DearKarin Advice Column: Do I want love or friendship?


In my advice column #DearKarin I offer to help with some questions and dilemma’s. Today’s question is about love and friendship.


<strong>Dear Karin,</strong>

So about three years ago I dated this guy. I liked him for a while and eventually we got together. He was a good boyfriend and he cared so much about me. But ready for this? I ended things. Years later I still don’t know why. I think I was too young and I was afraid, maybe? I don’t know. But over the years our paths have crossed a little bit but nothing major.

However, recently we had started talking again and even made plans to see one another. I didn’t expect to feel anything besides just happiness that we were friendly again. But that night we spent HOURs together and it just felt normal and really nice. It would have been nice to keep things that way and remain friends…but things progressed. Like I said, it made me feel a certain way and I got that scared feeling again…but this time because I didn’t know how he felt.

I could have sworn he felt something too but he said he wasn’t looking for a relationship. Which to be honest, I wasn’t either. I don’t know if that means he doesn’t have any type of feeling at all. But I never told him how I felt either…so I can only blame myself, because how is he supposed to know how I feel?

We saw each other again but it wasn’t the same. It felt different and that was a few weeks ago. We kept in contact but I feel as though he’s losing interest in me and the friendship entirely. A lot is going on in his life right now so he is very busy. I’m not sure if he’s just very occupied with that or if he’s just not too interested in moving forward with me in his life. I know these are questions to ask him…but I feel as though I’ve already asked enough and I don’t want to overcomplicate things…

So I’m wondering…was it even a good idea to begin with to enter into each other’s lives with all of the history we had? And also…what do I do now? Should I give him his space as he is very busy… or decide to mentally walk away? Or physically walk away?

But the thing is…I don’t know if I want to. I felt something with him and I feel as though we have something between us, we always had. But what if he doesn’t think that?

I want him to be happy, even if it’s not with me in his life. I still feel guilty for breaking his heart years ago, even though he doesn’t resent me for that. But I feel like…I let someone/something go that was very special years ago and now it’s too late to bring back. But I’m scared of ruining this opportunity incase this is my redemption. I’m stuck.


4th May 2019


Dear Nicole

Thanks for writing in and explaining it all in detail. I hope I understood it all correctly.

I cannot tell you what I think might have happened or what I think you should do, or not. Neither can I second-guess the feelings, thoughts and motivations of the other person involved.

However, I am happy to tell you a bit about what came up for me reading your story. And the kind of questions I would ask.  Perhaps that can assist you in working it out.

If we break it into two sections:

The most recent episode:

You don’t know how he feels and you have not told him how you feel. But at the same time neither of you are intend on a serious relationship. Yet you would like to know what he feels (if anything) and wonder what it might be like, if he knew what you feel.

It sounds bit ambivalent. I think you need to work out what you want, and what telling him vs not telling him will do for you. Can you walk away from this with/out asking and explaining?

From what you are describing he is making choices about not spending time with you. We don’t know what his motives may be, or not. But it is sending a message, I suspect, which we sometimes may find difficult to hear and to accept.

On another level, sometimes one or both parties can re-kindle something because consciously or unconsciously they are seeking some kind of closure, that they feel they did not get first time around. It could also be about sense-checking whether the original decision was the right one. Or it’s just one of those things.

It’s also worth thinking about, that if we carry guilt for what we did in the past, then we may be drawn back to the person, because we may want to make it up to them. Even if we have nothing (or not a lot) to feel guilty for.

Sometimes we have to learn to accept our own decisions and choices, even if it feels a bit uncomfortable.


The first episode / relationship:

To what extend is what has happened representative or not of other relationship experiences – taking it up to a point and then ending it? Having the scary feeling? Is there a pattern or was this a one off?

Perhaps your intuition was telling you something, and you are not yet clear what that might have been about? Or as you said, you were too young?

If it was fear, then fear of what? Commitment, losing someone, being abandoned (and then we may do the abandoning first in order to avoid the pain of being dropped?) … Has this happened to you before, being abandoned?

How would you have handled the past knowing what you know now, about life, yourself and him – now that you are older?


Ultimately, you need to decide what you want in your life, now, love or friendship? Respective and irrespective of him?

Sometimes, when that is confusing and hard, we hope others will do it for us. That might not be fair.

If you think what’s going on may be a pattern across relationships and affects your life and happiness, then it may be worth investing in some counselling to work it through.

I hope these thoughts are of some assistance, Nicole, and I wish you well.

Very best.


(8th May 2019)

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