I am a 57 year old single man. A friend and colleague in his 30's says he loves me and has done so since we met 3 years ago. I have no romantic feelings towards him whatsoever. He now takes everything very personally. If I smile he thinks I love him back. If I don't smile he thinks I hate him. We have to work together but it makes me feel very uncomfortable. What can I do for the best?
Hello. I read your post, and it does sound like you are in a difficult position. You enjoy this man's company as a friend and colleague, but his emotions have put you in a tough spot. I would guess that you want to maintain a relationship with this man (platonic), otherwise you wouldn't have written in with this post. However, it appears that you have to make a decision on how to move past this obstacle, since the friendship is currently uncomfortable. I would suggest that you have 3 options:
1. Confront him with your thoughts and feelings avout the current state of the relationship. While this may be difficult for him to take at first, since you've noted his emotional state, it will give the two of you an open forum to air it out and work toward some sort of progress or resolution.
2. Ignore it. You could hope that it eventually goes away, although it sounds like this is unlikely, and you'll continue to live with the tension in the interim.
3. Suggest to him that you talk about this together with a helpful third party. Similar to the first option, this requires you to address the situation with him in person. A present, objective third party might have some helpful insight though that isn't easily seen by either of you two since you both are directly involved in the situation.
What are your thoughts regarding these oprions?
Thank you and the third person sounds a good option.
Great, happy to assist. Is there anything else I can do for you?
Here are the texts that were sent between us on Monday :-
Him : I have been feeling down since Saturday . I am so sorry about everything. For the last three years you have been everything to me. I just can't think what to do now. I'm really sorry.
Me : Don't do anything. Let's be happy with what we've got. A good working relationshop that is unique. Why change it?
Him : You have to think how I'm feeling at the moment. It's breaking my heart.
Me : What is it that is breaking your heart? What can I do to help?
Based on these texts, I agree with you that having a third party present would be helpful to both of you. I'm biased, but a therapist would be the best option.
Him : It's breaking my heart because I always thought I had a bit of hope. But now I know that it will never happen it's killing me inside.
Me : My friendship alone does not seem to be enough for you.
Him : I just wish you could understand how I feel.
Me : If I was to understand how you felt how could I help?
Him : You could fix the hole in my heart.
Me : How do I do that ?
Him : Love me back
It sounds like your friend is hinting at personal instability here. While both of you meeting with a third party is a good option, it sounds like your friend could benefit from some individual counseling as well.
I didn't respond after this and have not spoken since.
Do you think you can get jim to go along with this if you suggest it?
I don't know how to go about getting therapy.
He would have done anything I suggested before, but I am not sure now.
Basically you would just call a counselor/therapist office and schedule an appointment. I would tell your friend that you want to do this for the long term good of your friendship.
If he rejects this idea, at least you know that you are trying to fix the friendship, qhich is what you are hoping to do.
Okay I will try that. Thanks for your help.
Absolutely, best of luck to you