Unrequited love with my best friend; feeling lost

I’ve (33) been secretly in love with my best friend (33) (I am also her best friend) since I first met her a decade ago. We’ve had our shares of ups and downs but we’ve always come back together. I haven’t seen her in four years since we live a couple states apart and Covid made things messy but for the duration of our friendship we have hung out with each other online basically everyday. A bit over two months ago she called me and told me that she was planning to go see this other friend of hers that has been crushing on her for awhile to see if they could be compatible. She had been in another relationship early on in our friendship and while I weathered that this was different. I had visceral physical reactions to this news. I was shaking, I couldn’t eat, I could barely sleep. I knew that this time was different and that I couldn’t go through this again.

I decided to write her a letter to tell her how I felt about her and spent the next week and a half writing this doozy of a letter (eleven pages, typed, 12 point font). I sent it with a bouquet of roses just after she got back from the trip and just prayed. She said she didn’t really know how to respond at the time and that she was processing everything. We didn’t talk for a day or so but then went back to our normal routine. However, I started noticing things. She wasn’t responding to my texts the same way she used to or sometimes outright ignoring them and I noticed that sometimes she would tell me she was going to go sleep or spend time with her mother but she was actually hanging out with him online and then she would tell me the next day that she went to sleep early or something. I don’t know if she was trying to protect my feelings or something else but whenever that happened I would just curl up in a ball in my bed. Today she sent me an email telling me that even though she loves me, she doesn’t love me romantically.

I’m lost. She has been the center of my world for ten years and I don’t know what to do right now. We need to talk about it but I don’t know how to move forward. I know that conventional wisdom says that I should make a clean break of it but I don’t see how I can possibly do that. We’ve been through so much together and mean so much to each other. But every time I think of her with him it just… “hurts” is too simple of a word for what I feel but it gets the message across. I just don’t know what to do.


Yes, unrequited love can be devastating. You are grieving for lost hope and a relationship that seems to be diminishing. I think at this time, she senses how desperately you wish for romance, and because it makes her uncomfortable, she is decreasing her contact with you.

Perhaps if you give her space, she’ll realize that she misses talking to you and you can go back to being at the same level of friendship that existed before you told her about your romantic feelings.

I have lost a couple of people myself. In one case, the grieving process was pretty extreme and immobilizing. Over time, the grief became manageable. I never stopped loving the person I lost and for the most part, unless I dwell on the loss, what remains is both the love and gratitude for having been with someone who so deeply touched my heart.

There is also a lofty, altruistic and easily rejected thought that a person’s genuine love will support another persons pursuit of happiness, even if it means separation. It was a struggle for me to accept that reality.

The grief that you are experiencing now will gradually diminish enough to be manageable.

Washington Irving wrote “Love is never lost. If not reciprocated, it will flow back and soften and purify the heart.”

That may not make a lot of sense in the moment, but eventually it will.