Auntie SparkNotes: I'm Crushing On My Same-Sex BFF
My best friend is my life. I've always joked that we're soul mates and that she's my one true love, however, lately, I've actually been starting to question my feelings.
I see her everyday, and when we're apart we're in constant contact. I feel like I'm starting to gain a dependency on her. I get jealous and possessive if someone else touches her, let alone tries to act flirtatious towards her in any way. When I'm around her I get butterflies, and I just want to hold her, kiss her, cuddle with her, and above all, I want to treat her like the princess she is. However, I'm not sure how to make these feelings known. You see, right now we both identify as straight females, and these feelings for her are kind of the opposite of straight. I want to tell her so bad, but I don't want to make things awkward if the feelings aren't reciprocated. I can't lose her.
Even if we did get together, I'd be afraid of breaking up, and we're only in high school, so that's pretty definite. Plus we both have extremely conservative families who would never support a relationship between us. She treats me the same way that I treat her. We've always had a very intense relationship and many people actually mistake us for a couple. I just haven't been aware of my real feelings until now. How should I go about finding out her feelings? How should I make my feelings clear without being awkward? How do I deal with the feelings I'm having? I'm okay with being gay, but I'm not okay with doing anything that could possibly cause space between us. She's the most important thing in the world, and I would endure all of the circles of hell at the same time for all eternity if it would guarantee her happiness. I just need to know how to deal with my feelings without losing her, because then I would have no reason to live.
...Is a sentence that just sent every red flag in the known universe skyrocketing upward at once.
Because here's the thing, Sparkler: you can like your friend. You can love your friend. You can adore and admire her to the ends of the earth and beyond. But the moment you start needing her—not to mention cite her as your only reason for being—is the moment at which you've crossed into dangerous territory. Healthy, happy relationships don't make you feel like something less than a whole person! And keeping your friendship intact might be important, but not more important than your emotional health and well-being. A relationship worth having is one in which one person's feelings coexist happily with the other's free will, and where nobody is trying to contort herself—or worse, control someone else—in an effort to hold on at all costs.
Which is why I need you to back up to the place where you say "I can't lose her," and think really hard about why you feel that way. Whether or not you confess your feelings, you need to root out the insecurity that's sprouted up along with them. The jealousy, the possessiveness, the co-dependence, the desperation: these are all big, flashing indicators that something's not right, and they're something you'll need to deal with no matter what happens next.
And hey, look: more likely than not, your fears are just coming from the unique and awful combination of being head-over-heels infatuated, and dealing with a new wrinkle in your sexual identity, and not being able to discuss either of these things with your usual confidante since she's the catalyst to the whole thing. And if that's the case, then you need only realize that the worst has already happened; your feelings, whether your confess them or not, have already changed the nature of your friendship. Your only option now is to either make them heard (by telling your friend) or make them die (by distancing yourself until the passion cools). If your relationship is as loving and deep and devoted as you say, then no matter what happens—from the best-case romance to the worst-case rejection—you'll make it through together and be stronger for the experience. (And if you do decide to confess, then there's no such thing as a risk-free way; you'll have to just take a deep breath, steel your nerves, and say it: "I like you as more than a friend.")
But if there's any chance that it's more than just this perfect storm of Scary Doubts—if you have reason to believe that your friend would punish you for expressing your feelings, if your self-described "intense" relationship often has you feeling unsure or hurt or off-balance, if you're always walking on eggshells in order to keep her close—then it's important that you recognize how unhealthy that is, and give yourself enough distance to get back your sense of self. True friendship, and true love, is in the joy of being with someone, not the fear of losing them. And the one thing a truly intimate relationship should always make you feel, always, is secure.
Do you have words of support for our Sparkler? Leave 'em in the comments! And to get advice from Auntie, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.