Could this possibly be...love?


#1

This is my first post on this discussion forum…I have been lurking for some time, and I thought someone on this forum could maybe…enlighten me.

Anyway, here is the problem. I have developped a strong friendship with a friend of mine - let’s call him John. I have never been in any ‘romantic’ relationship before, but I have had many male friends over the years, and I usually get along fairly well with all of them. However, my relationship with John is different from that I have with other guys. It’s deeper, I would say; we have been discussing quite a lot of issues that usually don’t come up in my conversations with other male friends. Beside that, I have had the opportunity of observing John in several contexts - at church, in family and group settings, during one-to-one conversatons, and I have a great deal of admiration and respect for him, the way he handles relationships with others, etc…

I sense that he is more interested in me than in other girls around, that he is in fact very interested in keeping our friendship going. From what I feel and from people’s ‘hints’, I suspect he may be ‘in love’ with me. And the problem is…well, I don’t know if I am able to reciprocate this feeling…or, in other words, I don’t know whether what I am feeling could be love, or something akin. Why ? you may ask. As I have said, I have deep respect and admiration for him (though I’m also aware of his shortcomings !!), but…I don’t feel ‘physically’ attracted to him. Not that I would find him repulsive in some way !! No, I’m just…not attracted.

Now, people normally assume that when there is no physical attraction, there can be no ‘love’. But I remember that my mother once or twice said that she did not find my father handsome when she married him. As they have built a big family together, and are a great couple, I assume that even without finding him ‘handsome’ she still loved him !

I deeply respect and like John, and I would never ever want to hurt him. Should I ‘back off’ in some way, in order to avoid the development of any ‘deeper’ feelings on his side ? Or should I keep seeing him so often ? He really is a huge positive element in my life, so I would not like to lose his friendship, specially since in fact, I myself may be feeling ‘something more’.

Sorry for such a long post…Any advice ?


#2

I believe that respect and admiration are two necessary elements to a healthy successful marriage. But I also believe that physical atraction is important too. But physical attraction can take many forms…it doesn’t have to be that “I want your body baby” lust that is so typical of how attraction is defined.


A marriage and family can be successful without an immediate, strong physical attraction, but it is doomed to fail without mutual respect and admiration.


Malia


#3

I agree that physical attractiveness is not the sole determinate for love, seeing that someone is attractive is somewhat important though I think it is different for people when they experience it. It could be right off the bat and be like wow, that person is attractive, or it could be that as a couple grows deeper, the other person grows in beauty because what real beauty is is the beauty of one’s soul shining through their body. My girlfriend is not a swimsuit model or anything like that, but she is the most beautiful girl in the world because the beauty of her soul shines through her body which is beautiful in its own right. Some physical attractiveness has something to do with it, but eros which is a love that is able to see the true, good and beautiful is only eros if it can see the entire person, both body and soul. If you think of it in that way, maybe John is a really beautiful guy afterall and more beautiful than other guys. If you do not sense this romantic eros, I would say that although a nice guy, you may just want to be friends. I would say do not rush yourself into a relationship just to date. It is not wrong to pass up on people just because you do not sense a real desire to date him, but really look into what beauty is first; soul shining through the body. I may not be Fabio, but I think my girlfriend finds me attractive for not just looks, but who I am and how I treat and respect her. Hope that helps.


#4

Hi MyriamMS & Welcome to the Forums! :wave:

I hope you do not read any of this as harsh in tone; I am “saying” it all with the same loving & sometimes challenging tone I would use with any of my girlfriends.:slight_smile:

It is my opinion that there would be little more crushing to a man than to be told by a woman he is in love with that he is physically unattractive to her. I know you are not saying this, and I realize that you are not in love with each other, but I think it is an important point to be made early on.

You are stressing that this is a friendship. But you say you think he may be in love with you. Has he asked you out on a date? Any flirting going on?

My point is that it would be difficult for me to reciprocate anything that is only being “hinted at” by others, and not coming straight from him.

Be careful not to string this man along, hoping for the possibility of feeling something more. That would not be respectful of his dignity.

Let him take the lead, and you respond honestly and in the present. Try not to get panicky and ahead of yourself about what you may or may not feel in the future. From what you’ve shared, my impression is that he hasn’t yet decided for himself how he feels about you; otherwise he’d be pretty clear in his signals & then you’d have something to reciprocate, and know right away if there’s an attraction or the beginnings of one.

I met my husband through AveMariaSingles.com, a website for Catholic singles. There was plenty of flirting going on through e-mail & then phone calls. When we met in person, it was a very confusing time for me. Although I had a pretty good idea from his photos of what he looked like, in person, he wasn’t what I would have ordinarily described as my “type.” The spark of attraction I felt towards him really didn’t knock me over on that first date (that happened on the second one;) ) because I couldn’t make sense of what I was seeing/feeling/expecting to feel. Now? Oh, Lordy! I’m blushing just talking about him! I’m attracted to him and I think he’s handsome (2 separate things.)

God bless you during this confusing & exhilarating time of discernment!:slight_smile:

“Gratitude looks to the past and love to the present; fear, avarice, lust, and ambition look ahead.” ~ C.S. Lewis


#5

Looks mean nothing.
and i’m a guy and i’m saying that.

i’ve dated some gorgeous women, and i’ve dated women that other men might not find attractive.
and some of the ugliest women i’ve ever dated have been beautiful on the outside…

no matter if my wife lost all her looks, she’d still be the most attractive woman in the world to me because of who she is.

i know the blunt approach is hard. but in my mind, honestly in all things means honesty with your feelings as well.
simple honesty, tell the person how you feel, throw your cards on the table, so to speak…
in the long run, looks mean nothing.
looks fade. beauty fades. skin wrinkles. lines form.
always go for the personality… its the only thing that matters in a mate.

good luck.


#6

Myriam, what are you looking for?


#7

Here is the answer to your question …

After you posted, were you hoping people would tell you to walk away, or to go for it?

You hold the answer to how you really feel, follow your heart.


#8

Thank you so much for your answers ! They have helped me get a clearer vision of all this.

Someone asked asked what I was looking for. Well, I guess what I wanted to know was whether it was honest to keep spending that much time with John, having meals at his place, etc…; suspecting that he may (but of course, I recognise that he may not !) be considering something more than friendship. At this point, I would not want to give the impression that I am interested in him in a ‘romantic’ way - though I may well be. As I said, I enjoy spending time with him very much, we share the same faith (we are both Catholic), and agree on ‘core issues’, but not on everything, which makes for interesting discussions.

I understand that :

  • you guys are saying that finding someone ‘attractive’ involves much more than finding him drop dead handsome.
  • there is no point in ‘running ahead’ things, and it is better to wait for him to make things clear.

Well, then…I think I will try to enjoy this friendship without thinking of other issues and see what happens…


#9

I guess maybe this brings up a bit of nostalgia for me, I spent a lot of time chasing girls who I’d never caught, while the friends I passed on would have been much better matches. So instead of any comentary of mine going blah blah blah, I’ll give some old lines.

You got to know when to hold em, when to fold em, when to walk away, and when to run.

Don’t let the perfect is the enemy of the good.

I thought I knew what love was, but what did I know.

They could not understand what he saw in her. They did not understand that he did not with the eyes that they looked at her, the lover looks at his beloved with the eyes of the heart.


#10

You said you don’t necessarily find him attractive, which in my mind means he’s not doggedly physically unattractive, otherwise you’d have indicated that a bit better. You spend plenty of time with each other, agree on the most important issues, but still see things differently enough to have good conversation.

You sound awfully cool, calm, and calculating on this, which is a good thing. I’ll say what you need to do is something rash and stupid, throw away prudence and just straight up go after it. If your too calculated, you’ll think yourself out of starting of getting into a loving relationship. You might do the wrong move and get hurt and hurt him, so what, that can happen regardless of what you do or not do. You can throw out prudence here, because he probably is going to be holding enough care that you will not be used.

I’ll buck the other advice here, I think your more than ready. If you ask me, unless there is more to the story, I think you are starting to fall in love with him, though its not exactly how you think it should be. Your trying to analyze the situation a bit too much, and talk yourself out of it. Love isn’t so much something that can be analyzed. If you go for it and your wrong, what do you lose, you lose a friendship that would have to pretty much end once you do find someone. If you want permission you have mine to go ahead with it. You don’t need to wait and see, you’ve done plenty of that already, you need to break out of that rut.


#11

The answer to the question in this post is very valuable - not to mention interesting! It makes so much sense! :thumbsup:

Question:
My sister will be getting married this summer. The wedding will be a Catholic wedding. My concern is that she is entering marriage for the wrong reasons. Her and her fiance have pretty much acknowledged that they are not marrying because they are in love with each other. In fact, she has admitted that she is a trophy wife. I firmly believe that this wedding and resulting marriage is an abuse of the sacrament of marriage. Am I being a hypocrite for not only attending the marriage but also being an attendent? Is it a sin to give my blessing to marriage by attending?

Answer:

Michelle Arnold

Let’s take a step back for a moment and assess this situation with the viewpoint of thousands of centuries of marriage. The idea of couples marrying “for love” is a relatively new phenomenon; it arose but a split second ago in those thousands of years of matrimonial history. For centuries people have married each other for reasons of status, financial security, posterity, and for various other less-than-romantic motives. In fact our ancestors would likely snort derisively over modern society’s notion that a couple should only marry for love, and point out that their marriages for purposes of practicality tended to last longer than those today that are contracted based on the whims of emotional attachment. Perhaps this was in part because such practical exigencies for marriage helped to inspire laws that protected marriages from being dissolved when the emotional attachment evaporated.

What the sacrament of matrimony introduced into this history of marriage was God’s grace, which elevated marriage from an institution that was a mere building block of temporal civilization into an institution that would be a building block of the heavenly kingdom. The sacrament gave the couple the graces needed to help each other to heaven and to raise their children to be saints. These are still very practical considerations, but ones intended to build up treasure in heaven rather than to promote temporal glory.

So, what about love? First of all, love is not merely emotional attachment, although it can and often does include that. The emotional attachment is a subset of love known as affection. Affection draws a couple together and can help to sustain a couple during difficult times, but it is not in itself a purpose of marriage. Love itself is to will for the beloved that person’s objective good. A person’s ultimate objective good is God. A husband and wife who will for each other to become saints and help each other along the road to heaven love each other, even though their emotional attitudes toward each other may vary radically over the course of their lifetimes.

I don’t know what your sister meant by the claim that she is a “trophy wife.” Possibly she meant that her fiance’s social status would increase by their proposed marriage. Presumably she feels that she will benefit temporally by the marriage as well. Rather than becoming distressed over this couple’s “unromantic” attitude toward marriage, I recommend that you support them in their preparation for marriage, perhaps by offering them as a wedding gift one or more of the resources recommended below. If this couple accepts the duties of Christian marriage – lifelong commitment, fidelity, and openness to new life – then they are not abusing the sacrament of matrimony, even if their reasons for entering marriage to each other include temporal advancement. You certainly can attend such a wedding and, if invited to be an honor attendant, be a member of the wedding party if you wish.

Recommended reading:

For Better … Forever! by Gregory K. Popcak
The Exceptional Seven Percent by Gregory K. Popcak
Why Marriages Succeed or Fail by John Gottman
The Four Loves by C. S. Lewis


#12

i think everyone out here will agree that the best marriages are the ones built on friendship… so nurture the friendship and see where it goes from there…
blessings~


#13

LOL you sound like me several years ago.

Just keep being friends and growing closer. Trust me, if it’s God’s will or if you’re really in love that physical attraction will hit you over the head like a bat.

It simply means that you two are focusing on other things much more, or rather, coming from a different direction. And I might be biased but I personally believe it’s the better way to build a relationship.


#14

This can’t be love
Because I feel so well
No sobs, no sorrows, no sighs

This can’t be love
I get no dizzy spells
My head is not in the skies

My heart does not stand still
Just hear it beat
This is too sweet to be love

This can’t be love
Because I feel so well
I love to look in your eyes


#15

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