The Unique Pain Of Loving Someone Who Put You In The Friend Zone


When I was 22, I made a friend at a job fair. We bonded over shared interests in comedians and books; we talked regularly and hung out often. He later confessed he had a crush on me. I politely rejected his advances and asked if we could still be friends. He told me, "Of course."

We stayed friends; we still talked. He was one of my close confidants; I told him things because I trusted him. Then, one day, out of nowhere, he began calling me names -- terrible ones. He claimed more or less that it was wrong of me to want to hang out with him, as I saw other men romantically.

I hung up, refusing to speak with him. It ended our friendship, and I questioned if I had done anything wrong. I remembered that I had not once, but repeatedly been honest about my feelings for him, but it didn't seem to matter.

Some say I had an obligation to stop hanging out with him once he confessed his crush, and I didn’t reciprocate. Maybe I did, but if I asked him honestly if he felt that we should, was it wrong of me to continue hanging out with him?

Too often, I’ve heard the laments of self-proclaimed “good guys.” They say a variety of things to justify their lagging love life, often honing in and focusing on a problem they find with women. "Women don’t like the good guy," I’ve heard them say, "I’m always in the friend zone."

While “the friend zone” can often be a euphemism for the pain associated with unrequited love, I feel as if it’s turned into an avenue to insult and demonize women for not returning the affections of a seemingly kind, capable and sweet man.

Relationships are not just about getting along personally. For a relationship to be successful, there must be a spark of chemistry and a present attraction. Chemistry can’t always be created; it is either there, or it isn’t.

It is not a crime against humanity for a woman to not be attracted to a nice man. It is not criminal for her to claim that she finds no chemistry with a person who is otherwise in love with her. Committing to a relationship with no chemistry or attraction is subjecting oneself to a largely unfulfilling life.

Rejection is painful, and it is as painful for women as it is for men. Perhaps the anger against the opposite sex on both sides of the spectrum comes from this place of hurt and frustration over not being the one who is wanted.

I’ve had many unrequited crushes on men. I’ve grappled with the idea of staying friends after a failed attempt at a relationship. I do admit to harboring resentment and anger, but I’ve also realized it’s not appropriate or mature.

Men and women can’t treat each other this way, however, and expect to ever have meaningful relationships with each other. Dating can be hurtful, but we should be adults in the long run, when a relationship simply does not flourish.

If you are rejected, bulk up; fulfill yourself by engaging in your interests. Return to the dating game, and try again.

Insulting the one who rejected you, lamenting that you have been “friend-zoned” or creating a false concoction that there is some kind of vendetta against you because you are “kind” is doing no favors for the state of your dating life.

Real love is not scientific. Real love is not something that must be labored over. Real love has nothing to do with preconceived notions or disregard for “good guys” or “good girls.”

Genuine attraction and chemistry is undeniable. Falling in love is not something that needs to be learned or taught; it occurs organically when two people connect for reasons they cannot even explain.

Admitting this when it comes to dating and relationships is a stepping stone to happiness in dating and love. It’s painful to admit to ourselves that one might not like us back, but at least it’s being honest with ourselves and starting our search for the one from a place of truth.

Photo Courtesy: We Heart It