Dear Dr. NerdLove:
I need help with a tricky situation.
We’re going to call my best friend Noel. Noel is a heterosexual woman, and I’m a heterosexual man, and we’re roommates. People think we’re a couple, and they have good reason to. We do everything together–dinner every night, coffee in the morning, tennis lessons, walking a mile to the Post Office whenever one of us needs to mail a package, etc. We have made plans for our future together. Whenever I see a Tumblr post about how friendships should be assigned as much value as romantic relationships, I feel like they’re talking about us.
You’re probably thinking this is the part where I want to confess my love to her, but nothing could be further from the truth. I have no feelings for her whatsoever. We click alarmingly well, we share a sense of humor and two cats, and she’s really cute, but I don’t get butterflies in my stomach whenever I see her or anything like that. I doubt she’s into me either (I’m not her type, and I’m a lot older than her).
She doesn’t have relationships with men that last longer than a night, and even those went away with the threat of COVID-19, but she did try about a year ago. This guy really did not like me. He was nothing short of cordial to me, but you can just tell. I tried to be social and engaging whenever he came around (which is especially hard when you’re a four-alarm introvert like I am), and I did find him interesting. The reason their relationship ended was because she had no time for him; meanwhile she had time to hang out and watch movies with me or for us to go on long walks or visit friends in a neighboring city.
Did they break up because of me? Probably not—she had set boundaries, and he crossed them too many times. But I will bet money that I did not help. I know she wants to get married and maybe have kids. And I fear that she will never get there if I’m in the picture. I mentioned her recent ex to a friend of mine, who stated that if she were dating me, Noel would absolutely be a problem. And now that she’s started dating again, where does that leave me? I’m not concerned that she won’t prioritize me anymore if she finds a guy who works, I’m worried that she will.
tl;dr: I’m worried that I’m going to make someone jealous and interfere with my best friend’s love life. I’m worried that the nature of our relationship will be discouraging to men she might be interested in. On the other side of that, I’m worried that, if she does find what she’s looking for, I won’t have a best friend anymore, and since I’m not interested in looking for romance, I’ll be alone.
Tell me, Doc, is it serious? Am I sitting around and freaking out over a problem that isn’t there? Is this relationship only fulfilling a need that she’d rather have fulfilled with someone she can have naked sweaty times with? Or will we remain besties until the end of time? Tell me I’m overthinking this, please. Thank you.