• Keeping Friends

A gay woman wants her friendship back

Published: April 5, 2015 | By | 4 Replies Continue Reading
A 62-year old gay woman asks for advice on resurrecting a platonic friendship.

QUESTION

Hi,

I hope you can provide some constructive advice. I am a 62-year-old gay female who recently became attracted to a good (gay female) friend. We are both kind, compassionate, and fairly evolved women.

I thought carefully about the best way to disclose this growing attraction without harming the friendship and finally decided to simply call and ask if she might like to go out with me sometime. After the call, she began to withdraw. I sensed she needed some space.

After a couple of weeks I sent a short, light-hearted card saying that I missed hanging out. She called right away. We went out to eat and I let her set the tone. Toward the end of our very congenial meal, she brought up the original phone call, saying that she’d been uncomfortable but had been thinking about it. I then clarified that I would like to deepen the relationship because I was growing more attracted to her. She seemed fine after our conversation.

Two days later I called and asked if she would like to have a drink. She said, “yes,” then cancelled. It’s been over a week and we’ve had no contact.

I decided that it was best to give her some space. I am perfectly happy to shift gears and would love to resume our original friendship because I truly value who she is. All I really wanted to know was if there was a possibility for a different relationship and genuinely have no desire for a one-sided attraction. What is the best way to mend our friendship?

Thanks for your help.

Signed, Vera

ANSWER

Hi Vera,

Withdrawal is a way of creating space, and respecting your friend’s boundaries is wise. The lack of communication can be frustrating and confusing, since you don’t know if the break is a hiatus or permanent.

Based on your friend’s reaction both times you brought up exploring taking your relationship to a romantic level, I think you already have your answer. She may or may not be interested in more, but so far she’s shown withdrawal as response to be the discussion.

It seems to me the more you talk attraction, the more she retreats, even if her initial response is indefinite. Are you able to shut down your attraction and feel satisfied with a platonic friendship? Would this be satisfying to you?

If you socialize as part of a group, an activity with others would give you an opportunity to say you enjoy her friendship and you’d love to have drinks/movie/dinner as friends, nothing else. Don’t look at this as hoping for an opening for more, but as a way to spend time with a friend (the way you would if she was hetero). If your relationship will ever be more than friends, she’s going to have to make the first moves or you just might push her away from even wanting a friendship.

A week can feel like an eternity when you’re waiting for a call. I’d give her at least a month before contacting her, unless you’re liking one of her Facebook posts or sharing a meme she might enjoy. Sometimes the less said the better, in terms of heavy, lengthy conversations.

I hope you’re able to maintain your friendship. I’m not saying I don’t think you have a chance, only that proceeding as if there isn’t chance for more will put her at ease for resuming the friendship you have. She will make overtures if she wants more.

Hope this helps.

Signed, *Amy Feld


*Amy Feld, PhD, MSW has trained and worked as a child psychologist.

Disclaimer: Nothing in this or any other post is intended to substitute for medical, psychiatric or clinical diagnosis/treatment. Rather, all posts are written as the type of advice that one friend might give to another.

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Category: KEEPING FRIENDS

Comments (4)

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  1. Maddie says:

    Unfortunately, once you bring romance into it, friendship can never go back to the exact way it was. That’s the chance one takes.

  2. lottie says:

    Hi Vera,
    You come across as a beautiful caring person,and I feel sure your friend may just need time to think about your proposal on taking things to another level. Just because you have not heard back does not mean the answer is no. Have just a little more patience by waiting another few days.If she is anything like you then she will be taking her thoughts and decision seriously.Has she any family to consider like elderly parents?
    I truly hope that her answer is yes.
    Of course if she declines then carry on being friends. What is a few more days in a life time, if it could lead to years of bliss. Very best wishes for your future. Lottie

  3. Carol says:

    Hi Vera,

    Just to get things off to a open and honest start; I am a 76 year old lesbian. In the last year I took the big step of doing my “life story” for the Old Lesbian Oral Herstory Project (www.olohp.org). The contents are right now in the hands of those who write the final story.There are a couple of books available, i.e., The Gift of Age and With No Apology; available at Amazon and other bookstores online. I came out at age 12 in Indiana (so all the recent news about the state didn’t just start in 2015. I won’t go into all the painful history of that time, but just so you understand my background. I have had many, many lesbian friends in Indiana and in CA., where I live now for many, many years. I formed close relationships with co-workers with whom all I could do was to assume they were straight. It’s a hard life to live when you can’t just be honest and open with even friends along the way. As the years went on and I became a more a braver woman, I would tell my straight women friends I was a lesbian up front. It never took long for them to begin to move away from our friendship. It was always hurtful but some part of me understood because of all the homophobia that existed and still does today. It’s scary to be different, but its more scary to live a lie. Since writing my life story I now know so many human beings have suffered because they were stigmatized for some reason by others.

    However, since writing my story I see clearly what a brave and courageous woman I am to insist on being who and what I am as a human being. Now, my closet friends are four women who I met when I was still teaching in the public schools. I am retired now and we have remained friends as I am completely open with them. One is my “best friend,” and she and her husband have been there for me numerous times when I needed help. These four women love and accept me simply because I am Carol and as they listen to my story, I also encourage them to share there’s with me. We all have one and it’s better to out of any dark closed closet for whatever reason we went into it.

    It’s a different world as one ages. My needs are different now and have time to myself to be relaxed and carefree is my goal for each and every day. If someone wants to create a friendship with me, I start with making sure they know I am a lesbian (a word never used in past years), now I use it with pride. I feel its your right to be yourself and not have to be approved of in order to have a friend.

    I spent a good deal of my life hiding who I am. Now I want to spend the remaining years I have just being Carol, the person I know best and the person who watches out for me and encourages me to keep growing and learning. If other women struggle with your being a lesbian, let them figure it out. When they have decided you deserve the greatest of respect for just being you, then maybe…and I mean maybe they deserve your friendship. We all find our happiness in different ways. No one can create my life except me. It’s been a long journey from age 12 to today at age 76. Now I clearly know I have to be my very best friend because I love and accept every part of who I am.

    Best to you Vera as you grow stronger each day of your life. It’s a gift!

    Carol

  4. Dionne says:

    I think a lot of people just really don’t like to outright reject someone, and it sounds like you suspect or believe that that’s what her mixed message and withdrawal is about. Why not email her with exactly what you told us? This:

    “I am perfectly happy to shift gears and would love to resume our original friendship because I truly value who she is. All I really wanted to know was if there was a possibility for a different relationship and genuinely have no desire for a one-sided attraction.”

    If she continues to distance herself, then maybe she just thinks of you as more of an acquaintance. But it doesn’t hurt to clarify. Good luck!

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