Dear Thelma: We are very close but our relationship is going nowhere


By THELMA

I'M a 20-year-old girl who is in love with a 28-year-old Pakistani man who is currently working in the United Arab Emirates. He's been to Malaysia before, in early 2017, but I never met him in my life.

I befriended him on Facebook in June 2017. I was in Form 5 then. Now it is already August 2020 and we are still as close and inseparable as ever.

We exchanged our WhatsApp numbers in December 2017 and we are also connected through Instagram. This man, A, has always shared all his problems and secrets, etc, with me.

I can say that A and I are best friends. He once told me that he considered me as his family and, to be honest, I consider A as my family too.

We have shared more than the normal pictures (I hope you understand what I mean). The more A shares about his problems with me, the more I fall in love with A.

I actually developed a crush on him when I was just 17 and I still feel the same about him today. I'm in love with him and I've told him about my feelings.

But due to the distance, A told me that we can only stay as best friends.

I've lost interest in other guys and I limit my talking to boys from social media the moment I fell for A. But the thing is, A also treats me more than a bestie.

I could say that he is my half boyfriend and I am his half girlfriend. I really feel like that from the way we communicate, which is through WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger (texts, voice notes and voice/video calls).

In this almost four-year friendship, I developed a strong trust in and respect for this man. We are just so close to each other in heart and also inseparable even till today.

I don't know about A's relationships with other girls on social media but, with me, he is completely honest and truthful, and never hides anything from me.

I know everything about him and his family members, and he too knows all about me and my family. I don't know how to express my closeness with him; it is beyond words.

A is still single (me too) but he's kind of flirtatious with other girls on social media. And that's the thing that always breaks my heart and I'd be crying for a few days because of that.

I feel jealous whenever A is friendly with other girls. Then I'll try to forget him and let him go, but I can't. I keep on going back to him. He also won't easily let me go.

When he's communicating with me, A is always very respectful and open-minded, mature, loving, funny and full of that bestie love.

He said that I'll always have a place in his life and nobody can ever take my place. I find myself thinking about him always; he also often appears in my dreams.

Am I having a healthy friendship with A? Are we really suitable and compatible to be best friends?

A stands for Amir

You've had a three-year flirtation that's included the exchange of personal confidences, and some intimate snaps.

However, A has stated explicitly that he wants to be friends. So you hold a special place in his heart, but he's not interested in taking the next step.

I appreciate this hurts. You have invested a lot in this relationship and you had high hopes for it. But if the other party isn't sharing your vision, you have to let it go.

Letting go means you have to go out there and forge new relationships. To be successful, you need to consider your approach carefully.

As A is considerably older than you, and you've been talking a long time, men your own age will seem less experienced and less comfortable.

On no account allow yourself to compare dates and new boyfriends to A.

In a practical spirit, you must remind yourself that your time with A may have felt good at some points, but it didn't give you what you needed.

Therefore, you must be very strong and view any difficulties with new men in a positive light. See it as the learning curve of normal dating.

Also, when you move on, be very aware of the pacing of your relationships. While romantic relationships are unique for each couple, there are some distinct stages that we typically go through.

At first, there's the flirting and getting to know each other. If that goes well, we move to deepen the commitment.

Deepening will involve dating regularly, dating exclusively, meeting each other's family, discussion of life goals, and if that all works out and you're both happy, you make a life commitment. That process usually takes two or three years.

From your letter, you got stuck in that first stage. You also missed important signs that your relationship wasn't working. Try not to repeat these mistakes.

When you meet someone new, monitor events sensibly. If you feel as if it is not progressing, or there is a mismatch, drop it and move on. Don't get stuck again!

During this time, can you be best friends with A? It may be possible but if he's always available, I'm concerned you will continue to cling to him instead of moving on.

I suggest you talk openly to him about your needs. If he's truly your very good friend, he will see that he needs to step back.

A six-month break will allow you to move into a new space. At the start of that time, both of you should destroy all the sexy texts and photos and keep only the mementos of friendship. Complete the move by a mutual block. You can both set a date for a ceremonious unblocking, say April 1?

Then when you reconnect, you can do so as brother and sister: close and confiding but not sexual.

I appreciate this will be a wrench for you, but once you build up relationships that have potential for the future, you will be much happier.


Is something bothering you? Do you need a listening ear or a shoulder to lean on? Thelma is here to help. Email lifestyle@thestar.com.my or write to Dear Thelma, c/o StarLifestyle, Menara Star, 15, Jalan 16/11,46350 Petaling Jaya, Selangor. Please include your full name, address and a pseudonym. No private correspondence will be entertained. The Star does not give any warranty on accuracy, completeness, usefulness, fitness for any particular purpose or other assurances as to the opinions and views expressed in this column. The Star disclaims all responsibility for any losses suffered directly or indirectly arising from reliance on such opinions and views.

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