I’m a 26-year-old woman and I think I have feelings for a friend who is also a woman. I have no experience with women. My friend recently went on a date with a woman, which is new for her, and I got really jealous and sad about it. She’s one of my best friends and I know it’s going to ruin everything if I tell her how I feel (it always did in the past with guy friends I had feelings for). We’re also colleagues (we met at work two years ago), so there’s no avoiding her. I can’t even look her in the eye without feeling a crushing pain in my stomach. I’m wondering how her recent date went, how far it went . . . but at the same time, I’m scared to find out. I know they’ve seen each other since then. I really have no idea what to do.
We spend a lot of time together, share intimate details of our lives, and she’s been there for me at my lowest moments. We’ve cuddled in bed before, and it always felt a little more than just friendly to me, but maybe she doesn’t see it that way (she’s more affectionate than I am). — Unsure
A. It’s understandable that you’re afraid of ruining the friendship, but your platonic relationship with this woman has already become something else. You can’t pretend you’re BFFs and nothing more. I mean, you can, but it won’t help that crushing pain in your stomach. The more you deny your feelings, the more it’ll hurt.
It sounds like it’s time to disclose your feelings. You can explain that you’re scared and hopeful, and that you’d like to know how she feels about you. Let her know that these are open-ended questions; you just want to be honest and to talk it through.
It’ll hurt if she doesn’t reciprocate, but you’re better off knowing so you can take space and get over it. Make it clear that you’re a grown-up, which means you’ll respect her wishes and treat her well at work, no matter what happens. Be professional and kind. Disclosure is scary for so many reasons, but so is keeping these feelings to yourself. At this point, you want answers — so get them. — Meredith
You’re going to have to choose either a little distance or sharing how you feel. There’s no healthy middle ground here. WIZEN
My BFF and I (who are both decidedly straight) spend tons of time together, however we have never once “cuddled in bed,” not even close. The fact that you’ve done that with her leads me to believe that maybe she has feelings for you, too. BETTYMCBOOPFACE
If you say something, you’ll move things along in whichever direction they need to go in much faster, which I think is the healthier thing to do. SEXUAL-CHOCOLATE
By adulthood, you should feel comfortable letting someone know you’re interested. You shouldn’t feel the need to wait until your unrequited feelings are crushing you to do something about them. So, work on that. Go on a dating app and try dating some other women. Get comfortable saying whether you’re interested or not. JUST-ANOTHER-BOSTONIANMeredith Goldstein’s novel “Chemistry Lessons” is now available. Column and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters. Send letters to email@example.com.