You have a good, solid group of friends you’ve known for years, and suddenly one of them starts to catch your eye … and you may suspect that you’ve caught their eye too. But their friendship means a lot. There are a lot of people you can hang out with, but it’s much harder to find a real friend. So what happens when you fall in love with your friend? Do you risk friendship for love?
Things can get complicated when you start developing a physical attraction for a friend. Whether or not you realized they were attractive when you met, whether you started with a platonic friendship, there was probably a reason. This reason could have been that one or both of you were in a relationship, and maybe that has changed. But if you think your falling in love is really just falling in love, go with caution.
It’s hard to stay objective if a friend you’re in love with asks you for relationship advice. Are you really a good friend if you’re jealous of the people you’re in love with? This is really the first step in deciding if dating will ruin your friendship. You can be objective when you are no in a relationship and have you never been in a relationship with your friend in the first place?
Things get awkward here. Whether you want to go on and on with your friend or not, if you can’t suppress that love and be an objective friend, you owe it to the other person to admit that you’re interested, even if you think the best option is to stay only friends. But doing so also removes the lid of the Pandora’s box. There is no way to retrieve the conversation. And if love falls apart … well, it’s hurting to tell someone.
You won’t be surprised to hear that it depends on the combination of friends involved. You may be close enough to move your friendship into a smooth relationship. But then there’s the other side of the coin that has its own positives: you may be friends long enough to know that you like them, but not enough to have a long history behind them.
In fact, there is only one way to find out, and that is to dive in and try it out. While you have better chances than many other couples because you know in advance that you like them and that you are getting along well, even the best early relationships can go south.
It sounds like a cliché, but life is a journey, and we are all in different places on our journey. If one of you is not as mature as the other, there is certainly room for jealousy, misunderstandings and other disadvantages of what might otherwise be a great relationship.
It is this maturity (or lack thereof) that can end up ruining the friendship. Perhaps the maturity within the relationship is not the problem. Relationships end for all sorts of reasons. But if the two people who separate do not manage it with maturity, the chances of returning to friendship are slim.
Even in the best of situations, mature couples may have trouble returning to friendship immediately. Breaks are hard when they are fresh, no matter how much you wear them.
So unfortunately, the chances of ruining a friendship with a date are pretty high. But there is no way to get the right love, and if your feelings are strong enough, it’s worth a try.
A few words of warning
Looks like your relationship should be just between you and your friend, maybe more. Realistically, it should be. But if you’re wondering if it’s worth the risk of hanging out with a friend, it might be worth considering the reactions of the rest of your friends. Again, ideally everyone should be mature, but this is not always the case.
As long as you and your friend have joined, you will find that the number of people you can talk to about your relationship will be greatly reduced. After all, you probably have a lot of friends in common, and they may not want to feel trapped in the middle of their friends’ discussions. They are right. Try to keep mutual friends out of your problems … and try not to force them to choose a side if you separate.
You’ll also find that some of your friends will feel that you now need to be invited to all events as a couple, which may mean not inviting you at all. For example, if they think that your girlfriend may not be interested in watching the big party, they may not send you the invitation either. It’s awkward, but it’s a real possibility.
If you break up, it will be harder than most divisions. As the saying goes, you’re not just losing a lover, you’re losing a friend, someone you might consider your best friend right now. And no matter how hard you try to make it clear to friends that you shouldn’t choose a side (as you tried not to do when you were together), inevitably at least some of them will, if not permanently, for at least a while.
In many cases we would say that you do not take it personally. Maybe not this time. Feel free to forgive and forget, but also feel free to make a mental note of who was a supportive friend during your friendship and who decided that you should take a stand during an otherwise friendly breakup.
So it depends on you and your friend if you want to risk it. There are many reasons not to give it a try, but if there is a chance that your good friend may also be the love of your life, he would be a fool if he did not treat you. He only enters with full knowledge that it may be the end of friendship if things go wrong.
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