over someone? It might not necessarily mean that you and that person are meant to be. It might just mean you guys keep crossing emotional boundaries even though the other person doesn’t want a relationship. You’re diving into deeper intimacy together without any commitment. Let’s look at another example:

I had a friend I used to hang out with all the time. I felt like I had made it clear that we weren’t going to date, so I thought it was okay to keep hanging out with him one-on-one and talking to him almost daily. When he finally asked me if we were ever going to date, I said I didn’t think so. My ego wanted to think it was because I was such a great catch, almost irreplaceable in fact, but it wasn’t. He found a great girl in a matter of weeks and they ended up very happy together. He had been thinking the two of us were going to date because we basically already were, not because I possessed any magical quality. When he started dating someone else, I was crushed, and I couldn’t figure out why. It was because I had been letting him meet all sorts of emotional needs and treating him like my boyfriend when he wasn’t.

I want to step back for a moment and say building intimacy and deepening your connection with someone isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If you’re dating someone, then doing these things can actually bring you closer together, which is what you want. The problem happens when you are repeatedly doing these things with someone you don’t want to date (or that person is doing them with you). If you learn to be aware of these, you will save yourself and the people in your life a world of hurt and confusion. Here are a few things I’ve noticed that deepen intimacy and can, therefore, cross emotional boundaries:

 

1. Sharing things you don’t share with very many people (fears, struggles, past hurts, hopes, dreams, joys)– This makes someone feel they are special, that they have been admitted into your inner-world, that they have magical qualities…

2. Talking about intricate details of each other’s lives and families- The good, the bad, the ugly… these are the things that don’t need to be communicated one-on-one under a starry night sky. 

3. Large amounts of time or hanging out together, especially one-on-one- One way to remember this is the four T’s- time, touch, text, or talk. Doing too much of any of these things is flirting with the friendship line. 

4. Planning, thinking, or talking about the future as if that person is going to be in it- Especially for us ladies, it doesn’t take much for us to start planning our wedding, honeymoon, or the next five years. Guys, help us out and don’t talk about it unless you’re going to back it up. 

5. Caregiving or repeatedly going out of your way to meet someone’s needs If you continually do special things for someone, then they are going to feel special. Strange, I know, but it’s how it works.

 

Guys, if you’re doing these things with a girl, don’t be surprised if she gets all heart eyes emoji over you. Girls, if you’re doing these things with a guy, then don’t be surprised if he thinks you want to date him. I know, I know. You are probably really charming and attractive, and it’s making you irresistible. But you’re probably also boyfriending him when he’s not your boyfriend, or leading her on when you don’t want her as a girlfriend, so stop. In fact, have a conversation and tell each other where you’re at so you can both gain clarity and manage your expectations.  Deepening intimacy naturally brings the expectation of commitment, when one or both of you might not have any intention of committing.

Even inside a relationship, it’s still important to set emotional boundaries. You can’t just go from level one intimacy to level ten overnight. He may like all the same movies as you and have the perfect personality. She might be the most gorgeous human you’ve ever laid eyes on. You still have to build trust and go through each stage of dating so that your relationship has a good foundation. Don’t rush it. Take your time through every stage.

We’ve said this before, but the basic thing to remember is your level of intimacy with someone should not exceed your level of commitment to each other. This is definitely true with physical boundaries, but it’s also true with emotional ones. When you start to share things about your life and your feelings that you don’t share with a lot of people, you are giving someone access to a deep place in your heart. They may be a completely trustworthy person, but until they’re committed to you, there are certain parts of you that they haven’t earned access to.

So ladies, if you find yourself sitting under a starry night sky with a handsome man who has a girlfriend, I don’t care how perfectly thought-out his questions are, keep it surface level! Favorite color, candy bar, type of cheese- but that’s it. On the other hand, if he’s available and wants to date you, well that’s a different story…

 

ANDREA IS A GRADUATE OF THE SCHOOL OF MINISTRY AT BETHEL AND CURRENTLY SERVES ON THE WRITING TEAM FOR MORAL REVOLUTION. SHE IS PASSIONATE ABOUT SEEING THE CHURCH CARRY JOYFUL HOPE AND EXPECTATION IN EVERY AREA OF THEIR LIVES. SHE LONGS TO SEE THE UPCOMING GENERATION EQUIPPED AS STRONG LEADERS WHO STEWARD THEIR LIVES WELL AND INFLUENCE SOCIETY AS A RESULT. 
WEBSITE: ANDREADALLEY.COM 

 

85 Responses to “When You’re “Just Friends”… But You’re Not”

    • Dan Gascon

      yah, and its the man’s job that if she is opening up to you, sometimes its just a means of being close to someone to bring forth healing.. and make that point and refer it to like such.. and say your thankful for her having shared that and suggest a prayer.. Sometimes men or women, regardless if they are dating.. so have the potential to bring a fullfilment in that persons life, where so otherwise, they might not have.. All of this because God does use the members of Christ to bring those kind of “awareness” to other peoples “emotional” attachments and “mental” existances to revelation because your being the “listening” ear… So its retentive that the person in this postion is being accountable for how they are receiving and responding to this openness. It can never hurt being open for the right reasons, just be wary of how your being responded to, and take it lightly.. meaning with a grain of salt.. and be much prepared for aiding others when you need to also be of an assitance. Its a huge learning curve, but it must be taught.. Boundaries are awesome, when effectivly executed properly otherwise, they are just a continious crash course awaiting diaster.

  1. A friend once told me the most valuable piece of information when I was hanging out with my best mate like a boyfriend and waiting for him to commit when he clearly said he was never interested but his behaviour and emotional intimacy said otherwise. I was so confused by the intimacy I felt with him that I thought surely he will see it soon and commit to me but repeatedly he dated other women and I was hurt every time until……… my friend said this, “Guys primary need is emotional intimacy and girls primary need is commitment, He’s getting all his needs met and ur getting none of yours” owch but wow! Talk about set free in an instant- I spoke to him we prayed and that addiction to him left instantly. Thanks for articulating so well the struggle so many of us go through in relationship,

  2. Thank you a million times over… so simple yet so profound. Waaaaaah, … I needed this months ago when I was experiencing exactly what you described… “When he started dating someone else, I was crushed, and I couldn’t figure out why. It was because I had been letting him meet all sorts of emotional needs and treating him like my boyfriend when he wasn’t.”

  3. But we all have emotional needs and we are bound to want to let someone in to the deeper parts of our world. We all yearn for intimacy and we want to share our heart with someone. Where do we draw the line between intimacy with God and with an intimate partner? Where do we draw the line between close friends and a girlfriend? Are we only limited to sharing our ‘less told stories’ with friends of the same sex because we want to take caution of these emotional boundaries? Are opposite sexes not allowed to get close cause of these boundaries? Is a platonic relationship impossible?

    • As a mother of 2 teenage daughter’s and having been single myself at one time, I can understand your questions. It is almost impossible for a female to have just a platonic (intimate) relationship with a male and I believe it is because of our makeup as human beings. Most affairs start with crossing the lines with the opposite sex, telling them personal things, hanging out together. It seems purely innocent at first but the attachment comes and it’s hard to get out of. My Dad and Mom (who have been married for 62 years) always told me to NEVER have a close friend of the opposite sex as a married woman. As a single person, it hurts worse for the girl if she bears her heart to a male that has no intentions. You have to use common sense and wisdom to draw the boundary lines.

    • Moral Revolution

      We do all have emotional needs and we definitely have a need to be seen and known by others. We don’t want to draw hard lines for you, but we do want you to be aware of these boundaries so you can figure out what is best for you and the people you are in relationship with. We believe it is possible to have great friends of the opposite sex, even good for you when you’re single. Ultimately, you don’t want to place someone in a “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” spot when they are not actually your boyfriend or girlfriend. It’s not fair to expect one person to be meeting those needs for you until the right person comes a long.

  4. This is a great piece worth reading and sharing. I fell for this emotional stuff and it lead us on into a shaky relationship. By that I mean, as you rightly said, emotional level far outways the commitment. I see the relationship lacks the strong foundation it required.

    I helped her out in on a very intimate issue, talking for lengthy hours at night and all the facts you have given were prevalent. Initially none thought it would end in a relationship, but it did

    Now I feel we jumped steps and might affect the relationship any time soon. I see my commitment is lower than it should be and sometimes want to call it quits.
    Don’t want to see myself wasting her time and mine but sometimes also feel I should continue and work on myself.

    I agree totally with you as to creating emotional boundaries in relationships when we are just friends, even if one party wants more than friendship.

  5. As a guy continuously seaking Waze on dating as a Christian, articles like this are wonderful. It just reassesses my views on doing things in groups to avoid this a little more

  6. Melanie

    Thank you for this! This is the same message I’ve been trying to get across for years now. It’s great to see another woman pointing it out. I wonder if you know of a similar post written from a male perspective? I think it would be helpful to myself and friends to be able to point to a good article written by a man to show us there are men who think the same way.

  7. Phillippa

    This is also very true for married people. We are not immune from making emotional connections with opposite sex because we’re married. Keeping the emotional distance from the opposite sex is a great way to safeguard your marriage.

  8. I just sent this to my 21 year old son who then sent me back a message he was going to ring a girl with a purpose. Thank you for making this clear to our young men and women. lets hope it stops a world of hurt.

    • Moral Revolution

      This is probably something to be careful of. If he’s having relationship issues, he needs to be communicating with her directly, and not communicating with you about them on the side. He’s also probably feeling hurt and wanting comfort, but that is something he can get from good guy friends and family.

  9. Barnaby

    Love this article and so many of the helpful tips you provide – it’s something I’ve never been taught but have to learn myself.
    I’d like to ask though, where do the long-standing friendships that we have with members of the opposite sex, with no romantic ties, fall in relation to this advice?

    • Moral Revolution

      If you’ve been friends with someone a long time and you’ve already communicated a lot and you both know where you’re at, then you might not have to be as careful with emotional boundaries, but it’s still good to be aware of them. We don’t want to set hard lines for people, but we want people to be aware of these so they can gauge for themselves what they think is too far. The main goal is to honor yourself and the people you’re in relationship with. We want both people to leave feeling respected and not confused about where they stand.

  10. This is such a beautiful message I haven’t connected to a message as much as this one and I’ve done this way too many times and I’m always the one that ends up broken hearted and now I understand why I’m gonna stop what I’ve done

  11. Help! I have a question… okay. So, what happens when say you get close to someone and actually start dating them. Then you become really emotionally vulnerable, but the relationship ends and you part ways? I guess my question is, 1.what does it look like to resolve the situation if you have crossed emotionally healthy boundaries beyond the commitment level of the relationship? On a physical level once you’ve had sex you can’t go backwards, but what does that look like emotionally? And 2, what happens after you break up with someone that you’ve been emotionally vulnerable with? Is there like some magical emotional virginity prayer you can pray to get healed? Is there a way to be not vulnerable after you already have been? Thanks!!

    • Moral Revolution

      Hey Hannah,
      Dating and breaking up is difficult because you’ve invested in someone and you’ve shared things with them (maybe more than you would have liked to in hindsight), and then you’re not together anymore and it can definitely be painful. There’s probably not going to be any magical “fix-it” prayer, but press into the Lord, ask Him to cover you in your vulnerability, release that person to Him, and move on with your life. God can cover the places that still feel vulnerable or exposed and He can help you start to move forward. Hope this helps!

      • Lullaby

        Is it always about moving on though? I don’t want to be sound needy or hung up, but I feel discomfort in the though of never being able to resolve a situation like this and maintain a level of friendship.

        • Moral Revolution

          Depending on the situation, I would say sometimes it is possible to maintain a level of friendship. “Moving on” in this sense is more moving on in your heart from this being a romantic relationship since that is no longer the case.

  12. Christel

    What an awful article. Human connections are infinite and beautiful. The more boundaries people put up, the more taboos people create, the lonelier they get in an already lonely world. Instead of cautioning people to not have connections with others, how about simply telling people to deal maturely with their own desires and insecurities. Love others and connect with others without needing to possess. So what if you have a connection with someone who can’t be your bf or gf? Big iffin deal. If you’re only going to have an intimate connection with one person who is your partner in life, your life is incredibly poor. Enjoy the connection and it’s beauty for what it is and learn to let go and be harmonious within yourself. That’s real spirituality. Do that and suddenly the world is an incredibly beautiful, harmonious place. The writer of this piece has some serious growing up to do, but it’s such a huge pet peeve of mine when people write articles like this and pass on immaturity disguised as wisdom!

    • Moral Revolution

      We are definitely not saying you shouldn’t connect with people. Human connection is beautiful and a need we all have. Connection with both genders is definitely healthy. However, the way you continually connect with someone you’re friends with, versus someone you’re dating, versus your spouse, should be different because those are all different levels of commitment.

  13. thank you so much for writing this!! but what do you do if you crossed these lines, say a few years ago? and you are over it, but are you supposed to repent or do something other than avoid it again? do you just share nothing with anyone until you already know you are in a place of mutual interest?? I’ve waited so many years I need direction with that, and churches here never talk about that.

  14. So true!
    My BF broke up with me is because he likes other girl. That girl knows the existence of me and we met before. Ok la. Should accept he is just a Playboy.
    Boundaries is really important!

  15. Naa Borley Adrah

    A great one here. So many people need to read this, it’s practically having a boyfriend who doesn’t know he’s your boyfriend. And that’s why it hurts when he goes out with someone else. Now I know a few things to watch out for. Thank you for this. 🙂

  16. Thanks for this!! Words of real wisdom. I can actually relate a lot to this, and it’s a good reminder to me to be extra vigilant as to not unnecessarily lead someone on. And that’s what it means to truly love others, it’s to do what’s best for them (and you) in the long run, despite what feels good or sounds good now. So good!!!!

  17. I love this article, and it couldn’t have come at a better time in my life than now. Have had this problem several times and always end up getting hurt at the end of it when I realise I was way more emotionally invested in/commited to the friendship than the other person. I always thought it was the physical boundaries that would call it – now I realise the emotional ones are just as important.

  18. There is so much truth to this. This is the way it was with one of my guy friends many years ago and I have no desire to date him. But, that does not mean that it’s always going to be that way. He was in love with me back then and I never truly reciprocated that love being put in the position that this article talks about. Many years past and we had lost track of each other for about nine years not saying one word to each other. As things are turnout though, we did end up getting back in touch with each other after that long and now we are happily married.
    Sometimes you can’t get a specific person out of your head even if you never dated them and sometimes you never get back in touch your entire life even if that is the case. But it doesn’t always mean that it won’t work out for the both of you in the future. Anything can happen.

  19. Thanks and God bless. This has helped me so much right now. I could set physical boundaries alright but the emotional boundaries always came tumbling down. Now I can get things done rightly. It’d be difficult but soon I’d learn how to control my intimate nature around my guy friends. Thanks once again. I hope we all do this; thus being a Christian doesn’t make you less prone to these situations but rather we should talk about them and find solutions

  20. I have struggled (and still struggle a lot) with this.
    Honestly, until only a couple of weeks ago I was not aware of such things as emotional boundaries. I can admit I crossed every emotional boundary with every person possible. So this is big news. Thank you for this article! Some needed to put this in words for me!

  21. Very true!
    Pray with me, I am overcoming a similar situation in which emotional boundaries were crossed without commitment being made.
    I need peace of heart and mind.
    In Jesus name.

  22. Joshua Huang

    Question…
    There’s not a single reference to Scripture or a biblical principle in this article. Everything here is based on personal opinion and past experience. This all sounds good, but if you can’t give biblical support for your views, you’re not giving us anything more substantive than the person who preaches a prosperity gospel. These are nice thoughts, but they are not worth adhering to without biblical authority. Scripture is my ultimate source of wisdom and truth.

    • Moral Revolution

      Hey Joshua,
      1 Corinthians 10:23-24 says, “‘All things are lawful,’ but not all things are helpful. ‘All things are lawful,’ but not all things build up. Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.” The Bible doesn’t specifically say not to do any of these things, but we are responsible for looking at the way our behavior is affecting us and the people around us. If we’re consistently interacting with people in a way that’s hurting ourselves or them, then something needs to change. The greatest commandment simplified is to love God and love people (Matthew 22:37-40). We’re not trying to lay down hard and fast rules for people. Our goal is to provide practical stories and steps to help people walk out sexuality from a biblical perspective.

  23. So there aren’t many dissenting comments on here, but i had to point something out that bothered me.
    “Your level of intimacy with someone should not exceed your level of commitment to each other” is definitely something i agree with, but the fact that those bits of information you’re sharing isn’t shared “with very many people” means there are other people who know it – family and a bff, perhaps? So why not make another bff, does it have something to do with that friend being the opposite sex?
    I’m not a believer in the idea that guys and girls can’t be committed, lifelong and intimate friends without being sexual or romantic partners, or that each person can only have one committed other sex relationship.

    • Moral Revolution

      Hey Daniel,
      We think it’s great to have friends of the opposite sex outside of your spouse. The problem is when your interactions with them go beyond what a “friendship” looks like and more what a dating relationship or marriage looks like. Your relationship with your friends should look different from your relationship with your spouse, and part of this is the level to which you share things. Also, like we said in the article, these are things to be aware of, these aren’t hard and fast rules. Depending on the relationship or the setting, these boundaries may look a little different. For example, sharing with someone one-on-one, late at night in a “date-like” setting is going to have a different feel than if you shared the same thing in a small group setting or something like that.

  24. Sharraleigh

    Not sure why every relationship needs to be quantified based on romantic relationships? Why is it not possible for someone to be single AND still have great platonic friendships? Why does it always have to be “oh my partner trumps everything else”? Because it doesn’t. In life, we have plenty of relationships that make us who we are, and if one focuses only on our romantic partner, life is meaningless. I don’t understand why people put so much stock into romance when most end up in break ups or divorce…. and there are PLENTY of single people whose lives are well-rounded – people who are happy and content. Life can be perfectly wonderful with familial relationships and platonic relationships and it doesn’t have to mean that you are “boyfriending” or “girlfriending” someone just because you’re close to them and they are of significant importance in your life.

    I think it’s completely ridiculous to make a list of “rules” for people – all of whom are individuals with different levels of comfort, needs, and boundaries and assume that it’s true for everyone.

    • Moral Revolution

      Hey Sharraleigh,
      We agree that it is possible for someone to be single and still have great platonic friendships. We also agree that it doesn’t help to just make a list of rules, which is why we say that emotional boundaries are a thing to be aware of. We also don’t want to say that your focus should only be on your romantic partner because that is a lot of pressure to put on one person to give you a fulfilling life. If someone is in a committed relationship with you and definitely if they’re in the lifelong commitment of marriage, then your relationship should look different with them than it does with the other people around you. That’s why we talk about emotional boundaries. Our hope is that being aware of emotional boundaries would actually help protect your marriage so that it doesn’t eventually end up in a break-up or divorce.

  25. Thank you for this insightful article. I would say that most of us who have been married for many years, myself 41 years can benefit from this wise counsel. Every marriage has a void. Life becomes routine. Instead of growing closer together it seems interests change and you grow further apart, especially after the children are grown and leave home. May we all find strength in the strength provider 🙏

    • I am actually going through a situation like this one, but he is single. I met this guy in a Christian concert 6 months ago, we have been hanging out a lot (one-on-one), we text every day, and he calls me too. Since he is almost always the one initiating contact first, and I see how much he enjoys my company, I thought he was falling for me. Even though, he tells me everything about his life, dreams, mood, and makes sure I am the first person to know the good/bad news of his life, one month ago he told me he’s interested in someone at his church… I was in shock!, but all this time I’ve been ignoring that he calls me with a word in Spanish similar to “buddy” :(, we have done several gifts exchanges (his idea), and all his cards are about friendship… Once, in my desperation, I asked him why does he text me that much, and he told me because he considers me his only closed Christian friend (he has like a year and a half living in my country)… But here is the thing, I’ve tried to take distance and cut off communication with him, but every time I try, he always contacts me, and asks me why I am not texting him or If I don’t care about our friendship T.T I don’t know what to do, I need advice please, I’ve fallen really hard for him and this is gonna sound crazy, but I wouldn’t like to tell him about my feelings since most of the girls at his church like him (he’s truly amazing), and I’d feel ashamed to be on that list too (insecurities?) or to be rejected, but sincerely talking with him every day is hurting me since I don’t want to be just friends.

      I will be waiting for your advice, I know most of you have wisdom from God and experience, I am open to learning.
      P.S.: Sorry for my English.

      • Moral Revolution

        Hey Jade,
        It sounds like you probably need to have a conversation with him and set some boundaries. If he only wants to be friends, then it’s not healthy or good for your heart for him to continue treating you like you’re something more than that. Something that might be helpful is to think about how your life will look several months down the road if you continue to talk to him this much and there is no change in his feelings. It might be more painful now to set boundaries with him, but down the road you will be in less pain because your heart will not be confused about where you’re at with him, and you’ll be able to move on a little bit. Hope this helps!

  26. Great sharing. It really does helps a lot.

    This is what i’m experiencing right now. He has a girlfriend but we texted almost everyday. He is so caring and gentleman like, he treats me a bit more special than the other girls. However he always calls me “buddy” and says we are “good friend”. I reckon i cannot keep this kind of relationship because it is hurting me so much and i know it is not right. I don’t want to hurt his girlfriend too, because if i were her, i’d be so sad.

    This whole thing is just too hard. I ignored him and not texting him, but he asked if i’m okay and showed more care to me. He made me wanna text him or talk to him again like what we did before. But i just replied i’m really fine because i wanted it to stop.

    I really don’t understand why boys are like this… Why is he so caring to another girl while he has a girlfriend?! Why?

    • Moral Revolution

      Hi Jane,
      So sorry you’re in such a confusing situation with this person. One option would be to tell him why you’re ignoring him and not texting him and see if that helps. You might have to be specific about what you need from him in order to maintain any sort of friendship. Good job being strong and setting boundaries, even though it’s not the easiest thing to do.

      • Hi! Good for you on setting the boundries! It gives you an open road to a healthier relationship and peace of mind. I didn’t do that and I regret it still very much. Last year I met my friends boyfriend and we connected straight away. Because she wasn’t talking to me much at the time and he started I felt I gained an amazing friend, someone I really needed in my life. In the beginning all I wanted was friendship. The thing is that he was texting me everyday as well. This “relationship” lasted 9 months and we saw each other almost once a month at various events and each time there was a massive connection between us. One time he made a strong move and we kissed. He was also caring but it didn’t matter when the feeling of guilt was killing me. Long story short it ended up badly. We are not talking anymore because I made that decision. I have feelings for him he doesn’t for me. Additionally, I was blamed and called a bad person by her. By allowing this to happen, I got hurt and made other person hurt as well. I do not think he cares much tbh. I still do care much for both of them though and wish them a happy life. I know it hurts but at least you avoided awful situations. Being honest is the best policy. Please, do not have any regrets. You made a smart choice. Also, thank you for the article. I am not religious but it doesn’t make any difference if it helps. Thank u, T.

  27. Better yet ladies if a guy says he wants to be just friends but you want more than that then just say no when he asks you to do anything platonic that way he knows that there’s no way you will be just his friend don’t settle for anything that doesn’t make you happy you don’t owe him your friendship he has to earn it

  28. Damin Harper

    This is EXACTLY the wisdom I was seeking for my exact situation. Thank you!
    I’d really like some elaboration (and/or discussion) on things that “deepen intimacy/cross emotional boundaries”. Are there others? To what extend can close friends engage in without causing the effects outlined? Example: I have a very similar situation with a close friend that has expressed she only wants to be friends, but we basically cross every outlined boundary. I’d like to still be a good, supportive friend but have also experienced frustration. Any leads on additional reading material from anyone here would be greatly appreciated 🙂

    • Moral Revolution

      Hey Damin,
      It’s tricky to outline the things that deepen intimacy and cross emotional boundaries because they tend to vary from person to person and relationship to relationship. If you’re experiencing frustration in the friendship or you find yourself constantly confused about the other person’s feelings, then that is probably a sign that boundaries are getting crossed and you might have to talk about it. Hope this helps!

  29. I’m currently in a similar situation as this. I became friends with this guy I met in college for 3 years and we were very close together, we do everything together and is always with each other. It was ok at first, but then people start teasing us and assumed we were an item. I was annoyed but didn’t let that get to me. Sometimes I feel responsible to spend my time with him and almost everyday he would come and talk to me, which I sometimes find it tiring as I wanted to spend some solitude time. At that time I know I am threading a very thin line but I chose to ignore it. Up until 6 months ago, I realized I was being emotionally dependent on him, always in his shadows, always finding him when I’m distress, but also jealous of his success. I realized that I was being too attached to him and then one day, he told me he liked me. I told him I wasn’t ready to commit to a relationship and that I don’t really feel the same way. He told me he knows but just want to get it off his chest. I was going through something that time and I pushed everyone away. I hurt a lot of people around me, even him and I feel guilty about it. I told him how I felt and both of us agreed that we were crossing the line, not realizing we were in a ‘more than friends but less than a relationship’ kind. In that 6 months I gradually change (at least I think I did), and he found friends to hang out with other than me. It’s hard to admit but I feel guilty and jealous that he found others to spend time with, but I also know that I won’t be able to widen my scope if I keep on continuing that kind of relationship and relying on him too much. Now, he is seeing someone and I feel crushed and hurt that he is going to spend his time with his gf, like he used to spend his time with me. Some part of me think that I am being replaced but I am not so sure. I don’t feel the need to be with him and all but we use to spend so much time together and now I have a problem of letting the past go and moving on. And of course, I don’t plan to tell him either about the hurt I am feeling.
    P.S. I don’t know what kind of advice you’re gonna give me but I am open to hearing it. Even if it’s just a comment.

    • Moral Revolution

      Hi Juana,
      It’s always difficult to not be as close with someone who was meeting a lot of your emotional needs for intimacy, comfort, and connection. I think you already know this, but as his friend, you do have to let him go so he can move on and date other people if you don’t want to date him. It’s unfair to ask him to stick around and fill the space of a boyfriend, when you don’t actually feel that way about him. It’s a tough process, but it won’t be this tough forever. Find other people you can talk to and share deeply with, and one day you can also move on and date someone you actually have strong feelings for if that’s what you want. Hope this helps!

  30. Gosh, funny how things show up for you right when you need it to. I so needed to find this site tonight. I’ve been “seeing” a guy for 4 months. We don’t label our relationship. We call it a deep trusting friendship. His wife passed away over a year ago. He’s mainly fine and has healed a lot but there are still some emotional healing of course. He said in the beginning what he truly needs is a true friend. We became very close these past several months; anyone who saw us would call us a couple. I give him the space to heal, to vacillate, to do what he needs while we grow our friendship. Well, there have been a few times where we’ve kissed. We have incredible chemistry and we get along swimmingly. He even said, “I could fall in love with you, but I dare not.” That told me he is still not ready, but he and I have been enjoying our growing relationship. I’ve been patient and helping him heal. He believes God put us two together so he can help me become closer to God, and so that I can help heal his soul. We truly believe we were meant to meet and be in each other’s lives. But just tonight at dinner, he said again (this is the 3rd time) that he’s not ready for a romantic relationship and what he truly needs is a deep, safe, trusting friendship where he can heal first. We are that safe space for each other. It’s truly a beautiful friendship and a budding relationship, but he gets confused because he still is going through emotional ups and downs. I have loved being this safe space for him but I’m falling in love with him. I don’t know if I should tell him I can’t be his best friend unless we have a romantic relationship because it’s too hard now to step backwards and just be friends, or if I should continue to be there for him during this time because it’s clear he is still healing. I want to be there for him, but I also want to protect myself. We have a very close, trusting relationship. He tells me I’m the first person he thinks of when he wants to share something. I’m at a loss because we care for each other deeply but I don’t want to be filling his cup while mine is not being filled. Do I stay for him because he needs a true friend to get him through this healing or do I leave the relationship because it hurts to think that he may end up with someone else after all this is said and done. I’m needing advice, please.

    • Moral Revolution

      Hey Maria,
      Ultimately what you do here is up to you, but trust that God will take care of you and him either way. If you decide you can’t be his close friend anymore because your feelings are deeper than that, then trust that God will bring other people into his life to fill that space for him and help him heal and be encouraged. I know it’s difficult when you really care for someone to take a step back, but if that’s what you need, then he will be okay. It’s not your responsibility to meet the needs a wife or girlfriend would be meeting when there’s no promise of that kind of commitment. Hope this helps!

  31. I am glad I found your article. Because I thought maybe it was just me. I have experienced this very situation before.. A girl I have known since I was 18, whom I tried to date in college wanted to be “friends.” But I always felt like she was pushing the boundaries of what a friendship between a man and a woman should be.. I always felt guilty for wanting something more, like I had some personal fault that prevented me from seeing her differently.. But I do now believe it was not just me. I recently started talking with this same girl after not speaking with her for years. We texted daily for 3 months. Mostly prompted by her. I tried to stop texting her, literally, multiple times and she would come back with the same intensity. And I think she got me hook, line, and sinker. I started to feel weird about it. And I think she did too. Recently she has cutback her communication quite a bit. She still is texting me, but now I feel its only out of pitty, or so she doesn’t crush me etc. And I feel it’s because she realized it was getting weird too.. Sad thing is, I have always loved this girl. She lives in another country, so I have not had time to talk with her face to face in a few weeks. I hope to soon, because clearly we need to. I just wish I had found this article 2 1/2 months ago. Thanks. Any words of advice as to how this conversation should go? I honestly know it won’t go well for me, but maybe a way I can salvage the connection we had without it being weird?

    • Moral Revolution

      Hey Jeff,
      If you and your friend connected so deeply that you both felt “weird” or like you were crossing a friendship line, then your connection probably does need to change to be healthy. You can still maintain a level of friendship with her if that’s what you want, but you might have to set some practical boundaries around how often and for how long you communicate for a while until your feelings fade. Like the article says, you want your investment to match your commitment level, and you’re not in a committed relationship. As far as the conversation, I would just say to be honest with her about where you’re at and don’t be afraid to ask for what you need if she doesn’t feel the same way about you and you need space for a while. Hope this helps!

  32. Hi, this article and reading these other posts was somewhat comforting… But I need some advice and thoughts from a different perspective. About a month ago I came out of a relationship where he and I were not using boyfriend/girlfriend titles, but we had been together almost two years and I let him get so close to me, and gave away my special firsts like holding hands and saying I love you. In short, out of the blue last month he got mad at me for sharing my feelings about something he did that upset me. And he basically told me goodbye, that he wasn’t right for me. I was in complete shock, as I had given my heart to him and we had been through so much together, and he just threw it away over something so small. That same day I was going to a choir competition, and on the bus my friend noticed I was sad and he asked me if I wanted to talk about it. I told him everything, (he is also mutual friends with the guy I separated from) and he pulled me close and held me while I cried on his shoulder. We ended up holding hands and he comforted me until my tears we’re gone. Through all my pain he helped make me happy that night and we had a good time together. When I got home he texted me and asked me if I would be his date to prom. I was originally going to go with the guy I separated from, and I was upset because I already had a dress and everything, and didn’t know anyone else to go with. But my friend was like my knight in shining armor and was there for me, and that helped my pain a lot. So I said yes, and then we started talking more after that, anD we’ve been spending more time together. And a couple weeks ago he told me that he had feelings for me, and I told him I was honored someone as special as him cared about me in that way. We had also had a lengthy discussion about how we both felt that you shouldn’t have a boyfriend/girlfriend unless it is someone you could see yourself marrying and having a future with. And eventually he asked me if I had feelings for him as well, and I told him I was starting to, despite my fear of trusting someone with my heart again and opening up the possibility of getting hurt again so soon. But he assured me I could trust him. So of course we were mutually flirting through text and also spending time together at school. And then today he randomly texts me and tells me that he really cares about me but now just wants to be good friends, and go to prom as just friends, he didn’t want to be romantic. I asked him how he could just turn off feelings, because I can’t. His explanation was that it just didn’t feel right, and he thought it’d be better if we were just friends. I’m not sure what to make of it. He has been telling me how lucky he is to have me, telling me how other girls have rejected him, and how he may ask me to be his girlfriend in the future, and had a feeling I’d be his last girlfriend if I said yes. But now he is just wanting to be friends after pursuing me like that? And also after getting me to have feelings for him and give him a chance? I feel really sad and a bit hurt, and quite alone after being hurt again so soon. I know he doesn’t mean it in a malicious way, he is still my friend and I value his friendship. But I have feelings for him and I’m confused about all of it. How can someone feel so strongly about me and then suddenly just want to be friends and not think romantically of me?How should I deal with this? I really like him, can’t turn off my feelings for him, and I don’t want to drift apart or for prom to be awkward this Friday.

    • Moral Revolution

      Hey Addie,
      So sorry for the late response! It is always difficult when someone we have feelings for doesn’t choose us or changes his mind. There are a lot of possibilities for why your friend’s feelings changed all of a sudden and why things don’t feel “right” to him. Ultimately though, you want someone who chooses you. You want things to feel “right” from your side and from his side. I’m sorry this happened, and don’t be afraid to ask him for space if that’s what you need. Hope that helps!

  33. Chandra Ewell

    Excellent advice. I have found my myself in a familiar situation with a guy I loved for a very long time. The only difference is I am now very happy in a relationship with someone. No lines have been crossed and my boyfriend is aware of the situation. Yesterday, the guy propositioned me and I am like. Now this is a problem. But looks like I let him creep back in on me emotionally and not setting any clear boundaries. So thank you this is very helpful.

  34. Jimmy Don

    So I’ll new to this and at first it was extremely clear the help that was being given in these comments. Thank y’all truly. So I just wanna say this I set my boundaries like Cinderella 12 midnight true live will be have shown up or the truth if not love then no show shows Alldone has been a lie

  35. Zelos Stokes

    there’s a girl I knew since the 5th grade and I’ve had a crush on her since then and now. I asked her
    out and she said “ok” but now she’s telling me she never wanted to go out with me. does that mean she did not want to hurt my feeling, or does it mean she just didn’t see intrest in me anymore?

    • Moral Revolution

      Hey Zelos,
      It’s difficult to say because it could mean either one. You can always ask her if you’re really curious. No matter what, you deserve someone who is genuinely interested in you and wants to be more than just friends, so keep holding out for the right girl! The right girl will want to be with you. Hope this helps!

  36. Thank you for this article, I really agree with but its also a topic Im struggeling a lot with. Im in a long distance relationship for two years already and its really hard sometimes when the person you want to talk to about these intimate things or your struggles is not by your side, because you will still have the need to talk. Im also the kind of person that really dosent like superficial talks such as small talk because for me its a waste of time. I like to dig deeper and talk about more important things thant just my favourite colour or food.. So you think it is not ok for me to want to have close friends I can talk to about important things, feelings, struggles and such? So if Im in a relationship this means I should not have any other people than my boyfriend I can talk to about such things? I dont want superficial friendships, I want real and deep conversations and people who care about me. Or is it just allowed for me to have this with girls? I hope you understand what Im trying to say and thank you for your reply.

    • Moral Revolution

      Hi Ann,
      Emotional boundaries are not as much a set of rules as they are things to be aware of. If you’re having deep, intimate talks with a single man, alone, in a romantic setting, then you probably aren’t setting yourself up for success. There are other settings where you would be able to have deeper conversations and it would probably be okay. You can also ask God to lead you and help you know when you’re crossing the line.

  37. thanks for the sharing!
    i have a big question mark as of now..as he suddenly stop texting me..giving me only blue tick when we were just texting as usual the day before. i noticed him online sometimes but never replying my text. i have all sorts of questions i needed answers. i can’t reason out why he would suddenly avoid me. we were kind of friends, though initially we were forced to befriend each other by his mom (she wishes to see us get married, kind of scary isn’t it when you don’t even know the person?). anyway he’s been working out of the country for the past 4 months so we would face time once a week whenever he’s not busy. what i can think of is maybe we find it tiring to commit to each other. i consider him more of a friend than a boyfriend material (maybe i’m lonely so having someone to rely on emotionally is a huge thing for me as an only child). but with his sudden change, i find it difficult to adjust and keep looking out for his text at every hour. i feel heartbroken to have to lose someone whom i have shared my stories, my personal life which i never even tell my parents even though we’ve only been friends for 5 months.

    • Moral Revolution

      Hey there,
      Ultimately, you cannot control him or anything he does, you can only control how you respond to his actions. You have to decide how you want to respond to him and if you want his actions to continue affecting you like this or if you want to respond a different way. Here’s a blog post that talks a little bit about this: https://moralrevolution.com/whats-in-your-yard-2/ Hope this helps!

  38. Omobolanle

    This should be a note to my 15 year old self. Caused me so much heartache at some point. This is such an important topic that doesn’t get to be heard often enough. Thank you for this moral revolution team. I believe this doesn’t apply to different sexes even between same sexes, one needs to exercise caution at times.

  39. Stella

    Hi, I know I’m quite late but I hope someone will reply to this…
    First of all, thanks for the meaningful post you wrote.
    I’m actually in a situation where I don’t really know what to do.
    This friend of mine, whom I’ve known for almost 7 years, asked me to go jogging with him a few weeks ago. We once a week for two weeks and then, in the third one, we went out on Saturday night. Just a friend thing.
    I had never had such a “deep” relationship with someone, to let them see me worn out, covered with sweat and with my face completely red. Going out was a first for me as well.
    But that night something happened. I had been giving him advice about girls since the first time we met three weeks before (he asked me to help him with a girl he liked). So we were on a bench, talking about his crush. It was quite late, maybe 11:30 p.m. He asked me:”So who do you like?”
    I didn’t have a name to tell him as I don’t like anyone at the moment, so I said:”No one.”
    But then he started to insist and… to touch me. I’m not used to show affection, physically. I have never hugged him or crossed arms with him etc. so it was quite a shock when he leaned closer and held my legs laughing like an idiot.
    I wanted to get out of that uneasy situation, so I said the first name that came to my mind.
    I found some excuses on “why I liked him” and my friend was apparently so disappointed because he didn’t look good on photos. After my “confession” my friend stopped talking. He was sitting on the bench staring at the sky. I told him:”Are you okay? If you want we can get back.”
    “It’s not that. I just feel… strange.”

    On the way home he brought back that one time when I confessed to him, but was actually a friend of mine (I made him believe it). It was like 3 years ago, so why did he have to bring it up that night? While we were coming home?

    Anyway, I texted him the following night and we talked a bit, but after then nothing. At all. He didn’t even ask me about jogging anymore.

    I was so happy because I thought I had found a friend, that we had got closer than we had ever been before, but I feel like he’s ignoring me now…

    A week has passed and I don’t think I did something wrong, but I can’t not think about the possibility that he liked me and I hurt him by saying I liked someone else…

    I hope it’s not the case, but if so… how can I get to talk to him properly?

    • Moral Revolution

      Hey Stella,
      The only way to know what he was thinking is to ask him about it. It would probably be good to also talk about where you’re both at so you can have realistic expectations for your friendship. It may be a tough conversation, but at least then you can be on the same page. Unfortunately, if you reach out to him and he doesn’t respond, that’s not really in your control, so in that case, you might have to let him go or give him space if that’s what he needs. Hope this helps!

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